Phaedra Parks is a woman of many talents, from her legal career to her growing mortuary business. Now, the mother of two can add “author” to her already impressive resume. The Real Housewives of Atlanta star just released her debut book, Secrets of the Southern Belle, which will teach you all you need to know about attaining southern belle status. Phaedra sat down with the Dish to talk about the her literary inspirations, how she juggles her professional life with her family, and what she has in common with the Real Housewives of New Jersey.
What sparked your interest in writing this book? What was your inspiration?
I have wanted to write a modern-day book that addressed etiquette and all things lady like for some time. With social media and mean girls and bullying, I thought the time was ripe for a book such as this. So that was really my inspiration and I have just not had the time. So when I found out I was pregnant, I went full speed ahead to make sure that during my down time I would have the opportunity to write the book. As you well know, I am so busy, the only time I could possibly slow down is when I’m having a baby.
That's ironic. You’d think that you wouldn’t have as much time. So how did you balance being pregnant and raising your family and also finding time for the book?
One of my closest friends told me that everyone talks about balance, but there really is no balance whatsoever. The beauty of having so many things going on is being able to be in the moment and actually enjoy the moment. And even though I’m very much overwhelmed, I enjoy the opportunity to have so many opportunities. I think that there will be a point when I won’t have so many things to do, and I’ll enjoy those moments. But while I’m in the heat of multitasking like a crazy woman, I’m enjoying it.
Did you grow up reading etiquette books?
I definitely grew up reading etiquette books. Emily Post, of course! [She is] the mother of all etiquette and things fabulously wonderful and proper. I grew up trying to pattern my behavior after her. But I grew up in the south in a very, very stern, traditional Christian background, with certain standards that I don’t see people employing now. And it sort of makes me sad because there’s something to be said for conducting yourself in a respectable manner. And I think in the wake of reality TV and social media, where you can be behind a screen and talk and behave very poorly and no one can see you, or you just really don’t care—I think there’s something to be said for that. And so in my book I really wanted to discuss these things very openly and give young ladies, women of age, mothers, grandmothers, all women, some general rules and regulations that should be implemented when going through all these different stages of life.
If you had to choose one thing that you want to highlight from the book, which chapter would you select?
Everyone seems to love when I do the translations, because in the South, we don’t say exactly what we mean sometimes, but we try to be very nice. And sometimes you don’t need to say exactly what you’re thinking. It doesn’t hurt to be nice and give someone a compliment. People are so concerned with being mean and hurting people’s feelings. No one’s taking any time out to recognize people or give compliments, give gifts, be very personable with people, build a rapport with people, and have strong relationships with people, and that’s what this book sort of talks about: the advantages of being nice. Because there are a lot of advantages that come with it.