Most people may know Tami Roman from reality TV but she’s more than that! She’s a mother, producer, credible actress, and importantly a mother. Nowadays she is booked and busy with shoes deals, TV roles, executive producing her own mini series Bonnet Chronicles and recently she’s inked a comedy deal to take the comedy series on tour.
DELUX was granted the opportunity to interview her on her new business endeavors, one including a clothing deal that’s launching next year.
DELUX: Congratulations on partnering win Jessica Rich on your own shoe collection. I know the collection dropped in March. What was the process like for you designing the shoe?
Tami Roman: Doing my shoe line with Jessica Rich was an amazing opportunity. She actually approached me at one of her shoe launch events and asked if I wanted to collab on something and I felt it was sent from the heavens above because I’ve always wanted to be in the shoe industry. It’s not an easy industry to penetrate, so for the past six years, I had been trying to figure out a way to infiltrate. When Jessica came up to me that night, I said absolutely! The process was really not as difficult as I thought it’ll be because I already had designs in my head and what I wanted to do and how I wanted to focus on a female driven line that showcased and highlighted certain aspects of the female body; and for me, that was accentuating the ankle. I love shoes that highlight a woman’s ankle, I feel like that is one of our sexiest parts of our body. So, I already had the designs and I sent my ideas, thoughts, and sketches over to her and we talked about materials, and what color palette I wanted to use. So it was relatively easy in that way and Jessica already has manufacturers on her alliance list; once we sent things overs, samples were made and the shoe was launched. The rest is history as they say. We did launch the icon boot and then I have another design coming out with her within the next month then my final design will come after that. I’m very excited about the market place to see what I have to offer and they’ve been very receptive so far.
“The opportunities are endless for Bonnet Chronicles.”
DELUX: It’s been about three years since you started the bonnet chronicles. Did you expect it to become as popular as it is now today especially being on Tidal, or did you have no idea it would have such a large reach when you first started it?
Tami Roman: Bonnet Chronicles is “the little engine that could” to me. I had no idea that it would be so well-received. It really was just me speaking my thoughts and feelings on things that pertained to me or things that I’ve witnessed and just really giving a voice to it. I like to consider myself “The Soulfully Ratchet Voice of the People.” Ya know my character Petty Betty says things that people are thinking but never really say. Her conscious doesn’t work that way and people have really taken a liking to Bonnet Chronicles and the Petty Betty character to which I’m so extremely excited about. Bonnet Chronicles was on Tidal and that was an amazing opportunity for us to bring some of the characters that come from my head to life. I don’t have, in real life, a crazy Uncle Leroy but I know a crazy Uncle Leroy, so it’s just another outlet of creativity for me to be able to have that alter ego comedic persona, so I’m excited about the opportunity. I just inked a deal to bring stand-up comedy to life and giving opportunities to other comedians who are really out there grinding and really live and breath this comedian lifestyle. I want to be an outlet and an ally where they can have a platform to showcase their work. The opportunities are endless for Bonnet Chronicles, so many things in the works, so that’s what’s up next. But I had no idea and I’m truly thankful that the people have taken to it like they have.
DELUX: You have an upcoming role in the Apple TV series Are You Sleeping , produced by Reese Witherspoon and starring Octavia Spencer whom you’re playing her stepmother; how did that opportunity come up and when will we be able to see you on the show ?
