Draya Michele rose to fame from reality TV doing VH1’s Basketball Wives LA, but that fame came at a cost. In an interview with The Shaderoom’s Thembi Mawema, Michele talked about the toll being on the show took on her mental health.
“It’s not even allowed to be played anywhere that I’m at. The sound of it is traumatic for me,” she said to the host about the series.
“I had to go to therapy for that. Really grateful for the experience and I learned a lot and I’m so, so, so eternally thankful for the platform that it’s given me, but just like the way that I felt every day showing up to do that was so dark and so scary for me every day,” she added.
Michele, 38, was part of the original Basketball Wives LA cast and joined in 2011. She was a fan favorite despite being a target for the other girls on the show who had a lot to say about her parenting, the men she was linked to and more. Some of the cast members at the time included Gloria and Laura Govan, Malaysia Pargo, Jackie Christie and Brandi Maxiell.
The former reality TV star continued, “I would call my mom every single day and be like, ‘oh my God, mom, I sat and I had lunch with them and they were so mean to me. They were saying this and that, and pulling up my past and saying random sh-t and I, I don’t know how it’s gonna look when it comes out.’ I didn’t know what it was gonna look like when it aired. I thought I was gonna be not the bad guy, but just like the least favorite. I thought how they collectively felt about me was gonna be like the opinion of the world.”
Mawema followed up by affirming how much the viewers loved her and she responded saying she had “no idea that was going to happen” and that she cried every day.
“I was going to work every day arguing with these women. I was arguing with these women and I just was like, I don’t understand it,” she said. “Like, I have real girls that I went to high school with that don’t like me because they have valid reasons. I don’t understand why these women don’t like me.”
She added, “It took me a couple years to get it and then once I got it, got it. I was like, ‘yeah, I don’t wanna do this anymore.’”
The mother of two said she made the decision to throw in the towel permanently when she had an encounter with a white woman who came up to her in public and confessed that she closet watched the show, meaning it was something she didn’t want people to know she was a viewer of.
“This is probably how this woman thinks we all are as just Black women. She probably is like, ‘those Black women are crazy. They are rowdy’ and I was just like, damn. I can’t contribute to that no more. That stereotype, like, I cannot do that,” she concluded.
Michele left Basketball Wives at the end of season four in 2015. She has since gone on to pursue her acting career and create a thriving swimsuit line called Mint Swim. The “it” girl also uses her spare time to garden, a hobby she developed during COVID.