By :- R. Anthony Morrison


For those of you who may not know, Blood Sweat & Heels is a reality series that follows the business, social, and personal lives several women who live in New York City. The series premiered on Bravo January 5, 2014. Th premier episode boasted 2.5 million viewers. It was an impressive showing for the network. Demetria Lucas D'Oyley, Melyssa Ford, Mica Hughes, Daisey Lewellyn, Brie Bythewood, and Geneva Thomas were all part of the season one cast. On March 29, 2015 the second season brought two newcomers to the fray; Chantelle Fraser, and Arzo Anwar. 
The show is a whirlwind of exclusive parties and trips, drama and intense conflicts. It's all the exciting elements that reality TV fans expect. If you have seen the show they you have no doubt hear the posh British accent of Chantelle Fraser. We were fortunate to be able to catch up with one of the newest BSH  cast members and talk about her journey. She describes herself as very outspoken, and assertive. Perfect qualities for a reality series and  she is more than holding her own with the American girls. Armed with an education from the University of London and a strong entrepreneurial spirit Chantelle has made a swift climb up the ladder of success. She runs her own company Flawless when not in production with Blood Sweat & Heels. If that's not enough she's considering venturing into acting. Even her dog Milkshake has gotten into the act. Milkshake is goign to be featured in a Hamptons Pet Magazine next month. There is a lot more to reality shows than what you see on the screen. There is also a lot more to Chantell Fraser than what you've seen on Blood Sweat & Heels. We are pleased to present our interview with Chantelle Fraser.

P: Chantell, your parents are originally from Jamaica what was it like growing up in a Caribbean British household?

CF: My parents are quite British,  they moved to England when they were eight years old. The Jamaican culture was still very prevalent in our household. We listened to Jamaican music, and ate traditional Caribbean food.  Every Sunday we had rice and peas, and chicken. We definitely had strong sense of culture, I was taught to be proud of my Jamaican upbringing. I was taught that I was a representative of Jamaica. I was always very conscious of that. My parents always wanted me to strive to succeed, and  be the best. The always said we were visitors or guests in a foreign land. It was always important that we represented the Jamaican brand.
P: Have you bee able to visit Jamaica much?
CF: I've been to Jamaica many times, we have family in Kingston, Negril, and we have family in the countryside as well.

P :  You studied on more of a business track rather than anything related to entertainment at university right?
CF: I went to the London School of Economics. My undergraduate degree is from Goldsmith University which is one of the Universities of London. I studied psychology in undergraduate as well. I had an interest in people, group dynamics and those kinds of things. I studied management for my masters degree at the London School of Economics.

P : When did you become interested in the entertainment industry
CF: It was actually while I was at the London school of economics, that I developed an interest in the entertainment industry.  Initially I wanted to go into corporate life. I always wanted to work for Goldman Sachs I remember getting the interview for Goldman Sachs.  It was a coveted interview because it was very difficult to get that interview. So I got the interview for Goldman Sachs, and I  got the feeling that I wasn't really going to make an impact there. I felt that I would just be a cog in the wheel, and I knew that I was never going to own a bank.  I always wanted to have my own business. I've always been independent, as a child I started washing cars when I was about eight or nine years old for money, and I had my first part time job at 16.
P : How that interest in having your own business lead to entertainment?
CF: I thought about what my interests were, I love entertainment, I love managing people, and I'm a great talent spotter as well. I decided that what I really want to do is to make an impact in entertainment industry. I wanted to have a business. So I thought, how am I going to meet people in the entertainment industry? With the entertainment industry it's all about relationships and contacts. I started working as a waitress in a very exclusive private members club run by Ronnie Woods of the Rolling Stones. I would meet all types of people there from the entertainment industry, very high level people. I got myself an internship with a music management company.  I got my foot in the door, and from there I knew that was my future.

P : Did your parents have any strong opinions about your choice?
CF: They were fine with it actually because they knew that I always wanted to have my own business. When I was at university I started a recruitment company. I was making money while at University, some of the other kids were working at fast food places.  I had my own business, so my family always knew I had that kind of entrepreneurial spirit.  So whatever I did they were quite fine with.

