Recently I was super fortunate to sit down with reality tv stars Heather Gay and Dre Nord - who are both currently appearing on BravoTV's "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City." In this three-part series, we focus on Heather and Dre's life experiences within the context of Mormonism (and Utah Mormonism).
Part 1 covers...
- Heather and Dre's early years as devout Mormons.
- Dre's marriage, divorce, and faith crisis as a Mormon in her early 20s. This includes how Dre navigated her life as a divorced single ex-Mormon Utah Mom without a college degree.
- Heather's experiences at BYU and serving an LDS mission in France.
- Heather's somewhat challenging efforts to find a faithful Mormon husband (Billy Gay).
- Dre shares how she almost lost her mother to death by suicide, in part due to pressures of "perfectionism" that many Mormon women experience.
- Heather shares some of the reactions she has received from members of the Mormon and ex-Mormon communities, as well as from the Utah LGBTQ community, regarding her participation in the show.
Part 2 covers...
- Heather's marriage to Billy Gay III, which culminated in Heather becoming Relief Society President ended in divorce.
- How Heather and Dre met, and how they were able to build a successful, multi-million dollar business together (Beauty Lab Laser) as divorced Mormon single women in Utah.
- Dre shares the tragic story of losing her brother to suicide last year, and how she and Heather created a 501c3 non-profit called "Don't Leave" to help "break the stigma around mental health."
Part 3 covers...
- Heather's struggle to accept the end of her "Eternal Marriage," which included years of denial.
- Heather's life as a divorced single Mom, which included experimentation with things she never considered trying as a devout Mormon (e.g. alcohol).
- How Heather's perspective on Mormonism changed once she became dear friends with two wonderful gay Mormon men.
- Heather and Dre discuss their opinions about how harmful the LDS Church's doctrine around LGBTQ members is.
- Heather and Dre also discuss the ways in which the LDS Church's "Proclamation on the Famly" harms not only LGBTQ members, but also Mormon women/girls and men/boys as well.
- Heather discusses her current struggle to reconcile her longstanding orthodox Mormon beliefs as they conflict with her developing beliefs about life.
This is a heartwarming, epic, and inspiring story of resilience. I was deeply moved by this vulnerability, wisdom, courage, and resilience of these inspiring women.
Please share any questions or comments you have for Heather and Dre below.