Basketball Wives: LA never fails to bring the drama, and between the “new personalities, major life challenges, and old resentments,” VH1 has assured fans that “sparks will fly” during the upcoming season. On July 12 returning BBW: LA cast members Draya Michele, Malaysia Pargo, Brandi Maxiell, and Jackie Christie will be joined by newbies Patrice Curry, Mehgan James, and Angel Brinks. And while that last name may or may not ring a bell, we can guarantee you otherwise by the time 2015 bows out.
Hollywood native Angel may have recently added reality television actress to her resume, but don’t think that means she doesn’t already have a successful career under her belt. With a clothing line seen on celebrities like Blac Chyna, Trina, and friend (now co-star Draya), her drive is what puts her in her own special class of businesswoman. Through my conversation with Brinks, it’s clear she is resilient. She’s joining a cast of exuberant women with ties to some of the biggest basketball players in the game, and I caught up with the fashion designer to learn a little more about her, her next move, how she became a part of the show, and what fans can expect this upcoming season.
Interview by Nadirah Simmons (@nadirahsimm)
GFM: People know that you’re a mom, a fashion designer, and now a member of the cast of Basketball Wives. But if you should describe yourself, what don’t people know about you? Who is Angel Brinks?
AB: I would say I’m very creative, and as far as my character I’m very genuine. I’m humble, I’ve been through alot in my life. You would think that I would’ve spiraled downwards and ended up somewhere on the streets. But I took all of the negatives in my life, made it into a positive, went after my dreams and went in a positive route.
What was your childhood like?
I am Armenian, and Armenians are very strict. Growing up my parents told me you have to go to school, be a doctor or a lawyer, and nothing was ever good enough for them. But I’ve always had a creative mind. I was always in the performing arts. I’ve been in ballet since I was three. I took a lot of dance classes growing up and I was in choir. I always went the creative route and my mom just didn’t like it. I used to sneak out and go take dance classes and I would get in trouble because she thought I was around boys when I wasn’t. I was literally wanting to do the performing arts thing and I just had an eye for that a lot of the outfits and costumes, and the things that you wear on stage caught my eye.
Is that how you got into fashion? By looking at the clothes the performers wore?
Yeah. When I was on stage—when I’d perform in dance class we always had sequined outfits, tight leotards, bodysuits and just really tight fitting performance gear. I’ve done backup dancing for Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, nothing major…I got to see what is on the back end of the performing arts, what you wear, everything that comes with it, and it’s just always been a passion of mine.
Wait. You said you were a backup dancer for Jennifer Lopez?
I did one video for her a long time ago, and Christina too, just little small things. I was just dibbling and dabbling in different performing arts whether it was TV shows, commercials, acting classes—all of that stuff. But my true passion was with clothing.
When your line launched in 2010 it started off with leggings. Now you have everything from dresses to jackets to rompers, and you’ve been in New York Fashion Week and Facet Studio’s Fashion Show. How did you grow your line to get it this big?
You know at the time, when I launched my clothing line, I only started with leggings and there was a crazy fad for them. Everyone was demanding leggings. And I don’t know if it was because girls were getting their bodies done or if they were just hitting the gym or what, but girls were starting to want to, you know, not always wear dresses. They wanted to show off their bodies in tight clothing and leggings were in, but the only leggings you could ever find at American Apparel and all of these other stores were very basic, one color leggings. What I did was, I started taking the materials dipping them in glitter, cutting them up, you know sewing sequins, velvet, all kinds of material together and it was just an overnight success. And from there customers would be like, “oh well can you make me a matching top for that. I can’t find anything to match them”…so I said okay, you know what? I’m just going to go ahead and drop matching sets. So I dropped matching sets, and then I connected them basically making them into bodysuits, and those were also very popular. Nicki Minaj at the time was heavy in the bodysuits and everybody wanted them, so it kind of fell in my lap that way. I just progressed and made different kinds of material and clothing.
