The Rucker Sisters Tackle Reality TV (And The Hair Care Business) With Their WeTV Show ‘Love Thy Sister’
The Rucker sisters – Ruby Rucker Cooper, Ione Rucker Jamison and Ellen Rucker Carter (left to right above) – have proved they are more than who they marry with their natural hair care line Rucker Roots and their new WE tv reality show Love Thy Sister.
According to the Ruckers, with Ellen’s ex-husband NBA star Vince Carter, and Ione’s college sweetheart and ex-husband NBA star Antawn Jamison, the ladies have been approached to do reality TV before. But because the shows weren’t quite the “right fit,” they branched out and were given their own series produced by Bunim/Murray Productions.
The show features the three African-American sisters who were raised in Lancaster, S.C. as they flourish within southern society, stay engaged in their family lives and careers, and begin new relationships. Since the ladies are three of eight children, much of their lives revolves around a strong sense of family and southern tradition. And because their high profile relationships have put them in front of the cameras plenty of times, Carter – who is also a chiropractor – says the show was a “natural extension” to what they have already experienced.
“Because Ione and I were married to pro athletes, we had really gotten used to the press. With a high profile marriage – whether it’s successful or not – you appear on blogs and at events and there is always a lot of buzz. So we are used to being in the limelight,” Carter says. “I think that is some of the reason we were approached to do Basketball Wives and I Married a Baller, but we turned both of them down because we wanted to do a show with our family.”
Jamison, the youngest of the three sisters, agrees and said that after they developed a concept for their show, they pitched to five different networks, with WE tv took them “straight to series.”
“We felt like it (the show) was one of those things that found us and it was just meant to happen the way it did and because we have a thick skin, and know who we are, we knew we could handle what the show would bring,” Jamison says. “We love each other and no one can ever break us as a family and doing the show just comes natural to us.”
And while the sisters are enjoying their first season, Cooper, a former lawyer who is now married to Charlotte orthodontist Ford Sawyer Cooper, says they have faced some criticism but it “comes with the territory.”
“We knew what we were signing up for and when you show your personal life on television, people are going to judge things that you do, which normally only your close friends and family would be privy to,” Cooper says. “But, even with criticism, we pride ourselves with being a little bit different, family oriented and along with maybe making some mistakes, we also have resolutions.”
And before their reality series even took off, the sisters had already made their mark in the business world with their enterprise Rucker Roots. With the sisters’ passion for hair — and their ambition — they began to engage in what Carter calls “kitchen concoctions,” which would lead them to find a manufacturer that helped them launch the hair care line in 2014. And while they already offer a stimulating shampoo, moisturizing conditioner, therapy heat protectant and a growth serum, Carter says they will soon have products made from a southern vegetable root extract that is beneficial for hair and skin.
“I have always loved doing hair, and trying new things and we started out by doing kitchen concoctions that we learned from my mother. We used things like eggs, mayonnaise, root vegetables, and avocado and then three years ago we put together a formula, which we developed for a manufacturer and they helped us get the product just where we wanted it,” Carter says. “While there is a lot of hair care products out there, we like to think there is something different about ours because we use root vegetable extract, and that is very new to the hair care industry.”
Another venture that the sisters are dedicated to is The Rucker Education Scholarship Fund, a nonprofit that contributes to college-bound alumni of A.R. Rucker Middle School. The last episode of their reality TV series features a recent fashion show, where according to the sisters, they raised $15,000. Cooper says the fundraiser was “a proud moment,” and demonstrates how women can come together in a positive way and support each other in the name of education.
“Education is the key to do anything. There are tons of ways to educate yourself and no one can take that away from you. I think that people shouldn’t be shy about venturing out and making sure that education is a priority,” Cooper adds.
Carter, who attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, agrees and said that many of their own experiences came largely from going to college and making connections.
“Almost all of our experiences and opportunities have come from relationships I made in college. A lot of times kids think they don’t have to go to school – and in some cases that is fine – but I really think that school just has so much to offer and meeting new people and establishing relationships, and forming friendships helps in life tremendously,” Carter says.
And while the sisters continue to build their brand through their business and their show, they attribute their success to the strong family values.
“We grew up in a small town where our father was the first Black dentist – and he was also a very outstanding community leader and we learned so much from him and from our family and we really had a solid support system,” Ellen says. “And with the reality show, we are taping with our kids and with the family and it’s great and really the greatest thing about the show.”