Sept. 9, 2011: "As Seen on The Today Show"

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Yesterday morning, FB shared with me one of those "4 years ago today" reminders. It was a video of the time I went on The Today Show to talk about my first book, A Belle in Brooklyn.

The interview had been delayed for months. It was supposed to happen in June when the book dropped, then it was pushed indefinitely, and finally happened, well, four years ago yesterday. I only got a couple days notice of the new date.

I didn't (and don't) have a hair stylist, so it was up to me to get my hair right for my big appearance. I washed my hair the night before, against better judgment. My hair had to be dirty to stand up in its swirl, but it was too dirty to look fresh on TV. So my hair was clean and shiny, but wilted on my big day. No amount of hairspray would make it stand up properly.

I was freaking out about that the morning of, but then the car the show sent went to the wrong address. And then after the car came, we got stuck in traffic. And the driver was trying to whip through traffic and I felt car sick. And I got to the studio late, trying to keep from barfing. I forgot about my hair.

My MUA was supposed to do my face at the studios, and she was late, a first. She beat my face in 15 minutes, then we were hustled up to the wings of the studio set to wait.

I was so nervous. They don't give you the questions in advance, so you just have to plan what you want to say and weave it into the responses of whatever question is asked. My PR, Michelle Huff, had sent over talking points prior, but she was in my ear right up until I walked out with reminders: mention the blog, say the book name, don't be nervous, don't fidget, mention the blog, smile, mention the blog, sit up. MENTION THE BLOG.

The graphics in the studio changed to the name of my book in a cursive font similar to that on my book cover. I was called to set. Hoda told me I was adorable. Then we were live.

I didn't remember what I said, exactly. I mentioned being assaulted which wasn't the plan, but a question came up and I gave an honest answer. Hoda fawned over the book. My PR and MUA and my publishing PR said I did great.

After the show, I changed into my flip flops and walked a couple blocks to my job in my cocktail dress to get to work. I sat at my desk in my cube. I'd told everyone at my job that I would be on The Today Show, but I don't think they believed me. No one watched. No one said congrats when I got back. I went in the bathroom and changed into work clothes and put the whole experience aside. *

Later that day, a VERY popular Black author lamented on Twitter that she had sold millions of books, but had never been on The Today Show (or GMA). That same afternoon, I was watching a live stream of a conference I wanted to attend, but couldn't because of work. There was a guy talking about how he had a day job and he created this side business. It was successful enough to land him on The Today Show. He said, "everyone doesn't get to the Today Show. It's a huge opportunity and you have about six weeks to capitalize on it. I couldn't capitalize on it the way I need to because of my job. I was busy building someone else's dream, and didn't have time for my own. The Today Show was was I realized I wasn't dreaming anymore. My dream was my reality. I had to make the most of it, so I quit my job."

I agonized over quitting. I REALLY loved my job. But I had speaking offers for a LOT of money, to me anyway, and no vacation days left. I'd used them all going on a 5 city book tour.. And my new boss had said "no" to taking more time off.

I asked my mentor who worked at my job what to do. She told me to quit. She was in her late 60s and had once quit her job as the EIC of a magazine when she was about my age at the time. Of all questions, I asked her what I was supposed to write on the declaration form (I'd already decided I was going to travel if I quit) when it asked what my job was. It really bothered me that I wouldn't have some corporate affiliation.

She told me, "you write 'A Belle in Brooklyn. It's a brand, as seen on The Today Show."

Less than a month after my Today Show appearance, I quit my job. I've been living my dream ever since.**


*In fairness, most of my co-workers had been on the show to talk about The Magazine, so it may not have been considered a big deal. Also, the website for my then-job did run an article on my appearance.

** "Living the dream" does not mean everyday is glorious. It means I work everyday on building something I own.

"Belle" featured on

Someday I'll tell the story behind this logo. It "cost" a lot, and I don't mean money. I was honored to be interviewed by the lovely ladies over at The Every Girl back in June. They made me sound like I have it all together. They're kind.

The truth? On the morning the photographer showed up at my house, I overslept. I was up until the wee hours cleaning my apartment, ambitiously set the alarm for an ungodly hour to finish the rest in the morning and pull myself together for the photoshoot and didn't wake up to my alarm.

I woke up in a panic with 45 minutes to spare before photographer Erin Kestenbaum arrived at my house. Make-up? Check. Outfit? Check? Accessories? Check. Shoes? My publicist had to strap me in them. And the dust that shows up overnight on my all-black and dark brown wood furniture? Sigh. Check and check. Thank God, Erin didn't post those pics! LOL!

Someday, I'll be as "together" as I sound in this (really awesome ) interview.


The Every Girl asked for the blueprint on how I get things done, so I spilled all the details. Here are a few highlights from the Q&A (full interview HERE):

Take us on a brief synopsis of your (extensive and impressive) career path. I went to grad school for journalism because I wanted to be a magazine editor. I had difficulty landing a job at a publication that had an entry level salary I could live on. Frankly, I got paid more as a freelancer, so I became a freelance journalist and picked up a 9 to 5 in book publishing, initially for stability. I began editing romance novels, first for BET’s Arabesque line, and later at Harlequin. I loved it!

