Colony Reeves spent her childhood winning beauty pageants and gracing the covers of magazines. She was the face of beauty, of exuberance, of joy. Today, she is a star on Netflix’s popular reality show Selling Tampa. At 30 years old, she still has the model looks, but she’s also added some luxury real estate agent glamour.
Despite what viewers saw— her stylish wardrobe, bright smile, and impeccable makeup —Colony wants her community to know: she has sought help for depression and still sees a therapist. She is the face of someone who once struggled with mental health.
“What you see is a mask,” said Colony, who was born and raised in Tampa and graduated from Tampa Catholic. “Many people have masks on to hide what they’re going through or what they have been through. And more people have masks on than we know.”
For Colony, her mask emerged after she was assaulted while at college in Tallahassee. Her dad brought her home so her family could care for her, but she slipped into a year-long battle with extreme depression as a result of the trauma. Mental health isn’t often spoken about in the black community; and that was the case in her own home. Colony’s spiral led her mom to seek out the help of a therapist. Slowly, Colony began to heal.
She finished school at the University of South Florida. After graduation, she got a job as a preschool teacher. On the outside, she seemed to have everything going for her again: a college degree, a good career, a boyfriend, and a loving family. But the light inside Colony had dimmed; underneath the façade, the beauty queen mask, she was unhappy, depressed, and on another downward spiral. She couldn’t explain it. Depression had a grip on her and she was suffocating. Her mom encouraged her to seek out counseling again. With the help of a therapist, Colony bounced back. She found love in real estate and reaped success because she worked hard, was knowledgeable, and cared about her clients.
Selling Tampa has brought a spotlight that she wasn’t expecting. She knows she wants to use her platform for good; to make a difference. She’s using her platform to advocate for mental health and help destigmatize therapy. She wants others to see her face and know that mental health struggles can afflict anyone. And they do. The face of mental health looks like a brother, a friend, a co-worker, a stranger in line at the grocery store.
With help from a therapist – she still goes monthly – she is at a good place in her life. She wants to talk about it. She wants others to feel comfortable seeking help. She makes it a point to check in with her circle, to make sure they’re good. Because talking about mental health and seeking help has made all the difference. Today, when her mask smiles, her spirit smiles, too.