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DeShawn Snow

Source: Courtesy of DeShawn Snow / DS

The last time most people saw DeShawn Snow, she was an original Real Housewife, starring in the first season of Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2008 alongside NeNe Leakes, Kim Zolciak, Sheree Whitfield and Lisa Wu. She was married to her college sweetheart, former NBA star Eric Snow, was raising her three sons in Alpharetta, Georgia, and she was focused on doing charitable work and mentorship through the DeShawn Snow Foundation rather than being involved in a lot of drama. That lack of spectacle was probably why after the first season, she had her peach taken from her and was replaced with Kandi Burruss. Despite her unceremonious exit from the show, to this day, she has no hard feelings about it.

“You know what? It is what it is,” she told me over the phone in July. “At the end of the day, I’m kind of thankful because when the cameras stopped rolling when the filming was done, when I wasn’t on the show, that’s when all of the drama kind of really happened.”

That drama included the end of her 12-year-marriage to Eric, who filed for divorce in 2010 and months after doing so, welcomed a child with another woman.

“In hindsight, I don’t know if I would have wanted to go through that on camera,” she said. “I believe that everything happens for a reason. I never really dwell or second-guess it. I may not like it or anything, but I’ve learned to know that it must have been for the best or for a reason.”

The 45-year-old, who still resides in North Atlanta, does still communicate with her old co-stars when she runs into them, but mostly, DeShawn just stays in touch with NeNe, whom she last spoke to a few months ago and encouraged during husband Gregg’s cancer fight. “NeNe, will always reach out to me and invite me [out],” she said.

But DeShawn admits that when her marriage ended, she did her best to not really communicate with people. It was an understandably hard time.

“After the divorce, I was in a dark place,” she said. “I was kind of going through it and I wasn’t responsive. I wanted to kind of stay back.”

She was eventually able to find peace by focusing on her faith and getting to know who she was again after losing a little bit of herself during her marriage.

“We were together from freshman year of college so it was like 20 years,” she said. “Really and honestly, that’s what God needed to do to get my attention. God needed to just kind of knock me to my knees. He took everything away from me. Of course, He got my attention then and so I realized that what happened, that’s what God needed to do. I’m not stuck on the event of it, but of course, the journey after it, it was a long journey because when you’re with someone for so long,  you’re a wife and a mom, I had to figure out who I was. And then as I was going through things, I wasn’t really liking the person who I thought I was so that was kind of crazy. It was just a very long journey of just kind of seeking inside of yourself because with everything, it’s not what happened to you, it’s what was your part in it, what could you have done different and what does God want you to learn from this? So I really did a lot of healing and soul-searching. My story really isn’t what happened to me, but how I overcame it.”

Aside from just healing and soul-searching, DeShawn also did some physical work. She dropped 35 pounds, which she continues to work hard to maintain now that she has more time to look out for herself since her sons are grown up and reside in Texas.

“Weight, with everybody, is up and down. So when I first got divorced, in the beginning, I did lose like 30 pounds,” she said. “Since last August, I started back up because my boys live in Dallas — my older two and then my youngest son moved down there. I said, let me just find something I can focus on so I won’t fall into a depression or anything like that. I just tried to focus on me because I did all of this work on the inside, but I was like, now I need to let my outside match the inside. So I went on a very strict diet. Now I’m not as strict, but I’m with a trainer about six days a week.”

She’s pleased with the results she’s been able to see, and many people have taken notice. However, DeShawn doesn’t believe that the changes are drastic — or even that much about  her weight.

“A lot of people, they’ll say, ‘Oh you look so this and that.’ Yes, I’m smaller, but to me I don’t really look different,” she said. “They make it seem like I look like a whole different person, but I guess what it is is they see this inner joy, they see the inside coming out. That makes me look lighter and prettier and all of that.”

DeShawn is getting a lot of inner joy from her professional life, which is flourishing. A licensed realtor since 2004, she got back into real estate work fully in 2014, teamed up with Sotheby’s and launched an entertainment group that merges luxury real estate and lifestyle management. The services she used to provide for Eric she now offers other sports and entertainment clients. She also has worked on a few books, including her Little Shawnee children’s book series, which can be found on Amazon and her website. In addition, she’s working on her own book and has a show in development. But all of those things are vehicles to help her focus on what she says is her true purpose these days: “Empowering, encouraging and enriching the lives of women.” That includes young girls and grown women whom she mentors, speaks to and helps.

“As a teenager, I made a lot of bad choices and it was just really the grace of God. I know that you’re not defined by your choices and that you can grow from it. You can have life, you can have it abundantly and you can make better choices because it’s all about self-esteem,” she said. “So I was doing that [through my foundation], and now, even with my divorce and everything, I’m working on these keys to unlock emotional healing. I think the thing we get stuck on the most, or that God has a thorn in our side about, that is the very thing he wants us to help others with. So every time we come out of the valley, we’re supposed to reach back and pull someone else up with us. What I went through, a lot of people wouldn’t have been able to handle it, but God trusted me and knew that I would be able to handle it, and handle it with grace and class, so it’s my responsibility to help others out.”

She continued, “I’m not saying it was easy, it was not easy at all, but because of my solid spiritual foundation, I never broke. I bent a lot, but I never broke. I know God never dwells on the negative, He only goes from glory to glory. Not to be all preachy-preachy, but I had that conviction. I knew everything would work out, I just had to pull up my big girl panties and  go through it, because you can’t bypass the process. You have to just go through it. But now, like I said, I’ve been coming out and I’m on the other side. I’m not exactly where I want to be but I’m so much further along. I’m just in a great place. I had to get myself together and get my mind right and get a better understanding of who I am and what I expect, because everything I do now is with intention, purpose, and I just want to be my authentic self and live in the moment. You can’t dwell on the past because you can’t change it, but you can’t get so caught up in what’s going to happen in the future either. I was stuck between who I was and who I was supposed to be. That middle part is really the hard part, and in that, I’ve learned to really celebrate the small things and celebrate now. Live fully now instead of being so focused on the future or the past.”

You’ll be seeing more of DeShawn soon enough, and you might be hearing more about her path to healing on the show she has in development. She wasn’t burned by her first go-round on the small screen to pass on trying it again.

“TV is a vehicle. I can use that to help women on a global level,” she said. “Whatever show it ends up being, either way, it’s a vehicle to further my mission. They have some ideas, I have some ideas, but we’re kind of going back and forth on what the ultimate show will be.”

One thing she’s sure of as she preps her new series is that she still doesn’t want to be involved in any drama. She has more important things she wants to focus on.

“Anything that’s empowering people, I’ll do it.”

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