While I was at Harlequin, I launched my blog on MySpace. At a networking event, I pitched my blog idea—loosely, “the hilarious misadventures of a single woman dating in New York”— to the then-Editor-in-Chief of She agreed to run it on her site and it was immediately successful. After “A Belle in Brooklyn” was up for a few months, an editor from Essence Magazine suggested I submit my resume for an open position for the role of “Relationship Editor.”

At Essence, I landed a monthly column in the magazine about dating and relationships. It was pretty popular. I was also still blogging and my site was doing really well. I knew from my book editing days that a wide-platform was a bonus in publishing, so I pitched a book idea based on my blog to Atria/Simon & Schuster. My first book, “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life," was published in 2011.

Since I write primarily about dating and relationships, people began asking me a lot of questions about those topics. I trained to become a life coach so I could help people more effectively and launched my coaching business, Coached By Belle. The demands of coaching, blogging, promoting the book and working a full-time job were overwhelming. I quit my job four months after my book was released and went into business for myself as a freelance journalist (again), full-time blogger, and life coach.

I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my second book, “Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love."

Me, at home.

Your blog, A Belle in Brooklyn, was awarded Best Personal Blog at the 2010 Black Weblog Awards. What encouraged you to first start blogging? How has your blog impacted your career? What has been the most rewarding blogging experience? I began blogging because there wasn’t a woman of color in media I felt reflected me and my circle of friends. We are Black and smart, and middle-class, and fun and silly, and optimistic, and there are a lot of us, but in media we’re not shown often. Too often what you see in media is stereotypes of what people think Black women are. That was something I complained about a lot, and finally one of my friends just said, “You’re in media. Why don’t you do something about it?” So I did; I put my first blog post up on MySpace the next day.

My blog has been the cornerstone of my career. It helped me land my dream job as an editor and columnist at Essence magazine, which was a dream come true. It’s also the basis for my first book, I’m currently working on a scripted TV series based on my book, and I was plucked to appear on Bravo TV’s “Blood Sweat & Heels” because my blog garnered me the inescapable moniker “The Black Carrie Bradshaw."

The most rewarding experience is when women thank me for sharingour stories. I say “our” because there are a lot of women who, like me, felt they weren’t represented in the world, and I gave their lives a voice. Nothing tops that. As a freelance writer for The New York Times, People, and former editor and columnist at Essence magazine, do you have any advice on developing a signature editorial voice? Be yourself. So often, especially as new writers, we start out trying to imitate the people we read and whose work we adore. You are a poor imitation of someone else. You are an amazing original. Also, say what everyone is thinking, but no one is saying, even if that isn’t PC.

You’ve worked for well-known magazines and websites like XO Jane and The Grio. You're also a media personality, having appeared on The Today Show and The Anderson Cooper Show. Not to mention been a guest speaker at Harvard and Princeton! How were you able to create those work relationships? Two reasons: I consistently pitched great story ideas to websites and they pull big numbers. That’s how I became a regular contributor. Many of my stories went viral, or were at least widely read, and producers from various shows invited me on to share my POV. That, and I hired the best publicist I could afford to make sure those great stories got in front of the right producers.

The college speaking circuit came about in an interesting way. Many of my readers are college students. They are smart, ambitious young women who lead organizations at their schools. They invite me to come speak. Other than my two alma- maters, I’ve never pitched to speak at a college. I love speaking to students though, so maybe I should. Hmmm.


A "shelfie" of one of my many book shelves. These are some of my favorite reads.

You currently star on Bravo's "Blood, Sweat, & Heels." How did this opportunity come about? Tell us about your role and what it’s like working in reality television. Bravo was looking to do a reality show similar to “Sex and the City”, but the missing Black women that SATC left out. So I’m told, the producers were looking for a “Carrie Bradshaw” type and literally googled “Black Carrie Bradshaw.” That just so happened to be the title of a Washington Post feature story that was done on me in 2010. So, voila!

I’m one of the “voices of reason” on the show. It was an, um, interesting experience, sometimes quite fun. Maybe I’ll write a book about it someday. The behind the scenes antics are better than anything aired.

What obstacles have you faced during your career, and how were you able to overcome them? Learning something new is always a challenge. From getting started as a blogger, becoming an editor, learning to speak in front of large audiences, to writing a book proposal, and becoming an entrepreneur, there’s always a steep learning curve involved. I got through all of that by asking for help from someone who had already done what I was trying to do. I don’t believe in struggling and making unnecessary, avoidable mistakes just to say I did it the hard way. I ask for help upfront and in a hurry. Someone always has an answer I don’t.

As an author, editor, blogger, life-coach, and reality television star, how do you achieve a work/life balance? The advice I give when clients ask is to remember that everything isn’t a four-alarm fire. Everything doesn’t need all of your attention all the time. Prioritize. What I actually do though? I work around the clock when nothing in my personal life is pressing so I’m ahead of the game when something comes up. I also say “no” a lot.

