Yahoo Beauty: Beauty Dos and Don’ts for Relationships from Belle

Screenshot from Yahoo! Beauty interview

From Yahoo Beauty

After writer Demetria L. Lucas published her first book, A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life, her inbox was flooded with 38,000 questions from women seeking her empowering, no holds-barred take on relationships. Lucas, who was previously the relationships editor at Essence, decided to add life coach to her resume to make sure her advice really meant something. “I wanted to empower women to know that ‘No’ is a full sentence,” says Lucas. “I wanted women ask for what they want, and to tell them it is OK to be alone if they aren’t getting what they need from a partner. I really just wanted to instill confidence in them.”

Lucas’ newest book Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love compiles 250 of the thousands of questions she has been asked, to create a relationship manifesto of sorts. I caught up with Lucas to find out what her beauty dos and don’ts are when it comes to relationships. Is it OK to tweak your partner’s appearance? When should you let a new guy see you without makeup?

Demetria’s candid, empowering advice below.

Sara Bliss: I love the title of your book ‘Don’t Waste Your Pretty.’ Explain what it means to you. 

Demetria Lucas: The word ‘pretty’ is really a shorthand of all of the special things that women bring to the table—our attention, our care, our cooking, our praying, our loving nature, our listening skills, that shoulder to lean on, and our time, especially. These are things that are very valuable in relationships. So, what I’m suggesting for women is don’t waste your time, your energy, and your resources on the wrong person. Make smarter investments in relationships.

SB: What are your beauty rules for dating? 

DL: When you start dating, I think everyone puts a lot of effort into it. You put on your pretty skirt, pretty jewels, the makeup, and you make a big to-do about everything. We get a little further into the process, and a lot of people begin to get more relaxed, which is OK. But I think it’s important to know that your mate is very visual, just like you are, and that you have to keep yourself up. You have to keep the hair, keep the makeup, keep the boobs high, and the heels on. Not every day, but just remind him what he has, and what he gets to look at.

SB: We just did a story about how half of women say they won’t let their partner see them without makeup for the first year. When do you think is a good time for a boyfriend to see the real you without makeup?

DL: I think if you’re ready to have sex with someone then you should be able for them to see you without your face on. It doesn’t make sense to try and wake up the next morning and apply the mascara and fluff the hair, and all that stuff. You have to be comfortable being yourself.

SB: What if your partner likes a certain look on you that isn’t your favorite? For example, they love you in straight hair, while you prefer curly? Do you think you should change? 

DL: When it’s something that’s really minor like putting on red lipstick, or not blowdrying your hair, or going straight— a little temporary change that you can make to appease your partner, do it every once in a while. There is nothing wrong with making your partner happy as long as it’s not demanding, like “Do this or else.” But more of a “Hey babe, I really like that red lipstick.” I think it applies in the same way [for us]—we might have a favorite cologne or shirt or haircut that we like, so we can ask our partner to do little things, too.

SB: Expand on that. What do you think about tweaking your partner’s look, like asking him to get a new haircut? 

DL: If he’s up for it you can say, “Hey babe, I think this haircut would be really flattering.” Or “Let’s get a manicure together and take care of our hands.” When you have a partner who is really resistant and says, “I like my hair how it is” or “I don’t want a manicure, I like having man hands” be careful about pushing them too far.

Beauty Dos and Don’ts for RelationshipsPhoto: Demetria L. Lucas 

SB: What should you do when your partner’s looks or weight changes in a way you’re not thrilled with?

DL: Weight is an issue that comes up in relationships. People get too small or too big, but there’s a proper way to have that conversation. It’s not, “Hey I’m not attracted you anymore.” That’s definitely wrong, but if you can say to your partner, “I’m really concerned about ourhealth. I want us to be physically fit. I want us to be in great shape.” Use words like health, not attraction, not just pointing the finger. It’s a lifestyle change that you’re going to make as a couple.

SB: Do you have any beauty don’ts for relationships?

DL: Don’t let yourself go. Sometimes we get comfortable in relationships and we don’t dress up as much and just sort of get complacent. You just have to remember that people are very visual. Like when your partner first saw you across the room, no one thought, “Oh, I wonder what her brain is like.” Your partner can love you to death and sometimes be like, “Mmm, things aren’t quite like they used to be.” We all change over time, but it’s just important that we keep making the investment in ourselves to look our best.

