Jojo Robinson on joining RHOD to inspire abuse victims

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Jojo Robinson says she hopes to inspire abuse victims with her story.
Jojo Robinson says she hopes to inspire abuse victims with her story.
Supplied to TRUELOVE

Her Instagram feed is filled with luxury cars, travel content and all the finer things in life – but Tik Tok star, Jojo Robinson says her life hasn’t always been this rosy.

Speakig to TRUELOVE, Jojo, who is the wife of Durban businessman and former South African kickboxing champion, Calven Robinson, says she comes from a bad marriage where she suffered physical abuse.

“Before getting married to my husband, I was in an abusive marriage. I became the breadwinner in that relationship and we literally had nothing. My ex-husband would abuse me emotionally, physically and even financially,” she tells TRUELOVE.

This is why she appreciates the life she now has.

“I do not take anything I have in my life for granted,” she says.

“I’m very grateful for the life I have now and the husband I have. I feel like I finally got my happy ending and a message I wish to spread while on the show is that a happy life is possible even after divorce,” she says about the reason she joined the second season of Real Housewives of Durban (RHOD).

@mrs.jojo.robinson Instagram.
@mrs.jojo.robinson Instagram.

“I hope that I can inspire women who are in bad marriages to pack their bags and leave, without the fear of thinking nothing good will come out from them walking away,” she explains.

Another myth she hopes to debunk while on the show is the stigma around people with many tattoos.

“I decided to join this season because I wanted to give a new perspective on the tattooed community. Often people have assumptions about people with tattoos and I wanted to flip that around and show everyone that you should never judge a book by its cover,” she says.

Jojo tells us more about what she’ll bring to the show and what the experience of shooting a reality show was like for her:

When you told your husband that you were joining the show, what was his reaction? 

My husband has been very supportive in everything I do. It took quite a long time for confirmation to come through: it was just sort of hanging in the balance and it was a situation of ‘Am I going to get it or not?’. The whole time he was supportive and he just said that if it was something that I wanted to do, he’d be there for me. 

My family is supportive. I haven’t really had anyone in my personal life who’s been against the show. It’s more the outsiders and people who aren’t too close to me that had bad things to say. 

What was it like filming the reality series?It's very different from what I initially thought it was going to be. It's a lot of work: it involves a lot of late nights and early mornings. You’ll go from one side of Durban to the next on the same day. I've found that it's a big commitment to be part of the show but it's also been lots of fun. I absolutely love all the women on the show. It's been a ride!What took the most getting used to? Being in front of a camera or exposing your personal life on national TV?I think the viewers are going to see that I battled the first episode. It was a combination of being nervous and because this is new. So, my personality was still very quiet and sharp.

As the episodes have gone on, I’ve got more comfortable and my personality is evolving into who I am. 

I battled at first to justify how much I should give. Like, how much should I show? How much should I tell? Can I be myself? Will people like me? I was very worried to be myself because I thought, ‘Okay, maybe I’m going to be too much,’ but then before episode two came along I decided to relax and allow myself to be me. That was the most challenging. I mean, it’s easy to be you in the comfort of your own home but to be you in the comfort of your home with 50 people around you, filming, is difficult. 

So, what does Jojo bring to this new season?

I'm bringing the realness! I say it as it is. 

The production team laugh at my scenes because what I say ends up coming out really funny. I say things without meaning it, but then it comes out funny. So, I think I bring a bit of humour and realness.

I hope viewers can see the fun side of me. I'm sassy, very sassy, in a good way. I can have a fight with you and carry on, but the next day I will be over it and I'm not going to hold a grudge. I refuse to take sh*t, so if you give me sh*t I will dish it back to you. But if you apologise and it's done, we can be friends again and we move on.

I’m also bringing a bit of luxury in as well. I have a beautiful life and a beautiful home but I think I am very different from the average person in my situation. Most people associate housewives with being wealthy and snooty but I'm coming in as an average Jojo. I've got the money and lifestyle and everything that goes with it, but I'm very down to earth. 

I'm also younger than most people that have this lifestyle. I mean, most people who come to my house think that it's my parents’ house. 

I don't know a lot of women who have the lifestyle I have and are heavily tattooed. People always assume people with tattoos have nothing. So, I’m hoping to change people’s perspectives of those who are different from them, that we aren't necessarily what you think we are. So, I hope people can also just accept me for who I am and see that the tattoos don't define who I am.

@mrs.jojo.robinson Instagram.
@mrs.jojo.robinson Instagram.

Who would you say you've learnt a lot from and why?

I feel like I've learnt a little bit from each lady because I think each woman brings something different to the table. 

For instance, before I came on to the show, I had watched Season 1 and I was actually very nervous to meet LaConco. I know she's a very pure woman and I thought maybe, me being so tattooed, she might not like me, and it was the total opposite. We've actually had such a bond and I just get on with her incredibly well. She's never judged me; she's so supportive and so loving.

Then Annie and her hard work - that woman just believes in hard work! I'm lucky I don't have to work while doing the show. So, I can't understand how Annie is able to manage multiple businesses and still do the show. It's inspirational that she's able to do that. 

And Sorisha and her big heart - she’s got the biggest heart in the whole world. And Londie with her singing - she’s such a beautiful family person and she’s very talented. And Nonku, I mean we have a similar past and I just admire her strength and how she dealt with it. She’s such a strong, independent woman. 

Who was your favourite on Season 1 and why?

Annie was my favourite! For some reason, I saw myself in Annie. While watching Season 1, I could just see that she was like a ball of energy waiting to explode. She likes adventure and she's funny. I really liked Annie and since I’ve now met her, I like her even more. I don't even feel that the camera fully captures her positive energy and zest for life. Even behind the scenes, she's the one that pulls everyone together. 

Is there any lady that you didn't gel with?(Laughs) Not that I didn't gel with. 

Nonku and I have had a bit of a run-in but we've resolved that issue already. Well, I feel like it's resolved. Whether or not it's resolved in her head, I don’t know. 

She's a strong personality. Sometimes it's her way or the highway but I understand that because of where she comes from; she's just very strong and independent. But we've got past the issue, I hope. 

And we've connected on the fact that we have a similar past.

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