Best moment of your career so far? Becoming my own boss.

What advice would you give to your 23-year-old self? Keep going. I know you don’t think you’ll get there, but you will if you don’t give up. Oh, and enjoy the ride.


Read the full article: here 


INTERVIEW: Media Bistro— "The writer turned reality TV star dishes on her impressive career"

Media Bistro Interview I used to look for jobs on in 2000 when I was  starting out. It's all kinds of awesome to be featured on the site as a success story. This interview is the unintentional blueprint for how I do what I do. (I swear it sounds more impressive when its written about than living it. Ha!) One correction: I'd never call myself a celebrity for being on reality TV. Having a camera follow your life is cool and all, but it's not a talent to be celebrated. 


Demetria Lucas spent the first half of her career as a journalist covering celebrities. Now she is one herself, and routine activities like going to the gym have become an adventure in the preservation of privacy. "Last week, this woman stopped in front of my car and mouthed 'Demetria Lucas?'" she said. "I nodded, and she just smiled and waved, then walked on across the street. I didn't think I'd be recognized, but apparently if you're invited into someone's living room every Sunday night, they know what you look like whether you've got on sweats or a dress."

She's adjusting to the reality of being a reality star, which includes run-ins with people feeling like they know you, even when you're off the clock. Before she was part of the six-woman cast of Bravo's Blood, Sweat and Heels, which chronicles the lives-in-progress of young, professional upstarts forging their careers in New York City, Lucas was far from unknown. Her blog, A Belle in Brooklyn, garnered a following of devotees and earned her critical accolades and a Black Weblog Award. Hers is the North Star of entrepreneurial journalism that many a writer wishes upon.

Adding certified life coach to her author-slash-editor-slash-columnist-slash-blogger-slash-TV personality repertoire, the once-quintessential single girl -- who's now a bride-to-be -- has formalized the wisdom she's dispensed to fans over the years in some 30,000 answered relationship questions. Here, the two-time author talks fortuitous opportunities, accidental marketing and being "the black Carrie Bradshaw."


Name: Demetria Lucas Position: Journalist, blogger, editor, author, columnist, life coach and reality show star Resume: Interned at Vibe, then transitioned to Russell Simmons' One World and Time Out New York. Edited romance novels for Harlequin and BET Books. Blogged about dating for Launched her personal blog, A Belle in Brooklyn, and was subsequently named one of "the Blogosphere's Best" by Black Enterprise and "30 Black Bloggers You Should Know" by The Root. Former relationships editor and dating columnist for Essence. Contributed freelance articles to The New York TimesThe GuardianPeople and XXL as well as The Grio, XoJane, Clutch, Vibe Vixen and Uptown. Contributing editor for The Root. Author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life and Don't Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love. Founded Coached By Belle, helping clients solve dating dilemmas and build healthy relationships. Most recently starred on Bravo's Blood, Sweat and Heels. Birthdate: July 9 Hometown: Mitchellville, Md. Education: BA in English from University of Maryland College Park; master's in journalism from New York University Marital status: Engaged Media mentors: Harriette Cole and Beverly Smith Best career advice received: "It's a marathon, not a sprint." Last book read: Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career by Sylvia Ann Hewlett Guilty pleasure: Reality TV Twitter handle: @abelleinbk

What was your original vision for your blog, A Belle in Brooklyn? Sex and the City was still on the air, and black women who watched it took issue like, 'This is New York City. There are amazing people of all colors here, including fabulous black women with great careers. Why isn't there one on the show?' I was looking for a site, a book, something that filled that gap. I complained to one of my writer friends about it and he said, 'Well, you're a writer. Why don't you write it?' That's how A Belle in Brooklyn was born. I started doing it on MySpace and it quickly became popular. Then I went to a networking event and pitched the idea of writing about dating and relationships as a single black woman in Brooklyn to the editor of She loved it. The first piece I did for her site got around 4,000 visitors and she called me like, 'Oh my God. We've struck gold.'

I wrote for Honey for three months or so before I got a call from a friend of a friend who worked at Essence. She said there was an opening for a relationship editor there and told me I had to apply for it. I'd only written for Essence once before that, so I was like, 'Really? An editor atEssence? Am I ready? I don't know.' She was like, 'Oh, no, the whole office reads your blog. We get in in the morning and are like, did you read Belle today?' The thought of a whole office of women reading my stuff was crazy. When I turned in a bunch of clips from my blog and that landed me the job, I realized I was probably on to something. Belle was a brand before I realized it was one. I was just writing. The readers are the ones who told me, 'You have to turn this into a book. It will sell.'

You mentioned Sex and the City. How do you like being labeled "the black Carrie Bradshaw?" I have mixed feelings about it. When I was working for Essence, I had a column called 'Dating Guide.' In one of the more popular stories, I went on three blind dates -- one arranged by my editor, one by my mother and one by my best friend. The one my mom set up was in D.C., so theWashington Post covered the story, and the headline was something like 'Demetria Lucas is the Black Carrie Bradshaw.' The name just kind of stuck. I can't get away from it now, even if I wanted to. But I'm a real woman. I'm a real black woman. I don't really like the equation to be a fill-in-the-lines white TV character. The thing that I do like, though, is that for all her flaws, Carrie was loved. People really liked her. She was that sort of urban girl next door with problems that people could relate to. So in that respect, I'm honored to claim that title.