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The Root: "Everything You Were Afraid to Ask About Love"

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If you ask Demetria Lucas what she thinks, be prepared for a jolt of raw reality. For the past few years life coach Lucas has dished out advice on everything from bad BFFs, falling for your FWB (friend with benefits) and freaky sex at her website, A Belle in Brooklyn, and in her column, Ask Demetria, at The Root.

She pulled together some of her favorite questions, and no-holds-barred responses, for a tantalizing new book, Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love.

The Root: What does the title mean: Don’t Waste Your Pretty?

Demetria Lucas: “Pretty” is shorthand for all the resources that women take for granted in the dating marketplace and often give away to the wrong person. Your “pretty” is your energy, emotional investment, time, listening skills, nurturing, sex, sacrifices, cheerleading, hand-holding, etc. The “pretty” I refer to in the book title is also a resource, but it’s the least important of what you bring to the table. Pretty gets you noticed across the room, but it’s everything else you bring to the table that keeps a potential partner calling and coming back.

TR: A lot of what you teach is old-school values: respecting yourself, protecting your health, your well-being and your money. Do you feel your message about values is getting through?

DL: I do. A lot of women—and men—didn’t get much guidance about how to date or create healthy relationships. They don’t know what they’re supposed to do, or not. They’re just doing the best they can.

I’ve had countless people write in to say they were skeptical of my advice, but what they were doing wasn’t working, so they figured, “Why not try what Belle said? I’ll speak to my mate a little softer. I’ll ask for what I want. I’ll stop looking away when a guy makes eye contact and I’ll smile instead.” And it worked. All people want is results, and if values get that, they’re happy to embrace it.

TR: You credit your parents and their marriage a lot with your ability to sort out the rights and wrongs of relationships. Do you think most women—or most of the women you counsel—are still looking for marriage? Or do they just want a relationship, even if it’s without the ring?

DL: Absolutely, for the vast majority of my readers and clients, marriage is still the ultimate goal. The single ladies want a relationship, then a ring, then a husband and then some kids. The women in long-term relationships still want a ring. The “mothers of child” want to become wives, if not to the father of their child, then to someone. There’s great fretting about the possibility of never getting married. “Just” a relationship is not enough.

TR: When you’ve met some of these women at book signings or other events, what kinds of things do they tell you about the advice you gave them?

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5 Lessons in Dealing With a Crazy Ex


My ex broke up my last relationship, but I forgave him and we became cordial. When we were together, he treated me like crap, but in the spirit of forgiveness, I moved on and told him we could be friends but we were never getting back together. He kept spending money on me, insisting that he was doing it from the heart because when he was down and out, I was there for him in the clutch. He then began asking for sex. I said, “Hell no,” and that we were never getting back together.

I went away for four months to study abroad. He would say, “I love you,” “Can’t wait to see you,” “I miss you,” etc. I missed him, but not in the same way. I asked him to pick up things while I was away and told him I would pay him back. I got back; he insisted it was a gift.

Long story short, a guy I fell madly in love with last year (but things never worked out) tried to make things work again. He asked me to be with him, and I said, “Yes.” My ex snapped. I feel bad for hurting him because I never want to hurt anyone. But I told him that we were not getting back together. What do I do? —Anonymous

Sigh. There is so much wrong with this story. I’ll begin with the bottom line: You should move on

with the new guy and stop speaking to your ex for good. The relationship with your ex, the ongoing back and forth, the hazy gray area you’ve both been playing in? All of it is done, unless you want to sabotage your current relationship, too.

Now, let’s go back to the beginning and discuss the myriad bad decisions that led to your ex flipping out. Hopefully you can find the (many) teachable moments in your story:

1. When a guy treats you like “crap” as his girlfriend, you don’t befriend him. It’s one thing to not want to be in a relationship anymore. That doesn’t make anyone a bad person. But the guy strings you along and dogs you on the way out? That is not a friend. You don’t give him the privilege of remaining in your life. He had his shot. He screwed it up by treating you poorly.

