Best Friends and Business Partners Egypt Sherrod and Amber Noble-Garland on Friendship and Motherhood
By Charli Penn
Seventeen years ago, TV host and radio personality Egypt Sherrod and talent manager and top realtor Amber Noble-Garland met during broadcast journalism class at Temple University. As the two studious overachievers fought for their professor’s attention and feverishly debated one answer after another something miraculous happened – two young women with seemingly nothing in common formed a friendship greater than either of them had ever known before. That bond set the stage for a lifelong partnership they’d grow to love, cherish, and appreciate more and more each year.
As the years rolled by, both women grew into their own, but they never grew apart – each becoming a major force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry. Today Sherrod is one of the most popular radio personalities in the industry and the current host of HGTV’s “Property Virgins,” while Noble-Garland, a former major-market radio marketing director and senior marketing executive with the Island Def Jam Music Group and founder/CEO of I For Talent Management & Consulting, has made quite a name for herself in the entertainment talent business as well, managing the careers of Laila Ali and Q Parker of 112, all while guiding and safeguarding her best friend Egypt’s career for the past 16 years.
Their lives and their successes have mirrored each other since day one. In July of 2008 Noble-Garland met her dream guy at the altar, and in September 2010 Sherrod also said “I do.” Now, the fearless business moguls prepare for the next great chapter in their lives – motherhood. Sherrod just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and Noble-Garland’s is now eight months pregnant and also expecting a daughter in the coming months.
They’re business partners and truly the best of friends. We caught up with the ladies to find out how they make their friendship work better than some marriages and what the future has in store for the joyous new mama and mama-to-be. Read on for instant inspiration.
ESSENCE: Exactly how did you two meet?
EGYPT SHERROD: We were just little teenagers in college. Amber and I went to Temple University and I was the wall flower and the shy one and I’d always been that way. I didn’t know how to talk to people and no one would have ever known that I’d grow up to be a radio and television personality. But, I was very astute when it came to my academics. So we’d be in class and whenever the teacher would ask for the answers to questions I was the first with my hand in the air. Amber was also the first with her hand in the air, so what happened was, we started battling each other in class. Even thought there may have been a hundred people in class it was as if Amber and I were the only people there. So we started out as arch nemeses. I was very, very shy. Nobody was really into me…
AMBER NOBLE-GARLAND: She was a complete introvert. She was a weirdo. (Laughs)
EGPYT: And Amber was the complete opposite – she was a social butterfly. Everybody liked her. So this one particularly day she came over and started talking to me. We just clicked, and from then on we’ve been inseparable friends.
ESSENCE: How do you find a balance between your business relationship and your friendship?
AMBER: Our situation is even more unique because Egypt and I are business partners too. I’m her talent manager and then we also partner on certain projects. She has a lot of different amazing things going on in her career, in terms of her radio and TV careers, and her website and charity, plus she does nine million different things, so a lot of our conversations on a daily basis are about the brand Egypt. So we have to make time. I don’t know that we can even make the time; it’s more so that we somehow intertwine the conversations. The last two years have been better than ever…
EGYPT: Yes, there was a period where we realize things had become all business and we realized we needed to reconnect…
AMBER: We really made an effort. There was a period two years ago where we were both going through transitions and challenges and so we had to lean on one another to reconnect on a friendship level. I remember Egypt saying, “I miss my best friend. We don’t really talk, and it’s always business.” These are the things we asked God for. We always wanted to be successful, but we didn’t want to lose our friendship in the process. Now, one of the great things about us both being pregnant at the same time is that it gave us more personal things to talk about. The same thing happened when we got married. These have been some of the turning points in our lives that have brought us closer together. It forced us to sit down and talk about girlfriend stuff. Our friendship is more important to us than anything. We’ve had our moments, but we always say, “No matter what, I don’t want to lose you as a friend.” We’re so in sync when it comes to business, but we don’t ever want to lose our friendship because we know it is far more valuable than any business we could do together.
ESSENCE.COM: Both the babies are girls. We’re you excited to find out this news?
AMBER: I know it sounds cliché, but I really do mean from the bottom of my heart that I really wanted a healthy baby first and foremost – particularly because of my age. I’m 36, and I know that doesn’t seem very old, but lots of doctors and medical professionals deem you high risk when you’re 35 and up. So, first and foremost, I said, God, this is my first, let me just have a healthy little being – whatever you deem it to be gender wise, I’m cool with it. I was leaning more toward a boy, because I know when I was a kid I gave my mom hell, so I knew if I have a little girl she will probably pay me back. I figured little boys are more self-contained and I could just get my feet wet a little, but of course, that’s not how it went.
EGYPT: My husband and I had a little girl already. His daughter is ten. He made no secret that he wanted it to be a boy and he started buying little boy clothes that said, “I look like my daddy.” So I kind of wanted it to be a boy too, but you know, once you find out what the baby is, you’re in love no matter what.
AMBER: I’m excited about a girl. I’ve embraced the whole thing. I love little girls.
EGYPT: My mom will tell you that every grey hair on her head is because of me. I think with girls and their mother’s particularly, you wanna be just like your mom when you’re little. Then you get to your teenage years, and you don’t want to be anything like your mom. Your mom is your enemy. Then we start to mature again and we realize how much our mothers went through to raise us to be women and we start to gain a whole new level of respect for them and you become best friends. My mom is truly my best friend now. I look forward to having that relationship with my daughter as well.
ESSENCE: What advice would you all give to friends who may be thinking of becoming business partners?
EGYPT: You have to know whom you’re dealing with, first and foremost. I do believe we have friends sometimes for different seasons of our lives. People can come into your life for many different reasons. You have friends who will be there inconsistently and people who are meant to be your friend for a lifetime. I know Amber’s meant to be my friend for a lifetime. I know that I can trust her with my eyes closed and she knows me better than I know myself in many ways. She is a consummate professional. She knows who I am morally and businesswise. If it comes out of her mouth, people know it would be good with me. However, there are friends in my life that I would never go into business with. I have other girlfriends who are extremely good girlfriends but my friends for different reasons – they might be my hangout girlfriends or they might be my shopping buddies. They’re not my business partners because perhaps they’re not quite as dependable, or maybe, right now they’re not thinking on the same plane that I think on. You have ask yourself if the friend you’re going into business with is likeminded.
ESSENCE: Are your husbands close too?
EGYPT: Yeah, they hang out sometimes. I think my husbands trying to corrupt her husband. (Big laughs.) They’re similar in many ways but they’re also very different.
AMBER: Yeah, we live almost and hour from each other. My husband is in law enforcement and her husband is an entrepreneur, so we don’t get to do as many couple things as we’d like to, but when we all get together it’s all love and respect.
Photo: Rowena Husbands