Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Real Wives of the NFL - Melani Ismail

Next in my series about real football wives - a "what-is-she-up-to-now" with my VH1 Football Wives castmate Melani Ismail!!!

Melani and I have a lot in common.  Among many things, we grew up in L.A. not too far from each other and Ryan and Mel's husband Raghib "Rocket" Ismail were teammates years ago here in Dallas.  But we really didn't get to know each other until we worked on the show together.  The last Football Wives episode showed an intense conversation between Melani and I - the show seemingly left issues unresolved and definitely lacked closure.  But we're all good!  And over the last couple of years we've shared laughs, tears, triumphs and adversities and I am so blessed to be able to call Melani a friend. 

Before I get into Mel's interview, here are some things you may not know about her:

Melani is HILARIOUS - from rockin' her "Queepha" outfit to wearing Rainbow Brite socks when we played flag football, Melani always had the cast and crew in stitches.

Melani is also an incredibly talented singer.  Football Wives viewers heard Mel's amazing voice for themselves when she took to the stage at Chanita's fundraiser.  Mel has worked with some of the best in the industry and she continues to bless others by developing up and coming talent.

I so appreciate having Melani in my life.  Every woman should have someone like Melani around to be the voice of reason, to help you maintain perspective, to give you hope, and to keep it real!


Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Current city:  Dallas, TX

Occupation: Author/Speaker, Singer/Songwriter

Where did you go to school?
I graduated from Inglewood High

When did you get married?
April 2, 1995

How did you and Rocket meet?
In Los Angeles – one of my clients introduced us.

What teams did Rocket play for?
Toronto Argonauts, LA/Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys and Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Meyers Mohawks! Lol (I figured I would give all the teams some love!).

What was filming a reality t.v. show like?
Long days, hot Texas heat and very little food in between! On a serious note, it was a learning experience, for sure. I learned a lot about my own personality and I grew as a person because of it.

 Do you think Football Wives properly depicted “reality?”
Not my reality. My day to day life does not consist of arguing or being involved in constant drama. But I did sign the contract and in that contract it never stated that I would have creative control over content so at the end of the day... I learned that reality does not always mean reality.

What one thing you want viewers to know that they didn’t see on the show?
I really like to encourage people especially up and coming artists. I work with artists all the time and I don’t think they showed that side. As a matter of fact, working with musicians and singers is perfect for t.v.! They are a special breed!

What is the hardest thing about being a football wife?
The hardest part about that life was the injuries [Rocket suffered]. It’s good to be in the healing process, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

What are some of the perks?
That’s an interesting question. I guess free game tickets? "Shrugs" on that one.

What was your favorite Football Wives moment?
That would have to be when I went into character Laqueepha Shanaynay! I was in a bad mood that day and really didn’t want to be bothered. I was over the whole thing by then and was mostly irritated. But for some reason as I went into that closet to change into the "hoochie dress", the Melani that wasn’t trying to put on air came out. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I love to laugh and make other people laugh. So when I saw that "fly" wig, the fun "me" finally came out.

What was your least favorite Football Wives moment?
Unfortunately there were far too many.  I complained a lot, until my mother pulled me to the side and said suck it up, and see it for what it is. I wish I had listened sooner because it would have made it much easier.

Do you wish Football Wives would’ve come back for a second season? What do you think went wrong?
I was kind of torn actually. I saw that doing television could be fun but overall I don’t feel that the experience was the best fit for me. I felt out of sync most of the time. But it was my first time doing something like that so maybe it was just the learning curve that made it difficult. So, I guess I am leaning more toward a no. I think what went wrong is a loaded question and would be speculation on my part. It just wasn’t meant to be.

How has life after football been for you and Rocket?
To answer your question, our life is what it has always been... blessed. Not without ups and downs, but blessed nonetheless.

Will you let your sons play football? Why or why not? Do they play any other sports?
I don’t prefer it, but I have learned that I can’t keep them from playing just because our experiences were hard. If they do decide to play for a living then we can certainly teach them through the lessons we learned, especially the part about treating it like the business it is. And, yes they play other sports which is great.

What’s one thing that might surprise people about you?
I’m not a great dancer except when Michael Jackson songs come on!

What’s something on your bucket list?
I don’t do bucket lists.

Do you have a favorite NFL team?
I always went with whatever team Rocket played for at the time. I like any team that treats my husband with respect.

Favorite movie?
The Five Heartbeats!!!!!

Favorite food?
Mexican food done right! Not that fake stuff.

Favorite t.v. show?
The Office with Michael as the boss. Steve Carell is hilarious!

What charities do you support?
Emmitt and Pat Smith Charities, Women Called Moses, and anybody I see giving back for real.

What projects are you working on?
I just wrote a book called The Freedom of Letting Go and I am currently promoting the book and am part of a speaking tour with some other women. I am also finishing up the music to go with that book, as well as writing songs for a few movie projects, one of which I wrote with my sister. I’m just going into the doors that God opens so it could change tomorrow and I cool with that!

 You can find out more about Melani at www.melaniismail.com

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