2. Forgiveness does not mean friendship. You should forgive the person or people who wrong you. Not for them but for you, so you’re not walking around bitter and angry at someone who may not even care. But there is no part of “moving on” that says you have to forget how someone has treated you and pretend everything is fine. You can forgive and love from afar.

3. Men who aren’t related to you do not make a habit of buying you things just to do so. The vast majority want something in return. Your ex wanted to continue the sexual relationship. When you didn’t respond to him implying it, he straight up asked like you were a prostitute. Any ego stroke you were getting from his attention should have disappeared then.

Read more here.




"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 

Black Enterprise Q&A: Demetria Lucas Talks Branding & Boss Moves

Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 2.31.42 AMBravo’s newest reality show “Blood, Sweat and Heels” had an explosive 2.5 million viewer debut, and seems to be the fans newest reality “fix.” The show follows six up-and-coming black women as they struggle to succeed in the concrete jungle of New York City. Demetria, already becoming a fan favorite, is much more than your typical reality television star — she is about her business. Not only has she taken her blog A Belle in Brooklyn to national heights after writing a controversial blog which was the continued topic of conversation on the show, her brand(s) can also be seen integrated throughout the show on each episode. Already apparent from the first few episodes, Demetria has set her sights on building her multi-platform brand, and advancing her career to her next level. Somewhat of an industry veteran, the former Essence relationship editor is also a criticically acclaimed author, life coach and award-winning blogger. caught up with Lucas as she discusses the challenges of exposing her life on reality television, her latest project “Don’t Waste Your Pretty,” and expanding her brand.

Black Enterprise: As somewhat of an industry veteran, what made you decide to do the show?

Demetria Lucas: I’ve been approached about doing some form of reality show before Bravo. What led me to it was the focus on professional women working in the city and on professional life. Over the years I have blogged and shared tons of life story as well as about my business. My book [A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Lifeis very all in. I thought this was an opportunity to share life in video and for people to see it and not picture in their minds. It was also a chance to show my professional career.

Do you think being on a reality show, especially because of some of the negative criticism that reality shows now receive, will tarnish your brand in any way?

Doing a reality show is always big risk, and I realized this especially on the day after the super trailer was released. I was and have always been very candid about my perception of reality TV. I didn’t see women like me in media. I’ve talked about images of women on reality TV for years. When I was approached, producers knew my critique of reality television, and I thought it was opportunity to show a different side. However, I can’t speak for other castmates and can’t speak for what everyone does on the season.

After months of filming, was the show what you thought she you getting herself into?

No. You don’t’ know what it is until you’re actually in it—the idea of cameras being trained on you all the time. What you’re doing is being aired to millions of people with millions of different opinions. I was very cautious. I found myself thinking a lot and having delayed reactions because you want to be yourself but also be conscious of how you’re acting on television.

How shocking was it for you to hear that other black women of color don’t believe that women should serve in leadership roles?

I would have never thought in a million years a woman would say that. If you’re in a certain environment with women who struggle to get things out [of]  life, then you would think 'I understand where this is coming from. ' Then I would say, “OK, I get that.” To my knowledge everyone on the show has a business or a brand. I was shocked that an actual woman would say that they don’t believe a woman would lead. At first I was like are they doing this for the cameras. I was really sitting there in shock like OMG.

Do you believe the stereotype that black women don’t support each other to get ahead in their careers?

People constantly talk about black women are not supportive of each other. I’ve been to the panels and discussions. I hear it, but that’s never been my experience. My first job was at BET and they were the ones that pushed me to say you can do something with your writing. Most people know me from ESSENCE and was an office filled with black women. When Angela Burt Murray was Editor-In-Chief, she was the one that said, “I read your blog I think it’s so good, I think you should have a column.” She really pushed me and believed in me. I feel that about the rest of the office. I’ve never had that experience. I don’t know if I’m very rare or I just don’t promote that stereoptype.

You’re notoriously private about her relationship with “CBW” as you call him. Why did you decide to include him on this very public TV show?

That’s more his thing then it is mine. He’s a behind the scenes type of guy. We talked about showing my life and he’s a huge part of my life. We thought it would be odd to not show him. I’ve [written a blog] for 6 years, I had a column [about my life] in a magazine. I give bits and pieces [of my story], I give enough. If you’re expecting big blows up and fights [between us] that’s not how we get down in the real world.