P : From there you founded your current company Flawless, how did that start?
CF:  Flawless was actually a eureka moment.  I was working at a modeling agency, and my goal was to have a traditional modeling agency. I worked at a modeling agency for about four years. I noticed that we were getting calls from clients wanting to book our models for promotional events. They were very high paying promotional events but we weren't allowed to book those models. As we were managing their careers their focus was to be on the pages of Vogue, and Victoria Secrets campaigns. So we turned down these very well paying jobs. Then I would go to restaurants, and I would see the same girls who had tuned down $2-3000 jobs  working at restaurants to supplement their income. 

P : Was this when you had your eureka moment?
CF:  I thought hold on, why don't I just provide models with the ability to moonlight and do extra jobs on the side.  I would give clients access to high fashion models. There would be no expectation from the models that it will enhance their modeling careers. They will have a good high paying side job, and they are going to make more money than they would waitress It would  still conducive to their modeling career.  It was just that the expectations would be  different so that's pretty much how it started.
P : How difficult was it starting a company from a sudden moment of inspiration? 
CF: I started my company from my bedroom in 2006 . I was 26, and really fearless. In hindsight I'm not sure if I would have started it if I was that age now. I definitely had a lot more courage back then I didn't have any money at all. I had just moved into a rent controlled apartment, and I had a room mate.  I didn't know how I was going to pay my rent  but I knew that it was my calling.
P : How did you choose the name Flawless for your company?
CF: When I came up with the name Flawless it just came to me. I thought what am I goning to call this company, what do I want my brand to represent. How do I want people to see my company. then I saw a magazine next to me and it said Flawless, and I thought that's it. It just started from there. I was really motivated to start the business. I thoght the worst that could happen is I'll fail at the business, and then I'll go back to work. With the contacts I had established in the induestry I was able to pick up some high level accounts.  I just started calling from the top. I was taught that it's just as easy to start from the top as the bottom. I would go to the highest blue chip corporations, and offer my services. luckily for me it worked out. I got some great accounts and within a year I had moved offices, and we were in Soho.
P : What do you like about your company?

CF: It's very dynamic because we represent so many different talent types.We've progressed from models to entertainers, and djs as well. We  also have lots of unique performers as well; contortionist fire performers, and snake charmers.  Its really interesting to see the level of unique talent that comes our way.  What I always loved about flawless is I never put limits on anyone that is working with flawless.  If anyone has an idea that's outside the box I welcome it because I feel that one should always encourage change. I think if you don't encourage change then you become static, and you become kind of redundant.
P : So how did you come to be doing reality TV?
CF: It's funny really because I feel that was always my destiny. People always told me that I had a very quirky personality.  That was quite shocking to me because I always considered myself to be quite dry. People would always be in hysterics when I wasn't even trying to be funny. My friends would say "oh you should go on a reality TV show". I would be like" really?"  I remember interviewing with a few magazine about my business business, and they would always ask me have you ever considered reality. They would say "You have such an interesting business, and you have such a dynamic personality you would be great at it."
P : Was this the first time you had the opportunity to do it?
CF: I had actually been presented with a few opportunities before this. My friend Geneva Thomas is one of the current cast members from season one. She  approached me and said that she thought my story would really fit in with the Ethos of Blood Sweat & Heels. I was introduced to the producers, and I met the girls. It just really came natural to me, and the rest is history. I also think it's a great platform to promote my business. My central focus is Flawless so if I can have a national platform (It's actually international because we're airing in Australia as well) to promote my business I think that's priceless. It's a very unique opportunity so I didn't see any reason not to do it

P: What is your day like when the show is in production?

CF: It starts at about six in the morning. I have hair and makeup, and that takes a long time to kind of get camera ready for HD. This season I definitely wanted to be the best version of myself. I took extra care with hair, and make up. So we start out at six in the morning. After that you could be waiting around for a couple of hours to start the scene while they set up. It can literally take up your whole day. Then in the evening you hang out some more with the cast members, it's pretty much all consuming
P: How difficult was it at first to fit in and become part of the group?
CF: Well these were Geneva's friends, and I was very new to the group.  In my previous life I had a very small circle of friends, and I joined this group of women who were already friends. It was definitely difficult to maneuver myself into the group. We all have very strong personalities as well Sometimes I clash with some of the girls, and it's definitively about  lack of understanding.  In an ideal world you just want to be happy and friendly with everybody. That was new to me having people that I didn't get on with  or that would challenge me. It was like being in a wolf pack almost, and your the newest one . I would say fighting for position almost of  testing your limits to see if you can hang. Another thing that I really enjoyed about it was that I  made some great friends on the show. I probably made a few enemies but I have made some great friends. It was just a bonding experience because it's so unique.  Just having that bond with some of the women was just really wonderful for me.
 P : Has being on a reality series brought more visibility to your business?