It started out with Trina. We were both at a yacht party and she looked at me and mouthed to me “I need that,” what I had on, so I was like “Girl!” I walked over to her and was like “I make these and your body is amazing, I’ll go ahead and make some for you.” It was kind of just word of mouth, and really just happened that way. Celebrities were like she’s the go-to girl.
That’s really awesome. You’ve also styled Draya, who’s a friend of yours right?
Yeah we were friends before everything. Even before I launched my line and before she got on reality TV. Her and I have a lot in common. We work really really hard and go after what we want. So her and I have always had that friendship where we always support each other. There was never hating or nothing. She supported me and I supported her. That’s my girl.
So you’re one of the newest additions to Basketball Wives: LA. Talk a little bit about how that happened.
Draya contacted me around Christmas-time, and at this time they had already started filming. She said “hey, how would you feel about just doing a guest appearance on the show?” I said “You know what, I would love that.” They basically ended up calling me, we shot our scene together, and that’s when they all contacted me from the network and were like, “hey, we would love for you to actually join the cast.” So I said yes.
Were you nervous at all? Any apprehensions about joining the show?
It’s a complete mixed emotions type of thing. You’re around a new group of girls, and you’re learning them. And women in general are pretty complicated you know? So at first I was kind of apprehensive about it, but I actually learned a lot from the girls and I had a really, really good time filming with them.
Did you have a chance to speak with Shaunie? Has she been a mentor or anything like that to you?
I look up to Shaunie a lot. And towards the end of our filming I was able to converse with her more than I was when I first started. Hearing her tell me things she’s gone through and where she’s at now is so inspiring to me. She’s a great businesswoman too. And watching her in some of the scenes that we had together, it was pretty interesting because she’s a really funny person. It’s pretty surprising we got to see a side to her, and I think you guys are all going to see a side to her that you didn’t see when she did Basketball Wives in Miami.
How has being a part of the show changed your life?
I haven’t felt a change yet, but actually doing the show myself I’ve learned a lot in the sense of learning other people taking other people in. Accepting them for who they are, how they are. We’re all different, we all handle things differently and I was actually able to be around strong women. In the basketball world, we go through a lot as women. I have a daughter, with Tyreke Evans, so it can be difficult at times. They play 82 games, only half of those are at home, so it’s not too often where we can be with him. So being around girls that are going through the same thing, that are married, we all kind of understand each other. It’s like a sisterhood.
You mentioned Tyreke, who plays for the New Orleans Pelicans. Are you guys still together?
You have to tune in to see that! I know that’s the million dollar question I think a lot of people want to know.
Aside from Draya, who is your favorite castmate?
I would say Jackie. I don’t know, we ended up getting pretty close. She just makes me laugh, I make her laugh. Despite what everyone says and despite the crazy things that she does her and I actually get along very well.
I know you can’t say anything too specific, but without giving anything away what can fans expect from the upcoming season?
They just gotta tune in. I mean they’ll get to see me, aside from being a designer. They’ll get to see my personality, I’m funny. I’m not a serious type of person like I may come across. But they’ll get to know me a little bit, a little bit of what I’ve been through, who I am as a person, and hopefully it’ll be motivating and inspiring for other girls to kind of follow in those steps and just follow their dreams.
Aside from the show’s premiere, what else do you have planned for the year?
There’s a lot. I’m working on launching my very first perfume. Everyone is doing the waist trainer thing, so I think perfume would be amazing. We’ll get it into department stores, and it will be a little different. I want to take those types of routes. I also started working on handbags, clutch bags that will match all the leggings or pants that I sell. And also, my daughter! I started her clothing line. She’s going to start out with leggings just like I did, so it will be baby leggings. And I plan on having a fashion show for her and other little kids. I just wanted to do that because the funky stuff I have is so cute for little girls and I hear that a lot and people are like you know what you need to start a clothing line for babies.
And of course, we are an urban, hip-hop site, so you know I have to ask you about your music tastes! Who are you currently listening to?
Oh, hip-hop and R&B all the time. I mean I used to listen to pop music, you know. Britney Spears and them aren’t really making anything anymore. But yeah Beyonce, huge fan of Rihanna. I love all of her music. I like everything.