What’s next for you and your brand?

The next book – “Don’t Waste Your Pretty"-- is a hard core advice book based on the Formspring I’ve done over as the past 3 years. I’ll be delving more into [advice]. The book is the nitty gritty version of the advice I give online, not as much narrative as my previous book “A Belle In Brooklyn.” I’ll also launching 15 city speaking tour from March to December in US and South Africa called “Conversations With Belle.”

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

The Root: A Life Coach Exposes Her Life to TV Scrutiny (A Long Q&A)

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 6.18.53 PMWe’re witnessing the democratization of celebrity. There’s the selfie phenomenon, and those impromptu photo shoots in which everyone seems to take part, even for the most unceremonious occasions. The exploitation of our ordinary lives is faciliated by Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. Our lives are everywhere. Everyone is everywhere. Everyone is special, therefore no one is special. The same goes for being famous. In 50 years, some predict everyone will be followed around by cameras.

But until then, we are all guilty of indulging in the lives of those who choose to partake in that phenomenon a bit more directly. Yep, we're talking reality television. As she previously discussed, Demetria L. Lucas, contributing editor at The Root, is one of six professional women who will appear in a Bravo reality show titled Blood, Sweat & Heels. It airs this Sunday, Jan. 5, at 9 p.m. EST.

The premise is fairly clichéd: All six women are hustling, building their respective brands in media, entertainment, fashion, etc., in New York City.

In a candid exchange, Lucas chopped up it with The Root about a bunch of stuff, primarily whether she thought she would be compromising the integrity of her brand by appearing on a reality-TV show. Her engagement came up, too, since her fiance is featured—every now and then—on the show. Lucas prides herself on being a fairly open book, given her work as a life coach and dating expert. Even so, we were curious to know what her impetus was for doing the show, beyond the clichéd "I’m doing this to improve the perception of black women on TV."

 The Root: How does your professional work influence your relationships with your cast members, especially since issues relating to dating and marriage come up fairly often for successful women?

Demetria L. Lucas: For the last decade, dating and relationship talk has consumed my working life. I’m a life coach, have authored a dating advice book, A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-To Guide for Living Your Best Single Life, with another book, Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love coming in March. I was the relationships editor at Essence magazine for years, and before that an editor of romance novels at Harlequin. But when I’m off the clock, just like attorneys don’t like to give legal advice and CPAs don’t want to talk taxes, I don’t like to coach or advise over brunch or cocktails. When I have to, it’s frustrating.

In my downtime, I’d rather be a friend, not an expert, which means if someone shares their dating woes, I tend to lean back, listen and let them vent. No one wants to hear, “what you should do is ... ” when they didn’t ask. That said, if we’re chatting, and I think something is blatantly wrong or detrimental to a healthy relationship, I can slip into “coach” mode when it’s someone I care about.

TR: A media outlet once dubbed you the "black Carrie Bradshaw," and in Carrie’s case, she went through some pretty tumultuous times with her relationship with Mr. Big, which at times had women question just how much she knew about dating and love. Do you ever fear that you’ll have a disastrous moment in your personal life, akin to Carrie and Mr. Big’s “runaway groom” incident, that might cause your castmates to ridicule you, or question your professional advice?

DLL: Carrie Bradshaw was a convenient shorthand to describe me at the time. I was working as a relationship editor at Essence, penning a blog and book about my dating experiences in my 20s. Oh, and I live in New York.

Disastrous moments are a part of life, and they happen to everyone who lives long enough. I recently celebrated the seventh anniversary of my blog,, which is a humorous take on all the things that have gone wrong in my personal life, from not setting boundaries, being assaulted by a friend, breakups, etc., and how I learned from those experiences. When something else disastrous happens, I’ll write about that, too, and try to find the bright side. Optimism is my signature trait.

My validity as a life coach and relationships columnist isn’t based on my personal life. I have a resume and a decade of experience to back up my profession. A lawyer who loses a case isn’t suddenly a hack, just like a CPA who misses a number isn’t inept. People, including life coaches, take hits like everyone else.

