It was the second annual RAGTRADE Atlanta fashion show, fashion week for the city of Atlanta, and you could see business-mode written all over publicist, Angela Watts, face. We made conversation after introducing ourselves and awaiting her fiancé’s arrival. Angela, who is the owner of 10 Squared Agency and founder and show producer of RAGTRADE Atlanta, is reserved like a fine wine, but most importantly, she’s about her business – you can tell from her demeanor. In her 12 years of being a business owner, she has built a repertoire of clients which range from Organic Root Stimulator to Ebony Steele to HBO and Lisa Nicole Cloud.
In walked Robert, aka “Middleman”, Angela’s fiancé who brought a certain aura into the room. Dressed in typical Middleman fashion, this celebrity stylist and boutique owner (Atlier) is just as vivid and eccentric in his style as his aura lets on. His 15-year career has spawned eye-catching fashions from celebs like Future, Young Thug, Floyd Mayweather, Steve Harvey, R. Kelly, and Cee Lo Green.
At first glance when looking at Angela and Middleman you probably wouldn’t think they would be an item, let alone on the verge of getting married. The two are almost like night and day. Angela is conservative and Middleman on the other hand is outgoing and outspoken, but after speaking with them you can tell where their personalities make for them to have a relationship – they’re both kind yet able to have a playful banter which makes their relationship, as Angela would say, easy.
For eight years Angela and Middleman have been honing their relationship – no breakups – and have been engaged for two. Trying to balance a successful relationship while maintaining and growing within successful careers can be tough but Angela and Middleman have found a way to make it work all while making their love remain loyal, true, and humorous.
SAMANTHA DENÄE (DE): How did you two meet?
ANGELA WATTS: Oddly enough, we met at this nightclub called South Beach. It was on Roswell Road and he was a promoter at the club. That night, I actually went there to see somebody else (laughs) and he walked up to me and said , “What’s your name?” and I said “I’m Angela, I came up here to see so and so.” He was like, “Oh, you came to see him? He dates the whole city”, or something like that, and I was like what, who is this dude talking to me (laughs)? Then he said, “You’re going to be my wife!”
Oh, so you already knew?
MIDDLEMAN: It was more so like a bet (laughs). It was her demeanor and the way she carried herself. I was jokingly saying it, but here we are eight years later.
What attracted you to each other?
AW: For me, he’s just very funny. He’s very fun to be around and he really is – well he has his ways, but for the most part there’s not really a dull moment when we’re together. Honestly, I can say in the eight years we’ve been together everyday is some type of joke. I mean it’s a fun relationship. It’s easy. When we first started dating it wasn’t hard to date. It just really flowed and it was easy.
MM: Her kindness. I mean she became my best friend and I like her authority and the way she takes control. She’s an independent woman who owns her own business and that attracted me to her. She changed my life in a lot of ways.
For you, what is the key to a successful relationship?
MM: Trust, loyalty.
AW: He knows a lot of people and so do I, well I know a lot of guys and he knows a lot of girls.
MM: Bad girls (laughs).
AW: It is about trust. Honestly, I really don’t worry about it. People come and say hello and hug me all of the time. I have guy friends that I’ve known and hung out with for years. I knew well in advance that I was not going to stop any friendships with my guy friends. That is one of the things that I love about him – he embraces that. He has a couple of female friends that he considers his best friends and he speaks with weekly. They’re my friends, like my sisters. So it’s just about being secure within yourself…but you have to get to a that place as an individual before you can actually have something like that with someone else.
What does it mean to be a power couple?
MM: I guess when two people come together and make something work and both are striving for the same goal of being successful. We’re both in the entertainment industry, so being able to co-exist but not allowing the limelight to get to your head or cause you to overlook the common goal. How we act at home is how we act in public.
AW: I think we’re both very humble. We have access to a lot of different people and a lot of different opportunities. We embrace people and you will always get the same person you saw two days or even a week ago. I think bringing our connections together has allowed us to become even more influential.
How do you balance two exciting careers while making time for each other?
MM: Ain’t any time (laughs). She comes home, she’s on the computer. She wakes up, she’s on the computer. She goes to sleep, she’s on the computer. So I have to schedule.
AW: That’s not true!
MM: Yes it is, write it down (laughs)! 24/7!
AW: That’s when I get very busy, but for the most part, we do spend time together. We make time to go to the movies and things like that.
MM: Oh yeah things like that, but she’d rather for me to be in the house. She ain’t gotta talk to me just as long as I’m there. She may take a break, come sit in my lap, do the kissy face and go right back to the computer.
AW: Our way to pass time (in the past) was going to nightclubs a lot. We really worked the nightlife circuit. We looked at it as an opportunity to have fun with each other and make connections (there is always work involved). I think we still make time for each other, maybe not in the traditional sense, but definitely on Sundays we spend time together.
