AllAboutTRH EXCLUSIVE Interview: Lea Black Talks Miami’s Hottest Gala, RHOM Cast Mates, Plus, What Was In That Folder At The Reunion?

March 20, 2013 | By | 52 Replies Continue Reading

Before Bravo brought her to our homes via Real Housewives of Miami, Lea Black was working The Blacks Annual Gala benefitting the family’s The Consequences Charity & Foundation, an event that has grown into a large fundraiser attended by A-list entertainers, politicians, social figures from Miami and beyond. Lea is also quite busy running multiple businesses including her first business, an international skin care company, and expanding with her brand new handbag line!

Lea chatted with AllAboutTRH this week and talked to me about the gala and how it has grown into what we see on TV today. She talks about the career that keeps her very busy, and of course I had to ask about RHOM! Lea dishes on the situation with Ana and the infamous manila folder that was cut out of the reunion but was seen in some of the footage. I also asked if there was any truth to the rumors that her husband got involved and legally fought for Bravo to not air that portion.

Lea was a very fun gal to chat with! She takes life day by day and doesn’t engage in any negativity. She has a great sense of humor and has the ability to laugh at herself, so it was a very light hearted, pleasant, and fun-filled chat for me. Check out the interview below!

AllAboutTRH: Can you talk about the history of your gala, and who your foundation seeks to benefit?
Lea Black: I started doing this gala almost 19 years ago and it was for at-risk youth, children that wind up in either incarceration or juvenile detention, or trouble because they’re on the street when they should be in school but don’t have the guidance or don’t know any better or different. It started at a little art gallery the first year, then the next year it was at my house. We did it at my house for about 10 or so years until it deluged really really bad and about three hours before the event we had to move 500+ guests inside my house, and the food and auction items inside the house. We had to rental trucks and we stored my furniture outside and that’s when I realized I had outgrown my yard.

At that point we decided to move to the Coral Gables country club, then we outgrew that, so we moved over to the Ritz Carlton, and we outgrew their ballroom.

How long did it take for it to grow into the big, successful event it now is?
Every year it grows. It’s been a process for 19 years. The talent we’ve been able to get is mostly donating their time. Most of them don’t charge and some have been paid over the years, but a huge amount of them donate their time.

Last year we had Queen Latifah, Tony Bennett, Deborah Cox. The year before that we had Pharrell Williams, Pitbull, Dionne Warwick. The year before that we had Rick Ross, Natalie Cole and Paulina Rubio. I have had really some top talent over the last several years and this year we have Flo Rida and a big surprise that we’re working on right now which we will probably announce in the next few days.

Getting these performers to fly in and do this as a charity is one of the biggest tackles to tackle on the job.

You have so much A-list talent at your gala every year. Are there any who are loyal to attend every year?
The Estefan’s [Gloria and Emilio Estefan] try to come every year and if they’re in town they do. Alex Rodriguez tries to come if he’s in town and he usually does. Bernard Hopkins comes. Some of the Housewives have come the past couple of years.

We’ve had Governor Charlie Crist. We’ve been lucky in that we’ve been able to get enough celebrity push to make it a happening kind of event. We just push it every year. Every year it gets harder!

So how can regular folks get to attend the Blacks Gala?
Well, you can buy individual tickets and they’re available at www.theblacksannualgala.com. In addition to that, you can buy tables and if you’re lucky what you could do is get a group of your friends to buy a table and you can sit with them!

It’s open as long as there’s seating available but you have to get on it because we have had many years where it’s sold out. The seating is based on how much they pay per ticket and the date in which it comes in.

There was some controversy at the RHOM season two reunion regarding the gala. Ana had brought in a folder with some documents. Do you know what was in that folder and what it proved about the gala?
Nothing was in the folder! If there was, trust me she would’ve done something with it.

Our gala’s been around for almost 20 years. We have top people handling it and we’ve never had any complaints. Everyone’s happy to give the money to the charity. We work really hard to give as much as we can to the charity. We do have some expenses. There is one person who works for the charity and other than that, we have one part time person who works for very little, like $10 an hour. We try to get every single thing donated, and if not, we try to get the sponsors to pay for it, and if the sponsors can’t pay for it then it comes out of the proceeds. But for the most part we work really hard to give most of the money to charity.

