Before Angel Brinks made her reality TV debut on Basketball Wives, she was already a fashion powerhouse. Now, we’re seeing Angel’s designs on runways at New York Fashion Week, and hip hop icons are calling on her to dress them for concerts and tours.
Angel Brinks has designed pieces for Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Lil Kim, Missy Elliot, K.Michelle and more. Her clothing can be seen at parties, award shows and on stage as she’s become one of the hottest and most sought after designers in hip hop.
Angel is running her fashion empire and holding down the fort as a mom and business owner. And to top it all off, she’s really, really nice!
Her own style is over-the-top in a way that makes Angel memorable and fun, just like many of the pieces she creates for others. By her admission, Angel likes to stand out and to be seen.
Now, we’re in for an inside look into Angel Brinks’ life and work when WEtv brings us the special Angel Brinks: The Real Bling. Ahead of that special, Angel spoke to Monsters & Critics about her career, reality TV and more.
Monsters & Critics: You have dressed some of the biggest names in hip hop. Who would you say is your favorite person to design for?
Angel Brinks: Ok, so styling and designing are two different things, and I think a lot of people get that confused. The fashion industry is so big, and it’s nice to educate on how things work and everything,
It’s really tough to say, and I work with a lot of celebrities, and they are divas. But we’re all women, so they submit their requests… I’d have to say… it’s like being a mom with all these children; you love them all the same. I’d have to say, Lil Kim.
M & C: Why is she fun to dress?
Angel Brinks: She’s really, really sweet and she’s been around for a while, so she’s very familiar with designers and knows what she wants. It’s an honor to work with her.
M & C: Is K Michelle as difficult to work with as she comes across in the clip?
Angel Brinks: How do I answer that… I think my personality makes it easier, so I know kind of how to maneuver, but I wouldn’t say she’s difficult. She just knows how to apply the pressure, and she knows what she wants.
M & C: What look (and for whom) did you style that would be the most recognizable to the public?
Angel Brinks: Cardi B! She wore this dress for a performance, and you know… everyone just knew it was mine. The dress is called Juliet, and the design was made in multiple colors, and then everyone just started copying that.
M & C: When did you know you wanted to be a clothing designer, and how did you end up getting to design pieces for such famous people?
Angel Brinks: I grew up in Hollywood, and you know, I was a part of the performing arts. So for me, I was always on stage or performing and just loved the glitz and the glam so I would go home and set out all the clothes in my closet. As a little girl, I wanted my own store.
In Hollywood, I was doing shows and videos for celebrities. I used to work with Jennifer Lopez and would see things and think, “I wish I would have made that.” When you have an eye for something, and no one is putting it out or making it affordable, you want to fill that void.
M & C: You used to be on Basketball Wives and were designing back then too. How much has your business grown since leaving the show?
Angel Brinks: It’s actually been just as good if not better. I’ve been designing for eight years, and I was only on Basketball Wives for two seasons, and that was midway through my career. Some people know me from being on Basketball Wives, and some know me from designing.
My business has definitely grown. I was really afraid that some incidents may have tarnished my career, but there’s not a single business in the world that doesn’t have an unhappy customer, and I just keep pushing. I don’t let anyone stop me.
M & C: When you refer to an unhappy customer, would you be talking about Jackie Christie?
Angel Brinks: Yes, I mean what happened with Jackie Christie is something that does happen, they’ll tell you what they want, and you want to please them, so you give them what you want, and then they realize later on that may not be what they want.
Sometimes in business, lines get crossed, and she definitely was… crazy that night.
M & C: Why did you leave Basketball Wives anyway?
Angel Brinks: I quit the show, to be honest, because I couldn’t sleep at night. I didn’t want to be a woman on a woman’s TV show putting down another female. Especially in times like this, when women are already put down, I didn’t want to be that. I just didn’t want to be that person. That’s what people expected of me; they wanted me to go off.
M & C: Do you keep in contact with anyone from that show?
Angel Brinks: To be honest, I haven’t watched since I left. I don’t know what’s going on with the show, but Jackie Christie and I still follow each other. Draya and I are still friends. Oh and Tami Roman too.
Tami is a very big supporter of mine, and I am of hers. She comes into my showroom a lot with her daughters. In case anyone out there thinks we had an issue, we did not.
M & C: How would you describe your own style?
Angel Brinks: Just flashy and over the top. I don’t ever want to go into the room and not be noticed. I’m little; I’m like 5 foot 2 so when I walk into a room, since my height can’t do it, I want my look to do it. Whether people like it or not, they’re still going to look at me like “oh what does she have on.”
M & C: What some people may not know is that you offer plenty of high-end and even some very affordable pieces and outfits for sale on your own website. Do you have plans to expand on that in the future?
Angel Brinks: So let me explain a little bit about the company. There’s hand made items and stock items where you create a pattern and then make a sample that can be mass-produced. The company started out as custom-made only.
When you place an order on the website, you have an option to have it made to your measurements, your proportions, and your height. People don’t understand, that when its a custom made item, there’s someone cutting, sewing and putting it together.
It’s not coming out from a factory machine which makes it amazing for girls who have a really small waist or who want their back covered or whatever… you have that option to change it.
Growing up, I used to watch the Madonnas and Paula Abduls and want that outfit. I want to become that Roberto Cavalli and make those outfits for everyone. I can be your personal designer.
That’s what I’m hoping this show will do, is bring awareness to women who want to be Beyonce for the night for that special occasion or something. I am here.
Being in this industry, you have to put the time and work in. You will be tested, and you will be dragged through the mud. Sometimes the haters and the people and who don’t believe in you – you just have to prove them wrong.
I’ve been through so much in my life. I want people to say, “OMG! Angel’s been through what? And she’s still pushing through.” That’s the kind of role model and public figure you want to be.
I’m not perfect I’ve been through some stuff. You just gotta put your big girl panties on and keep pushing.
Angel Brinks: The Real Bling debuts on Thursday, July 25, at 10/9c on WEtv.