CF: We have a lot of press coverage for the business world also from the Caribbean market.  I've gotten a lot of exposure there, and I've gotten few magazine covers coming up which is great.  I'm also going to be active in Caribbean Week , so it has  given me more me visibility. This is a starting point and the response that I've gotten from the public, and the press has been encouraging
P : How have you managed to keep your business on track while doing the series?

CF: It's been difficult the past few months doing the show is so new to me. It's overwhelming with the press, and the interests of friends and family everyone wants to talk about it.  It's been a process to manage my focus on things. I struggled with that in the beginning but Ive kind of come through that. My commitment to the betterment of myself, and my brand has helped my focus. You never know how long you're going to  have a platform. You have maximize that opportunity. I never want to live in regret.  People procrastinate on things then say "Oh I wish I had done that when I had the opportunity.

P : So as reality shows go, how real is the show?
CF: We have to keep the show as authentic as possible.  If the producers see you trying to do something that's  not authentic they're probably not going to approve the scene. If I say I want to show myself ballroom dancing but I'm not really a ballroom dancer.  If I don't do that in my natural life then they are probably not goi to approve it. I don't know how these producers are so savvy but they really take the time to get to know who you are. They've been doing it so long that they can see who is being authentic and who's not.

P : So you would say then that the show really is about your life?
CF: Some people want to put on a pretend lifestyle that's just for the cameras. Its definitely about being authentic with your life . It's really a series of conversations and finding out what you have planned for the day or for the week. It evolves as well because we're in a group. Initially it's your day to day life prior to the show because that's all you have to go on. As you get into it you start bonding with the girls. Then  it's like "Hey lets take a trip here, lets do this. You want to hang out with certain people, and conflicts occur that need to be discussed. It's a very evolutionary process.  There are logistical issues too such as if you want to shoot inside a restaurant you obviously have to get permission,  You have to get releases from whoever is around which can be difficult sometimes. Sometimes it can be difficult because you have a specific lifestyle but you can't access that lifestyle because they don't really want the cameras at your favorite restaurant  but we were very lucky this season.
P : Do you spend time with your fellow cast members when you're not on camera?
CF: Yeah, I hang out with a few of the cast members who I'm really really close with.  The relationships are really authentic, I don't know about other reality shows but ours were really authentic with the relationships that you see
P : We see plenty of drama and conflicts on the show, things don't always get worked out in an hour. come do the conflicts on the show get resolved?
CF: How does it get resolved? Sometimes it doesn't. Last season some of the issues with some of the cast members that weren't getting along didn't get resolved. They had to resolve their issues this season. The producers can't make you do anything so it has to be of your volition.  If I'm sitting here, and I don't want to talk to you the producer is not going to come over and say "now this is what I want you to do". They're really flies on the wall. When I first started I thought how are they going to make a show out of us having lunch, and us hanging out together having fun. It happens and it all just unfolds.
P: Did you watch the show before you joined the cast?
CF: I didn't get to see too much of the previous season. I did get to watch the big episode where there was the Hamptons blow up last season. That was an interesting episode it was very exciting. I felt sorry for Mica I like Mica a lot but I haven't got to all of the episodes when I got cast everything went so quickly from the minute I was cast it as pretty much right into production

