Real Wives of South Fulton 6

Wives from our community offer advice on putting faith in the forefront, achieving work-life balance and keeping your home happy.

Who comes to mind when you think of a “Real Wife?” Claire Huxtable? Tracee Ellis Ross? Unfortunately, with the recent influx of reality TV, the media doesn’t offer an accurate portrayal of a “real wife” so we’ve looked for some positive examples. A “real wife” is a strong woman who loves and cherishes her husband and her children. She knows how to balance home, family, and her work. Whether she is a working professional, an entrepreneur, or a stay-at-home mom, she handles herself with dignity, style and grace.  We scouted dozens of women right here in South Fulton who are living up to the true meaning of “real wife.”

Shaunya Chavis-Rucker

Television Personality & FGTV General Manager

Wife of Fulton Co. Prosecutor Clinton Rucker

Married 8 years

Atlanta residents first became familiar with Shaunya Chavis in 1994 as an anchorwoman for WSB TV. Today Shaunya serves as the general manager for Fulton Government Television. She’s also the entertainment contributor for 11 Alive News. “I want to change programming to truly reflect people’s lives,” says the University of West Georgia alumna. “I want to impact what our girls are watching in the media. If we don’t show them something different, our society is going to be in trouble.” Born in New York, but raised in Atlanta, Shaunya and her husband share five children together. “The biggest challenge in getting married was trying to blend the family. Being a step-mom is the hardest job on the planet. You can easily discipline your biological kids the way you want. But you have to be careful in how you handle the day-to-day emotions of other people’s children.” Shaunya says friendship helped them work through the early challenges of marriage. “You need to be best friends. Find someone you trust in the fox hole.” Shaunya, who married in her 40’s, says when you’re on your second marriage or if you wait later in life to tie the knot, you come to the table with fixed habits and opinions. She sternly encourages couples in this category not to be so “doggone judgmental.”  “Everyone has baggage,” she adds. The power duo attends Word of Faith Church and believes couples should be equally yoked mentally, spiritually and even academically.

Shaunya is a member of The National Coalition of 100 Black Women and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She enjoys playing pool and is on a quest to learn to play the piano and takes time for herself on the golf course. She started a ladies golf league called Golf GALS.  “Golf brings me quietness, stillness and solace,” says the 49 year old. Shaunya is producing a television project that depicts strong, successful, African-American women on the greens, and making major decisions. “I don’t think one show has come close to getting it right in depicting a real wife. We’re more in depth. We’re real partners… accepting, loving… and we can juggle it all.”

Caneka Hardon

Accountant & Entrepreneur

Wife of Charles Hardon, Businessman 

Married 11 years

Caneka Hardon was a college freshman at Clark Atlanta University when a smooth talking brother introduced himself and asked, “Will you marry me?” He followed stating, “Not today… I was thinking more like Wednesday.” Fast forward 25 years, the two are happily married with two beautiful daughters ages 6 and 10. Caneka beams with pride when she reflects on her marriage. “I really value my relationship with Chuck, and I am his helpmate, his partner. I try really hard to be that Proverbs 31 woman.” Caneka attends Elizabeth Baptist Church with her family. She is an accountant, an entrepreneur and author. She and her husband run a direct sales and marketing company, 5Linx Enterprises. Caneka is a stickler about time management. She is awake by 4:30 a.m., at the gym by 5 a.m. In the evenings, she’s picking up the girls from school, making dinner and doing homework. “God innately gives women the gift to multitask,” she says. Caneka, a New Orleans native, used her vision board and organizational skills to author Your Daily Success Planner. “When I saw it in print, I was doing the happy dance all around the house. I knew this was the beginning. My passion is to inspire, empower and impact others.” The couple’s youngest daughter has speech apraxia, a speech disorder. “It was a challenge when we discovered it,” says the 39 year old. “She wasn’t speaking clearly so we had her tested and she was diagnosed at age 4.” Caneka says the couple is able to work together as parents to overcome this challenge. She says the secret to a great marriage is being able to operate in your respective roles. “What works for Chuck and me doesn’t work for everyone else,” she says. “You have to establish your lane. For example, I’m responsible for the cleaning, now whether I do it myself or hire someone, it’s up to me. It’s my lane. Chuck takes the trash out. I may sit it by the door but I’m definitely not taking it out,” she chuckles.

