New 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' cast member is reportedly Marlo Hampton

By RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com, originally filed July 23, 2011

I just got back from a charity event at the W Hotel in Midtown hosted by the newest "Real Housewives of Atlanta" cast member Marlo Hampton.

Hampton, a 35-year-old Atlanta resident who moved here from Florida eight years ago, herself wouldn't confirm whether she was "officially" a housewife but based on the publicity material provided for the event, she is.

The event is called "Glam It Up!" according to the publicist's note. It's an initiative created by Hampton, who is described as "entrepreneur, stylist, TV personality and philanthropist." The purpose: "focus on rebuilding the road to self-empowerment in young ladies 13-17 in the Atlanta area." She is a product of the foster-care system, the release said. During the day, she provided tips on "healthy eating, dressing for success, grooming, etiquette and self-esteem with 25 girls."

NeNe Leakes, Cynthia Bailey and Phaedra Parks were supposed to stop by, according to the publicity material provided to me, but they weren't there while I was there and I didn't have time to wait for them to show up.

Hampton, in a brief interview, said she was a fashion stylist who has worked with Young Joc and Jazze Pha. She also owned the Red Carpet Boutique at Perimeter Mall for three years but recently shut it down. She is launching an on-line boutique August 1.

According to a Nexis search, she has been arrested at least seven times from 1998 to 2003. The folks at Starcasm were nice enough to create a gallery of her mug shots. Among the charges, she was arrested in 2002 for firearms possession in Florida. In 1999, she was arrested for aggravated battery.

Straight From the A first reported Hampton's presence at a charity event at Piedmont Park next to Parks, fueling speculation she was joining the cast. She was also with Charles Grant, an NFL player.

Hampton responded in a statement to Straight From the A after it broke news of her felonious past:

We all have a past; and my hard-knock childhood in the Foster Care system is a reflection on a bigger issue we faced in America, a broken Foster Care system.

I remain deeply sorry for my actions and I will continue to work hard to contribute to a better community.

My present charge in life is to live with God in my heart and help young women, especially from the foster care system, avoid the challenges I faced.

I'm more than just what is being said of me and I look forward to telling my story and helping others."

– Marlo Hampton

Straight from the A also speculated that Hampton could be a potential replacement for NeNe Leakes, who has alienated herself from virtually the entire cast. But there has been no confirmation that Leakes is leaving the show.

Here's a short interview I did with her:

Bravo itself has not confirmed to me whether she has joined the cast but I saw no sign at this event news to the contrary.

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By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog