Black Families have been vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard and Oak Bluffs since the 1800s, and Bravo’s Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard showcases such in a significant way. The reality series, now in its second season, follows a group of friends as they vacation in Martha’s Vineyard during summer. With plenty of fun, romance and parties, lots of drama ensues and friendships are ultimately put to the test.

Blavity’s Shadow and Act sat down with fan favorite Jasmine Ellis Cooper to discuss the series’s second season. Things were different for her in Season 2 because she spent the summer without her husband, Silas, who was away on duty with the U.S. military. During the chat, she mentioned her decision to announce her pregnancy to her friend group on the show. Nothing was off limits, and Jasmine spoke about all of the season’s ups and downs, as well as exposing Black life in Martha’s Vineyard in all of its luxuries.

Well, first and foremost, congratulations on Season 2! Going into the season without Silas and you coming into the house knowing friendships may be different, how is that for you at the top of the season?

Jasmine Ellis: I was ready. I think that was something that Silas and I discussed prior to me going into the house was that I got to speak my mind, and no one was going to not know how I was feeling or what I was going through. I was excited to have conversations. I was excited to meet the moment. And I knew, on the other side, that it was going to be a fun summer. So I was looking forward to it for sure.

You spoke a lot about not feeling as close to everyone or people not checking in on you at the beginning of the season. Now that it has ended, how do you feel? Is it the same, or have things changed?

JEI feel like, because of summer, I opened more in terms of what was going on with me. So, you give people that opportunity to check in more because they have a better context of what life looks like for you right now. So I think I’ve definitely been having a lot of fun with my friends lately and all season. So that’s been a great turnaround.

What are your thoughts on how the Phil and Mariah issues manifested in the house this year? And do you think the two situations are equal?

JE: No, I think they’re different. I went into the house not even knowing that Phil was on the bingo card. My focus was Mariah and really fostering the opportunity for her and Bria to have a conversation and her and Amir to have a conversation. I knew she also wanted her opportunity to have fun, connect and reconnect with some folks. So, I was excited to be her biggest supporter in that. 

How they both left was different. do wish that Mariah had more of a chance to speak her piece, but it didn’t play out that way. And the reality is, I’m friends with everybody in the house, so it wasn’t like I was among strangers; these are my friends, too. I think going into this season, I had conversations that had to be had, and she had conversations that had to be had. I want to root for her for that. Now, when it comes to Phil and the pushback, and then the pushback about Mariah, I honestly wasn’t surprised about the Bria pushback. You just never know with Bria. And I understand that she’s a bit more sensitive, so maybe she wanted a one-on-one approach before talking to the group, and that’s fine. With Phil, that was more open and shut than anything, I think.

How has it been for you to be a part of showcasing Black life on Martha’s Vineyard?

JE: It’s a huge honor, and we’ve gotten so much love from the folks that are there and the folks that live thereand it means a lot. It’s a huge privilege. First and foremost, I didn’t grow up summering on the Vineyard, but it’s become a very near and dear place in my heart and in my family’s legacy and what we plan on doing moving forward with the Vineyard. It’s huge to put a spotlight on a place that, to me, is the epitome of Black joy, Black peace and community. I think we do that as a group of friends. We have our own chaos, but we still come together at the end of the day. And I think that’s what the Vineyard is for.

Now, outside of the show, something we did see play out a little bit on the show is your journey to motherhood, so congratulations on your bundle of joy! How is motherhood treating you?

JE: Thank you. I’m pleased to be here. didn’t know what being here would look like. I never imagined giving birth in these circumstances, with being on a reality show; my husband being deployed. But I think I must give myself flowers for always handling whatever comes at me with resilience and grace. And I think motherhood is going to be no different. And I look forward to instilling those qualities in our son.

Why did you decide to reveal your pregnancy to the group in the way that you did?

JE: To me, it was the first opportunity of not having any drama at that moment and no chaos. So, as soon as I had the conversations that I needed to have, the second that I felt like there was a break in any drama, I was going to share. I was not about to share such a big moment in any kind of chaos or mess. That just didn’t feel right for me. I was just waiting for my time, and my body was telling me.

You spoke about not expecting to become a mother under these circumstances. But reality television can also be like a great video diary. It is unique that you have these moments to look back on in video form forever. And that it can be exciting and beneficial. Have you enjoyed sharing that part of your life publicly? 

JE: You know, I hadn’t really thought of it that way. That’s a good point. I think it is a benefit. think if ever later down the line your child is having teenage attitude or having a little toddler tantrum, I’m going to put on my show and say, ‘Look what your parents went through!’ I think it’s a good thing and really cool for him to have an opportunity to see who we were before we became a family of three.

Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard is one of Bravo’s hottest shows. What would you attribute the success to?

JE: It’s important. I think us being the demographic that we are — young Black folk that are very different, personality-wise, professional-wise, relationship-wise — we’re all just very different. And I think I haven’t really seen a group like this that does feel like a group chat that’s come to life, and you feel like you’re there with us, and I can’t say that for a lot of other shows. One thing I can say is we can be even more successful because the numbers matter. If one person likes our show, I would encourage them to tell five more people because what we represent needs to stay. And a lot of times, people feel like there isn’t a diversity in how we represent it in the reality space, and we are a clear example of that. So the support can be even more, I think.

If there is a third season, which we’re sure that it will be, what are you looking forward to in the show’s next season? 

JE: Even more Black joy, more cultural things, more looks. definitely want some summer braidssome vacation braids. I am just looking forward to more dynamics and the continuation of this little family that we’re building on TV.