Is there any truth to the rumors that Roy and his team fought for Bravo to not air any of that on the show?
No. We don’t have any editing rights on the show. If I did, I would have changed a lot of things!

That’s funny. We don’t work for Bravo. Sorry!

Viewers would like to know what you did for a living before you dedicated yourself to charity work and your current business ventures.
Well, I’ve always been in skin care. I’ve been in skin care since the mid 80′s. I’ve had a skin care line that I’ve distributed all over the world called Sudden Youth. I sold it in Singapore, Indonesia, Switzerland…I had an office in Switzerland and offices in Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo. We sold it all throughout he Caribbean and in the states. I had an office in Texas and I’ve had that line up until I got married, and then I didn’t want to travel hundreds and thousands of miles a year. So I turned it over to other people and sold parts of the company, then I didn’t do anything for a while.

Once my son started school and his activities I had more time and I started recreating my skin care business and I added to that a fabulous handbag collection and I’m just basically doing sales and marketing for both my Lea Black beauty line, my Sudden Youth line and my handbag collection that I have. Each one of those is a full time job!

I think you should add to that your own resort wear collection and design a line of turbans.
Oh my God! Isn’t that funny?! Well, I do have a YouTube channel and you can go on it and I’ll show everybody how I tied my scarves into turbans. It’s on my YouTube channel right now because I actually get a lot of questions about that. I would like to do that because it’s a great alternative to a bad hair day or a hat. It takes 30 seconds to wrap them up!

I know a third season hasn’t been announced, but if it were to come back, how would things be between you and Ana?
I haven’t given that any thought. I kind of live in the moment and I’m a little overwhelmed, so I guess if it came back and I decided to be on it, then I would decide how I would interact with every person on the cast.

Have you seen Ana or any of the girls since the reunion taping?
I hardly see any of the girls. I work all the time, so I’m pretty much in my office every day, and I have a son and a husband. So I spend most of my time either working on the charity or working on my business projects or writing for the Huffington Post, and I just finished my novel. So I’m busy all the time. I really don’t make a lot of time for socializing unless it’s one of those things that’s an obligation or a wedding, or an anniversary, or something important like that. But as far as actually socializing, if I have any time off I pretty much spend it with my husband and my son.

So have you kept in touch with any of your cast mates?
I saw Lisa once during Christmas because she had a legal issue getting in and out of the country and she didn’t have anyone to go to Christmas with because she was planning to go home but she ran into a little snafu with that. So I said come on over and I’ll cook for you, so I had her over because they didn’t have any family here. She is adorable.

I saw Joanna once or twice over the summer last year. The others? I ran into Adriana at a Super Bowl party and that’s pretty much it. If I run into them or there’s a reason to see them, of course I do, but I’m not the one making the phone calls because I’m so busy trying to keep up with my own stuff I don’t have much time!

Does Freda still work for you? Do you think she will ever leave your family?
No. She will never leave. Does she still work for me? Let me answer this way – she’s still at my house! She’s there. She helps with the dogs, she helps with RJ. We love her, but yeah, she’s still there. Freda’s been with me almost 20 years and my son is crazy about her. My dogs are crazy about her. She doesn’t really speak English so she doesn’t know what’s going on half the time, so it just kind of works out that way.

Both you and Lisa seem to really take your housekeepers into the family. Is that a Miami thing or is that just you two?
I do have a tendency to treat the people that work for me whether it’s at work or at home, I do treat them very well. I just think that’s how life should be. I consider that I work for them, just as much as they work for me and I don’t hold them to a lower standard.

If there’s something to wash we wash it together if I’m home. If I order out, I order for her. If we fly out, she flies first class with us. If we travel I put her in the same type of room I put myself or RJ in. I just think you have to treat people that way. It’s a responsibility and if you can afford to have a housekeeper you can afford to treat them well. If you can afford to have a staff, you can afford to treat them with respect and if you don’t then you shouldn’t be in business.