Are there a plethora of tragic Carrie Bradshaws now in the forms of Being Mary Jane's Mary Jane Paul and Scandal's Olivia Pope? Even though Sex and the City is still hugely popular years after it went off the air, I think Olivia Pope is trying to be Olivia Pope and Mary Jane is trying to be Mary Jane. One of the reasons I started my blog was it seemed when single, white women were featured going through relationships, there was more lightheartedness. There was more comedy. There was more adventure. There was more optimism. Even if they got kicked down by somebody one day, they were back up and at it in the next episode. With black women, it just seemed depressing. It seemed hard and heavy and negative. That's the case for a lot of women, but there are also a lot of us who are just trying to figure it out.

When you prepared to write your first book, what kind of author did you want to become? I knew the combination of my blog and being the relationship editor at Essence raised my profile. I was also fortunate to land a spot on Let's Talk About Pep on VH1, which was another story about four black women dating in New York. I realized I had a really big platform and I should do something with it. That's when I pitched my book. Coming from a book editor's background, I knew that you could have a great story, but if you didn't have a platform to sell it on, nobody was going to know about it. Simon & Schuster took it. After the book came out, I was all over social media and started doing my 'Cocktails with Belle' events because I wanted to meet my readers. I wasn't really looking at it as a marketing strategy.

Do you think Blood Sweat and Heels stayed true to its original vision and the real, off-camera personalities of the cast members? No. The show was pitched to me as the professional lives of African-American women in New York City. Over time, it became professional and personal. My fiancé was not originally supposed to be on the show. That was a large discussion between us and producers and also my fiancé and myself. We didn't want to be a public couple. He's not in entertainment. He has no interest in being a part of this world. He has an interest in me.

As for the cast, I do kind of cringe at some of the things that were done and said. We all -- myself included -- could've done better in the representation. What's being shown on TV is not an authentic representation of how up-and-coming professional black women behave or how my friends and I behave. I would've liked to see a stronger emphasis on work. I know that the show's not done yet and there's stuff coming up. But I think we've got a lot of unnecessary drama.

Would you do it again? I don't know.

Being a journalist is one thing, being a reality star is another. How did your writing career prepare you for the TV spotlight? I tend to write about controversial subjects. You take a hard stance on something that people are split down the middle about and argue to the death for your side. I've always gotten a lot of feedback, positive and negative. My physical appearance has been attacked. My relationship status has been attacked. Being a writer gave me thicker skin and got me used to being in debate. Not angry, not arguing, but going back and forth respectfully. I absolutely love being challenged. All of that prepared me for reality TV. I don't think I could've gone from a completely behind-the-scenes life to a very public life and been OK afterwards. The responses to being on TV can be brutal if you're not prepared.


Read more: here 

WaPo: Reality star Demetria Lucas makes time for her D.C. fans

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“I’m a little tipsy so I’ll be very honest,” joked Demetria Lucas on Sunday night at a screening of her new reality show, Bravo’s “Blood, Sweat & Heels.” Eager fans wanted to know just how real the show actually is. Hint: Come on.

It’s been nearly a decade since Carrie and Big got their happy ending on “Sex and the City,” but that hasn’t stopped Maryland native Lucas from picking up the single-girl-makes-it-big baton — and running with it. Her relationship blog, A Belle in Brooklyn, crashed when the show premiered to 2.5 million viewers earlier this month and a revamped edition of her 2011 advice book, “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life,” is back on its way to book stores.

On Sunday night Lucas was joined by more than 150 of her closest fans at Lima lounge on K Street to cheer and jeer as the former Essence magazine editor navigated the quicksand of reality TV without getting sucked into the drama–or at least not completely. “I swear to god, I threw no punches, no drinks,” said Lucas, who is also a life coach. “I’m very much a lady on the show.” The same, of course, can’t always be said of her cast mates. Friendships are fast and loose and wine is on infinite tap in the series that follows six upwardly mobile women in New York City.

Moments before the wall of televisions switched from the Grammy telecast to the fourth installment of “Blood, Sweat & Heels,” Lucas, looking posh in a purple bandage dress by Asos, quietly retreated to a bar stool near the DJ booth. “I can’t watch myself on TV,” she admitted.

The crowd, largely made of up of young professional women with a penchant for skinny jeans and stilettos, came with Lucas’ book safely tucked under their arms like chic clutches. The receiving line of wide-eyed 20-somethings seemed never-ending. Perhaps a metaphor for Lucas’ career?