Oh, and Mr. Big and Carrie never should have been together anyway. The emotionally unavailable thrice-married guy who drags you along for 10 years, marries someone else while you’re “on break,” cheats on his wife with you and makes plans to move across country without telling you only makes a “good” husband in scripted TV and movies. As a huge SATC fan, I always wished Carrie went back to Aidan, or found someone like him. He wasn’t the guy she wanted, but the one she needed.

TR: In the show’s trailer, we see you weigh in on an issue relating to feminism and gender. Were you generally disappointed, or underwhelmed, by the group of ladies whom you were cast alongside, because of their views on these sorts of issues?

DLL: Surprised is a better word. This isn’t the first time I was approached about doing a reality show, only the first time I accepted the offer. What attracted me to the show is that each of the women are leaders—either they are running a business or have a solid business plan in place. So I was shocked to hear women who lead in their professional lives say that they didn’t think that is a woman’s role. "I’m sorry. What?" That conversation still boggles my mind.

To be frank, some of the opinions were startling, but that’s tolerable. The times I woke up wondering, “What have I gotten myself into?!” came from the behavior of some of my castmates, not their perspectives. I wear my thoughts on my face. When you watch, you’ll know every moment I’m referring to now.


Read more: here

Belle in WaPo (Again!): PG's 'ABIB' Heads to Reality TV

Bravocover“A Belle in Brooklyn” relationship columnist Demetria L. Lucas, who grew up in Prince George’s County and hit it big as a blogger with columns on dating advice for African-American women, is set to star in a reality television show.  “Blood, Sweat & Heels,” produced by Bravo, debuts Jan. 5 and features a group of women who are “movers and shakers in New York’s elite circles.” The other stars of the show are: a former “video vixen” turned realtor; Melyssa Ford, a real estate firm partner, Brie Bythewood; a modeling agency owner, Mica Hughes; an “affordable style” advice person Daisy Lewellyn; and “style scholar” Geneva S. Thomas.

Lucas, who was raised in Mitchellville and graduated from the University of Maryland College Park, said the reaction to the show’s trailer from her hometown has been amazing.

“People are very happy to see a ‘local girl’ or a ‘real Prince George’s girl’ on TV,” Lucas said. “The show is another gust of wind in what has been an unimaginable whirlwind for me. I’m from Maryland. I was taught a government job or a lobbyist job with benefits was the be-all and end-all. To break tradition and be a writer, then editor, then author, then TV personality is unbelievable to me.”

After graduating from the University of Maryland, Lucas moved to New York to attend NYU and received a masters in journalism. She began working for Harlequin, dissecting romance novels, when her friends started coming to her for relationship advice. She eventually became known as the “Black Carrie Bradshaw,” dispensing advice in a blog called “A Belle in Brooklyn.”

Her “Number One Rule” was simple: “Smile & Say, ‘Hi.’” Other advice: “If you want to meet a man, look like you want to meet a man. Lip gloss and comb never hurt anyone. Use both liberally.” And “Men don’t notice you across a room because of your brain. Give them something to look out for.”

She adds: “I’m very thankful to be a representative for thinking, responsible, educated Black women. I just wanted to chase a dream, my passion. I never thought it would take me this far or land me on TV.”

Lucas, who is now “happily engaged,” said, “”The cameras follow me and my fiancé, as I juggle way too much work, including celebrating my seventh year as a blogger and the publication of my second advice book, ‘Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love’.”

Read the article on The Washington Post: here

The Root: Why I Decided to Do A Reality Show

BelleShootMonday morning, entertainment trade magazine the Hollywood Reporter broke the news of an upcoming reality show, Blood, Sweat & Heels, which will debut on Bravo on Jan. 5. Since taping began in the spring, I’d been biting my tongue for months, alternately excited to reveal the news to my readers and, to be honest, afraid of what the reaction would be.

There’s no sense in beating around the clichéd bush: There are a lot of people who don’t think highly of reality TV or reality-TV stars, especially when there are black women involved. The women are all thought to be exploited or selling their souls, either searching for a quick come-up or in a desperate hunt for what Andy Warhol called “15 minutes of fame.”