That’s a great outlook on how to treat staff!
It’s just the way it is. Everybody deserves an opportunity to make the most out of the time in their life. If they’re dependent on you, and you’re treating them horrible then how miserable is their life going to be? What’s the point?

Do you watch any of the other Real Housewives franchises at all?
I try to catch them when I can. I don’t watch every one of them religiously, but I catch them when I can if they’re TiVo’d or if it’s a rainy day I fast forward through them to catch up. I feel like it’s my homework to keep up with how the franchises are doing, what direction they’re going, what the audience likes, so I watch it in that context.

Are you friends with any of the ladies from the other cities?
I’ve met a few of them! My son plays with Brandi’s son in LA. I met her a couple of times. I knew Lisa long before she was a Housewife. We’re not close friends but we had communication for various reasons. Kim came down and did Tardy For The Party at the charity event when it was just coming out. I know her from that. I met Taylor at a gifting suite in LA last year.

I met Ramona. She’s close friends with friends of mine and there was a large dinner party we both attended. I know Kathy Wakile and I met them through one of my friends, and I’ve had dinner with them a few times.

Most people I met, I actually didn’t meet because they were Housewives. We just happened to be at the same event or I met them before they were even a Housewife. I met Tamra at Heather McDonald’s birthday party and Lisa was also there!

Do you have any regrets since signing up for the Real Housewives, or has it just been a blessing?
I don’t have any regrets. It’s been fun and I like the crew, and for the most part I like the girls. It’s been a learning experience I would say.

How do you handle any negativity or criticism that comes from being on TV? Do you get any hate-Tweets?
I never get any! I’ve only gotten maybe one or two, but there’s always people in the world who are out to make your life miserable, make you look bad or try to hurt you. I just don’t feed into their stories. If they’re that miserable and are looking for misery company they’re not going to find it with me because I just don’t have the time or interest in it.

I like to be the person who empowers people and helps bring them up to feel better about themselves. I’m not interested in bringing anybody down, so if anybody wants to bring me down they can spend all their time on it if they want to but I don’t have any time to rebut that kind of stuff. I’m too busy and I’m not interested in that.

_____________________________________________________________

Lea also has a book coming out later this year! It’s a scandalous mystery novel about Miami socialites with camouflaged characters. She also has a booklet on her philosophy about many things available on her web site! She doesn’t think she has any advice worth charging for unlike other Real Housewives who cash in on advice books. Keep up with Lea on TheWorldOfLeaBlack.com and on Twitter @LeaBlackMiami.

What do you think of what Lea had to say?

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Category: Ana Quincoces, EXCLUSIVES, Lea Black, Lisa Hochstein, Marysol Patton, RHOM, Top Story

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  1. Jen says:

    I enjoyed this interview. I see Lea in a different light after reading this. She’s very dedicated and driven. She’s smart and I like her on miami

    • Dana says:

      Me too. I thought Ana was so wrong at the reunion

      • Flo from Bellmead says:

        When you hear the real truth about this Black woman you will not feel that way about Ana

        • jj says:

          Hey Flo..
          You haven’t said the truth..you make others say or tell the so called truth? what is it? don’t want to get sued? who are you to judge? You are a miserable jerk..with a scary vendetta against someone that you know ? or NOT? Ana..why defend her? Smiling face ..yeah right Ana..she looks unhappy..she’s worth 8 mill..how do u know this ? you sound money obsessed! do you have any? or poor as dirt? does that sound good to say..? YOU are the loser FLO…what have you done with your life? uneducated I assume? you point fingers..when you should just point the finger back at yourself!!

    • Mego the lying stripper says:

      No it’s not. The Viscaya Ball is the social event of the season.

    • Flo from Bellmead says:

      Wonder how her four ex husbands feel about her now? She failed to share that.

    • Flo from Bellmead says:

      What BS She thinks she knows it all, lets see how rich she gets on the junk she is trying to peddle

  2. Dana says:

    I like how Lea says treating staff is how life should be. This was a good interview and i love Freda. She’s so hilarious

  3. Kara says:

    I didn’t like Karent last season but Lea seemed to be tight with her at the reunion. Lea is different than most housewives. She is all about her work and that’s why I like her. Her gala seems like it takes a lot of time and she is always committed. Great interview.