Originally published: here 

Mommy Noire: How to be the Belle of Your Own Life

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 2.14.41 AMDemetria Lucas is much more than just the latest reality star. The educated beauty and southern belle is a journalist, life coach and award-winning blogger. You can find her on Twitter giving relationship advice or on the web’s most popular sites with her often controversial opinion pieces that are right on the money. The word "socialite" is bandied about way too much but in this case it’s appropriate. Demetria’s “Cocktails with Belle” are a fun, NYC staple and her bestseller “A Belle in Brooklyn” left fans hungry for more. This is Demetria’s moment and she is representing us well. She’s holding her own on Bravo’s hit, new series “Blood, Sweat and Heels” and also releasing a new advice guide, “Don’t Waste Your Pretty.” Let’s see what we can learn from this woman about town about life, love and personal power…

Abiola: Welcome, Belle. Let’s talk about your newest book, “Don’t Waste Your Pretty.” What motivated you to write it?

As a life coach and dating and relationship expert, I talk to women all the time. I pinpointed some very key mistakes that we make when it comes to dating and relationships.  And it’s just because we were never taught.  So “Don’t Waste Your Pretty” is really about not wasting your effort, not wasting your energy, not wasting your looks–because that’s important, too–on the wrong guy.

Sometimes we meet somebody and we get so caught up in emotions that we want things to work.  We want him to be a great guy and just the facts in front of us are not really panning out.  He’s not willing to commit. He’s not treating us the way that we want.  He’s not picking up the phone to call; he’s just texting. So I’m trying to get women to see who’s a good catch, who deserves their energy and who they should just pass on by.

Abiola: You always come from a place of women’s strength and women’s power. You’re also a ‘woman’s woman’ in real life. Anytime that there has been an opportunity for you to recommend my name or open the door for me, you have. Thank you. With that same ‘woman’s woman’ energy you have an exciting, new show, “Blood, Sweat and Heels.” Miss Demetria, you are officially you a Bravo-lebrity.

It’s such a fun ride.  The Bravo-lebrity thing is just so weird to me.  I've watched Bravo  obsessively like Saturday afternoons and it’s raining outside I lay in bed and watch Bravo. I have my wine at night for Sundays and to turn on to the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Married to Medicine” ladies.  So, it’s very exciting. It’s very humbling as well. “Blood, Sweat and Heels” is all about the personal and professional lives of black women in New York City and there are so many of us that could have been picked for the show.  You’re here so you know. We grind, we hustle, we put a lot on the back burner in trying to pursue our dreams.  So, I’m just very honored to represent those women who are on point and will be really looking to see a representation of themselves on television.

Abiola: What do you think of your portrayal so far in the series?

The response that I’ve been getting has been absolutely overwhelming.  You put yourself out there, you never know if people are going to like you or [how] they’re going to respond to you.  What I’m getting more than anything is “strong, independent and proud.”

Just to be transparent, I’m a journalist. I’m known for the Essence background. I’ve been very critical of the way that some women behave on reality television. And so when it was announced that I was part of the show, people were like, “What have you done? What are you doing?” And [people who know of me] weren’t really sure what to expect.  So, that hurt a little bit.

But since the episodes that have come out people are like, “I respect what you’re doing. I see what you’re doing with the brand. It’s all over the show. I didn’t get it but I got it now.” It’s like, “Carry on, D.”  It’s like, “We trust you with this now.”

Read more: here

From the Inside Looking Out (aka The Belated Birthday Post) Part 2

Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 2.30.16 AMIt took forever for both of the contracts from the two different networks to come. They arrived the same day, which was oddly enough, the same day I published last year’s birthday post. Without even asking, the network for the scripted show sent an additional contract offering a “consulting producer” position. More or less, it guaranteed that I would have some input in the show. I know the nuances of my world as described in the book; they didn’t. I would fill in the knowledge gaps. That made me happy. My book, A Belle in Brooklyn, is my baby, the physical embodiment of a dream I wished for when I was 12. It took 20 years to make it come true. The additional title  meant I would be there to guide my book through her next steps.

It sounded too good to be true because it was. The main contract was standard, which is to say that it heavily favored the network. They wanted to own everything related to A Belle in Brooklyn, including my URL, the logo, the name “A Belle in Brooklyn”, and anything else “Belle”-affiliated, including any merchandise. Oh, and if the show ever made it on air, I couldn’t write a sequel to the book for approximately ten years and even then it couldn’t use any “characters” that I wrote about in the original book again. In laywoman’s terms, it meant that I wouldn’t be able to write about my life anymore.

I wanted a scripted show so bad that I actually  (and reluctantly) considered this.

I found a lawyer who used to run the legal department at another major network who told me a show would cost me, but I didn’t have to give up that much. It would also cost me financially. The lawyer knew the ins and outs of the business and even with a hook up, she was expensive. If I was lucky, the option rights for the book would cover what I would pay her when she was done re-working and negotiating with the network to get a contract that wasn’t asking for my soul.

