By Karmen Williams
Photos by Lottie Ferguson
Sagacious real estate investor, Sophia Taylor, engages viewers with every episode of the popular reality television show, “Rehabin The Hood.” Viewers are entertained and educated throughout each episode, as the stages of the project unfold. However, “Rehabin The Hood” isn’t the usual formulaic advice plus DIY project. The show spans many diverse topics beyond real estate. Taylor’s polished yet down-to-earth persona, (it also doesn’t hurt that she’s gorgeous!) coupled with credit savvy advice and knowledge of the industry has catapulted “Rehabin The Hood” throughout Flint, Michigan, and across the internet via YouTube. Taylor has created a following of viewers, motivated to transcend their status from renters to home owners. A businesswoman by trade and a
singer, writer and actor anointed with talent, Sophia, shares her journey with Courageous Woman Magazine.
CW: Tell us about your singing, acting and writing career. How did you discover all of your talents? Did anyone groom you?
Sophia Taylor: Actually, I ventured off into real estate to financially support myself while pursuing my singing, acting and writing. I’ve been singing ever since I can remember, having come from a musical family, so it’s a part of my genetic makeup. In third grade I entered my first talent show and continued entering and winning them throughout grade school. Acting on stage in my late teens groomed me and gave me confidence. I continued singing in showcases throughout LA while attending college in Long Beach, CA. Back then, it wasn’t a career aspiration just something I enjoyed.
Moving back to Flint, MI, I began writing lyrics and composing and was hooked. God has blessed me with a gift of expression through writing, and I am so thankful. I’ve been blessed to tour and act on stage with phenomenal artists like R. Kelly, Jeffrey Osborne, Howard Hewitt, Keith Washington, Tony Roberts, and so many other talented individuals. I’ve starred and co-starred in several independent films. I believe one of my fortes is comedic acting.
I have an album that will be released soon. I’m completing my book, and we’re now editing the third season episodes of “Rehabin The Hood.” My writing takes me wherever I want to go, if I can’t physically do so, and allows me to be who and whatever I want to be. I can save the world on pages through the characters I write about in my movies, books or songs, and acting gives me that same feeling of escapism or expression.
Staying involved in the arts and being around a circle of talented individuals inspired me to stretch and try things that I probably wouldn’t have tried, so I wound up discovering so many gifts that I may have never known I had.
Sophia Taylor: I have been so blessed to have such good men in my life (and I realize that not a lot of women can say that) beginning with God. God has shown shown me so much favor, mercy and forgiveness that I’ve never deserved, and He gave me the gift of being born, raised and molded through the best father anyone could ever ask for. My “Doddy” influenced me with spoken and unspoken lessons and showed by example how a man should love, support and provide for his family. My “Doddy” worked several jobs and never once did I hear him complain. He was a singer “back in the day” but to get married and have kids at 18 put a monkey wrench in all of his entertainment plans. The dreams never left him, but he made a choice to do what he felt was right and to put what he wanted on the back burner. That action alone, has always spoken volumes to me.
He also gave me the gift of “giving back.” I’ve quietly sat back and watched him do this over and over again…So the lesson I walked away with was that, somehow, God always provides and always seems to replenish whatever I’ve given. I realize that none of my giving could ever compare to what I’ve received in my life.
Another way my “Doddy” influenced my life was being an entrepreneur and with his comedic spirit….He is hilarious and keeps me laughing whenever we’re together. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to believe he’s almost 72 years old….I believe that’s how he stays so young spirited and youthful looking, by not taking anything too seriously….. He has grown and evolved into an even better person today, and I thank God every day for being blessed to watch his evolution and for still having my “Doddy” here with me!
CW: When your mom passed away from cancer, what helped you to move forward despite your loss?
Sophia Taylor: The only thing that moved me forward was God. …Yes, I was devastated beyond expression, lost beyond belief, hurt beyond compare. But, instead of questioning her passing, I began asking God, “Why did you show me such favor by giving me a woman that’s shown me how to stand in this world and be a positive example long after she’s gone?” I began to realize I was blessed to have had her all those years and that God smiled upon me by sending her to give me life. When I didn’t think that I could go on, one day became a month, a month became a year and here I am years later–still standing.
CW: Sophia, tell me what prompted you to create your show “Rehabin The Hood?”
Sophia Taylor: A passion for educating people about all things dealing with houses is one thing that prompted me to create “Rehabin The Hood.” I love it when I can offer advice, and people are in a better position than before. That is so rewarding.
