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How real is reality TV? St. Louis' Brittish Williams, of ‘Marriage Bootcamp,' shares her experience

Brittish Williams and Lorenzo Gordon.
Anderson Group
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St. Louis’ own Brittish Williams has made her mark on reality television in such shows as “Basketball Wives,” and, now, “Marriage Bootcamp: Reality Stars,” which premiered on June 3. She has also started her own clothing line.

Williams, who graduated Clayton High School and Saint Louis University, joined St. Louis on the Air on Wednesday to discuss her work in reality television — what’s real and what is not real — with host Don Marsh. 

Many have pointed out that reality television is actually quite formulated.

“It depends on what kind of shows that you’re on,” Williams said. “Some shows are more fictitious than other shows and some are strictly reality. Some of them are filmed differently. With ‘Marriage Bootcamp,’ we were stuck in a house for two and a half weeks, we had to stay inside the house and get counseling. For Basketball Wives, we get a schedule that tells you what you’re filming every day — what location and who you’re filming with.”

“Basketball Wives” follows the interpersonal relationships between women married to basketball stars in Los Angeles. “Marriage Bootcamp” follows couples as they work through their relationship issues in a house with other couples also working on their issues. Williams has been on both programs with her basketball player fiancé, Lorenzo Gordon.

Williams described a situation on “Basketball Wives,” where she’d be given a schedule that said where and with whom she’d have lunch as well as what they’d talk about. She said, although there are few rules for behavior (no touching, little cursing), those rules get broken in the name of drama.

“Most of the people you see [on the show] have a lot of drama in their lives,” Williams said. “They’re put in situations to create drama. It is like a cause and effect: If you put a group of women together and they don’t like each other and you tell one of them that another said this, it is going to create drama. It doesn’t need to be scripted. It is like putting an experiment together and knowing what the outcome will be.”

Williams said she felt unfairly portrayed on “Basketball Wives” as being “a bit more angry than I normally would be.”

“On ‘Marriage Bootcamp,’ it is a clearer showing of who I am and how strong I can be and how vulnerable I can be as a person,” Williams said. “I was way happier with how this comes out compared to how I felt about ‘Basketball Wives.’”

On the new show, which was filmed last summer, Williams and Gordon go through the literal and figurative obstacle courses of marriage counseling alongside the likes of Tara Reid and Dean May.

When asked if she could reveal the ending of the show, Williams said she was under contract and couldn’t divulge any details.

Although filming reality television can be a lot of fun, Williams said there are some downsides.

“The worst part is the whole world being able to nit-pick who I am and be a part of my family,” Williams said. “Nothing is private anymore for me.”

Williams currently lives in the St. Louis area and runs "House of Labels," which she started before appearing on “Basketball Wives.” In 2015, the business received an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau.

She said she hopes that her next reality show would be filmed here, pending upcoming nuptials with Gordon.

“I think being raised in St. Louis has helped me a lot,” Williams said. “I’ve learned how to be very independent.”

“What’s crazy is, I looked at our superlatives when we were in high school and I found ‘most likely to be on television,’ which I found very interesting,” Williams said.  

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

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