In the end, I spent what the option clause the contract would have paid and then some—and never got anything in return. I sat through hours of phone calls at the most inconvenient of times. I was doing a speaking engagement in Colorado and instead of prepping, I was in my dressing room on the phone with my lawyer for an hour going over the latest contracts right until I walked on stage. I would go on vacation and stay  cooped up in my hotel room going over contracts. CBW would come by to visit, and I'd be sitting on the phone with my lawyers. I was on deadline for writing assignments, talking to my lawyer instead of cranking out essays, and watching the minutes move on the clock thinking about how much it was costing me and how pissed my editor would be if I missed my deadline… again.

There was also another lawyer to handle the contracts for the other network. That contract required the same level of negotiation. I would get off the phone with one lawyer and get on the phone with the other. Occasionally, I’d sit on the phone with both of them as they ironed out details and rights to make sure the contracts didn’t conflict with each other. I totaled the price of one of those hour- long calls once. I could have bought a pair of Louboutins.

Two TV deals on the table should have been heaven when I’d just been complaining about none. But I was in hell.

The time commitment to negotiating the contracts and the learning curve was killing me. The stress made me unbearable to be around or carry on anything but the most basic of conversations. I spent most of my time talking to producers and managers and lawyers and they were all throwing about terms that I’d never heard and percentages that I had no clue whether they were good or bad. My manager would bring up concerns in the contracts that I didn’t even know I was supposed to be concerned about. I’d asked to be kept in the loop of all the negotiations so I could learn the ropes, and I’d jump in and ask the most mundane of questions. Everyone always filled me in, happy to help. But at 33, I perpetually felt like a kid listening to the adults talk and no matter how hard I tried, I just wasn’t getting it.

A little bit of that feeling goes a long way. When you spend so much time feeling like most inadequate person in the room, it starts to affect the other rooms you go in. I couldn’t write the same. I started looking up words that I knew the meaning to because I wasn’t sure I was using them in the right context. It would take all-day to write competent articles when it used to take a couple hours tops to make something borderline profound. I’d be scared to push the Send button to my editors with fear someone would write back “um, what is this?” And then that actually happened which messed me up even worse.

I was going crazy. I debated with actual seriousness saying “f*** it” to both contracts and writing all together.  I told this all to Tariq who confirmed I wasn’t crazy, just scared and overwhelmed.

He pointed out that I was doing it right. I’d hired the best to advocate for me. I’d assembled an amazing team of women (as a testament, whenever anyone in the business asks who my lawyer, manager or producers are, I’m met with an impressed look after I answer) and I should just let them do their jobs.

“It will all work out,” he promised. I wanted to believe him. I wanted to believe in myself. But I’d negotiated away so much of what mattered to me and I’d been in over my head so long and I’d felt so damned dumb, I wasn’t sure who I was anymore.


The negotiations for the scripted show took longer than the time to finalize the reality show, tape it, and it was damn near about to be announced when I finally got a final word on what I’d started to think of as “my show”, which didn’t even exist.

I’d realized months before that something wasn’t right with the scripted deal. I’d pushed the feeling down, blaming my outsider-ness and lack of understanding about the way Hollywood operates. It’s a “hurry up and wait” schedule, I was told. “It’s fine. Everything’s fine.” Until it wasn’t.

I should have listened to myself.

I got the news soon after I’d hopped on a plane to LA to get away from New York hang out with my friends, put in face-time with my team and most importantly, to check on my “baby” cousin, a 20 year old from NOLA who wanted to be an actress. She’d bought a one-way ticket headed West a month prior to chase her dream, a move I didn’t fully approve of.

I took her to dinner in Century City the first night, the same way my relatives and friends of my parents did for me when I moved to New York. I remembered what it meant to have a concerned adult present with a listening ear, and a meal at a decent restaurant, something that had become a luxury. And I'd planned to tell her  she should go back home, get her business in order, and return when it was.

In so many words, she told me she was broke, and at the bottom of the totem pole, but she was where she wanted to be, in LA, and just taking that first step toward her dream despite all the (massive) problems-- like not having a car in LA--  that came with it. She was happy.

I remembered being that girl. In my version I sat on my parents back porch with a Master’s degree and no job, praying “God, just give me a chance to compete. I can make it if I get a chance.” My parents didn't want me to go. I got an offer paying next-to-nothing for a government job in NYC, moved and took a second job where I worked 13 days straight, two days off for a year. My parents thought I was crazy. I was living my dream.

I realized as she talked that I would have been a hypocrite to give her the “you should go home” speech, and I figured she was hearing it from everyone else anyway, the same way I did. It meant a lot then-- and now-- for someone to say,"I'm in your corner" when I felt like no one was.  So I told her I was and gave her a “you gotta want this like your life depends on it” soliloquy. It ended with, “balls to the wall, baby. But not, like, balls, because you don’t have balls, cause you’re a girl. Maybe boobs... Boobs to the wall! That sounds painful. But you know what I mean, right?”

I added, "oh, and that means taking the bus."

She nodded at me across the table and said, “I want this… more than anything, B.”

I smiled at her the way the grown ups used to smile at me at dinner. I always thought it was pity for me being broke and naïve in a big city and dinner was an act of charity. It was actually them remembering their own journey as I spoke, remembering it fondly and recognizing how far they’d come from their own beginnings. I think they were also enjoying the hope that still flourishes in people who haven’t been in over their heads long enough to fear drowning. I certainly was and I was getting more out of that dinner than she was.