The main goal of “Rehabin The Hood” is to equip viewers with the knowledge and confidence to make better moves to ultimately live happier, less stressful lives. I love the fact that I’m a woman doing this, leading by example. I get to show girls and women how to do simple home repair and upkeep projects. What I’m doing isn’t anything new. The difference is that, hopefully, I’m encouraging and inspiring someone to do the same or to take these lessons to the next level.
CW: Did you ever think you would not be successful with this?
Sophia Taylor: Honestly, failure was never a part of my thoughts. I felt there was definitely an audience for this kind of show. I didn’t know how I was going to reach them, but I always knew the show had its own niche because it touches on so many different topics from real estate to community involvement, family interactions and the pursuit of my singing, acting and writing careers. “Rehabin The Hood” has something for everyone, and it was created with that goal in mind. My vision for the show is so grand, and failure is not an option. I’m usually quite careful to prevent seeds of doubt from entering into my mind. I believe in the phrase “So as a man thinketh, so it is.”
CW: Has any project made you want to reconsider doing rehabs?
Sophia Taylor: I’ve purchased property, knowing that the plumbing, electrical wiring, furnace, etc. were missing and spent my resources (time and money) only to walk in and discover everything had been stolen–once again. It’s times like these that I wonder if it’s worth it. These days, I say it just comes with the territory. My love for what I do supersedes the adversities. There’s nothing like looking back from where you started from, knowing that you’ve turned a house into a home for a family.
CW: Have you ever given away your power? How did you reclaim it?
Sophia Taylor: Yes, there was one time, and it cost me more than I’d imagined. Some years ago, I allowed a friend/business partner to purchase a vehicle in my name….For about two and a half years, everything was fine with the payments, and we were in constant communication. My trusted friend stopped making payments, answering calls, and disappeared. My hard work and superb credit–what I built for years–was shattered in a matter of months. This bad decision gave him power over a certain aspect of my life, and, like a domino effect, his non- payments had a negative affect on my other credit accounts.
In time, I rebuilt my credit and turned my past failures, lessons and experiences into a teaching tool for “Rehabin The Hood.” Bad credit pigeon-holes a person into higher interest rates for everything, which means you’ll pay much more than someone with good credit, therefore, leaving you less of your hard earned money, ultimately keeping you on the treadmill, but never getting anywhere. What a costly lesson!
CW: Share with us the three most important lessons about credit?
Sophia Taylor: 1. Never allow anyone to use your name or credit to purchase anything.
2. Pay all of your bills on time or before the due date. In your current or prospective creditors’ eyes, you’re a responsible individual that lives up to your agreements, which in turn gives them the trust in you when you really need them.
3. Don’t have too many high balance, revolving lines of credit open at one time. This can make your debt to income ratio too high, and it can count negatively against your credit score and deter a lender from lending to you.
CW: Give us advice about how we can be our own boss–steps we can take to make this happen.
Sophia Taylor: Courage, drive, faith, drive, energy, drive, creativity, drive, enthusiasm, drive, organization, oh, and did I say drive? You are totally responsible for your outcome. You can’t blame your success or failure on a boss or a corporation. There are no safety nets—just you, your ideas, your plan, your drive and your God. Having an idea without a plan is a plan for failure. You have to be realistic about your idea. Unlike some regular jobs, where you may be able to get away with lack luster performance and still earn a check, being the boss won’t allow such behavior. My advice is to have unwavering faith in yourself and your vision.
Most importantly, love what you’ve created. If you’re not passionate, you won’t go after it passionately….Your energy and confidence are transferred to those you’re in contact with so make a plan, work the plan; and the plan will work for you. But, more importantly, be passionate about your product. Your passion won’t let you pursue it half-way. If you’ve created a business and are dragging your feet and going after it with no energy and half-heartedly, although it may be a good idea, it may not be what you’re meant to do.
CW: What is your definition of courageous?
Sophia Taylor: My idea of what courageous is, is simply, “FOLLOWING THE VOICE OF YOUR SPIRIT.” I believe that God speaks to us all through our spirit. If you’re still and connected enough with God, you’ll know the difference between him speaking and the world. It takes a courageous person to go against the “grain” or “popular opinion.” To trust yourself enough to listen and to follow His guidance takes a great deal of courage.
Visit “Rehabin The Hood” website
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