Caneka is a member of The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc.; she is the founder of Women Empowering Women (WEw), a nonprofit that promotes the empowerment of women through professional and educational leadership programs.  She enjoys singing, dancing, cooking, crafting, hosting events and fitness.

Danielle Hunter

Stay-At-Home Mom and Part-Time Google Contractor

Wife of Dr. Wardell Hunter III, School Administrator

Married 5 years

Five years ago Danielle Hunter was pregnant with a tracheotomy tube in her throat. The young newlywed suffered with throat cancer. Speaking a simple “I love you,” to her husband required maneuvering the medical contraption that covered the hole in her throat. While battling cancer, she gave birth to her oldest son. Fortunately, her tube was removed after her son turned one. “I look back on those pictures and I am so thankful,” says the cancer survivor. “I literally defied everything the doctors thought would happen.” Danielle, a two-time cancer survivor, also beat lung cancer. “Doctors just don’t know it all. If you know an ounce of what the Word says about healing, then you’ll believe.” Danielle, now a mother of three small boys, says her husband was extremely supportive during her cancer treatments. “Wardell took off work for my appointments,” says the 32 year old. “He helped to clean my equipment and he never made me feel ashamed.” Despite Danielle’s medical challenges, she still makes it a priority to be a Godly, supportive wife and mother. “A real wife knows how to seek GOD in all circumstances. You don’t have to be deep, but ask yourself, how can I be kind and helpful in my home?” She recalls meeting her husband 10 years ago at “Grown Folks Night” at Skate Towne skating rink on Old National. “We haven’t been skating in a while, she giggles. “But we recently went zip lining and white water rafting. I encourage couples to seek out different things to experience together.” The Atlanta native warns new couples, “Marriage is not a movie you see on Lifetime. You have days where it’s blissful and times where you have to grow out of your own self-centeredness.” Danielle, a member of World Changers Church, is deeply rooted in her faith and walks with style and grace. Danielle works from home as a part-time contractor for Google. She is a member of the South Fulton chapter of Mocha Moms, Inc.  This spring, the Spelman alumna walked in the Peachtree Road Race. She plans to pen a book about her journey with cancer.

Kenya Johnson

South Fulton Community Prosecutor & Television Legal Analyst

Wife of Attorney Eric Johnson

Married 11 years

Kenya Johnson and her husband are on opposite sides of the law. She’s a prosecutor and he’s a defense attorney. “Eric thinks everyone is innocent and I think everyone has some level of guilt,” she laughs. The Chicago natives met in 7th grade. But sparks didn’t fly until they bumped into each other at Midway Airport while in law school. “We have very spirited debates, we stimulate each other’s minds,” says the 41 year old. “We can’t go against each other in real court, but we do it on CNN, HLN, and on our own television show.” Kenya and Eric are legal analysts and are currently taping their third talk show, Off the Record, where they debate legal issues, and crimes of passion. The lovebirds connect over their love for the law and have a true partnership.

“We love each other, but it’s also a mini company. We have to manage budgets, manage the kids’ hectic schedules and household duties.” Kenya is a member of The Links, Inc., Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA), Greater Atlanta Black Prosecutor’s Association (GAPBA), South Atlanta Community Tennis Association (SACTA) and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In addition, Kenya, the mother of two, is a team mom for her son’s Sandtown basketball team. Her daughter is active in tennis. “I’m very busy but it’s a family effort,” she says. “A real wife of South Fulton is a woman whose heart is in the right place. She manages her relationships and her household.” As an avid tennis player, Kenya was ecstatic to see Serena Williams win another grand slam this summer but disappointed over the backlash she received because of her body. “Serena has dominated and now they are looking for excuses. Beauty is how you feel about yourself. I’m a size 16 and I love my curves, and my husband loves them, too,” she chuckles. Her advice to having a happy, healthy marriage is the old saying, “When you’re single keep one eye open, when you’re married keep one eye closed.” She explains, “I try not to complain about the little things: the underwear on the floor, my house is not always neat, or my car is not always clean. You have to let some things slide.”