P:  What did your friends and family think of the show, and was it different than your own perceptions?
CF: I feel like I'm probably my worst t critic. A lot of my friends, and family when they saw it said "well that's exactly how you are." So to them I didn't do anything unusual  I was being completely myself. I'm definitely outspoken, and assertive , I'm not afraid to voice my opinion
 P : What kind of responses are you getting from the Caribbean and the U.K. about the show?
CF: I've had great response from the Caribbean and, especially Jamaica  I think that's just the way Jamaican  people are we're very embracing of our own so they have been very very supportive to me. So that's been great even though I wasn't born there I feel like I have a home there. I feel very connected to Jamaica and the people there. The UK  feedback has been very mixed because I'm  not a very typical British Black girl.  Some of them see me and they say " wow she has a very posh accent no one speaks like that in England." So its been mixed. I've had people say to me that "Your representing Britain very well." but over all the public response has been very very good. It could have been worst,some of the other cast members have taken some lashings almost episode to episode.  For the most part I haven't had anything too stressful no ones said anything too nasty about me.
P : What have you learned from watching yourself on the show?
CF: I've really enjoyed  watching myself, it sounds strange to say that. I mean you get the opportunity to see your self, and know your flaws.  It's a humbling experience actually but you also grow from that. I see aspects of myself where I think I can definitely learn and grow. I'm all about growth I strive to be the best version of myself at all times. So having an opportunity to see myself, and how I can improve and be better is great for me.
 P :  Based on this experience, would you do a reality series again?

 CF: I absolutely would do it again I've had a blast. Because I am so opinionated, and I am so assertive my being challenged by someone doesn't affect me at all. If that's the worst thing that happens then I'm fine. You're not necessarily in control of how things are portrayed or how things are represented.  For the most part I would say I' pretty pleased with how things went down. Yes there are  a few things that could definitely be improved but I loved it. I think the girls were great and very interesting.  We had a really good time filming.  If we get the opportunity to have another season I would definitely like to be part of it

P : Do you get to New York Fashion Week when you're in here?
 CF: I went to Fashion week last year we don't get to see as many shows as wel like to. I always get so busy because we do so  many events during fashion week. I loved Fashion Week at the tents but I don't have the energy now to run around to all the shows but I do enjoy it. I'm very much into the classics I like purses so I love Chanel purses, I love YSL, and Balmain.  I love Rebecca Taylor , and my favorite is Victoria Beckham. Just simple classic, nothing too trendy for me, as long as the silhouette fits my body well that's what I really concerned with.
P : What are some of your favorite beauty products?
CF: I like natural products, I'm a vegan so a lot of the beauty products I wear are vegan and natural products. Right now I'm into these products from the pink lake in Senegal. It's  called Lake Rose it's a lake that has 80% more minerals than the Black Sea. It's really great for your skin. I import it over from Senegal. I found out about it through some Senegalese friends. I was intrigued when I saw this pink lake. There is another pink product that I use called  Accure.  I'm definitely all about products from the sea.
P : I hear you are very health conscious when it comes to your diet about that?
CF: I'm a vegan, and I juice a lot so I tend  to have very good skin. Products help but I think beauty comes  from what your ingesting. It's not difficult in NY I have my routine I juice every morning there are a lot of  establishments popping up because people are becoming more aware. So its not difficult in  NY, Los Angeles, San Fransisco. It can be tough when your traveling. We went to Kentucky ,that was a little bit tough .
P: What's your fitness routine like?
CF: I spin every morning, I also jump rope. I love jump roping a lot because you can jump rope anywhere . It's cheap, a jump rope costs $15-20. Sometimes I'll jump rope here in the office or I'll do it in my living room. I can jump rope when I'm watching my favorite shows. You can burn 400-800 calories in a single session. I started off just doing five minutes, and I progressed to where I can jump rope for 45 minutes now
P : Do you have any desire to explore other areas of entertainment?
CF: Reality tv is not really acting because your just playing yourself. but Since doing the show I've enjoyed being in front of the camera.  I've been presented wth a short film I'm reading the sript  for that to see if I want to do it.  I think I am going to do it . It's abotu a woman who has a lesbian experience and I am the boss of one of the women who has the experience I would play a British advertising executive I'll also be auditioning for a play
P : Do you have any plans for the growth of the Flawless brand , where would you like to take the company?
CF: Flawless Living is my new endeavor it's a self development site. it's about a  journey of self development through fitness , beauty diet, nutrition, and lifestyle. We have numerous experts that write articles on several issues relating to health, fitness, and general self development. I'm constantly on this journey of self development. I always want to live my best life, I'm totally into the concept of you only live once so you have to make this your best life. You can be whatever version of yourself you want to be. You can be your basic self, your medium self, or your highest form of self. My journey is to get to my highest self. It's always a journey, I just want to share that journey with other people. I know other people are on that same journey.
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