In Bravo land lately, series that make a second season have been few and far between. One show that made the cut, however, is Married to Medicine. Structured a lot like Housewives, think women with walk in closets and “don’t you dare walk on me” attitudes, it is the tried and true recipe that Bravo fans love. With part of the cast married to medical professionals, and the other half medical professionals themselves, the show has an interesting dynamic. One standout of the latter group is Dr. Jackie Walters. Both a breast cancer and infertility survivor, Walters has relate-ability to both her patients and her audience. Currently filming season 2, we caught up with Dr. Jackie to peel away at some of the layers…check out what we discovered!
TBB: You have an impressive list of celebrity patients like Tony Braxton and Usher. Do you feel that getting involved in television was a natural next step for your career?
JW: Truly I never thought that I would be here. I love what I do. Taking care of patients has always been my main priority. I’m shocked, that I’m here.
TBB: So how did the opportunity to be on Married to Medicine present itself to you?
JW: Through being friends with Dr. (Simone) Whitmore, we were once partners. She was the doctor for Mariah (Huq). She had approached her for people to balance out the casting, so Simone contacted me and here we are.
TBB: Did it take a lot of convincing to get you to go for it?
JW: I never thought they would ever call me back again. I really thought I had a relatively boring life from my perspective. Even when they called back I thought, “I’m not interested.” I talked to production a lot before making the decision.
TBB: Let’s talk about Married to Medicine Season 1. How did it affect your practice and were there any concerns about that?
JW: Certainly, we’ve all watched reality TV and from a viewer’s perspective you’d think that it would affect me in a negative light. Surprisingly the one negative is that every patient wants to talk about the show. I was really surprised how many people get involved in your life. Everyone wants to ask questions about the show, like if it’s real or not, or about something that happened. It slows down my day tremendously. On a positive it made patients relate to me more. Most see you as a doctor and think your life is perfect. They don’t realize what really happens beyond that white coat.
TBB: What cast members other than Dr. Whitmore did you know prior to filming?
JW: I knew Toya (Bush-Harris) who was a patient for half of her pregnancy. Then she transferred out because she wanted more of concierge type of practice.
TBB: What about filming a reality show was the biggest surprise to you?
JW: Going in, I was very vulnerable, not realizing how involved the viewers get into your private life. I think (they) can take one statement and interpret it multiple ways. Some will love you and some will hate you. Having their opinion just on what they see, who you hang out with, even what you eat…it’s a little overwhelming.
TBB: What you eat? You are extremely passionate about diet and exercise, are you saying you got a lot of flack for that?
JW: Believe it or not I got mixed opinions. I have viewers who are really into fitness become very supportive. I stand by the belief “you are what you eat”. The leading cause of death in women is heart disease. In my quest to find out why in the world would I be diagnosed with breast cancer twice of course I know that obesity increases your risk of breast cancer. I don’t want other people to have to go through it at all.
TBB:You are a two time breast cancer survivor. As an OBGYN how involved were you in both your diagnoses and treatment?
JW: I was not involved in the diagnoses because my first was during preventative care. I went for my mammogram at age 40 and got that phone call I never expected. With treatment I was presented with multiple treatment options. Being on both sides of the knife I had more to do with (treatment) than the average patient, I had a little more leeway to say “yay” or “nay” than other patients would have.
TBB:You have made breast cancer awareness your mission. Tell us about 50 Shades of Pink:
JW: 50 Shades of Pink is a foundation that I have created to take care of the woman with the disease and not just the disease. We have great organizations that are good at taking care of the disease process, but nobody I have found was able to say “we want to take care of the woman”. No one was saying “we will help her to look good and feel good.” We help with getting through the process, and being a mom. For example, making sure that (a patient’s) child has food by giving her grocery cards when she can’t work. My female patients complain “I don’t want to embarrass my child by going to school bald.” If we can do anything to help that woman go to the recital and feel good, that’s what we aim to do.
TBB: I have a developing foundation, Priceless Life Fund Inc., to raise awareness and funding for those struggling with Infertility. This is also something you have dealt first hand with. How does one deliver babies and monitor pregnancies while dealing with Infertility?
JW: When I walk in my (office) door I stop making it about me. I have to separate myself from the patient. I don’t want to get so wrapped up in the emotions that I cant take care of (them). It is difficult some days because we will see women who don’t want to be pregnant.
TBB: You are now filming season 2. Can you tease any story lines?
JW: I think the viewers will get to see a lighter maybe little more fun Dr. Jackie!
TBB: When should we expect the show to return to the Bravo network?
JW: I don’t have an actual air date. I’d like to think it would be in spring of 2014.
TBB: Thank you for speaking with me. Is there anything you would like to add?
JW: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me tonight. I want people to know there are multiple layers to Dr. Jackie. Of course one is the foundation being near and dear to my heart, it replaces the child I never had . I also started a blog The Power of the Vaginal Flower. It’s under construction right now, but when it returns we will do a conversation every Wednesday night. We created topics I thought women were not comfortable to ask their doctors in the office. It will be a lot of bantering back and forth between women. We are hoping to have it running within the next 3 weeks at http://www.vf-power.com.
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