For the first time in months, I actually didn’t feel crazy. I actually felt... happy.

The following week, baby cousin sent me a selfie from the bus. She was headed to an audition, and yes, she got the job.


Part 3: Soon come.

The Grio: ‘Sky is the limit’ for Bravo’s new reality TV show

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(To watch: click HERE)

Bravo’s new reality TV show Blood, Sweat and Heels premiered Sunday night and broke ratings records.

The show chronicles six women who work in the areas of fashion, media and real estate while documenting their adventures around New York City as they balance their personal and professional lives. It kicked off Sunday night, drawing 2.5 million viewers and set records high as the highest reality series debut in network history.

The show’s Demetria Lucas and Geneva S. Thomas sat down with theGrio’s Lilly Workneh days after the series premiere and shared their sentiments on the show’s success.

“We’re all very dynamic women. We knew it was good but we didn’t know it was 2.5 million viewers good,” Lucas said. “The sky is the limit for Blood, Sweat and Heels and where it can go,” she added.

Both women are media professionals who have worked in the industry for years. Lucas is a published author of the top-selling book A Belle in Brooklyn and the creator of a highly read blog under the same name.

Meanwhile, Thomas began her career writing for various publications before launching her own digital-media agency. She has studied fashion overseas and worked for some of the biggest beauty and lifestyle brands.

Now, these two ladies join four other women in creating a cast that has come together to air and discuss issues with men, money and friendships.

“I feel like people were looking for something different, a fresh take,” Thomas said.

They are individuals in their own regard and share different opinions on a number of issues. The first episode showed a rift between some cast members when Lucas referenced a discussion the ladies had in a post on her personal blog. A preview for the second episode shows the women engaging in a heated discussion over the content in Lucas’ blog post.

“There was no malicious intent, I didn’t use names, I didn’t attack anyone and I was really talking about issues more so than what the women said,” Lucas clarified.

As for any choice words she has for any critics, she says: “Thank you for watching. Tune in next week.”

Catch the episodes of Blood, Sweat and Heels Sundays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.


Originally published on

From the Inside Looking Out (aka “The Belated Birthday Post”)

tumblr_lxk1yv9gFJ1qafsilo1_12801Confession: I write mostly about pop culture now because it’s interesting. What we gravitate to or are repulsed by reflect the gauge of what we deem acceptable for our culture, our (sub) communities, ourselves and others. I also write about it because it’s an easy pitch to editors even on the most serious of sites because it gets way more clicks than anything news-y that doesn’t have the dual function of being outrageous, shocking or scandalous. People say they want depth. What they click on says otherwise. But mostly I do it to avoid talking about the ish I really want to say.

Last year’s birthday post was about a TV venture I was nervous about, one that highlighted what’s practically every person’s greatest fear: not being good enough. In retrospect, everyone thinks I was writing about signing on to a reality show.

I wasn’t.

That option was on the table. But there was another contract in play, the one that kept me up at night, talking to ducks at the park, and myself in mirrors.

A popular cable network that everyone could readily identify for its coveted appeal to women 18-35 made an offer to turn A Belle in Brooklyn into a scripted TV show. Remember when I wrote about flying out to LA and everyone said, “soon, soon”? It was for that.

I partnered with a writer and a production team who had been pitching “The Project” as a neat little package. “Quickly” – or for LA anyway— we had our first bite, and at one of the networks on our short list of “dream places” no less.

The network wanted to meet the following week, so I booked a last minute ticket from NYC to LA and spent way too much to put myself up at an expensive hotel because it was the only other option than places that looked liked critters would crawl the walls at night.

The day of, I was too nervous to drive and thankfully my manager picked me up.  “The team” and I went to lunch before the meeting to go over our pitch a thousandth time and I don’t remember what I ordered other than it smelled good and tasted like wood, which is attributed to my state of being and not the chef. I tried not to drink too much water or tea because I thought I’d end up having to pee at the most inopportune moment, ie, in the middle of the meeting.

I tried to seem calm because I was the newbie and the youngest at the table and I didn’t want to come across like an ingénue even though it’s exactly what I was and everyone knew but played along with me anyway. I listened as the vets around me talked matter of fact-ly about the difference between shows with two-cameras or three and felt stupid that despite cramming for the ins and outs of TV writing and production for months, the basic concepts still escaped me. I hated that I had to rely on my manager to explain every little thing like she was talking to a three year old because I knew next to nothing. And the only reason I didn’t let my pride get the best of me is because of what happened to Stringer Bell in Season 3 of  The Wire.

I’m convinced that The Wire provides a metaphor for everything that happens in life. This is no different.

Stringer tried to flip his drug money into something legitimate: real estate. And he was in way over his head because he didn’t know the business or the players or even enough to ask what he didn’t know. Before his unceremonious exit when his past caught up to his present, he asked Levy, his lawyer, about the process of being a real estate developer only to discover he was being jerked along all along. He’d found himself trapped between two worlds-- "too good" for one, not good enough for the other — an existence that has plagued me in my quiet hours since I left my day job. Yes, still.

