marlo hampton host's glam it up girls lunch at neiman marcus
We all became familiar with Marlo Hampton last season of Bravo’s highly rated reality show The Real Housewives Of Atlanta
when, although never officially deemed a “housewife”, she quickly
became one of the most talked about characters of the franchise. Many
are wondering what the philanthropic fashionista has been up to since
she did not to return to the cast this season. The Dark Room caught up with Marlo at her monthly retreat for her foundation, Glam It Up Girls!
Step inside The Dark Room
to see how Marlo’s focus is no longer on cat fights and petty rumors
but instead on helping underprivileged teen girls in foster homes
transition into life on their own.
Online chatter has been frequent lately since Bravo debuted the
newest season of Housewives and one familiar face was missing…Marlo
Hampton. The feisty, oftentimes Chanel clad diva, was noticeably absent
from the official promo photos, which left a lot of tongues wagging
since many assumed Hampton would be named an official housewife since
she played such a huge role in many of the most watched moments of the
show last season.
We saw Marlo battle with many of the other women about clothes and
class, but the biggest part of Marlo’s life was never shown. Raised in
foster homes most of her life, Marlo created a project for girls called
Glam It Up!, noted as “a place where girls can ask questions and can be
inspired, where they can learn and can dream, where they can realize
that despite the circumstances they may find themselves in today, there
Glam It Up!, which meets every month, met this month at Neiman Marcus
Buckhead for a Christmas brunch. The girls were greeted by Marlo and
Neiman Marcus’s publicist, Rebecca Brodnan. The day consisted of numerous things, including seminars on skin care, financing and fashion styling on a budget.
It didn’t take much to quickly realize how close to home this was to
Marlo, even sending a car service last minute to pick up one of the
girls after receiving a call from the young lady stating that her
original transportation to the function was no longer willing to bring
her. She told personal stories about her life as a foster child and how
even today, a dysfunctional relationship with her birth mother is
something with which she still struggles.
“I never had that mother/daughter relationship that every young girl
deserves. My relationship with my mother was not and is still not
perfect. I knew she loved me but because of her drug problem, I also
knew that she was not capable of giving me what I needed, so I ended up
in foster care.
I remember the loneliness and isolation of being shuttled from one
foster home to another, never feeling as if I had family or a home. In
many places I was not even provided a key to the door; hugs and
attention were reserved for other girls. I always felt like a stranger,
an outcast. I remember hopelessness and not seeing a way out. I remember
the despair of thinking that the future would, for me, not become
brighter. I stand here today a version of myself I had never dreamed
possible. I could not have imagined arriving at a place of inner peace,
confidence, strength, perseverance and drive. I could never have
envisioned arriving at a place of gratitude, for through my hardships,
my pain and endless difficult times I have become the woman I am today.
Through all of my experiences, I came to be capable, independent,
motivated, college educated, an entrepreneur and someone who desires
more than anything to bring opportunities to young girls starting out in
life just like me. So if you ladies need me, you call me, because I
will be here. Even at times when you feel like no one else is.”
After speaking with the young ladies about her own troubled
childhood, Marlo allowed them access to the “beauty bar”, which held
skin care products by Clinique and allowed each girl to pick items to
take home with them. On hand was Neiman’s product manager, Sabah Essa and Clinique rep, Donna Beara, to give the girls tips on how to maintain beautiful skin. Wells Fargo rep, Christy Ransom,
was also present sharing how important it is to maintain and protect
your credit score and finances while Marlo’s personal fashion stylist, Daniel Hawkins and Rebecca Brodnan, showed the girls how to get a Neiman’s look on a Target budget.
The day ended with Marlo gifting each girl with a special bracelet made by jewelry company, Monkey Sue.
So why the change of heart for the feisty fashionista? Marlo says
there is no change of heart but just a piece of of her life that we all
did not see.
“The Real Housewives Of Atlanta was a wonderful experience
for me in so many ways because I learned so much about myself. I am
grateful for the platform that it has given me to present positive
things for my Glam It Up Girls in foster care and my Simply Giving
project that helps those in need. I was also able to meet some
beautiful people. NeNe Leakes is my girl and we continue to have a great
time together. Cynthia Bailey is also fabulous and I consider her to be
a great friend as well.”
So we had to ask Marlo what she thought about the other new additions to the cast.
“I haven’t had the opportunity to really get to know Kenya or Porsha
but I can say that from what I can see, Kenya is a great “actress” and
Porsha has a shape.”
Read below for more photos.
Stylist Daniel Hawkins and Neiman Marcus Vice President, Mark Fillion.