Tami Roman: It was so humbling to be able to join the cast of Are You Sleeping with Octavia Spencer. We’ve also got Ron C Jones, Mehki Phifer, Haneefah Wood, Tracie Toms, and it’s executive produced by Reese Witherspoon. To be surrounded by Oscar Winners, Tony Winners, and Broadway stars is such a humbling experience. A lot people don’t know that before I returned back to reality TV with Basketball Wives, I actually had a very successful acting career for the past 18 years. So, to be able to return back to the craft that I love so much an amazing blessing and opportunity. Our executive producer Nichelle Tramble Spellman saw my tape and then brought me in for a callback. What I loved about Nichelle was, unfortunately with reality TV you can be pigeonholed. With me being part of that genre since 2010, people kind of forgot that I studied the craft of acting. I studied with Chip Fields, Lesly Kahn, some of the best in the business. People forget that I have the skill set but Nichelle was very familiar with my history and knew the work that I had done. For her, it was a matter of making sure I still had my chops and could still deliver. I felt so blessed the day they called me to tell me I got the role; I fell to my knees and started crying because had been praying for the opportunity to get back into scripted programming and for people not to be concerned about the imagery that was being presented on reality TV because I can’t always control that. When it comes to scripted programming and understanding the ability, honesty & authenticity that it takes to be a reputable actress in the game, I’m very clear on that. It’s expected to premiere in September, so I’m thankful for the opportunity.
DELUX: You also recently announced that you’re joining the cast of Saints & Sinners. How do you balance all your ventures ?
Tami Roman: With that film, it’s a Swirl Films Production with Eric Tomosunas and Keith Neal. I’ve done a lot of their shows like Tales, and movies in the past like Something Like a Business, and The Last Stand which was directed by Russ Parr. I did an episode of Uncensored with the company for TVOne, so they’re very familiar with me as an actress. When they decided to create another role on Saints & Sinners, they reached out to m directly said “I need you on the show,” and I told them to let me know what time I need to be there. The alliance with them has been positive, lucrative, very welcoming. For me, I like to work with people that like to work with me but also with people that understand what it is I have to offer and how much value and worth I put on myself and they’re respective of that. Saints & Sinners has been amazing as well. Vanessa Bell Calloway is awesome; I play her nemesis and we have so much fun playing off each other. She’s such a light and a joy to be around and a real actor’s actor. Keith Robinson, Demetria McKinney and the rest of the cast are a bunch of people who love the work and want to do the best work possible all the time. Clifton Powell is someone I adore and getting the opportunity to work him and absorb his energy and others on a consistent basis, which has been amazing. I play a character named Felicia and she’s a force to be wrecking with; she’s coming to shake things up in Cypress, which is the town in the show. This is another situation where I’m thankful that God has blessed me with this opportunity. Saints & Sinners is expected to premiere this summer. I’m excited for people to see the new roles that I’m playing and I think they’re going to like them both. Then of course Family Business, a BET show, where I play a character London, based on Carl Weber’s book series The Family Business. We’re anticipating to have a season two as well and that is another amazing cast. I couldn’t ask for a better transition and better opportunity than what are being presented right now and it’s just onward and upward from here.
DELUX: Another possible venture is that you may have a new clothing deal coming next year. Can you tell us more about that ?
Tami Roman: We are in the process of speaking with some companies and trying to form an alliance with certain brands to bring back. I think it’s part of the natural transition when you enter the fashion and shoe industry, they’re synonymous. Not that I have the shoe collab available for the world to see and the numbers are doing so well, quite naturally fashion brands, marketers, and manufacturers are approaching me. When it comes to my thought process with the fashion line, I have to do the research to make sure it’s what I want it to be, and not just following another person’s path or journey, ya know. I don’t want a t-shirt line and then figuring out my aesthetic is, who my muse is, who is my core audience and demographic that I’m trying to reach and design for. So, right now we’re in that stage and I think it’s going to be very reminiscent of me in regards to today’s woman, mother, working career woman, CEO mom but that is still youthful in spirit. So we’re just trying to develop the strategy and the plan for that but I do anticipate it following through and being available for the marketplace by this time next year and I’m excited about that.
Use the platform, the scenario, the situation and outlet at your disposal to elevate and grow.
DELUX: Are you glad that reality TV (from Real World to Basketball Wives) gave you the platform to get noticed and to create such a huge following and fan base ? Or do you feel like you would have dabbled in these types of businesses without having TV as the platform ?
