Bravo has added two powerful peaches with potent pedigrees to the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta for Season 4! As I mentioned in a previous profile post, the long and lovely Cynthia Bailey boasts a legitimate supermodel resume and legitimate supermodel body. (CLICK HERE to read all about Cynthia!)
But the talk of the virtual town so far is powerhouse entertainment lawyer Phaedra Parks, who hit the drama ground running in episode one with bold statements about herself, her career, her husband Apollo Nida and fellow cast member (as well as fellow Athenian) NeNE Leakes! Phaedra had nothing but positive things to say about the first three, but unleashed a genteel tongue lashing on NeNe, insinuating that the former stripper was devoid of class!
Famous for not being kind to newcomers (remember Kandi last year?) NeNe was able to unleash in her own narrative in the first episode calling Phaedra “Plain Jane” and completely lacking in “fabulosity!” And on last week’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, NeNe responded to Phaedra’s comments about her by saying her nickname for Phaedra is Fakedra. MEOWWW!!
But enough of the Season premiere drama recap (You can see the entire episode and read a full recap HERE), let’s move on to getting to know Phaedra Parks!
Phaedra (Greek for “The Glowing One”) grew up in Athens, Georgia – a mid-size college town about 70 miles east of Atlanta and home to the University of Georgia. Phaedra attended the same high school as NeNe Leakes, though several years behind her. (I tried and tried to find out the name of the school with no luck – if you know please comment below and I will add it to the post)
Phaedra Parks intro video from BravoTV.com:
Phaedra got her undergraduate degree from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia – a small, private, Methodist-affiliated women’s college that owns the distinction of being the first college in the world to grant degrees to women.
After graduating from Wesleyan, Phaedra returned to Athens to get her Juris Doctor law degree from the University of Georgia. She reportedly considered politics as a career “but didn’t like the compromises and needs to clip her tongue to accommodate constituents. She prefers being able to speak her mind,” according to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.
Phaedra Parks left UGA and began working for GEICO’s in-house law firm of Bridges Ormand & Faenza, “watching and learning from seasoned lawyers,” she says, “who knew how to handle clients and judges and million-dollar deals.” (SuperLawyers.com) Phaedra enjoyed being an insurance defense attorney and even pondered becoming insurance commissioner for a time, but that was before hip hop promoter Shakir Stewart saw her trying a civil case and planted the bug in her ear about becoming an entertainment lawyer.
Phaedra’s friend Ryan Cameron, an Atlanta DJ, finally convinced her to take the leap, assuring Phaedra that if she wasn’t overrun with clients within six months he would go and get her old job back for her himself.
Atlantic Records recognized Phaedra’s talent and almost immediately sent a high profile case her way involving their young star Drama, who was in a Georgia prison at the same time as a scheduled tour. Phaedra got Drama a furlough and toured with him as insurance that he would return. From SuperLawyers:
“Accompanying Drama was not part of the written agreement,” she says, “But the record company wanted to make sure he made it back to jail in time and it was sort of understood that I would be responsible for that.”
Rapper Too $hort, whose family was friends with Phaedra’s family, also took on her services and stirred up quite a bit of business with his on-air claims that he had the prettiest and toughest lawyer in town.
Since that time, Phaedra has gone on to represent a laundry list of high-profile celebrities such as Too $hort, Jermaine Dupri, Ludacris, Bobby Brown and Michael Jackson as Managing Partner of The Parks Group, P.C., an Atlanta-based boutique law firm that represents entertainers and athletes all over the country. Her Bravo bio page fills out her resume: “She has served as a legal analyst for NBC and Fox News, and has been featured on Entertainment Tonight, EXTRA, Court TV, among others for her handling of several high-profile clients and cases. An active member of the community, Phaedra, self-proclaimed “Southern Bell,” sits on numerous boards and is involved is multiple charities.”
Normally her high-profile career would be the spotlight, but the most dramatic storyline for Phaedra on The Real Housewives of Atlanta promises to be her marriage to Apollo Nida, a handsome younger (8 years younger!) man who just happens to be an ex-convict! That’s right, Apollo served over 5 years in prison after being convicted of racketeering as well as theft by receiving stolen goods. (CLICK HERE to read all about Apollo Nida’s white collar criminal past, including mug shots and court records!)
There is no way in heck that the other ladies of the ATL are going to let someone come in with Phaedra’s “holier-than-thou” Southern Belle attitude and not fire back with both barrels on her marriage to Apollo! Judging from some of the previews for tonight’s episode we won’t have to wait very long either! And the drama will only ramp up because Phaedra was pregnant during filming! That’s a lot of exclamation points!
As an extra bonus, here’s a video tour of Phaedra Parks’ crib: