Cast Blog: #THICKERTHANWATER

Jewel Tankard, Wedding Planner

Jewel explains why she wanted to take over the wedding plans for Benji and Shanira.

Bravotv.com: Jewel, Benji and Shanira don’t seem to be holding back on wedding expenses. How did you feel when you first heard the budget?
Jewel Tankard: I was like, NO WAY! That was entirely too much and that money can be better spent with them preparing for their future -- buying a home, furniture, paying off debts, and things like that. 

Bravotv.com: Jewel, when your children talk about Brooklyn going out in front of Diamond, do you think that affects her?
Jewel: It’s interesting, because I would like for them not to talk about it in front of her, but on the other end, Diamond knows as well. I think having that open dialogue will allow Diamond to become comfortable with having open communication on how she is feeling.

Bravotv.com: Jewel, you and Ben seem to have different perspectives on how to go about the wedding and how to finance it. How do you two come to terms with how the money is spent and what it goes to?
Jewel: Normally, the father of the bride pays for the wedding, but Shanira’s father passed away. So what I felt was, since we love both Benji and Shanira, let’s pay for the wedding, but let’s cut the expenses drastically.Bravotv.com: Jewel, what were you thinking when you got the phone call regarding Brooklyn’s behavior?
Jewel: We were not totally surprised when we got the phone call, and it just confirmed some of the concerns that we had with her staying out late at night.

Brooklyn: You Can Only Fake It for So Long

Brooklyn talks about her hair show and why she felt the need to mediate the family's dinner in Austin.

Bravotv.com: Tell us about the Austin dinner and why it was so important for you to stand up and try to fix it.
Brooklyn Tankard: Going into the Austin dinner, I was really hoping that the entire family could just enjoy each others' company in a drama-free zone. Unfortunately, the conversation turned bad at dinner, and it was quickly evident that there were still issues that needed resolve. Although everyone wanted to just "keep it moving" after the big fallout during Fourth of July in Baltimore, the reality is that the necessary foundation of trust needed for a healthy relationship was gone. YES they smiled, hugged, and laughed afterward, but beneath the fog, there was still deeply rooted hurt and dysfunction. You can only fake it for so long, and you can't just smile issues away, issues that run deep and have been building momentum for a while! Junice still left Baltimore feeling misunderstood and ganged up on. Jewel and Junetta still felt like Junice was just acting too private and not meeting their expectations of her. The harsh reality is that even though I know Jewel and Junetta love Junice, they still didn't really accept the fact that they could've responded differently to her move or that they could've done a better job "showing her" that they respect her individuality, decisions, and privacy.

When we were at the dinner table in Austin, TX, I was shocked that my dad asked about Junice and Rock's pie (income), especially considering trust had not been reestablished. It really opened up a can of worms. I don't think he was intentionally trying to offend them or ignite another breakdown in communication. I believe he just made an irresponsible decision by not thinking it through and considering that he should not have asked the question. The only focus at this dinner should've been to rekindle the relationship and reestablish the trust, not pry into their personal life. It just wasn't the time. I can see why Junice felt it was invasive. I feel they should've just accepted how she said she felt about the questioning and kept it moving. No need for storming off, getting upset, and crying. Relationship repair is a process. You can't just expect things to be perfect overnight. Perhaps under different circumstances, in a different setting with people Junice and Rock trust, it would've been a different response.

When emotions shot sky high and the tears started rolling, I really felt the overwhelming need to stand up and put an end to the drama once and for all. I tried to allow them to handle it as adults, but I just couldn't take it anymore. I was furious! The devil was trying to destroy my family right in front of me, and I wasn't having any part of the foolishness. Period! It was hurtful to see my family turning into a circus, and someone needed to finally stand up and speak the TRUTH. The COMPLETE truth. Which is that all of them are completely different individuals, and everyone just needs to focus on trying to understand one another instead of always trying to be understood. This takes a significant amount of humility, transparency, and Godly love on everyone's part.

Bravotv.com: What was your reaction when you found out you weren’t going to your aunt’s house the next day?

BT: Once I realized we weren't going to Aunt Junice's house, I was a little let down, because I really wanted to spend as much time as possible with her, Rock, and their kids before we left. I was hoping that the family could get more time to try to authentically reconnect with each other in a drama-free zone. I also accepted and understood that after the turmoil at dinner, perhaps Junice just wasn't feeling it.
Bravotv.com: Are you nervous to move out of your parent’s house at all?
BT: I am super excited to be moving out of my parents house! Yasss! There isn't a nervous bone in my body. It has been a long time coming. I actually wanted to leave a while ago, but I was scared to leave without their complete approval. Those days are over. I have grow tremendously into the strong woman I am today. I am thankful that I had an opportunity to live with my family, rekindle the relationship with my dad, and get my life back on track. I really feel like I needed these last few years with my dad in order to move forward. My hair line and beauty shows have really taken off, and I feel like the timing couldn't be better. It really feels good for my Princess Diamond and I to be getting a palace of our own. She deserves her own room, and I really needed my own space. It also doesn't hurt that I can FINALLY walk around naked again! LOL!
Bravotv.com: Were you happy with how the hair show turned out? Tell us about the inspiration behind it.

BT: I was very overjoyed with the turnout of my hair show. I feel that it effectively gave my attendees and potential sponsors for my shows and upcoming expo a sneak peek into my vision. Yes, I said a sneak peek, because this is seriously just the beginning! I produced and promoted this event in less than one week. Yes, I said one week. Seriously, my imagination is wild, and my vision is clear. I am truly inspired by the art of hair and beauty. My vision has always been to implement fantasy/avant-garde hair into entertaining theatrical performances that are out of this world and showcase the limitless possibilities of hair and beauty. As a result of the amazing response to my show, I am currently on an international show tour! Also, I have graduated to my next level of vision and plan to produce my first ever expo called The Universal Beauty and Health Expo. This hair show was barely a taste of what to expect at my expo. I will be taking the hair show/beauty element to an entirely new level, and it is going to be BANANAS! I can barely hold back the tears when attempting to explain how fulfilling it is to be able to provide a better life for my daughter and I while doing something I am truly passionate about!

Read more about: