The public now knows Melody Holt as a break out star of the Oprah Winfrey Network’s Love & Marriage: Huntsville. I know her as the same sweet, hard-working, independent thinker she was when we met over a decade ago.
What I have noticed though, especially in the last few years, is that even in her sameness she has evolved into someone else; someone bolder, braver, and more inclined to check you if you step on her toes. But that’s the thing about life and time. They both call us to grow in ways that help us navigate, and even acclimate to, our experiences.
And while most of us get to navigate those experiences in private, Melody has opted to share some of the most difficult times she has faced with a television audience. They are many, many opinions surrounding her decision to do so. Some call her valiant. Others call it a mistake. But for Melody, it’s an opportunity to build a platform that will catapult her to her next level. Though it’s difficult, right now it all seems worth it.
In our interview Melody shares how she plans to adjust after the birth of her fourth child, her perspective on those who see her as the villain on the show, and her personal goals.
Dwaynia Wilkerson: Let’s start with one of the greatest questions surrounding Love & Marriage: Huntsville. Is the show scripted?
Melody Holt: Unfortunately no, the show is not scripted? And I say unfortunately because when I look back at the season and the episodes I wish that those things weren’t occurring in my life, but they are. You know one of the key things that we wanted to do was make sure that this show was real. We could have gone on national television and given only what we wanted to give or put on a front or made everything seem like it was okay or like we were perfect friends and perfect business partners with perfect marriages. Instead, we decided that we wanted to allow reality TV viewers to see real unscripted TV.
DW: Because it’s not scripted then, how do you deal with what’s going on in your life when the cameras aren’t rolling?
MH: I deal with it the same way I do when the cameras are rolling. What the viewers get from me in terms of behaviors and reactions are the same behaviors and reactions that are happening when the cameras aren’t there. So that’s another piece that makes it even more real. There’s no “turn-up” or “turn-on” because the cameras are there. There are only natural reactions that would happen even if they weren’t there.
DW: So you are expecting your fourth child, how is that going to change the way you operate in business and/or your personal life?
MH: I truly and strongly believe that history repeats itself and you have to look at track records. For me, I have three children already and that has never slowed my life down in any area. What it has called me to do is prioritize and make some things important when they might not have once been as important. But otherwise, there is no significant change that happens. I've never taken leave from work for six or seven months or even weeks. I’ve always gotten right back to work. And again, looking at my track record, I can only expect to do the same thing with baby number four. There's no stopping. Can't stop! Won't stop! That was a good question...for real.
DW: Outside of the show, the husband and kids, what do you, Melody, want to accomplish personally?
MH: First all let me say that it’s important that you don’t lose yourself in the midst of all those things you just named.
DW: Have you lost yourself before?
MH: No. Lost myself? I don’t feel like I’ve ever lost myself per se, but I have had to sacrifice some things to put focus and attention on other things. But it never made me feel like I was losing myself because I remained true to what I wanted to do and accomplish. So I would say that I look at the reality show as a launchpad for the greater things that I know are in store for me. I don’t mind putting in the work to ensure that those things happen. The ultimate goal is to have a career in entertainment, whether that’s hosting or acting, and the show is just a launchpad. I’m not going to lose that vision.
DW: People have often asked whether the Melody on the show is Melody in real life. What they are insinuating is that you appear to be domineering and cutthroat on the show. And maybe a little bitchy. Do you care if there are people who mischaracterize your show persona with who you are in real life?
MH: I will say I’m a Scorpio all day, every day. _____
DW: I don’t follow astrology and horoscopes so I’m not even sure what that means.
MH: Well, I’m about to tell you. I’m a true Scorpio and many times my directness and my inability to sugar coat things causes me to be characterized in the very ways you just listed. But Scorpios are some of the most passionate and loving people there are so I would say don’t confuse a person being direct or not being up for BS as them being mean or rude. I’m not any of those.
That’s why you have so many people who say, “Melody is so sweet. She’s nice.” I am. I’m that. But I’m also very direct and I don’t hold back on my feelings. I would say that to be around and work with someone with my personality, you just have to understand and know that none of those things take the place of me being a loving person.