  4. Breanna says:

    Another great interview Rox. But who is that creature in the above picture? I thought that was a skinny and blonde Bette Midler at first. LOL. Great interview again.

  5. JS says:

    I thought Lea and Adriana were like family?

    • Mila says:

      Family when it’s time to film

    • Flo from Bellmead says:

      Black talks terrible about Adriana. Friends of ours say this Black woman is two faced and a user

    • jj says:

      Flo..is sooo down on Lea? why? YOU are the ONLY one who has negative crap to say..why? what are you about?…Ana’s buddy? Ana looks unhappy as hell..and her ex husband..what’s that about? he is a dog! Write something nice…its all negative with this Flo from Bellmead …grow up!

  6. Mila says:

    Good interview. I don’t care to much for Lea but I liked her in this interview

  7. Isabella Patricia says:

    I read some of it, and I really like how Lea treats her staff, maids, etc. She even learns Spanish to communicate with them better, and even knows Vietnamese which is… Oh, my! Very hard! I try to speak Viet, and it’s very difficult so I give her props for that. I can even speak a little Khmer, but man, it’s not easy!

    As for the folder having nothing in it… I’m not surprised. Ana probably wanted to start crap because she’s boring overall.

  8. PandaBear says:

    Loved this interview. If only all business owners felt the way she does about employees. It does seem for those that have domestic help that they are treated well on these shows.

    I loved Miami I hope its back next season.

  9. A. says:

    I like Lea; she seems like a very nice person. I especially liked the part in which she talks about how she treats her housekeeper.

    As for Ana, she was the most boring one on the show and she came off looking like a complete lunatic at the reunion. I think people saw her true colors and I really hope she doesn’t come back for the next season.

  10. Sunnyside_Lady says:

    WOW that’s a lot of photoshop on that picture.

    I mean, she looks great. She also looks like 30 years her junior.

    So much for aging gracefully.

    • Flo from Bellmead says:

      What, 62 years old and trying to stand up with those beautiful young women. She is an old hag

      • jj says:

        HeyFlo…how old are you? sixty two..she isn’t 62! my god..you are one negative down on life..nasty woman! What would one say about your nasty mo?uth

  11. Klown Kardashian says:

    Those shoes are hot!!!

  12. RHO Norm's says:

    Love you Leah, one of my all time faves! I really thought Ana was so hateful and an Agist. Why didn’t anyone call her out on that! It’s almost like being racist or homophobic?!

    • Flo from Bellmead says:

      Ana is a very good person. She found out the truth about this black woman and it is true that the black woman talked bad about her kids.

      • jj says:

        Well..why didn’t she spill it..? she didn’t say jack! about her charity..someone should get paid..they do alot of work..so shut it lady..your remarks are just classless..clueless..and Ana is a drag or drag queen…ohhhh how mean…Ana is boring..and brings nothing to the table ..she doesn’t smile..she looks half mad…and lets her dog of an ex eat dinner “for the kids”..she cried when he moved out of their office/partnership..who wanted that divorce? him?..they didnt’t match each other..she doens’t make good TV!

  13. Ry says:

    Miami is my second favorite franchise so thanks for this interview. Lea’s comments just confirm what we know though-that most of these women are NOT really friends and do NOT hang out together much unless they’re forced to on film lol. I would have thought Lea would see Adriana more often though.

  14. Cajsa says:

    I would not take Lea’s word for it that there was nothing in that folder.

    I assume Ana did some research on that charity, actually reading the 990s and discovering that the actual charitable giving has been someone minor until a couple of years ago. Considering the scope of the event and the way Lea talks about it, I was surprised that the charity did so little.

    The 2010 990 looked respectable, but going back, not so good.

    • Flo from Bellmead says:

      I think Ana will be ready for miss black this time around. She has so much dirt on her. It should be a real interesting season for this snooty black woman. She forgets where she came from

    • Flo from Bellmead says:

      Bet she takes money from that charity. don’t trust her

      • jj says:

        Ok spill the dirt on Lea? What dirt?
        Where did she come from? everyone came from somewhere…whether rich or poor…people are people..and money or lack of..does NOT a person make! Lea is interesting..and says it like it is..everyone has a heart..but yours is completely jaded! do you even have one?