Tami Roman: Reality TV has absolutely provided a platform for me. I’d be remiss if I did not acknowledge that. I think that the way reality TV has taken off, since Real World, has been amazing. We were just 7 kids who moved in a house and lived our lives. So to know that an entire genre was sparked from that thought process of Mary-Ellis Bunim and John Murray is intriguing isn’t it? When you think really about it, they created a whole genre for TV and I was part of that process. Heather B came first and set it off for me, then I followed the trail that she laid out. It has absolutely been beneficial in the sense of opening doors and creating other opportunities. Basketball Wives as a huge following; Shaunie O’Neal did an amazing job with bringing the concept to life and allowing me to join the cast. With anything in life, a person is supposed to honor the situation they’re in and elevate and grow from it. That platform and visibility that has been given to me, I didn’t want to waste it. Quite naturally being the business woman I am, I’m going to go forth and try to secure other opportunities and that’s what my suggestion would be for anybody. Even if you’re in Corporate America as a receptionist, learn what the administrative assistant does and then learn what the executive assistant does. Use the platform, the scenario, situation and outlet at your disposal to elevate and grow. So I’m excited that my particular platform has given me opportunities that are very authentic and genuine to me within the entertainment industry, and as well as allowing me to delve into business. I’m again very thankful, at the risk of sounding redundant but I truly am thankful for everything that is happening in my life.
DELUX: You are clearly a busy woman, literally Booked and Busy. I’m sure you are a great role model to your daughters. What are three Important things you want them to learn from you when it comes to business?
Tami Roman: In all honesty, not to toot my own horn or appear to be braggadocious, but I really am booked and busy lol. I asked for it, so there is no complaining in that area. I’m stepping into every situation that God has ordained for my path and journey. With my daughters, pertaining to business, the main things I try to tell them are to be 1.) Authentic and be genuine in what it is you are attempting to do. I think it is unfortunate that people look out and see someone else doing something or making money or headlines in a certain area and then they attempt to do that too. That may not be their calling, or their journey, or the road that they’re supposed to travel. So for my daughters, I definitely want them to be authentic and genuine in their thought process. 2.) Be passionate about it. Once you decide what it is, love it because in business there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs and sometimes more downs than ups. You have to really love what you’re doing and make it a part of you. Live and breathe it everyday because it’s not going to be easy. In those moments when it’s not working and something’s not right or the business isn’t making money, you still have to love it, want to do it and want to be involved in it. Sometimes you see so many people trying something and then they’re off of it because A.) They weren’t genuine in their thought process and B.) They weren’t passionate about it and didn’t love what they were doing in the first place. Lastly 3.) Never give up. We have an all female family and they have helmed us for a long time. None of those women before us have gave up and I don’t expect my daughters to do that either. I fall down but jump back up. Those are the three things I tell my daughters, and I’m so proud of them. Lyric is my oldest daughter who’s passionate about getting her degree and being an academic and considering going to law school but she also has a love for fashion. Now she’s venturing into her creative juices and has started styling me and other clients; that has been a saving grace for because she’s able to use that outlet with something she loves. My daughter Jazz has a music career and she LOVES the ability to tell stories and make people think and use punchlines and the whole hip-hop culture, she lives and breathes it everyday and I’m so proud that she’s ventured to music and doing something that she absolutely loves. I know that they’re both going to win because they’ve been taught to never give up.
DELUX: With Mother’s Day coming up, does your daughters have anything special planned for you ?
Tami Roman: My daughters know that I work soo much so they know for Mother’s Day, that means doing nothing. Laying around the house and lounging with them, we may order some food in and curl up in the bed and watch NetFlix and binge watch all the shows that I’ve been missing. They will lay in the bed on Mother’s Day and do that with me during the day and in the evening I’ll be on a flight back to return back to work for Saints & Sinners. For us, family time is the best time, so holidays are usually quiet and simple for us and we’ll just lay in the bed and I’ll be mommy again for a day and baby them while they love on me.
DELUX: Thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to us. We wish you nothing but the best with all of your business endeavors !