Demetria Lucas knows a thing or two about perfecting a brand. As if gaining a strong following as a journalist and former relationship editor for ESSENCE magazine wasn’t enough, the once monikered “Black Carrie Bradshaw” (though she’s earned her own lane) took her dating advice and personal explorations to a haven of her own, the blog “A Belle In Brooklyn.” The award-winning site has grown into a massive online community of women (and now even men) hanging on to her every word and syntax.
Very few writers can say they’ve built an empire from the ground up, and simply put, Lucas is doing it well and in style. With one relationship book under her belt and another on the way, Lucas has hands-down become one of the nation’s most sought-after dating coaches. And now as a star of the reality show “Blood, Sweat and Heels,” she’s learning there’s a lot that comes with notoriety.
In an exclusive interview with CentricTV.com, Lucas talks about being a writer in front of the camera, her new book “Don’t Waste Your Pretty,” and also gives readers some great tips on how to get over your ex, avoid making common dating mistakes, and ultimately improve your love life.
CENTRIC: Tell us about your new upcoming book “Don’t Waste Your Pretty.” What can readers expect?
DEMETRIA LUCAS: The full title is “Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-To-Guide For Making Smarter Decisions In Life and Love” and it comes out on May 20. I think a lot of times we meet the wrong person and we move too fast or we don’t know how to evaluate if someone is really a good match for us or not, sometimes we get hung up on our emotions and we’re not paying enough attention to what’s really going on in front of us, and as women we can invest a lot into relationships...sometimes with people we don’t know as well as we should. My hope is that the book will help women make smarter, better, faster decisions in life and love. They can get what they want out of the situation, which is usually a happy, healthy relationship.
Was the experience writing this book easier than the first, since you already wrote one before?
There’s no easy way to write a book. It’s an incredibly challenging, long process. This is a different type of book, but writing is writing. It’s hard. It’s a labor of love.
You publicly expressed your initial reluctance to do reality television. In retrospect, are you at peace with your decision?
I don’t have a choice but to be at peace with the decision. There’s nothing that I can take back. There’s definitely some things that I would have done different, but you know it is what it is. It’s a representation. Luckily, I have a large platform. I have a blog (abelleinbrooklyn.com), I have Instagram, Twitter and access to several media outlets, so if there’s something that I need to set the record straight on, I can do it through any number of means. I think that’s one of the great upsides to being a writer who’s on a reality show.
Was it weird at first seeing yourself on television and knowing that millions were watching?
Yeah definitely. I’m more of a behind the scenes person, which is a very strange thing to realize once you’re in front of the camera. But I think the good thing about it is that I came into being known as a writer, for having a book, for having a blog, for writing for a bunch of different magazines and all of those accolades that I had pre-show.
I think on the show people did really get the sense that I’m a writer on TV and not just a personality who’s showing up, and that all I have to offer is sarcasm and side-eyes. I really do have talent and a job that I work very hard at, so I think that really came across. But it was definitely weird. I’ve sat in front of TV cameras several times on talk shows - “The Today Show,” “Anderson Cooper,” CNN - but never as just sort of ‘oh, we’re going to observe your personality’ and all that. It was unusual.
On your social media you often talk about the highs and lows of your heightened level of fame since “Blood, Sweat and Heels.” Where are you now with it? Are there more highs than lows?
I can say there’s definitely been more highs. On social media everyone gets beat up, it’s just what happens. Michelle Obama gets beat up, it is what it is. But I think overall it’s been a much more positive experience. Anytime I go anywhere people are like “Hi Demetria!” and they walk up to me and give me hugs and they want to take pictures and have an autograph signed and all those things, so there’s definitely been extraordinary good will out of the show.
