“They said it was a competition, but no one said you could only have one look,” says Tanya Sam, joking about a now-infamous Real Housewives of Atlanta episode. In season 11’s “Bitch Stole My Talent” showdown, the then-newbie battled it out with fashionista Marlo Hampton in a friendly best-dressed competition.
Sam sported a Christian Dior power suit, then peeled off the layers to reveal a matching swimsuit, also created by the French brand. She won by adhering to the fashion mantra that has carried her throughout her successful career: “There are no rules.”
From the first pair of Louboutins she purchased in Las Vegas to her favorite Chanel boots, the RHOA star and tech entrepreneur’s fashion obsession comes from her parents: She inherited her Ghanaian father’s and British mother’s unique aesthetic.
“Africans are always stylish, especially Ghanaians,” she muses. “We drip, and that’s a historical drip. It’s in our bones to be stylish.”
Introduced to Housewives fans after frequenting Nene Leakes’ shop, Swagg Boutique, Sam garnered attention with her show-stopping ensembles. She and her fiancé, tech businessman Paul Judge, are expanding their portfolio by investing in Atlanta’s A3C Festival, which celebrates the legacy and future of hip hop. They also bankroll start-up companies and minority-owned businesses. Sam balances her work life with indulging in luxe finds.
The sartorial maven’s swoonworthy closet resembles a glitzy showroom featuring the most sought-after designer pieces. A cozy fireplace and plush chair provide a respite when fashion overload strikes. After all, the designer labels are many. Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and Miu Miu shoes crowd floor-to-ceiling shelves on the left, while Dior, Chanel and YSL bags fill shelves on the right.
“I’ve had purchases that are memorable and probably cost under $100,” Sam says. “But you remember your big purchases.”
After eight years in a male-dominated industry, Sam continues to dress for success.
“It’s like putting on your superhero cape,” she says. “Mine may be Oscar de la Renta, but that doesn’t make it any less Marvel Comics superhero than Captain America.”