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Dr. Imani Walker, Shanique Drummond Talk Bravo’s Married to Medicine Los Angeles

The series premieres Sunday, March 10 at 9pm EST on Bravo

The Married to Medicine franchise has found an additional home in the City of Angels. Starting Sunday, March 10 at 9pm EST, on Bravo, the Married to Medicine Los Angeles series will premiere with a fresh new set of female doctors and doctors’ wives. 

Dr. Noelle Reid, a family medicine physician, real estate property manager Shanique Drummond, Dr. Britten Cole, an anesthesiologist, actress Asha Kamali-Blankinship, Dr. Imani Walker, a psychiatrist, and Jazmin Johnson, wife of an LA-based psychiatrist, allow us a peek into their busy lives. Due to LA’s reputation for having a high emphasis on image and perception, it should be no surprise that along with the successful careers that surround the women and their families, the series plans to showcase the wealth and opulence that keeps reality TV viewers watching in awe.

In particular, Walker and Drummond balance their personal and professional lives on the show, with careers in real estate and psychiatry, along with a husband and children at home. Both women were able to give us their perspective on the positive aspects of the show, and how they hope allowing cameras into their lives affects their community overall. 

Do you feel that any aspect of starring on the show is eye-opening, having cameras on so many parts of your professional career or your personal life?

Drummond: I’m not sure if eye opening. I think we were just being ourselves. Being an audience and watching and seeing these African-American doctors and physicians, I think young children or even adults will look at us and say “Oh my gosh! This is really great to see a black psychiatrist.” My husband, MD, PhD, went to Johns Hopkins. To see this, and just be someone they can aspire to. And I think that’s the beauty of our community and the group of us we have together on this series.

Walker: I think if anything was eye opening, it would be the fact that I didn’t realize the type of reach that this show like Married to Medicine and now Married to Medicine: Los Angeles would have. So, someone just told me that medical school enrollment has increased among African-Americans which is interesting because when Married to Medicine first started, there was that petition that was begun from students at Spelman College. 

So, I think that if anything, it’s been eye-opening to see that it has been accepted and that more doctors or more wanna-be doctors or would-be doctors are going through the steps to make that happen. Because they do have good role models.

Drummond: I think they see us. They see us, our experiences, and be like look—they’re real people. They can go through this. They can accomplish this profession. And so that’s definitely great. 

Walker: And juggle having a career, and being married, and raising kids. So I think if anything, it really does show what it’s really like when you finally get to the goal.

In addition to representation, and seeing people going on to be doctors who look like themselves, what do you think are other roadblocks that prevent people of color, or more black people, from going to medical school?

Drummond: I think for some of them, it’s just believing in yourself. I think sometimes in our community, it’s hard to see ourselves in that position where you can see a physician in your position. And now they’re looking on TV and they’re seeing people that look like us, and I think they can aspire to be a physician, and I think that’s a positive thing. Regardless of what stigma you see with reality TV, we’re still human. We’re still successful. Our husbands are still successful. And you’re a successful physician in your own field, as well.

Walker: I think that probably one of the biggest roadblocks that I’ve encountered—I do mentor a couple of people who are going on to become doctors—is that their family may not have always been in their corner. So they might have said “I want to be a doctor” and they said “You’re not going to be a doctor! At most, you can be a nurse.” There’s nothing wrong with being a nurse. It’s just that being a doctor is so above and beyond.

Drummond: It’s like it’s far-fetched. 

Walker: Right—it’s like “I’m going to be a unicorn”. Like “You can’t be a unicorn. You’re going to be a horse.” So, they don’t have the support.

Drummond: Our community doesn’t have the support. I’ve done this for over 18 years with my husband. It’s just supporting him, seeing him go for his dreams, and I think it’s so important that we support each other through this journey. And being on the show, we’re creating a platform that allows people to look at us and our husbands.

Walker: The good thing is that let’s say there is someone who’s like “Well I don’t like this show and what it represents.” Then, they may feel that they want to go above and beyond and maybe mentor some more people. Like let me show all of ya’ll what it’s really like. Either way, whether you love it or hate it, it’s still a positive outcome. Also, I think some people may not have wanted to accept Married to Medicine: Los Angeles because it’s not Atlanta. So, they’re kind of building up this rivalry when we’re friends with the ladies from Atlanta and vice versa. So, it’s really not a pitting one show against the other.

Do you think it’s because it’s two African-American shows that they want there to be a rivalry?

Drummond: I think people have built a relationship with the Married to Medicine: Atlanta cast. So, now they’re like “Who are these people? Who are they?” But just give us a chance to see what we can bring. What can we learn from each other? Life is about learning from each other’s experiences. And so, guess what, not only did you have the Atlanta cast you now have the LA cast. And what can you learn from us? You never know.

Walker: They paved the way. It’s not a competition. They paved the way so that we could be here. When they do well, we do well, and vice versa. 

Drummond: So, we’re definitely there supporting each other. 

Walker: And we’re friends with them. There is such a small community of doctors in Los Angeles. The people that have been included on this show or Married to Medicine franchise is like, twelve. I’m going to be in a rivalry with five other people [laughing]? 

Drummond: It’s definitely like a family. We have so much to learn from each other and our journey that we’ve had. We have our own different journeys, but there’s definitely a lot to learn.

You talked about all the positives. Certainly, representation, for the larger community. When they screen people for reality shows, they have you sit with a counselor and say there’s a lot of negatives. There’s a lot of personal costs to being on the show. Have you found that there’s a personal cost?

Drummond: No, I don’t see that. The show has yet to air, but I feel like we represented ourselves. Just like you have a camera in front of you. You don’t know what you’re going to say, how you’re going to react. You’re going to see the true you. 

Look at yourself. There are things you say where you’re like “Oh my god, if someone else outside of my group of close circle heard me even make those comments,” you’d be so embarrassed, right? But you don’t have that choice when you have the camera in your face. And so, that’s what makes it so real. That’s what makes it reality. Because you are being yourself. 

I mean, I’ve said some crazy things. Even on the teaser, I’m like—did I really just say that? But you know, after a while, like someone asked, “Did you just forget the camera is there?” Sometimes, you do. They’re in your home, and you get so used to these people and these big cameras in your house.

Walker: The other side of it is, as a doctor, we oftentimes have to go through background checks all the time. So, any time we renew our license, our state license, our DA license, federal, they delve into our backgrounds. It’s pretty common practice. So, I didn’t feel like “Oh, god, you guys are going to find that body I hid in the back [laughing]?”

Drummond: But, my thing is—can you even hide anymore? No one can hide. You go and Google your name, and you’re like “Whoa—hold on. How did you know that’s my brother, my sister, my dog.”

But especially when you put yourself out there, then you’re even more under scrutiny.

Drummond: Well, you are, you know, and I think that’s something you brace yourself for, and you have a tougher skin. I think us being Jamaican women, we are strong women with very tough skin. Very passionate. And, look, if we can dish it, then we’re just going to have to take it back. And that’s just a part of it. It’s what you sign up for, and hopefully we won’t end up at each other’s house bawling. 

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