If you’ve been watching Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Dubai”, the first housewives original international iteration, you know that it showcases the glamorous lifestyles of Nina Ali, Caroline Stanbury, Caroline Brooks, Chanel Ayan, Dr. Sara Al Madani, and Lesa Milan.
Milan has been causing a stir in particular on social media from fans who recognize the stylish stunner from her BET “College Hill: South Beach days. Now well past, the collegiate shenanigans, she’s living out her dreams in Dubai as a successful fashion designer, devoted wife, and loving mother to three.
Her luxury maternity line Mina Roe was previously profiled on “Real Housewives of Dubai” during a fashion show attended by the ladies—and one of them got into a shade-slinging fest Lesa Milan about the clothes on social media.
In case you missed, it, the designer Twitter feuded with co-star Caroline Stanbury and her husband, Sergio Carrallo, and the fashion designer succinctly clapped back…
and moved on.
And now despite detractors, she’s continuing to shine on the show that’s spotlighting her friendship and sisterhood with fellow housewife Chanel Ayan, something some people have lots of opinions about.
BOSSIP recently chatted with Lesa Milan about her maternity line, her close-knit “show-making” friendship with her supermodel bestie and her fellow Bravo housewives.
When this opportunity arose did you have any hangups about it or did you immediately jump right in and say, “Yes, I’ll be a Housewife.”
I’ve been watching the Real Housewives franchise forever and I’ve been a super, super huge fan of the show. But being that I did reality TV before, I did College Hill over a decade ago, I kind of knew what to expect where reality TV’s concerned. And I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to get back into it because even though I had a great experience with College Hill, I like my privacy. No one’s really prying. And we did College Hill before social media days so it was a whole different era and I was really nervous about it. But then all my girlfriends were doing it so it made sense and it’s a great platform to promote my business, so I went with it.
We loved seeing you on College Hill and like you said, this was before social media, but you still made such an impact that we talk about you on social media to this day. How does it feel to go from College Hill to Real Housewives of Dubai? Is It a complete heel turn?
Yeah, it’s completely different. And I’m not the 18 year old girl I was when I did College Hill. I’m 30, I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I’m an entrepreneur. And I wanted people to see my growth from Milan then to Milan now. And I think I was able to achieve that on The Real Housewives.
A huge part of your evolution journey is clearly designing in this Mina Roe fashion line that you have now. How did you get started in the fashion business?
So I got in fashion over a decade ago. I studied journalism in school and I minored in fashion. And I’ve always loved it. I’ve always had a passion for fashion as cliche as that sounds. But when I won Miss Jamaica, we didn’t really have a huge budget so I had to design a lot of the pieces myself and the pieces ended up winning many awards.
And when I was done with that, other beauty queens started to book me to design their dresses and their costumes. And from that led to the Miami social scene. I used to design and dress a lot of Miami’s biggest socialites. And then I got pregnant with my first son and I couldn’t find any maternity wear that was like really cute and trendy and made me feel confident. So my husband always says, “If there’s a problem and you have a solution, that’s the key recipe to a successful business.”
So I took the leap and here we are today. We just launched our non-maternity range. And I feel like the brand, as I grow as a mom, as a wife, as a woman, I feel like the brand kind of grows with me. So now that I’ve had my third son and I’ve gotten over the stage of wanting to snap back like all the moms on social media, all the moms on social media. I decided to create a line that is post-pregnancy that encourages women to just enjoy that journey, enjoy your body. Don’t rush into snapping back because it’s not mentally healthy and it’s not physically healthy either. So that was the whole inspiration behind the expansion of the brand, so here we are.
We saw some of that on Real Housewives Dubai during the fashion show and we also saw you and someone that you met in the fashion business, Miss Chanel Ayan. What do you say to people who have an issue with how close you guys are. There were terms used like “Thing One and Thing Two” and “Pinky and the Brain.”
You know what? I’ve known Chanel Ayan for about six years. When I met her, I actually didn’t really have any friends in Dubai and she’s been in the fashion industry for so many years. She really loved the brand. She was my model. And she was like, “You know what girl? Two black girls in this industry, let me introduce it to all these people.” She was just always that really supportive type of girl. And I wasn’t really used to that. I was always used to girls being really catty and sabotaging. And she was the complete opposite. We clicked right away and we’ve been friends ever since. I love her so much! Our husbands are good friends. She’s just a real chick and I love her. She loves me. We get each other. There’s no competition. There’s no hidden agendas. If she does something that I don’t like, I can tell her and she doesn’t take it personal and vice versa. And I never really had a friendship like that before so I genuinely value our friendship.
We’ve been friends for so long. I’ve actually known some of the ladies on the show longer than I’ve known her, but I’m a true believer in it’s not a time thing because you can know somebody your whole life and they can be backstabbing and hating. And then you can meet somebody a week and then you guys click. But for her, we’ve known each other for six years. We’ve actually never had a big fallout ever. We’ve had disagreements, but we’re just adults about it. And I mean, they’re just mad because we are the show, period. Period!
I’d be mad too!
So you guys clearly have a sisterhood there, even if there are disagreements…
We do. We do. And it’s not for the cameras. We genuinely… She’s the funniest human being on the face of this earth. I call her just because I want to laugh because I never know what’s going to come out of her mouth. She lifts my spirit up. What you guys are getting to see is only 5% of what I deal with on a daily basis. So she is a lot, but she has such a good heart and such a good warm spirit that it’s contagious. You want to be around her all the time.
Speaking of sisterhood, there’s also a sisterhood among Bravo Housewives. You guys are a special bunch. You guys are a special crew. Have any of the other ladies from other franchises reached out to you at all?
I think I talk to Kenya Moore the most. She’s been so nice, so supportive. I absolutely love her. Yeah, she is a girls’ girl, which is also really, really nice. I love Tiffany Moon too from [Real Housewives of] Dallas. She was one of the first girls that reached out to me. She’s really sweet. And there’s Dolores Catania—there’s so many of them. It really is like a sorority and it’s been great.
If you could bring any of the other ladies from a different franchise to Dubai, even if it’s just to hang out, who would you pick?
Oh, oh my gosh. So many… I love Teresa Giudice, I love Marysol from Miami, I love Kenya. I love Porsha. I don’t know if they would get along, but I love them both. I love Leah from New York, she seems really fun. [And] Oh, I love Sheree! I love Sheree.
Let us know what else you’re working on. We heard that you have early development toys and books on the way.
I do, my main focus in everything that I do revolves around motherhood and children. My kids, they could all read by the time they were three and it’s nothing special that I did besides introducing them to reading from a really, really early age. So we do have “My Little Makers” and that is a children development brand. It’s really amazing, but everything is still in the works. We’ve just finished our first book. For now, I’m trying to focus on Mina Roe and raising three little boys, but let’s see how it all goes.