I know how to write—a magazine article, a book, a blog. I’ve been a good writer since high school—but not even the best in my class—and I breezed through English classes, and most of J-school. I’ve spent more than a decade practicing and executing so I can write uninspired and have the skills to crank out something above competent on deadline. I understand print and web, and books (most people don’t know I spent 5 years as book editor).

Learning to be a life coach wasn’t a walk in the park – 8 months, 10-hour training days over the course of those months—but it was graspable. Decent journalists know how to get to the meat of a story. If you know how to help people find their bottom-line, it’s a natural transition.

But at the time, I knew nothing about TV (and I still have a lot to learn). I studied, I read. But anyone who’s ever been to school knows that there’s a vast difference between what works in theory and what does in application and most of what makes you successful on the job, is the stuff you learn on it.

So me and my theories and my dry mouth walk into the network conference room with my writer and my producer. We’re sitting at a long wood table surrounded by glass walls talking about the unique experience of being a single Black twenty -something woman in New York. We’re seated opposite a “mature” white woman with a gigantic rock on her finger and her assistant who I pegged as gay, ie, two people who have no idea of the world we’re talking about.

My writer does her song and dance, I do mine (breaking away from my rehearsed speech with the hope that I can do some alchemy-like trick of converting nervous energy into intelligent passion), the producer does hers and the white woman and her assistant nod occasionally and sporadically jot down notes.

Frankly, they seem bored. At the end of the meeting, Network Lady says she’ll “be in touch”, which I interpret as “you’ll never hear from me again”.  In my head, I immediately start calculating  the money I wasted coming out here and then we go on our way.

My team and I all go out for “celebratory” drinks after. The producer notes that we ran over our allotted time and weren’t hurried out is a good thing. I think she’s grasping at straw to make me feel better.

The vets are talking and I’m thinking about the security of my former day job. I’d been gone a year then, working tirelessly—  sometimes publishing 8 stories a week for 5 different sites—  as a freelancer and continuing to promote my book at panels and other speaking engagements. Instead of being introduced as “author of A Belle in Brooklyn” or "blogger", I’m always referred to as “former editor at The Magazine" first.  I tried to write my way out of that  and it  didn’t work. My hope is that if I can land this scripted show, I can be “[Belle] of A Belle in Brooklyn” and maybe that will be enough to quell the voice in my head that comes in the dark hours that keeps me up at night, and riding my bike at first light to the park to see the ducks (yes, still). It says, “you are not good enough on your own” and on bad days I believe it.


Less than a week later, I’m at the Arise fashion show at the Lincoln Center. I’m enamored with the Ozwald Boateng line going down the runway as much for the men as for the cut of their wares. And too, this is a bit of a Moment. I swore when I left my previous job that I wasn’t going to be invited anywhere again. My last week at The Magazine, I’d received a fancy invite to the show and sat in a fancy section with all the editors who when described in media always get their name bolded. I relished that afternoon because I thought it would be my last time there.

But a year later, I was back, not in a fancy seat but a seat nonetheless. It was a small feat, but one that gave me a temporary, but welcome reassurance that everything was going to be okay. Someday.

After the show, I checked my phone as I headed out of the auditorium. There was a missed call from my manager. I checked my VM, then called her back. She said she had the producers and the writer on the other line. She’d conference me in.

I thought the worst. My legs haven’t wobbled since I was in my early 20s and that was over a man, but just like that it happened again in my 30s. I walked back to the seat and sat, waiting for the worst, telling myself that it was only one network and there were others. And we’d only pitched one place, and there were more. And a “no” just meant I wasn’t asking the right person. Basically all the stuff that’s true, that most don’t believe in the worst moments, but say anyway to keep themselves from feeling shitty or falling apart.

“Demetria?” my producer asked when I was on the line with everyone.

“I’m here,” I said.

“The network called,” she said.

Simultaneously, I suck in my stomach, close my eyes, and press the phone to my ear preparing for the worst and hoping I don’t fall apart in front of all these well-heeled people.

“They want to option your book!”

Hol-lee fuck!

I teared up, which in retrospect I think of my body's way of releasing all the angst I didn't know I was holding on to. I couldn’t say anything more than, alternately, ‘Oh, My God!” and “Thank you!”, as much to God as to my team. After a good minute and change of that, my producer realized she wasn't going to get anything useful out of me right then, told me to process it all and call them back.

She’s a vet who has sold plenty of shows. This is business to her.

It was a dream for me.

Except it never came true.


Part 2: Soon come.

You are invited.... Cocktails with Belle, Sunday, 1.12.14

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 12.19.43 PMIt’s a celebration! Join me on Sunday, Jan. 12  8-10PM in Brooklyn at Bedford Hall to watch the second episode of  Bravo TV's new hit show ”Blood, Sweat & Heels”.  

If you can’t make the screening, make sure to tune in to Bravo on Sunday, 9/8c for the second episode.