I’ve been highly critical in my writing of the fighting, the bottle throwing and, in general, the bad behavior by women and men who have been depicted under the guise of entertainment. And yet I signed on to participate in a reality show anyway.

It’s not for the money. The salary for a starting season isn’t a number most would find impressive. And while there’s an opportunity to make some coin, most people don’t, and an uncommon number even lose all that they gain. Earlier this year the Huffington Post looked at the number of women with money problems among the 67 in Bravo’sReal Housewives franchise, and found that a startling 12 had filed for bankruptcy. My lawyer conveniently sent me a link to that story just before I signed my contract for the show. I still signed the contract.

I began blogging in 2006 because I couldn’t find a “character” like me on TV or in media, period. It had been years since Living Single went off the air, and as much as I loved Tracee Ellis Ross in Girlfriends, I needed an East Coast girl to relate to. I was a huge fan of Sex and the City and wondered how, in all of New York City, where people of color outnumber white folks, there wasn’t a black woman or any woman of color on the show. Black shows always got a token white person; why didn’t this white show?

I wanted to see a black woman who treated her city like a social playground, who thrived in her profession or was at least climbing the ladder, who had her relationship ups and downs as I did (and do) but still managed to have fun and remain optimistic. Black women were too often portrayed as tragic, excessively struggling, loving the wrong men hard and getting bitter as a result. That’s a story of black women, but it isn’t the only story, and it wasn’t my story or the story of the women I surrounded myself with. I was complaining that there were no women like me in media, until I stopped whining and started typing.

My blog was published on in 2007 and was immediately successful. Apparently, there were a lot of women like me, looking for someone like them. Who knew? The popularity of that blog led me to a position as the relationships editor at Essence magazine in 2007, where I eventually landed my own column about dating and relationships, which earned an award for Best Personal Blog in 2010. Then I earned a book deal based on my blog in 2011.

I’m told that a casting director of Blood, Sweat & Heels found me when she Googled “the Black Carrie Bradshaw,” a phrase that was used to describe me when the Washington Post did a profile about my blog and dating adventures in 2010. The producers originally conceived the show as a black Sex and the City, and I was a fit. When my manager told me about the show, the first thing I said was something like, “I’m not the black version of a white fictional TV character. I’m me. They have to want that.”


Read more: here 

The Root: Why Don't All Women Think They Can Lead?

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 5.06.36 PM"Can a woman really make a good leader?"

I rolled my eyes dramatically and looked out at the Brooklyn, N.Y., skyline. I'd been invited to a rooftop event, a monthly brunch when a group of mostly accomplished women, with degrees and jobs and probably a side hustle or two, gather to network.

Usually I prefer brunches where attendees are left to their own devices to sip champers and talk among ourselves about whatever strikes our fancy. But this particular hostess organizes the conversation, an icebreaker of sorts to make sure we're all engaged. This isn't a bad idea. I just wished that the topic she'd picked was something juicy that would spark some quality debate. Usually we discuss dating and relationships, but this day she was branching out.

Back in March, the New York Times posed a similar question as the topic for its popular "Room for Debate" series. Across the Internet, women collectively were offended that the question even was being asked in 2013. There have been several studies by the Harvard Business Review suggesting that not only are women fit to lead but they also make better leaders, a conclusion reached by men and women alike.

It's a foregone conclusion with a resounding yes -- yes! A woman can lead. Asking about women's capability as if it is somehow up for debate is like seriously asking, "Do you think water is wet enough?" The flak over the Times' question was so bad that the publication ran a follow-up storyon all the negative feedback.

So there I sat, surrounded by women, gazing blankly at the Barclays Center in the distance and wondering what woman in her right mind was going to say, "No, no -- I, woman, think a woman would make an unfit leader simply because she is a woman."

And then the woman sitting next to me spoke up. "Well, it depends," she began, instead of giving the "Uh, duh" I expected to hear.

"Women are more emotional, and we have PMS and that affects our thinking," she said. "I would only support a woman leader if her No. 2 was a man who could check to make sure she was being logical and giving a rational opinion."

