Sophia “So Gucci” Williams is one of the stars of OWN’s “Belle Collective,” a television show that centers on the personal and professional lives of six glamorous and successful Black women who are redefining what it means to be a southern belle in Jackson, Mississippi.
Williams is one of Jackson’s more visible Black female entrepreneurs. She is a real estate agent, a personal trainer and philanthropist. Williams is determined to destroy long-held stereotypes of the South. Meanwhile, her husband JJ is a reality TV veteran having appeared on “Bring It” with his ex-wife and their three daughters which aired on Lifetime for five seasons.
During her time in Atlanta, Williams discussed blended families, the evolving political beef between the Governor of Mississippi and Mayor of Jackson, and how she gives back in this conversation with The Atlanta Voice.
The Atlanta Voice: So I want to talk more about your background! I know you’re a big Realtor in Jackson, how were you able to parlay that into the television show? And how did that whole relationship come about?
So Gucci: You know what, when the show first came out, you know, it was about six successful Black entrepreneurs in Jackson, Mississippi. The second thing is, one of the cast members was like, ‘hey, Gucci, you know, I need either you and your husband to audition for the show! You will be a great fit, you’re a fitness trainer, you’re a real estate agent here, people need to see what you’re doing.’ And they know about them.
So I was like, ‘I know my husband has been on the big screen before. But you know, this would be the first time for Gucci. So I was like, I’m going to do the audition and we auditioned. Oprah loved us. [Producer] Carlos King hand picked us for the show. They loved what we represented. I was like, ‘God, you gave me this platform. So I got to make sure you know that I’m able to reach other people in Mississippi to bring them up.’
One of the goals that I wanted to do was to put Black-owned businesses on the map: Hey, this Black owned restaurant, let’s put this restaurant on the map. Let’s put this vegan restaurant on the map. Let me show people that there are million dollar homes here in Jackson, Mississippi. Let me show people you know that I am a fitness trainer, I hold boot camps in my starter home and boot camp in my backyard.
The Atlanta Voice: A major story that was talked about last year was the situation between the city of Jackson and the state of Mississippi. The fallout from the lack of drinking water, talks of the State government assigning unelected judges to Jackson, plus the Governor [Tate Reeves] and the Mayor [Chokwe Antar Lumumba] are beefing. So how are you empowering your base in Mississippi to rise above that and feel empowered to go and still be able to affect change?
One of the things I do every year, I come to wear Clothing across America! What my family and I do is we give away items every year round Christmas, we give away pajamas! We even did a theme wear around this Christmas, which we gave away socks, we gave away water and we got the community involved. There’s a whole scene on Belle Collective when we talk about the water and different things going just trying to shed light on it. Let people be aware of what’s going on, you know, if we can get things changed.
The Atlanta Voice: Blended families are a real thing. How is your relationship with your daughter? And your step daughters? And how are you all making that dynamic work best for everyone?
So Gucci: It’s very hard. It was very hard for me to display what’s going on with my family on the big screen. I prayed about it, I meditated and what I displayed was what was going on with my blended family and I got an outpouring of response from people on Instagram. people will walk up to me and said, ‘thank you for shedding light on some of the topics that African-American families try to sweep under the rug.’
I had the courage to speak out because I’m helping out somebody else and sometimes you gotta let people know your story. They may be going through that and that’s the whole thing. That’s my purpose.
Honestly, me and JJ talked about blended families and it will also put my husband in a very uncomfortable situation. It’s going to be a good season, and I’m praying that you know, it’s gonna be really good.
Season two of “Belle Collective” can be streamed on OWN, Hulu and YouTube TV. Fans can follow So Gucci on Instagram (@sogucci007official) and Twitter (@Sogucci007).