Actress. Television host. Entrepreneur. Reality star. Those are some of the words that describe Porsha Williams. Since 2012, Williams has been a fixture on television screens, starring in Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta. There, the “cornbread-fed Georgia Peach” gave viewers an inside look into her life. Documenting her highs and lows, quickly becoming a fan favorite. And in July of last year, the 40-year-old mother of one added author to her growing list of titles.
In her debut book, The Pursuit of Porsha, Williams shares never before told stories about her life. With a common theme of faith, family, and legacy, Porsha takes readers on a journey of her evolution. Opening up on overcoming depression, trauma, discovering her worth, and how it all helped her to “grow into her power and purpose”. Ultimately becoming an advocate and voice and for the voiceless.
The Chicago Defender had the opportunity to talk with Porsha about her memoir, the legacy she hopes to leave behind, and her work as an advocate.
What was the motivation behind The Pursuit of Porsha?
Porsha Williams: My motivation was to be able to tell my story in the fullest way possible. A lot of what I went through can help inspire and bring more life into young girls. To know their worth a lot earlier on, and not have to go through some of the things that I went through.
Would you say that your memoir is a form of advocacy? Teaching young women to not feel shame and to open up?
Porsha Williams: Absolutely. Especially because a lot of what I discussed in the book, are things that I had never spoken out loud. I felt silenced for so long. And it was all because of the stigmatism surrounding the different things that happened to me.
I’ve experienced some low points in my life and wanted it to be open and transparent. So that anyone who found themselves at those low points wouldn’t feel alone, and can find their voices a lot sooner.
In addition to your book being a form of advocacy, we know that you are also an advocate for Black women, policy change, and voter turnout. What made you step into this role?
Porsha Williams: I wanted to take advantage of the placement of my life right now. I have always paid attention to politics and know that policy change is a big part of changing the lives of African Americans. Especially African American women in the health care system. But at this particular time, being that I’m able to amplify these different demands and create better lives for ourselves, this was the moment to do it.
I love the fact that I can take everything that I’ve learned and talk to different activists to find out what their demands are. What they want to happen. And how to use my platform to amplify it.
When I was working on the Senate race and voter turnout, and also stopping voter suppression, it was bout talking to the people around me and finding out what their needs are. I feel like a lot of times, the people’s needs are lost on politicians. They get so caught up in policy or politics that they forget about the people. For me, I wanted to understand what people’s needs were to find out whose policies matched that need. And later bring those people into office.
Do you feel that your advocacy work and writing The Pursuit of Porsha is a part of your life’s purpose?
Porsha Williams: I definitely didn’t know that my memoir would be aligned with my life’s purpose. There have been different points in my life where I wanted to talk about these things for sure. Sexual abuse. Depression as both a child and as an adult. Just different things I wanted to talk about, but didn’t know how to do it effectively and be understood.
As a reality star, people can see you one way. And I wanted to make sure that I was very detailed in talking about different points in my life. So that you can get a full picture and truly understand each scenario, each case, each story.
What does it mean for you to now speak those things out loud? Do you feel like you’ve become more powerful as a result of it?
Porsha Williams: I do feel like it has allowed me to look back and see how far God has brought me. It also inspires and uplifts me in dark moments. I’m a work in progress. But being able to look back over my life, through this book, and revisit some of those things, I see how I made it. There were many occasions where I didn’t think I would. But I am reminded of my faith.
That’s the thread throughout the entire book. It’s my faith that brought me through and made me hope for a better day. It made me work towards being a better Porsha and want happiness for myself.
Now that The Pursuit of Porsha is about to be released what feelings are you having?
Porsha Williams: I would have to say that I am a bit nervous. There is a certain level of excitement to be able to relate to my supporters differently. And on a deeper level that speaks to who I am and my foundation.
The Pursuit of Porsha accounts for my foundation that was built earlier on with the strength of my mother, my father, different family members, my sister Lauren, and my faith. That was my foundation to get me to where I am today. So to be able to introduce a different Porsha to the world is really exciting.
It feels like such a place of truth. Because I laid it all out there. I was more vulnerable than I think I have ever been. And this would be the representation of the most real Porsha.
Speaking of foundation, you touched on your family’s legacy a lot. Especially when you talked about your grandfather, late Civil Rights activist, Hosea Williams. Saying, “I had already stepped into my grandfather’s legacy.” What does that mean for you? And what does it mean for you to now pass that on to your daughter?
Porsha Williams: Being able to step into my grandfather’s legacy is definitely a part of my purpose. One that I knew would fully align. Being blessed with this platform, and being sure of my voice and my belief, the timing was perfect for me to activate that part of my legacy, as I have a heart for the people.
The walk that I have now is directed by God and my ancestors and my grandfather. I know that my daughter will follow right along in those footsteps. The same as I did from my grandfather, my mother, and my father. So it is truly a moment of feeling like your true self when you activate a part of your legacy. Because it was always in me.
Along with the release of your book, you are embarking on a multi-city book tour. What are you looking forward to the most?
Porsha Williams: I’m most excited about meeting my supporters! They have been on this journey with me so I’m excited for them to get to know the other side of Porsha. I can’t wait for them to read the book, and then talk about the different points that relate to them.
We learn so much about you in The Pursuit of Porsha. But what is the main thing that you want people to know?
Porsha Williams: I want people to know about me and about themselves. That you can become the picture of the person you have in your head. That you can literally believe for and manifest a better life for yourself. Visualize the end. Believe it and you can achieve it. That is what I did in my book.
From the very first chapter, when I’m sitting in my bedroom, and I’m talking into the camera, I’m manifesting the lifestyle that I have now. It took a long time to get to where I am. But I’ve visualized myself as this powerful person. Even as a young introvert in her room, with hardly any friends. I visualized myself as someone that will be respected and someone who people will want to hear from or want to know about. I always knew I was going to be a great mother, which I am to my daughter, Pilar. So I truly had in my mind the Porsha that I wanted to be. And I fought to be her today.
Porsha Williams’ memoir, The Pursuit of Porsha will be available on Tuesday, November 30th. She will be doing a book signing at Barbara’s Bookstore in Woodfield Mall on Thursday, December 2nd. To rsvp and buy a copy, visit https://barbarasbookstores.com/event/porsha-williams/.
Contributing Writer Racquel Coral is a national lifestyle writer and journalist based in Chicago, Illinois. Find her on all social media platforms @withloveracquel.