And unfortunately, if you back anyone up against a wall, you're going to get a fight. I think that's what people saw in season one. They saw the aftermath of a Scorpio being backed up against a wall. That means you’re going to get a fight! In season two, people will see more of that other side of me. I’m still direct, but you won’t see as much of the emotional side to go along with that.
DW: You and Martell were married at 22 and 26 years old. Do you think that you all growing and changing – which anybody should grow and change in 10 years – but do you think that caused some of the present conflict in the relationship?
MH: I think it’s all about the direction in which people are growing and changing. If you’re growing and changing in different directions then it’s going to cause conflict. There’s no reason why people who get married at a young age can’t grow positively in business and marriage and be on the same page. The first step is to understand that growth is something that you can't avoid. The second step is recognizing whether growth and change are in the same direction. Sometimes it's just not.
DW: When it’s not, what happens?
MH: When it’s not, then you get what you see on Love & Marriage: Huntsville. You get conflict.
DW: Do you feel like you have become the poster child for troubled marriages?
DW: How does that make you feel?
MH: It is what it is. It’s just something that I have to deal with because of our decision to be on the show.
DW: Let’s switch gears a bit. You have Mimosas with Melody coming up in October. This one will be held in Atlanta. If you could close your eyes and imagine the perfect event and bring it to life, what would it look and feel like? What would it do for you and what would it do for the attendees?
MH: It would be a room of peace, togetherness, and support. It would be a room where women can feel safe, open up, and discuss the things that get to the heart of the matter.
DW: You seem to like producing the event. But, what really drives you?
MH: I would be lying if said that I haven't had a moment when I've felt like I've neglected my purpose.
DW: Which is?
MH: My purpose is to inspire and to show the strength of women even in their brokenness. That is what drives me. But again I'd be lying if I said there weren't days that I didn't want to post an encouraging post because I'm going through my stuff. I needed some encouragement. There have been days when I’ve felt depressed but I put that aside to offer words of encouragement to someone else. If it wasn't for me knowing I have a purpose on my life, which is why I feel like I get attacked spiritually as much as I do, then I wouldn’t be able to pull it together to do any of that.
DW: When did you realize that was your purpose?
MH: I would say I realized my purpose when I really. . .you know growing up I was a youth minister so people have always taken to me and I’ve always been able to pour into people and it be received well. As an adult though I would say I realized it when I began my motivational speaking. As an entrepreneur and business owner, I realized that I had the opportunity to be an inspiration and someone who propels people to the next level. That’s when I realized that for which God was preparing me. And this is not even the end. I know that my motivational speaking is not the end.
DW: I know you’ve gotten advice, much of it unsolicited, about whether you should stay in or leave your marriage. What do you think married women should do in marriages that have suffered from infidelity?
MH: To that, I say that everyone's journey is different. When times like these arise, you have to get in tune with yourself spiritually and lean into the wisdom of elders. I’ve had several older women say to me that this probably isn’t going to change. Sometimes we as women don’t want to face the truth or facts. It’s through our spiritual relationship that we gain wisdom on our specific situations. You have to decide if you want to stick around, but you should never feel forced or pressured to stay. You have to be sure that you feel comfortable with whatever you decide.
DW: In addition to the show, you’ve launched two books and are working on a skincare line so it's obvious that you're building a personal brand. What are three tips you can give to those who are looking to do the same?
MH: The first is to know that building a brand takes time. It does not happen overnight. Patience is key.
Secondly, don't expect everyone to support your new business venture or brand. Know that most support will come from people you don't even know and that's okay. Stay encouraged.
And lastly, be willing to make changes and adapt those changes when needed.
DW: Another part of your personal brand is your style, which fans seem to love. We would characterize it as on-trend, but classic. How do you always look so effortlessly put together? Do you have a stylist or do you style yourself?
MH: I've used some amazing stylists in the fashion industry from J. Bolin to Troy Clinton. For the most part though, believe it or not, Martell and I usually collaborate and put my wardrobe together. We both have an eye for detail and know how to make things look good.
DW: Last question, Melody. Well it’s actually a fill-in-the-blank. My name is Melody Shari Holt and I am ________________.
MH: I am a bold, beautiful boss!
About Dwaynia Wilkerson
Dwaynia is the founder of Prose & Pens, a ghostwriting service that creates written content for professionals, businesses, and brands.