I like to think of myself as quick-witted, but on this day, I was uncharacteristically slow. I'm used to hearing this sort of opinion from some men, mostly unintentional misogynists or those well-meaning men who are clueless (or in denial) about male privilege and would like to pretend that their perks are God's will instead of a social construction. But I didn't expect a woman -- not in 2013 -- to think she couldn't do anything a man can do.

I was raised by a mother who might shy away from calling herself a feminist because of the bra-burning, man-hating (both incorrect) associations. But she told me until I internalized it, "You can do anything a boy can do" (and anything I set my mind to).


BSH: Is It Ever Okay to Snoop on Your Mate?

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 8.32.50 PMOver the weekend, I attended a brunch where I had an interesting discussion with a few women, some of who hold a rather cynical view of relationships. The cynics believed that all men are capable cheating, and further this makes them justified in snooping through emails, cell phones, voicemails and stalking her significant other (and all potentials for the position) on social media. Their position: if you don't check that a man is cheating, then how do you really know he isn't? Le sigh. 

Admittedly, this outlook isn't exactly farfetched. According to a study on Men's Fitness, 70 percent of women do an online search before agreeing to go out with a guy, and 63 percent of guys do the same before going on a first date. The same poll also found that 49 percent  of women have checked their lover's computer history, and 76 percent go through the e-mail inbox if it's "accidentally" left open.

If you've ever read anything I've written on cheating and snooping, then you know my position: this is ludicrous. All of it.

Do all men have capability of cheating? Of course. (All women do too.) Do all men-- or women-- cheat? No. There are people, including men, who don't. There is a type of person who is or becomes dissatisfied or just desires what you aren't offering and they leave to explore other horizons as a single person who can do as they please with no accountability to anyone but themselves. That's the type of person we should all desire to be with.

If that's not the type of person you believe you are with, snooping is still not okay. Here's the thing, digging through pockets and cracking passwords is a sign that you don't trust your mate. Trust (and communication) are the core foundations of any relationship. If you lack trust, then I have to wonder why you are there. And further, if you believe all men cheat and you're not okay with cheating, then why do you even want a man? If you have this outlook, either you putting up with cheating or staying with a man who cheats is the inevitable outcome, no?

I threw that logic out there and was met with this: D, you can't really know if a man is cheating unless you check. You should respect yourself enough to want to know the whole truth.

To which I countered: you should have more faith in yourself enough to pick a good mate and know when something's up.

One of the women shot back that she was once engaged-- her first of four times--  after six months of dating. Via snooping she found that the man she was betrothed to had a long-term girlfriend. She said she had no suspicions that there was another woman; she was just going through her routine look-see into his emails. "How else would I have known about her if I hadn't looked?" she asked.

I countered that if she dated him longer-- you know how I feel about dating for seasons to get to know people-- she more than likely would have found out. I also think there were some major signs she must have overlooked. He's juggling two serious relationships and she had no clue whatsoever that something was amiss?

Another woman added that she snooped on her ex and discovered that he had four women on the side. She knew something was up when they had plans to return home after a vacation, and suddenly he had to fly to another destination "for business." So she snooped, found about the other women, and actually gave a call to at least one of them for more information.

"For what?" I asked.

She wanted details.

"But why did they matter?"

I was so baffled by her admission that I don't remember her answer. (My core view on calling another woman to ask about your man is that is her man, not "yours". I mean, she has more information on "your" alleged man than you do, right?)

Back to that first "thing" though: if you genuinely think your partner is lying, then whether they are or not is irrelevant. It's still time to go, either to the exit, or if it's worth it, to a therapist. A relationship without trust is inherently dysfunctional, and going nowhere fast.

I wish more women would recognize this, this being that it's okay to just trust themselves. There's no need to reduce yourself to a a crazed super-sleuth by digging through emails and social media platforms. They're making a simple issue unnecessarily complicated. Trust yourself to pick a good mate. If you can't trust him, leave. Find someone you can trust, and if you can't do that, head to a therapist-- it's not the domain of a life coach-- who can help you deal with your own trust issues.

And this leads me to a second thing: What if you snoop-- with no intentions of getting caught, of course-- and find nothing… but then your partner finds out you're snooping? That's a huge violation, a  flashing red sign that you don't trust him, and a sign that he can't trust you. What kind of relationship is that?