Bravo’s hit series “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” featured an unexpected breakout star—Dwight Eubanks. As NeNe’s hairdresser and confidante, Eubanks also was the show’s resident comedian. But there’s much more to the stylist than throwing around the word “dreadful,” as he shares with ESSENCE.com the pain of disappointing his parents by not answering his call to the altar, the lowdown on his sexuality, and what fans can expect from the show’s next season.
ESSENCE.COM: Welcome back from Paris. You are now a reality TV favorite, but around Atlanta you are known for your fierce eye for fashion and style. How did you get started in the business of beauty?
DWIGHT EUBANKS: I’ve been doing hair all my life. I grew up playing with my sister’s dolls and that was the beginning. I come from two generations of ministers, so my parents saw me following that road. Of course, that didn’t work and I got beat for playing with dolls. My grandmother helped them finally accept me as I am. It’s been a natural art for me and not a day of work. I modeled prior to doing hair and I also had a hat line called Eubanks Design. After being the style director at Saks Fifth Avenue, I opened my own salon and here we are now celebrating 21 years in the business. There’s nothing I would change.
ESSENCE.COM: Congrats! So have you given any beauty tips to the Atlanta housewives?
EUBANKS: The first picture I saw of them was horrible—looking like southern belles back in the 50’s. I told Bravo and asked, “Who was the stylist?” When you travel the world and mention Atlanta, Georgia people still think “Gone with the Wind,” so it’s about educating people and putting out the right image. I talked with Kim on the reunion show about changing her hair and it was genuine. This is my passion. NeNe is my girl and I talked to her about her wardrobe, but with strong Black women, they are going to feel what they feel.
ESSENCE.COM: You got that right. And we hear that speaking your mind helped you secure your own show.
EUBANKS: Well, the networks are still trying to figure out what to do with me. Most days I don’t know what to do with me, so I know they are having a hard time. (Laughs.) I’ve had several offers and had to re-evaluate what direction I want to go in. On the next season of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” I will be featured more and we start filming in a few weeks. I hope it will be a little more positive and more of what I do when it comes to beauty. It’s going to be interesting. This show is not staged. It’s the real raw material.
ESSENCE.COM: And how have men responded to you?
EUBANKS: You know, I think I may have more straight men as fans than women. The definition of what makes a Black man has opened. I get by with a whole lot more than my guy friends. I love breasts and when I’m out and women want to take pictures with me I grab them. My straight friends are like, How do you get away with that? It’s one of the advantages of being me. I love women. I have the best of both worlds.
ESSENCE.COM: How do you define your sexuality?
EUBANKS: At an early age my parents discovered my sexuality, whatever you want to call it. I don’t consider myself straight or gay. I just enjoy life. I always tell people to follow your heart. I’m secure with who I am and what I am; like I told Andy Cohen when he asked about my toolbox. I’m not a woman and never wanted to be a woman. People ask why I allow them to call me the sixth housewife and It’s just for fun. I live in the moment, because life is too short not to enjoy it and I’m loving mine and living.