Olympic Gold winner. Fashionista. Business woman. History maker. These describe WeTV’s newest reality TV star, Sanya Richards-Ross. Her show Glam & Gold takes her fans into her life outside of the track. She shares both her hopes and fears about this new venture as well as what she wants the audience to take away from it.
What made you want to dive into the world of reality TV?
Sanya Richards-Ross: I’m a very open person who likes to share my struggles and triumphs with people. I think it’s the greatest gift that we have that we can encourage one another and share our stories. I always felt like I had a family made for TV (laughs). There are just really fun characters in my life and I thought it would be a great opportunity to share in the reality space. It’s something I wanted to do for a couple of years, and then when the opportunity came I sort of jumped at it.
What is your biggest fear and hope with this show?
SRR: I would say my biggest fear is that people will now have the right to comment on every single thing that I do, but I’m ok with that and I’m preparing myself for it. My biggest fear is what people will think about us as a family and think about me as a person. My greatest hope is that people will be inspired. It’s reality TV. It’s not an interview where you get to say all the right things. It’s all encompassing and there are some moments in there that are very difficult. You see me go through the toe surgery, my husband gets released from the Jaguars and loses his cousin. There are a lot of real moments in the show and sometimes they’re not the prettiest, but at the end I hope throughout watching all six episodes that people will be inspired to go chase their dreams. I want to inspire people to be the best that they can be.
You are known for being a fashionista whether on the track or in everyday life. Why is it so important to show that side of yourself while competing?
SRR: I felt growing up that in order to be taken seriously as an athlete that you had to be a tomboy and couldn’t really focus on your hair, makeup and all that stuff. I don’t know now if the kids who are 13 or 14 still feel the same way. I hope they don’t because of what we have done, but I felt there was a turning point in my life because of my love of hair and beauty. I love fashion. My entire family is heavily immersed in it. My sister and I own a salon together, my cousin is a stylist and if you see my grandmother going to the grocery store you’ll think she’s going to meet the Obamas (laughs). We all love to dress up. I want to encourage other woman and girls. There is a statistic that the majority of girls between the ages of 11 and 14 start to fall out of sports. A theory for that is because they want to feel more girly and they feel like sports is the opposite. I want young girls to know that they don’t have to choose. If you love beauty and you love sports you can embrace that as well as compete really well and be a fierce competitor. That’s why it’s so important to me.
Who or what inspires your fashion sense?
SRR: I have taken a lot of style points from different people. I love Beyonce. She can do no wrong in my eyes. I also love Rihanna’s styles because she takes risks and sets a trend.
How do you navigate running your salon in Austin and being here with your husband in New York who plays for the NY Giants?
SRR: It’s a dynamic I’m used to. My sister actually runs the salon in Austin. She is the one that’s there every single day. She runs all the operations. She’s the head stylist. As far as the backend stuff with the financial planning and hiring and firing she handles that. I help her with sort of the big picture stuff. It’s fine with me traveling because she’s the hands on day-to-day manager.
How did your family and husband feel about the reality show?
SRR: It’s something that we have been talking about for three or four years. Going into the first Olympics, I had kind of shopped the idea around because I wanted to let people see what it’s like to train for the Olympics. Originally my husband was not on board (laughs). He didn’t like the idea of being on TV like that and opening our relationship up and family to the world. It took three or four years for him to come around and say this is something that we can do as a family. Everything is strong enough and we can handle whatever comes our way. My sister is a bit more reserved and struggled with the idea too, but she came along eventually as well.
How does your family help to keep you grounded as you rise in your success?
SRR: I think surrounding yourself with family in whatever area of your career you are in is probably the best thing that you can do because it is very easy for fame or money to go to your head and change your whole personality. I have my mom and dad as my managers. My husband is always in my corner and my cousins always keep it real with me. They boost me up when I’m low and they keep me grounded when I have tremendous success. We’re a family of faith and we believe that you are blessed because of a gift that God gave to you. I’m just really happy to have people who genuinely love me around me and tells me the truth. They don’t care about the money. It’s all about family and love. They keep me focused on what’s important.
What can viewers expect from this new show?
SRR: I think what’s unique about this show is first, we are Jamaican Americans so there is patois on the show. My dad has a very strong accent. I think that’s not on TV; seeing the dynamics of a Jamaican family. I think the viewers will be on a journey with us that starts after the Olympic games, then I have my toe surgery and you see me trying to navigate getting back on the track. There are so many goals I have for myself outside of the track. I push my family really hard to keep up with me to accomplish these goals. You see me navigate through what’s the next chapter of my life along side track, so people get to see me figuring that out. I think the viewers will laugh, cry, get mad (laughs) because I get mad quite a bit. It’s very real and I think they will get strong emotions about our family. I hope they get to like our family and what we are all about.
What else do you have planned for the future?
SRR: I have all of these big dreams for myself. I love to host. I want to do some acting or hosting on TV. I want to start my own fashion line. I think there is a good blend of my athletic background and fashion. I definitely want to become a mom at some point and expand family. I want to continue to grow the Hair Clinic salon and have more salons around the country. I’m as passionate about being successful in those areas as I am on the track. Philanthropy is very important to me, too. I have a foundation in Jamaica.
What’s the name of the foundation?
SRR: It’s the Sanya Richards Fast Track program. It has about 700 children. We focus on literacy. It’s an afterschool program where we help children who have fallen behind their grade level. We do this and also incorporate sports like soccer, track and cricket. It’s a fun experience in addition to learning.
What is your favorite color?
What’s your favorite pastime?
SRR: Aside from running and spending time with my husband, I love planning events.
What’s your favorite getaway?
Who is your favorite musician?
What’s your favorite life motto?
SRR: It’s a poem by Marianne Williamson. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” The first time I heard it was in the movie, Akeela and the Bee. It’s a wonderful poem. If you’re an example other people will follow you.
Learn more about Sanya and her family on the season premiere of Glam & Gold Thursday, July 25, at 10pm ET/9pm PT on WeTV (Channel 260).