  15. CryWolf says:

    Jose, i LOVED loved loved this interview! I liked Lea before but really do now. I like that she can take a joke and your questions were perfect. I thought she &the Adrianna were closer. This makes me wonder if she has resentments about Adrianna not defending her at the reunion. I had heard something to this effect shortly after the reunion. But again, great interview!

  16. Prettypinkie says:

    Leah looks awesome wow she so pretty in the pic up above I mean don’t get me wrong Leah is a very pretty woman but when I saw this pic of her it was like wow she’s so beautiful , I hope that I could look just half of what she looks like .

    • Flo from Bellmead says:

      She has all those pictures touched up. she is ugly and old. look at her hands they are so old looking and big hips too

  17. Lapband Lauren says:

    I love lea. I have come to love her a lot. Her personality is so fun and shes a busy woman. Adriana is her good friend but lea said she is busy all the time. And i think she probably would be upset adriana didnt stick up for her a little bit but lea can hold her own. I love how they were making fun of her for standing up so many times! Lol. You can tell lea is a great soul and probably a very good friend. God bless her

  18. Flo from Bellmead says:

    Lisa Sustala has not been honest on these shows and I hope that Ana will seek to find the truth. The public will be shocked over her past and present.

    • Flo from Bellmead says:

      First her maiden name is Douthit, she was so ashamed of her past she changed to Lea. Start with 4 marriages and a relationship with Beasley Reese, high school football star. Go see her family, the one that we never see on screen nor hear about. She cried over her dog more than she did over her own sister when she died. This skin care is a joke and you can have all of the photo shopped pics done of yourself that you want but she is still a 59 year old who looks ten years older. She speaks no truth. Ask her about her lover before her husband who lived on the property, died by the pool and she didn’t even come to the funeral. This is what realoty is all about…..I hope Ana will take some of her 8 million net worth and investigate ms, Douthit. The public would be shocked at how her family lives in Waco and Bellmead and China Spring. Pitiful

  19. Flo from Bellmead says:

    As far as her so called book her husband probably wrote it. she is uneducated, lied about going to college. She peddles stuff, she is not smart

  20. Tammy says:

    OMG! This Flo from Bellmead has a real vendetta against Lea. Almost scary.

    • jj says:

      no kidding..she does have a revenge detta….lol..on poor Lea..obviously..some of the Lea’s family comes from her town..is this a family member of Lea? so what , she changed her name..4 marriages? football star..she married..so what? h.s. bf? who were the others? she has been with her husband for 20 plus years..so leave it alone..Yes..Tammy, that lady seems scary..and why? what did Lea..aka Lisa..and what’s with the last name..? Douthit.do you mean, Doubtit? it she does..she can’t spell either..that woman needs to shut the hell up!

  21. msfanniemay says:

    She should thank the creative team WHO INVENTED PHOTOSHOP because believe me she DOES NOT LOOK THAT PHOTO featured above. And her EVEA SOOOOO ANNOYING LAUGHTER (if that’s what you want to call it) needs to stop! She needs to find another one! PLEASE!!!!!

  22. Roro says:

    Of all the women on RHOM, I like Lea the best. She has been a good friend to some and they are jealous of her.

  23. Roro says:

    Good for Lea for escaping from those folks in TEXAS.

  24. Mary says:

    This is an oldie interview….I don’t watch the show, but I did one season.

    My question is this: how much of what you raise at your Galla ACTUALLY GOES TO THE KIDS?

    My guess, not much.

  25. Joanne says:

    Leah , you are an amazing woman, I grew up in Miami, love watching the show,
    I love the way you treat Frieda, wish I would of met you (our ages are very close),
    Did you go to Miami schools, I did. Loved the birthday party that was planned for RJ. He’s a cute kid! Always watch all of the Housewives show, but being from and growing up in Miami, my heart will always be there! looking forward to the coming season.

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