Melody Holt has evolved quite a bit from the woman we first met when Love and Marriage: Huntsville premiered on OWN in 2020. She went from a mother of three to mom of four; from a devoted wife to a divorcee; and from real estate mogul to a woman learning the ropes of e-commerce. She even transitioned from a trusting friend to someone who is a bit more discerning when it comes to the people in her life.

ESSENCE recently caught up with Holt to discuss these major life changes and how they’re playing out on reality television. See what she had to say below. 

You and your castmates have shared that Love and Marriage: Huntsville is not exactly what you thought it would be initially. What keeps you coming back to the show? 

This show gives me the platform and the opportunity to touch so many people and to impact so many people. When I wake up and I look at the DMs that I have from women who can relate to my story, who are inspired by me, that becomes purpose work. So that is exactly why I continue to be a part of Love and Marriage: Huntsville, why I continue to be transparent and share my journey. 

On the first episode of this season, there was a lot of talk about the conversation Latisha and Destiny had where they spoke about you in an unflattering way. On the show you didn’t mention specifically what you heard. Was that intentional? 

Kimmi and I were able to sit down and have a conversation and she asked me the same thing, ‘What exactly was said?’ I shared with her it was enough for me to say, ‘Uht unn I’m not rocking that way.’ It’s not okay. There’s not any one that my friends are not cool that I would be discussing them with at all. Matter of fact, if anybody brings them up, I would say, ‘No, we’re not talking about her.’ Just being able to draw those lines when there is a friendship. For those of you who are in tune, that’s just a piece of it. That’s not the whole reason for the break in the friendship. There’s more to it. 

What do you make of the concept of frenemies and maintaining certain relationships for the sake of the show?

Frenemies…what is that? I don’t get that. That’s not a term that I use. That’s not a term that I ever want to be okay with. You’re either a friend or you’re not. I’m a person who, if I’m in your life, I’m genuinely there. I’m going to be kind-hearted, try to help you elevate and do whatever it is that you say you want to accomplish in life. It’s from a pure space. It’s not anything that I’m looking to gain from you. And when I realize that others’ intentions may not be so pure or when my intuition kicks in and tells me, ‘Hold up, you need to back up. Something’s not right.’ Then I listen to that. We have a choice. We should normalize being okay with people setting boundaries for themselves and choosing to remove themselves from people that they know genuinely don’t mean them any good. 

I know Destiny and Martell were friends before you and Martell got married. What do you make of their relationship now? 

I don’t know what their relationship is. I don’t talk to either one of them. What I can say is, I was with my ex for over 14 years and I met Destiny maybe around 2017, maybe 2018. And I married him in 2008. So what kind of friends they were…I never heard him talk about her. 

Are you and Martell in a better place in terms of co-parenting? Are you settling into what it means to be divorced?

I’m settled into what it means to be divorced. In the sense of me moving on with my life, focusing on myself, focusing on my children. When it comes to he and I, unfortunately, it’s not what I wish it could be. It’s one of those things that takes two people. Everyone doesn’t get to that place as quickly as the other. So, in protecting my peace and setting boundaries for myself, I make sure that no one’s negative energy is controlling my day to day life and activities. I have no room and no tolerance, to be frank, for anything is negative and low vibrational. 

Marsau posted a picture that raised questions about possible infidelity in Kimmi and Maurice’s relationship. You issued a word of warning to Kimmi. Why did you think that was so important to share with her?

Kimmi and I, over the years, we’ve always had a relationship where she asks the questions she needs to ask, even the tough questions. But I appreciate that about her. I think that’s why Kimmi and I have mostly been able to continue to get along well. We get each other. 

So with the photo dropping on social media, I was able to check on her. She always checks on me when things happen on social media with me. I asked those questions. How did it make you feel? And if he did, what are you going to do? This is girlfriend conversation. Girlfriends who aren’t fearful. Like I said, trust your intuition. Follow that. I wasn’t there so I don’t know what happened. But one thing I did say, that didn’t make the cut was that, ‘The enemy is busy, honey. Don’t let the enemy mess up your marriage.’ 

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Can you speak about your friendship with Stormi Steele? What do you think she’ll bring to the show?

Stormi is like me. She’s very direct and straightforward but at the same time, she’ll do anything she can to help and be there for you. What I’ve been enjoying with the friendship that Stormi and I have–is that I’m so used to being the person who is the one people can lean on. I’m the person people are asking questions and advice to so it’s been great to know I have a friend who is an expert in something that I’m new to– such as e commerce. I can ask her certain things and she can be the one to pour into me. I’m used to being the one who’s always pouring into other people. So that has been refreshing. 

She has a lot going on. Her beauty brand just got a huge distribution deal with Target, Walgreens and CVS. I have a lot going on so we get that about each other. I hadn’t talked to her in seven days and when we did speak, we picked right back up where we had left off. Neither one of us said or thought, ‘Did I do something?’ ‘Is she mad at me?’ None of that. 

Tell us about your skincare line. Why was that a passion for you?

As a child, I actually suffered from something called pityriasis rosacea, which is a drying of the skin. My great-grandmother actually shared some ingredients with me that are a part of Seventh Avenue Skin Care. The ingredients helped me to combat that itchiness and the rash. So I knew that I wanted to do a skin care line. Fortunately, I was able to get with a Black, female chemist and formulate the products. I didn’t want to get something from overseas and private label it. So I love that it’s USA made. I was able to be a part of the formulating process, while sharing those things that my great grandmother shared with me. And just making sure it is natural, paraben free, clean, vegan. I have to wear glam a lot but I do believe that under the makeup, your skin should be clean and clear. So it’s been doing very, very well. I’ve been presented with some opportunities to go into retail. But I’m enjoying e-commerce right now. My girl Stormi told me to do that for a while first. The support has been phenomenal and I’m just really, really thankful. 

What would you say music fulfills for you in terms of your creative expression?

It’s so interesting because I’ve been singing since I was five. My first performance was when I was five. I’ve been performing, singing, doing pageants, talent shows, playing the piano, [performing in] church since then. 

It’s been great having another outlet, especially for a lot of the things that I’ve gone through. I tell people often, you see me smiling and you see me happy. I’m here now but I had to work to get there. But I also had to be careful with how I expressed myself in interviews or on social media. Well, in my music I can express myself how I want to. That’s how I feel. It’s great to have that outlet to share what I’m thinking and feeling. And apparently, a lot of women can relate to it. Because right now, my latest single “Down” is number one on the charts. 

Love & Marriage: Hunstville airs Saturdays at 8 pm EST on OWN.