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Briana Bigham of 'Harlem Heights:' 'Young Black Adults Can Do More Than Sports or Music'

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Fashion is Briana Bigham's passion. A graduate of the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology, the Atlanta native enjoys a successful career as a designer for Victoria Secret's Pink collection. Bigham has recently taken her love of handbags to new heights by launching her own collection, B. Marie. ESSENCE.com caught up with the fashionista to talk about the allure to reality TV and a personal habit she discovered thanks to the cameras.

ESSENCE.COM: As the resident fashionista, what was the appeal of doing reality TV?
BRIANA BIGHAM:
It wasn't necessarily an appeal, but more that me and my friends hang tight because those are my real friends so it felt natural.

ESSENCE.COM: At any moment did you become overly aware that you were being filmed?
BIGHAM:
Well, after the first take it was pretty much smooth sailing. Although, I'd never done television before, the cameras didn't sway me.
 
ESSENCE.COM: That means you're a natural in the spotlight. Were there any mannerisms or habits that you became acutely aware of after watching yourself?
BIGHAM:
I tend to use my hands a lot when I'm talking and that was the running joke (laughs.) I never noticed it until everyone brought it to my attention. Other than that there's never a question of what I do because I give it to you 100 percent.

ESSENCE.COM: You've recently launched your own handbag collection. How's it going?
BIGHAM:
It's been a long process trying to get the logo just right, but it's coming along. All the work that I've done, and for it to be available nationally is great. Because I'm in the apparel industry, I get clothes for free all the time, so I spent most of my money buying these designer handbags until my cousin said make your own handbags and Victoria Secret's Pink has been extremely supportive and even donated clothes for the show.

ESSENCE.COM: What do you hope your peers will learn from this show.
BIGHAM:
I grew up in Texas in a predominantly White upper-class school and the teachers weren't too supportive of me. But I've learned that all you have to do is work hard and grind it out. You don't need anyone to do it for you. I hope this show will show Black America that outside of the athlete, politics and rappers there are other things and avenues that we can pursue as young movers and shakers.

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