Married to Real Estate is more than just another home renovation show.
The first season is filmed in Atlanta, and stars real estate broker, designer and home renovation expert Egypt Sherrod, and her husband, builder Mike Jackson also known as DJ Mike Fadelf. The HGTV creation gives viewers an inside look into the power couple’s busy and joint professional life as they help homebuyers land and renovate the homes of their dreams, in addition to showcasing effortlessly entertaining tidbits of their family life at home with their three daughters.
In an exclusive interview with MADAMENOIRE, the couple shared that the HGTV show came about organically.
After receiving tons of engagement with their online series “Ask Anything with Egypt and Mike” during the early days of the pandemic, it wasn’t long before HGTV fell in love with a sizzle reel the couple sent over of that footage mixed in with them running their businesses from one end of the kitchen counter and their children doing virtual school at the other.
“The sizzle reel showcased our family, our businesses and our whole life — not just a part of it. Then we sent it to the network and they loved it, so it went into development,” said Egypt, a longtime HGTV personality and collaborator.
The mother of three explained why it was important for her to be an executive producer on the project:
“That’s something you don’t often see — where the talent also has a creative role behind the scenes for the show. I was also an executive producer for Flipping Virgins, my last show on HGTV. I think it’s important for us as talents and creatives to also have a seat at the table. To have a voice in how we’re being put out for mass consumption. Especially being a Black family with businesses, and our children being involved in the show, we definitely wanted to have a creative say across the board, in what the finally edits look like, and whether that reflects our truth.”
“HGTV didn’t fight me on that at all either,” Egypt noted. “They were like ‘Absolutely, you deserve it. We agree. And inclusion matters.’ I’m very grateful that the network valued that.”
Mike and Egypt agreed the show’s heart centers showing viewers, regardless of their race and background, that households full of hardworking values and love still exist.
When asked about whether living up to that representation ever adds an extra dose of pressure when filming, Mike said, “I think it’s an honor and it’s humbling, but it’s not forced. There’s no pressure when it’s genuine. There’s nothing we have to do extra when the cameras turns on because we’re the same when the cameras are down.”
“I will say though — it does feel good to know that people who look like us feel good when they see us and think, ‘Wow, we can also be together after 17 years of marriage too, we can do that. This is something we can relate to,'” he added.
Speaking in agreement, Egypt highlighted, “If anything, I’m giddy about it because Mike and I know tons of couples that have been together as long if not longer than we have. People just don’t get to see that representation as much on TV because historically, you have to be a train wreck to get ratings [laughs]. You have to be a mess, your life has to be falling apart, and you have to be willing to do that in front of the public to sell.”
“Meanwhile, the people at home watching often have happy, whole families, and have been in very long relationships,” she added. “The family unit, in general, is a dynamic one. And it’s complicated and looks many different ways in the world we live in today. We just want to represent a piece of that and help people realize we’re not one-dimentional as a culture.”
While the dynamic duo comes across as a great team that always compliments each other’s strengths both at home and in business, Egypt and Mike emphasized that they also deal with life’s low points just like everyone else.
“Truth?!” Egypt said candidly, “I drive my husband nuts [laughs]! We are not without our bumps in the road but, of course, it’s how you deal with them. That’s everything in life.”
“And as you can see on the show, we laugh through them, we joke through them, we bust each other’s chops through them and we sometimes try to sing through them [laughs],” she added. “Again, it’s not what the obstacle is, it’s how you get through it, over it, or around it, together. Being a husband and wife duo that works together and has kids at home… It’s a delicate balancing act.”
Mike added: “Listen — my hair was grey, but it wasn’t this grey before the show [laughs]. That’s all my going to say [laughs]. But no, I’m kidding, it’s amazing. You get to do what you love with the person you love. You get to dig into each other a bit more and learn more about each other. You’re building a legacy that your children get to see transpire into something amazing. It’s been an amazing ride, and it continues to be an amazing ride, but yea, there are some hills and valleys.”
Overall, the couple shared their desire to simply bring love, laughter, and knowledge about the real estate world to those who watch every week.
“You know, I would love to say we want to be the new Cosby Show, but I won’t for obvious reasons,” Egypt said. “We just want to be an inspiration. Our goal is to inspire and entertain, but also to educate people about the home buying process and encourage people in the home renovation process so they feel they can turn nothing into something.”
“Loving families exist. Communicative couples can accomplish a lot together. You can have happy kids and still have busy and brimming businesses at the same time if you can find balance and alignment,” she continued.
With a laugh from her and Mike, Egypt added, “We want to show people that you can keep it sexy after 17 years of marriage, there are ways.”
Watch Married to Real Estate Thursdays at 9 PM on HGTV.