Melody Shari Takes Care Of Business On Love & Marriage: Huntsville - Exclusive Interview

It takes a strong constitution to let cameras follow you around while you run your business. It's another thing entirely to let them follow you into your marriage. Melody Shari began her act of bravery four seasons ago when she and her then-husband Martel, along with several other couples, allowed reality television viewers into their lives on OWN's "Love & Marriage: Huntsville." 


Produced by reality TV expert Carlos King, "Love & Marriage: Huntsville" follows four couples as they run a development company together. But the show quickly became more about the relationships between the couples and between each other. And when Melody and Martel's marriage began to crumble, Melody had to contend with not only the interpersonal relationships impacted by her divorce but also the firestorm of public opinion. By all accounts, Melody's journey to single parenting has been yet another act of bravery and strength. Melody is a whirling dervish of activity, as will certainly be apparent to fans who watched the season premiere on September 10 on OWN. She told us all about what to expect in the new season in this exclusive interview with The List. 


What to expect in Season 5

What can fans expect to see this season?

It's a continuation of a lot of the conversations that have transpired in the first half of the year, but also, going a little bit deeper, showing those different dynamics of friendships, relationships, and business. If you thought the first half of the year was something, this second half is a whole 'nother roller coaster. Put your seatbelts on, because it is going to be such a change of dynamic throughout this whole second half. I don't know if you all are ready.


A lot of the teasers for this season have hinted that there will be a "smoothing out" in your relationship with your ex-husband, Martel. Can you give us a hint what "smoothing out" means?

The audience has seen the marriage, the divorce, all of that, throughout the entire show. They've seen a lot of the ups and downs. In this part of the show, you guys get to see where we come together, where we're all in the same place with the kiddos and doing a family trip. That's why they say smoothing out, so to speak — nothing beyond that. 

I take the kids to Destin every year. My youngest daughter is two, and I wanted to be able to invite my ex and his mother along, and my mom too, so she could experience a trip with all of us together. This is what we used to do; we used to all take trips together. I made the decision to allow that to happen, and you guys get to see us in the same space. The first half of this year, you didn't even see us filming together because I told production out of the gate that I'm unable to do that. I had to protect my peace. By the time we get to the second half, I'm like, "Okay, let's see how it goes," so you guys get to see us on a family trip.


When the cameras aren't rolling

Do you get any downtime? What do you do when the cameras aren't rolling? 

We had a little bit of downtime. We're done filming all of this season. We finished everything in August, and it's just now about to start airing, so you guys will see things filmed in May, June, July, and August. I'll be honest with you, I don't get downtime.


When I'm not filming, I take maybe a week or two to relax and get a breather. Then I'm right back on grind mode with all of my other businesses and endeavors. From my skincare line to my production company, to my master class that I teach, to acting, and then, of course, my babies ... I'm still busy. I stay busy; it doesn't stop for me. I take all that energy that I put into filming and I put that energy into my other endeavors.

Whenever you're filming and having to be on, it can be draining. You may only be on set for five or six hours, but it feels like 12 or 15. Because of that, sometimes you may not be able to give as much to your other businesses. I try to work hard to ensure that even when I am filming, I'm still taking care of business. When I'm not filming, it's double or triple time for me.


Melody Shari shines a spotlight on Huntsville

What part of your work on "Love & Marriage: Huntsville" are you most proud of?

I'm most proud of putting some spotlight on Alabama. Alabama is one of those states where when it comes to arts and entertainment, it hasn't been at the top of the list. Your New York, LA, Atlanta, Chicago — those are the biggest entertainment areas. [I love] being able to show that, yes, in Alabama, we have talent here and there is talent here. Putting a spotlight on Huntsville, in particular, has been the thing that I've been most proud of.


What is your favorite spot in the city of Huntsville?

I'm going to give you a few things. Restaurant-wise, I love going to Connor's. That's my favorite spot where I love to eat. But in downtown Huntsville, we have a beautiful park there. A lot of times, you see people out riding bikes and you see musicians out playing. We have Panoply that happens every year, which deals with the arts. You've got the Huntsville Museum of Art downtown. I love being in downtown Huntsville, for sure.

Melody helps others take care of their skin

Tell us about Seventh Avenue.

Seventh Avenue Premier Skincare is the skincare line that I launched in February. It is natural, vegan, and paraben-free. I actually have a female Black chemist — who's been a chemist for over 18 years — who I worked with to formulate my products. We can't keep stuff in stock, that's how fast everything sells out. We've gotten a lot of support, and people are getting amazing results.


Seventh Avenue is actually the street I grew up on, so that's where I learned the importance of, as a young girl, taking care of myself, taking care of my body, taking care of my skin. There are a lot of things my great-grandmother taught me, so when I had to rebrand, I knew that I wanted it to mean something. Hence, we have Seventh Avenue.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Brundidge, Alabama, which is about four hours south of Huntsville. It's very small, one red light, the population is probably about 1000. I love the fact that I grew up in a very small town, because the love — everybody treats you like family. It was an amazing experience for me growing up in a small town; I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.


You can watch the next season of "Love & Marriage: Huntsville" Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on OWN and on the OWN website

This interview was edited for clarity.