Chef Shay Atkins talks about her quest for love on OWN’s Ready to Love: Houston Edition in a Q&A spotlight with Empower Magazine. The talented chef gets candid about the impact on dating in the age of COVID-19 and the challenges of finding love as a successful entrepreneur.
As a single woman and entrepreneur in the age of COVID-19, how has your life been impacted?
It’s not just COVID, but at this point in my life, I am extremely cautious about who and where I spend my time – it’s my most precious resource and I am careful and mindful of with whom and how I spend it. Being an essential worker, COVID impacted my business more positively than negatively, but everyone around me has suffered and that affects me and motivates me to help those in the most need, be it family or friends. I’ve chosen to be very intentional about my actions and spending more time planning and saving for what may happen next.
How did you become a member of the Season 3 cast of OWN’s Ready to Love?
A good friend of mine sent me the details and told me I should apply, she is an advocate for me finding a good man. I had never watched the show but was intrigued with the all-Black cast and it being based in Houston.
How has the show’s format been modified to ensure the safety of participating cast members?
All the staff and cast are frequently tested, quarantined, provided masks and sanitizer to ensure our safety and we are in a bubble on a secluded resort.
What was your greatest concern at the start of the season?
Before I met the cast, my greatest concern was if the guys were gonna be too short for my liking or even qualified for my standards.
How have potential dating partners responded when they have learned you are a chef?
Guys are generally very pleased to hear I’m a chef, they start thinking about how good they can eat and all the food I can make for them!
What has been the most challenging aspect of dating in the age of COVID-19?
Most challenging is if someone is being safe and around others that aren’t being exposed to COVID and if they are negative or positive or exposing themselves to situations where they can contract COVID
Although this season highlights the observations on dating of successful Black men, share some of the experiences you have encountered in dating as a successful single woman and entrepreneur?
I think the women are winning. We are strong, powerful, bosses and that’s embraced by most men but at times, not so much. The old school tactics and values are a bit skewed these days in dating, having a father that’s 87 and a mom that’s 63, my upbringing was very traditional and these days it’s more like 80% are thinking new age and 20% are traditional thinkers with certain morals and values. It’s not a great scene, but I believe God wants us to be still and learn how to attract the right energy so that he can allow that man in our space. That’s when the blessings come full circle….I’m not for everybody , THANK GOD, but I’m for somebody and he has an awesome future wife.
What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I hope to gain some amazing connections with great people on this quest for love, more national business opportunities, and exposure for my brand.
Did you ever imagine taking part in a reality TV dating show prior to being selected as a cast member?
Yes, I have experience. I’ve been on another reality show on Bravo a couple years ago, so I was familiar with the process…things went well, and I was chosen to be on the cast.
What message would you share with other successful single women on opening their minds to new ways to connect and potentially find love in the age of COVID-19?
I would tell them sis, be mindful of the company you keep and especially the company HE keeps…know your standards and be sure they aren’t unreasonable, but a reflection of who you are and what you represent as a woman…KEEP YOUR HEELS, HEAD AND STANDARDS HIGH, no settling, no compromise, love and be contagiously happy!
What are your professional goals for the future?I’m focusing my efforts on opportunities that promote and further my brand as a celebrity chef. I want my own cooking show on a major television network where I can share my bubbly personality and passion for amazing food with households worldwide.