My Instagram went from about 7,000 to like 33,000 as a result of the show. So there a lot more people paying attention and engaged, and who really get it. In the media there’s a tendency of expecting to make [reality stars] sensational and negative, but that’s not always the case. I’m actually pretty pleased with the results of the show. I’ve always in my writing been very transparent about things that go on behind the scenes, because there were a lot of things I wish people would have told me and they didn’t, and so I share those things with others. Sometimes it’s about being in a relationship, sometimes it’s about working at a magazine, sometimes it’s about being an entrepreneur and sometimes it’s about being on a reality show and having a much more public platform than before.
What would you say are some of the most common mistakes that women make in dating and relationships?
Number one, rushing into it too fast. You go on a couple of dates with them and now you’re head over heels and you want to know what is this and where does this stand. You don’t know him and he doesn’t know you. You probably don’t know each other until about four to six months. I recommended that women date through seasons to really get to know someone before they take themselves off the dating market and commit.
The number two thing is that women make a habit of meeting somebody and automatically stop dating everybody else. Exclusivity is a huge deal, it’s a huge reason why people get into relationships. As women, we meet somebody and we’re just head over heels and we don’t want to date anybody else, but he’s dating other people. Now you’ve given him exclusivity, he’s dating other people, you get all into your feelings, you guys get into an argument and everything goes to craps so soon.
Another one is not asking for what you want. A lot of times women go into situations, and we want the guy to like us, so we’re sort of auditioning and we want to know everything about him - what he likes, what he does - we’re trying to change ourselves into what works for him, but we’re not getting to him and we’re not thinking about if he really works for us, if he’s really a good match for us. As women, we do need to take more time to evaluate. It’s just like a job; you’re auditioning for them, but they’re auditioning for you. You need to know a little bit about that company. It’s a two-way street.
What would you suggest to those who have a tendency to move too fast?
Slow down. Everytime he calls you don’t need to answer. You need to continue to have your own life, you need to continue to go out and do things on your own and hang out with your family, and chill out with your girlfriends, and have me time. You don’t need to be available every time he needs to see, talk or text you. Another thing is women go to his house too soon. He’s a stranger, you don’t know him, he doesn’t know you, you guys go out because that’s what a date is, and you get to know each other there. Unless you’re a real exibitionist, you’re not really going to move from A to Z in terms of sex in a public space. Let things happen naturally.
And don’t be afraid say ‘hey, this is going too fast, I really want to take my time to get to know you.’ I think most guys, if you aren’t just looking for sex, are reasonable and would be totally fine with it.
What are some steps or advice people can adopt in freeing themselves from an ex they can’t seem to get over?
Exes are really tricky. They’re very familiar, they know us really well, they know what makes us tick, they know how to push the buttons. I think the thing with exes, when you’re involved with someone you just can’t seem to get over, there’s something about that person who fills void in your life. They look out for you in a way that maybe your father did or didn’t, or they were that one person who was there for you when no one else was, or when you were a mess they helped you pull yourself together, and sometimes we think that’s the only person in the world who’s going to be able to do that for us. The truth is they’re not. Take some time to figure out what it is about that ex that you just can’t let go of. It’s usually not just the sex, it’s something much deeper and difficult. If you can figure out what that is and figure out a way to fill that void in a constructive way, you’ll have a much easier chance of getting over that person.
Do you believe in getting back with exes? Why or why not?
I take the approach of you don’t look to the past, however, there are some people where things just didn’t work. Timing is everything and there’s a possibility that it can work this time around. Again, exes are really convenient. Before you rush back into the situation, date that person. Date them like you just met them and get to know where they are, where their head is now. Also, talk about the issues that made that relationship not work out the first time. Hash them out and actively work on fixing them, because as soon as you get comfortable again all the drama that was there before is just going to come back up.
Anything else we can expect from you in the near future?
Oh god, isn’t the new book enough?! (laughs) We’re working on a [book] tour this summer into early fall, so hopefully I’ll be in a city near whomever is reading and they can come out and get a signed copy. We’re doing something completely different than the last book tour; we’ll be doing a Q&A about dating and relationships, so it’s not just cocktails and networking. So I hope the ladies really come out and get some good information.
(Photo: Demetria Lucas/LuxeLife Media Inc)