Recently I decided to introduce my readers to real football wives and figured catching up with my VH1 "Football Wives" castmates would be a great place to start! Last week I featured Amanda Davis. This week, we're catching up with Mercedes Nelson!
You might be thinking, "Who is Mercedes Nelson?" Well, Mercedes appeared on a couple of episodes early in the season. She held her own arguing with Chanita but got a fierce talking-to about Jesus from Amanda. And because you can't have a "wives" show without at least one cast member who is "just a girlfriend," adding the ex-girlfriend of a high profile player to the mix was a no-brainer (it works for "Basketball Wives").
I was concerned when I heard there would be an ex-girlfriend on the cast. I couldn't imagine what her story was and how it would add to the dynamic of the show. Was she the groupie type? A scorned ex trying to get back at her former baller boyfriend? Someone trying to make a name for herself? Then I got to know Mercedes and realized how important her story was. You see, there are a lot of women out there doing anything and everything they can to land a football player. For some, dating an NFL player is like hitting the lottery. Nice cars, VIP treatment at clubs and fancy dinners are enough to cause some women to lose their minds and put up with all sorts of craziness. But not Mercedes.
My initial impression of Mercedes is that she is stunningly beautiful! I quickly realized that she's got the brains to back up her beauty (smart girl rock) and she is such a sweet and wonderful spirit. When I found out she walked away from a not-so-great relationship with said unnamed high-profile player, I knew she had strength and she was about more than being someone's trophy or arm candy (we know how that worked out for one of my castmates). Mercedes really did bring something special to the cast and I was (a) disappointed when she left the show and (b) was bummed they didn't feature her more and tell her story.
So, without further ado, here's your chance to catch up with Mercedes!
Hometown: Paramaribo, Suriname (South America)
Current city: Sherman Oaks, California
Occupation: Marriage & Family therapist & Fashion Designer
Where did you go to school? Pepperdine University
You’re a newlywed! Tell us all about your new husband and wedding! Most importantly, is he a football player?
I love being married, with so much going on in my life it is comforting to know that I have a good man who supports me and who’s all mine. J Our Wedding was great, we kept it nice and small. Since most all of my family members are still in South America, we just had some close friends in attendance. The wedding was a big accomplishment for us as we pulled it off mainly on our own, with no planner - I made my dress, our bouquets and seating cards. It was quite a creative project! Oh, I almost forgot the importantly part of the question; No, he is not a football player ;)
Tell us about your wedding dress – did you design it?
Yes, I did design my own wedding dress. I first decided to buy one and avoid the stress of making one myself. However, one night I took a shot at it, and I designed, sewed and finished it that same night. It came out pretty good; especially being the first wedding dress I’ve ever attempted. It was a mermaid cut with a laced-up back going down my spine.
Tell us about your clothing line Merci Belle – what is your inspiration? What celebrities are wearing your looks and where can we get more information?
Merci-Belle is my clothing line for women; young and not-so young. ;) I try to keep my line hip to the newest fashions, while still incorporating my own flavor into them. Right now I’m also trying to expand to a male collection of T-shirts, so Im excited to see where that goes. I get inspired randomly, whether by seeing an interesting style in a window or the colors in a painting. Since I sew all my pieces myself, a lot of time and effort goes into it, but I love what I do and take pride in doing it. So far, Rosa Acosta (model), and Shanelle (from Young Money) have worn my clothes to the BET awards and other events, but I haven’t really pushed the line out to celebs yet, so hopefully my pieces will be on many more celebs in the future. My line can be found at www.mercedesnelson.com
What was filming a reality t.v. show like?
Interesting! It had its ups and downs. I actually had a lot of fun shooting Football Wives - I was able to meet new people, experience new adventures and experience the reality t.v. life.
On Football Wives, all we knew is that you were the ex-girlfriend of a high profile player – can you tell us who that ex was?
Well, yes it was Marion Barber
What was it like dating a high profile athlete?
Besides it being long-distance with me living in California and him in Dallas, it was a normal love relationship. He wasn’t the flashy type who loved the lime-light so we got to be a normal couple enjoying normal fun things. He was very down-to-earth, and that’s exactly what kept us together back then.
What is your opinion about groupies?