Most memorable outfits?
MM: A while back… I remember we were at a pool party and she had on these daisy dukes, and I’m like “What are you doing?” back then it was Baby Phat. I’m like “Why are you wearing Baby Phat?” (laughs)?
AW: It was NOT Baby Phat!
MM: Ok, it was Apple Bottoms.
AW: It was not Apple Bottoms. It was nothing. It was a cheap little outfit (laughs).
MM: Anyways , it was short and cheap.
AW: Most memorable outfit for him is when I bought him an outfit for $100. He doesn’t think I can shop for him so we made a bet that I could get him a full outfit for $100. We got a thermal, a vintage leather jacket (that he still has today and is so dope) and a pair of denims.
How much do you spend on clothes?
MM: Being a stylist I get a lot of stuff for free or I’ll just get something from the boutique since I’m the boutique owner. But for the most part, my clothes are more expensive versus me buying her something.
AW: And then a lot of times he’ll customize his things and make his own clothes.
What makes the other person interesting?
AW: Honestly, his personality. He’s a really funny guy. He gets along with everybody. I can’t think of one person he doesn’t get along with and who he’s not loved by. And he’s very memorable. Every time I say I date a guy named Middleman they say who? His name isn’t a common name that you’re going to hear.
MM: Unpredictable. You never know what you’re going to get. She has her days on and her days off. I might get lucky, some days I might not.
Have you two worked together before? Is there a future collaboration?
AW: We have but not all of the time. It’s hard to work together.
MM: Because she’s stuck in her ways but she always says I have to listen to someone else. She says she’ll tell me something and I won’t do it, but if I hear it from somebody else she thinks I’ll go and do it when I was really listening to her.
AW: At one point we were trying to collaborate and create a showroom space for stylists and different designers to pull garments. We’re definitely revisiting that because now is the right time to make it happen.
What is the one thing about each other you would change?
MM: Oh man. I mean really nothing except sometimes I wish she could see herself and when she gets mad she gets set in her ways.
AW: If I had to change one thing about Robert, I would say I would want him to…
MM: Go ahead and say it. It’s funny because she’s always complaining about how I dress. She thinks I need to dress like a 46-year-old. I’m a wardrobe stylist.
AW: (laughs) I don’t think he really hears what I’m telling him when I say this. I mean that he needs to maybe tone it down sometimes.
MM: I can’t.
AW: He just refuses to. It’s not that he doesn’t know how to dress for the occasion but I do wish that he could tone it down a little. If he could listen a little bit more, as opposed to him thinking he knows everything when he really doesn’t. Listen and comprehend what I’m saying to you. That’s it.
MM: Oh! I know what I would change! Her lying about her age! She’s been lying by one year (laughs)!
AW: No, I don’t!
MM: Yes, you do (laughs).
What is the one thing about each other that you love the most?
AW: He really is a kind person.
MM: Just her as a whole person. She’s my friend, she cool (laughs). Eight years never broken up.
How did the proposal go?
MM: I wrote a letter and I put it in the freezer (laughs). And I told her I didn’t get her anything so she was like “It’s ok” but she was walking around looking mad. So I pretended like I hit my knee and she went to the freezer to get some ice and when she opened up the freezer it said something about “Can I keep you on ice, would you be my wife?” Then she started crying and stuff.
AW: It was actually Christmas day.
Advice you would give to couples that are trying to have a successful career and a successful relationship?
AW: I would say you have to be able to be open and listen. Even though we joke about a lot and he says stuff like I’m set in my ways and I say that he doesn’t listen, one thing that I can honestly say is that when it’s truly important, we do listen to each other. We’re very transparent. We don’t hide anything. Most importantly, you have to be confident as an individual first before you commit to someone. I was single for about two to three years before we got together, but by then, I knew what I wanted and when we got together it was just easy. Just know who you are as a person and to communicate your needs. As far as working together, it is very similar to a business relationship. Everyone has to stay in their lane and most importantly…holding your partner accountable for their actions.
MM: She’s the quarterback and she calls the plays… and I run them (laughs).
Although no wedding plans and an official date has been set, Angela does have a direction for the wedding and so does Middleman. He plans to style Angela for their wedding (but Angela says that won’t happen) and they plan to host a non-traditional fashion show affair – ironic how both of their worlds will collide on their big day.
Angela and Middleman make for a great couple. Just as many differences as they have they have just as many similarities. It’s great to see how they interact with one another. They can certainly teach us to remain true to ourselves even when you’re in a relationship and to never judge a book by its cover because you don’t know what’s on the inside.
Social media handles:
Twitter & Instagram: @angelaswatts & @middlemanfresh
Words: Samantha Denӓe