‘We Don’t Have to be Broken to be Entertaining’: Egypt Sherrod and Husband Mike Jackson Talks HGTV Series ‘Married to Real Estate,’ the Importance of Positive Black Family Imagery

Real estate powerhouse and designer Egypt Sherrod is returning to reality television, but this time she brought along her husband, builder Mike Jackson, bka DJ Fadelf, for their upcoming home improvement show “Married to Real Estate.”

Fans may remember Sherrod from her time on HGTV starring in “Property Virgins” and “Flipping Virgins,” but this show is a little different. Viewers will see how Sherrod uses her experience in the housing market and finance to help families find affordable houses in desirable metro Atlanta locations, along with help from her husband, who will turn plain-looking houses into their clients’ dream homes. 

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – SEPTEMBER 20: TV personalities Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson attend “Our Kind of People” Atlanta HBCU screening at Plaza Theatre on September 20, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for FOX)

The couple recently sat down with Atlanta Black Star to talk about the new show, being in the public eye again with their loved ones, and more. 

Atlanta Black Star: Both of you come from the entertainment industry, with you, Egypt, known for radio and TV and you, Mike, known as a DJ. What prompted you to pivot to real estate? 

Egypt Sherrod: When I was a radio personality I knew Mike as DJ Fadelf, but we weren’t dating or anything like that because I never wanted to date a guy in the entertainment industry, but he was already a real estate broker as well. I did not know that he was a contractor until one day I was flipping a house in New Jersey and my mentor gave me a referral, and it turned out to be Mike’s company, and that’s how we both realized that we had dual careers. 

Mike Jackson: So, I actually ended up saving her on a rooftop with her foot stuck in a hole cause she tried to do some DIY project, you know. So, I went from being the DJ to saving the day in construction. 

I was doing the dual thing as well. I started doing construction as a kid with my grandfather and uncle. I would always be on their job site because they had a construction company. Then I transitioned into working for a local 28 in New York City, and then here in Georgia owned my own company, Jackson Draper Renovations, all the while back then DJing and doing them both at the same time. 

ABS: HGTV fans know Egypt from your hit series “Property Virgins” and later “Flipping Virgins.” What made you both want to team up for a new show as part of your return to the network? 

E: That’s a great question, and it really is a very organic and authentic answer. We happen to be playing around on social media during the pandemic, the early parts of it, where everybody was stuck inside. I was trying to run my business from my kitchen counter, and my kids were being virtually schooled on the other end of the counter. So we just started filming all of it — how we were juggling — on social media, and it kind of went viral. Then our team said, you guys should really like shoot this.

Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson. Photo: @egyptsherrod/ Instagram

HGTV loved what they saw. What they said was we love them as a family and as a couple; anything else is just a cherry on top. So, uh, right now as we’re filming, it is a bit surreal, you know, the way it all happens. It all happens so fast. It is a bit surreal, but it’s us still living our lives as we normally would, and it just happens to be a camera around catching it all. 

M: I would just say it was ordained. It was like divine intervention. It was bound to happen. We were already doing this before the camera showed up, and it just so happened to be that the timing was right. Now the world gets to see our family, our businesses, and our growth 

ABS: In the show, we get to see those special moments you two share both as a couple and as business partners. Are there ever times you two don’t see eye to eye artistically, and how do you overcome that without having it interfere with other aspects of your relationship? 

E: The reality is our business and family life is, you know, it’s incestuous. There is no time that stops. There is no, ‘how do you separate them?’ It’s all intertwined, but it works because our moral fiber is God first, family second, and work next. But because we do it that way, I feel like we’re able to balance it all. 

I mean, listen, Mike and I have been together for 17 and a half years. You know, some people don’t like each other 17 and a half days, we’ve been together 17 and a half years, and it just keeps getting better. We keep injecting humor into everything we do. We don’t go to sleep mad at each other. We give each other our own independent time when we need it. I think everybody needs that. 

M: There’s two ways. One, she says, ‘It’s my design and build it.’ Or, I’m like, you know what, I’m going to build it and show you that it’s wrong. And when we say that I’m right, I’ll do it the way we should have been in the first place.

ABS: We don’t really see a lot of Black couples have their own renovation shows, and it’s refreshing to see you embark on that journey together. What are you hoping viewers take away from your show?

E: Well, number one, we’re hoping that everybody watches it and recognizes that it’s for everybody, not just one group of people. We also want them to take our expertise and recognize that we are credible in our field. We work really, really hard. We’ve decided to open up our home because we feel like we have something authentic to offer as a family unit that you don’t always see. 

Let’s just be very clear, many of the images that you see of Black families on television, especially reality TV, something has to be broken — right? — for it to be entertaining. 

I think that the higher-ups think that something has to be broken. The father’s cheating or it’s a broken family in some form or fashion, or the women can’t get along with one another. And we don’t have to be broken to be entertaining and to deserve our place on television. And so what you see is a happy, whole God-fearing family, who is funny as all get-out, and we’re building and we’re growing. 

“Married to Real Estate” premieres on Thursday, Jan. 13, at 9 p.m. Eastern Time only on HGTV and HGTV platforms.

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