‘Basketball Wives’ Star Shaunie O’Neal Talks Family, Fashion and Fueds
Shaunie O’Neal, ex-wife of retired basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, is one of the ring leaders on the show and maintains (or tries to anyway) order amongst the wild and crazy ladies. Shaunie not only stars on the show, but she is the executive producer as well. The wonder woman talked with Celebuzz and gave us some juicy details on success, motherhood, television production and a burgeoning fashion business.
What does it take to get a show up and running, what goes into the process of executive producing a show?
Well, luckily for me it was a little bit easier. I had a couple friends that were in the production business, and I just kind of threw [the idea for the show] around, and they all gave me great feedback. Once I got serious and focused [on producing the show], it went really fast. I pitched it, they were really excited about it and they were moving ahead faster then I was even ready to move ahead.
How did you get the idea? Did you want people to see the lifestyle that these woman live being married to an NBA player?
I didn’t come up with the concept to make people choose [this lifestyle] , or make them think ‘oh gosh what a wonderful thing’ or ‘what a bad thing.’ I got asked many questions, so it was more of me seeing the curiosity from other people, and me taking that and saying, ‘well I guess people care!’
How is working with the girls, do you see them everyday?
We see each other almost everyday. I might not see Evelyn and then the next three days I see her everyday, but when were filming we see each other quite often, several times a week. It’s cool because I get along with everybody, and if I just don’t gel with someone, or don’t feel that connection, I’m very honest and very blunt with the production team, and I’m like, ‘you know what I just don’t even want to film with that person, its not gonna work, and I’m not comfortable,’ and that’s that.
Who are you closest with on the show?
Probably Evelyn [Lozada]. I’ve known her for the longest.
You seem like the leader and you bring everyone together. It must get difficult to keep your cool, when the women go back and forth constantly on the show. How do you maintain that role?
It just comes kind of naturally because that’s my personality, that’s me. Any of the other girls can tell you, I’m very drama free, and I try to keep all the madness away.
How is it having your life out there on television?
The difficult part is that people are constantly judging you, and thinking they know every part[of you] and how you feel about certain comments you make and what you’re saying, and manipulating your words. That’s difficult but I have some pretty thick skin. I think this has just made it even thicker, and I’m comfortable with me. I’m very secure with me, I know the type of person I am and what I mean when I say it. None of us are perfect and I’m damn sure not claiming to be, and I do make mistakes and I do do things that I wish that I could maybe take back and re-do. For the most part, I’m very comfortable with myself, and I know who I am. And my kids and family and the people who love and know me, know who I am. So I would have to say that’s the difficult part, people judging you and manipulating your position and your words and trying to make it into something it’s not.
Do you and Shaq still maintain a good relationship?
We’re okay. Since the divorce, it’s been more traumatic for the kids. They don’t get to see him or talk to him very much, like I wish they could. But I double up and I do what I have to do.
Now that he’s retired do they get to see him anymore?
No that’s the [unfortunate] part. That’s what I thought would have happened, but it’s not quite happening that way, so that part’s a little disappointing. I can only do my part, and do it well.
You are very into fashion; tell us more about your shoe line.
Well, its actually my picks for Chinese Laundry. I have seven shoes in this collection that I chose out of the Chinese Laundry plethora of shoes, and they let me pick the shoes to put out. I’m a shoe fanatic! Hopefully my line will be completely done and finished and I’ll be able to do that [with the help] of Chinese Laundry.
What look are you going for?
I would say what I have is the red carpet at an affordable rate. Some flat boots that are over the knee, that [can be worn] going to dinner or going to the mall, [a boot]that covers a little bit of everything. I have like a working pump, a going-out to a club heel that I actually wore to the a little party we had for the line. [There’s also] a booty. [The line] covers a whole range of looks.
With the show skyrocketing, you have your family life, your show and your shoe line. How do you keep up with your family life, and balance all your other ventures?
It definitely gets a little jumbled, and it can get difficult at times. Thank God for my family, they’re here in LA with me, so they definitely help me out because I can’t be too many places at one time. But it all seems to flow. I just try to stay organized, as much as I can, is probably the answer to that. I have a calendar in my Blackberry, a calendar at home, a calendar everywhere. That’s life for me, a calendar! It’s busy but it works!
You have reached a point of success that others strive for. What is some advice for women who are trying to be successful?
Never let go of your dreams. If it’s something you believe in, stand by it and see it through, and definitely continue to believe in yourself no matter what anyone else is saying to you. No matter what you’ve gone through or are going through, just remember that it can be done. You look at somebody else’s success story and you know that you can do it, so just constantly remember your worth, you can be strong. You can withstand whatever life brings, just follow your goals and dreams and stay true to that.
Want to learn more about Shaunie? Check in on all the drama and get to know the other Basketball Wives on VH1 Monday nights at 8 PM.