Brooke Lochore

TommorrowWorld Manager

Wife of Businessman and Cross Country Course Designer Hugh Lochore

Married 11 years

Brooke has the world at her fingertips, literally. She and her husband, Hugh, are managers for TomorrowWorld, the 3-day music festival that attracts more than 150,000 guests from 75 countries and 50 states to Fulton County. Brooke lives on the 8,000-acre farm where TomorrowWorld is held. She is surrounded by graceful horses, rolling hills, beautiful trees and a breathtaking lake. “I love to sit on my couch with my laptop out here in the country, yet be connected to people all over the world.” While her job is interesting and exciting, Brooke says she really feels accomplished when her two young boys are successful. “If we’re at a dinner party and they use their table manners, I get excited,” she laughs. Brooke serves on the PTA at Chattahoochee Hills Charter School. She feels tremendous joy when watching her boys play sports, make friends and learn new things. “I used to work outside of the home. But I really wanted to be a wife and mother so when we moved here from Scotland, I took a year off,” says the Florida native. “I reevaluated, Hugh and I got reconnected and re-energized.” The couple loves to travel the world, especially to third world countries. Some of their favorite places include Guatemala, Belize, Croatia, Prague and Budapest. “We aren’t the resort type, we like to see how other people are living in the world,” she says. Surrounded by chickens, Brooke says she’s a country girl who keeps a happy home. “You have to encourage your husband and support him. You want him happy when he comes home,” she advises.

Brooke serves as an ex-offcio member of the CHCS Governance Board and Foundation. She is a graduate of Valdosta State University and a huge Seminole fan.  She enjoys cooking, hosting, reading, traveling, paddling on her lake and hanging out with great friends. Brooke admits that when she turned 40 this year, she finally felt like she had it all. She reveals it took her a while to find her balance. “I had to learn to say ‘no’ and not spread myself too thin. Now I say ‘yes’ to things I’m most passionate about. A real wife knows how to juggle it all and have a blast doing it.”

Erika Maxie

Kumon Branch Manager

Wife of Writer and Salesman Eric Maxie 

Married 18 years

Erika Maxie is a certified fitness trainer and creator of CORE Fitness. She undergoes excruciating training to participate in marathons and triathlons. And she’s chosen to run this race called life with Eric Maxie. The Chicago natives have two teenagers. Together their greatest accomplishment is homeschooling their children. “I wanted to create an environment that could work for my sons and daughter,” says Erika who’s also a manager at Kumon educational services. “My son was diagnosed on the autistic spectrum so it was important to guide my children who are different learners.” A graduate of Clark Atlanta University, Erika is the founder of Classical Conversations, a local home school community based in College Park and Fayetteville. Erika has lived in Atlanta for 25 years and is a long-time supporter of the Southwest Arts Theater. She is a member of Get Fit Atlanta Running club, and a financial supporter of Black Girls Run.

A pivotal moment in Erika’s life occurred when her sister suddenly died in 1999 after eating peanuts at a company Christmas party. “She and I were extremely close. She was 29 years old, her son was 18 months old,” she sadly reflects. Without hesitation, Erika adopted her sister’s son. “A real woman, a real wife sets positive examples in her community. She exhibits Godly character in everything she does,” says Erika, a member of World Changers Church. She confesses that being a real wife also means having real conversations and not just superficial talk. “I’ve had to renew my mindset, read books, focus on the Word of God and marinate on His promises.” She admits to putting too much effort into work and not into the family but over the past few years she’s focused on work-life balance. When it comes to marriage, Erika says you have to believe the best about a person. “You get what you focus on in any relationship,” says the 44 year old. “You’re going to have situations. You must have good communication, understanding, love and forgiveness.” Erika believes all marriages are tested and that there’s no new situation under the sun. She advises couples to make the decision to stay together.

Six different women, six different lives… all very busy but with so much in common. They offer open, authentic dialogue about being a “real wife” and the joys and challenges that come with the role.  Some days can be exciting and new, and some days are stressful and hectic. But they’ve all managed to balance family, work and play, and we’re happy that they do it right here in South Fulton.