The Partner

The Domestic Violence Survivor Who Overcame Her Past to Become 'The Partner'

The Partner Winner on Drawing Strength from Her Abusive Past
The Partner Winner on Drawing Strength from Her Abusive Past

Julianna Reed is a survivor and not just in the reality TV sense. Yes, the recently crowned winner of CNBC's The Partner overcame her underdog odds -- Reed is the first to cop to her unconventional business background -- to claim the top spot working alongside Marcus Lemonis, serial entrepreneur and host of The Profit. But she also did so with an eye for domestic violence awareness.

"I am a survivor of domestic violence and I actually speak fairly openly about it because I think one of the things that I realized while I was in that relationship is how much shame you hold every day," says Reed.

"I also thought it was really important that, if I had any sort of platform during this competition, that I wanted to make sure that whoever out there has experienced it, is experiencing it, or might experience it, could see me as a source of strength."

Reed, who bested a hyper-competitive applicant pool of over-achievers, now oversees M.L. Creative, a portfolio of Lemonis' lifestyle-focused businesses based out of Santa Monica, CA. It's a good fit for the California native whose meandering professional path has taken her from fashion merchandising and design to the non-profit sector and, now, to small-business entrepreneurship.

Yet more than her varied resume, Reed credits her ability to emerge emboldened from her past abusive relationship as a key motivating factor for her current professional success.

"You know, being The Partner, I have this ability to show the viewers, and to show myself, that there's so many different layers to us as people. … It's scary to tell someone that you're a survivor of domestic violence. You assume that they're gonna judge you in a certain way," she says.

"And so being able to overcome something like that I think really prepared me, like everything in my life, for this moment and being able to come out on the other side. And so I think that it's a strong part of the reason why I'm here."