I don’t really have an opinion about groupies. I believe that it would be unfair for me to bash them as a whole. I’m sure they all have their own motives and hey, if it works for them and they don’t mess with MY man, I have nothing to say about them. Quite honestly, I believe that many times, wives and girlfriends have these hard-core negative feelings about “groupies." Hhowever, IF a man does not act on the temptations of this groupie, she should never be a threat or even a conversation. So I think the emphasis entirely is often placed on the wrong person - the groupie doesn’t owe any wife or girlfriend an explanation for doing what she does, the husband or boyfriend does! ;)
What REALLY happened when you left the show?
Chanita and I got into an altercation, which left me with the option of continuing on with the show or coming back to California where I had a good opportunity for my line and to finish up school. Since the money would be the same as if I would’ve stayed, I decided to leave the show and come back home. It was the better choice for me.
Were you disappointed with your role or how you were depicted on the show?
Umm, I was disappointed that the way my role turned into something completely different through the magic of editing. It was strange seeing which footage they kept and which they discarded. But hey, I guess that’s the risk with reality tv; you never know until it airs if you’ll be the villain or the hero.
Do you think Football Wives properly depicted “reality?”
Not exactly. I think that it depicted too much negativity and drama, when in reality there were so many good times that occurred during the taping that ended up being thrown out. It’s sad that drama and negativity is so much more preferred by viewers than fun, healthy relationships.
What one thing you want viewers to know that they didn’t see on the show?
That I came on the show, not only to push my line, but because I wanted to represent the women who are single or dating non-celebrity men while still achieving much success in life and who are comfortable in their own skin making their own money and taking pride in who they are.
One scene we filmed that viewers didn't get to see was you teaching the ladies a sexy burlesque dance - what was that like? Are you still dancing?
I loved that taping! It was so much fun to teach you ladies how to perform the burlesque dance. Especially when I saw the fancy outfits you ladies wore. It was so much fun because everyone got into their performance and had a good time. You killed it by the way Dawn - it almost seemed like familiar territory to you. I still try to dance as much as time allows. I'll either take Zumba classes or dance at home. It’s a great way to exercise while having fun and enjoying the work-out.
What was your favorite Football Wives moment?
I had several. I would have to say my favorite was when you (Dawn) and Melani had to dress up in “hoochie” clothing after losing the golf bet. It was hilarious, and yet so good to see how much of a good sport you two were about the whole thing. Other moments included the going away party for the hubbies at Dawn’s house, of course the burlesque dancing, and the many fun lunches and dinners we had, before all the drama that is.
What was your least favorite Football Wives moment?
Ugh, the drama with Chanita about the fashion line (I believed it could’ve happened so much smoother than the way it did), and then the follow up drama with Amanda at her house (which by the way, came out of the blue to me, hence my tears; I was shocked! LOL). Either way, I can only laugh at it all now.
What’s one thing that might surprise people about you?
That Dutch is my first language and that I am crazy about dogs (if I could I’d want to take in all stray dogs).
What’s something on your bucket list?
Having my line featured in the big department stores and being a very successful therapist. I would also like to star in a big movie with Tom Hardy or Robert DeNiro (absolutely fantastic actors).
Do you have a favorite NFL team?
Nope, not really a sports fan.
Set it Off, Coming to America and Indecent Proposal
Hawaiian BBQ, Japanese & Soul Food (I think I love all kinds)
Favorite t.v. show?
Breaking Bad & Everybody Loves Raymond
Do you support any charities?
I support Act Today (Autism Charity) and had a fashion show last year in support of them. I look forward to doing more - especially for animal charities and charities that help abused women and children.
You are a multi-talented and multi-faceted woman - what other projects or endeavors are you working on?
Besides my fashion-line, I am working at one of the best rehabilitation centers in California for drug and alcohol treatment where I work therapeutically with some of the clients. I am hoping to stay connected in that field as I’ve grown to love it. Addiction is a growing problem in the world, and I would like to keep doing work and research with these clients to help reduce the relapse rate. Perhaps I would like to do a show combining marriage and family therapy with drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Any plans for babies in the near future?
Haha! Great question, but no solid answer on it YET! My husband and I would like to start within the next two years, so we’ll see. He loves kids so I know we will love starting a little family of our own in the near future.