Candiace Dillard Bassett Hints at 'RHOP' 'Exit Strategy' Amid Divided Season and Return to 'Hush' (Exclusive)

'The Real Housewives of Potomac's Candiace Dillard Bassett reacts to fan feedback on season 8 as she pivots to acting with 'Hush.'

Candiace Dillard Bassett has one foot in the scripted world, one foot in the unscripted world -- and she wishes her The Real Housewives of Potomac castmates understood the difference. 

"For sure, there is a lot of acting happening on Potomac this season," she muses to ET over video chat. "It might be nice to let one of the girls, one or two of the girls, audition for a role as an extra [on ALLBLK's Hush], since they want to be actors."

Candiace is back as Syleena for season 2 of the streaming drama, as well as season 8 of RHOP -- her sixth as a Bravo 'Wife. RHOP's return has been met with mixed series-high viewership, but mixed feedback from those viewers, calling out a divided cast feuding over underwhelming antics.

"It felt exactly how you all are viewing it," Candiace remarks. "I always speak highly of our viewers. I think the Potomac fandom, Potomac viewership is some of the smartest in the Bravo-sphere. You all don't miss anything. Your think pieces are riveting, even the ones that are anti-Candiace."

"It feels like everybody went to school, everybody was in the library and I appreciate that," she continues. "It is it was weird to shoot. It was weird to film. It was weird and awkward to be in a lot of these spaces."

RHOP features its largest ensemble ever this year, with eight full-time 'Wives and a gaggle of "friends" popping in and out of the circle. The season started on an awkward note, as roughly half the women sought to hold Robyn Dixon's feet to the fire for supposedly hiding her truth on season 7. It was only after those episodes wrapped that she discussed some potentially boundary-crossing behavior by her husband, Juan Dixon, behind the paywall of her podcast with co-star Gizelle BryantReasonably Shady. Candiace proved to be Robyn's most vocal critic on the cast, posting a scathing thread with her thoughts on X (formerly Twitter).

"I stand by my think piece," she says of the tweets. "When I tweeted that, I was upset, but I was also operating with information that you all don't know yet."

"I don't know if and when you will find out everything, but there is more that you all don't know," she teases. "Also, I will say that there's a tweet that's being tacked on to everything, that I said, that is being attributed to [Robyn]. That's not for her. When I said, 'This is your best work? It's time to recast,' that wasn't for Robyn."

It seems safe to assume it's meant for Robyn's BFF, Gizelle. Candiace took Robyn's revelation as proof Gizelle used Candiace and her husband, Chris Bassett, as a way to deflect what was happening in Robyn's home during season 7. Much of it centered around Gizelle's vague claim that Chris made her uncomfortable at the season 6 reunion taping. Gizelle maintains it wasn't some grand plot to protect Robyn. 

"Absolutely not," Gizelle told ET in October, saying she wasn't even aware of Robyn and Juan's situation until Robyn brought it to the pdocast.

"Did you really think that you were going to fool our audience?" Candiace asks. "Like, the camera does not lie. The camera is, like, the oracle; it knows all, it sees all, you can't fool the camera."

"We are watching a lot of floppianas flopping around right now," she quips. "I think that there is an answer to the divide, for sure. It's not elusive. It's not like it's not evading us at all, like, the answers are there."

"You have to have a group of women who are collectively willing to do what needs to be done," she continues. "Do the work to move forward, and from what I'm seeing, we're still backpedaling. ... We want to rest in the valley of the shadow of lies, and if we're going to make those choices, then I don't know what we're going to do. We're going to keep dancing around each other and pretending like everything is fine, and... I don't know."

Candiace acknowledges that she and Gizelle are at a bit of an impasse. On a recent episode, she accused Gizelle of ignoring her in hopes she disappears, a strategy Candiace doesn't deny using against Gizelle, either. But when it comes to Robyn, Candiace expected more. They had a stronger friendship before the aftermath of season 7 played out.


"I think she's just sort of in a trance right now," Candiace said of Robyn at BravoCon. "I'm just waiting at the corner, I'm at the bus stop, I'm waiting on her to wake up." 

Matters got worse from there, though, as Gizelle and Robyn used their podcast to discuss rumors circulating about Candiace's husband cheating on her around season 8's premiere. The woman whose claims they were discussing -- going so far as to say they believed them -- has since admitted to making it all up. Candiace has yet to receive an apology from either of her co-stars. 

"I mean, I'm probably crazy -- I'm still optimistic that people could come to their senses," Candiace shares. "But I'm also prepared to move around in the event that they're not, but I will also make clear, what I will not do is pretend like I'm not owed an apology and like I'm not owed humanity from people who want to be inhumane."

Candiace confesses to making a conscious choice to sit back on her "tuffet" this season and not actively engage in the mess. She's jumped in, in moments, though to try and navigate some of the group's dramas, including pal Wendy Osefo's ongoing showdown with new Housewife Nneka Ihim

"I'm exhausted," she says of the fourth-wall breaking ordeal. Nneka alleges Wendy and her family attempted to block her casting on RHOP, seemingly to avoid having another Nigerian woman to "compete" with on the series. Their alleged attempts didn't work, leading Nneka to confront Wendy about it all, on camera. The problem is, they were speaking around the fourth wall for much of their battle, which spiraled into claims Wendy's Catholic mother used a voodoo shrine to curse Nneka. 

"It it felt weird, it feels weird," Candiace notes. "Nneka did come in really strong, she came on really strong, and I hate that. It's looking like her season one legacy is about someone else, when it should be about her. Because she's a smart woman."

"There's a lot of color to her that we don't know, because she fussed about shrines and calling people mama 'b***hes,'" she says. "It's just a lot that, unfortunately for her, has kind of derailed her."

Graeme Jennings / Bravo

Candiace calls Nneka and Wendy's issues "too layered" and "convoluted" to solve on camera, saying the newbie needs to simply "leave my friend alone."

"I like Nneka, she's a fun girl when we're not arguing about Wendy," Candiace shares. "Her and Wendy could have been a thing, but I would almost venture to say it's, it might be too late, because I know that Wendy is very hurt, and rightfully so, by everything that has been said."

"It's all very unfortunate," she adds. While Candiace has no plans to leave the show anytime soon, she does admit to having an "exit strategy" for reality TV, as she ramps up her acting and music careers.

"I have always had a plan," she shares, but she won't reveal exactly what it is, or when she plans to act on it.

"Everything is a gift," she offers. "All of this, like the music, the acting, Potomac -- it's all a bonus for me. None of it is something that I feel entitled to, and I would rather live that way than the other way."

Candiace is wrapping up her Deep Space era -- the album she dropped in 2021, followed by a deluxe edition last year -- and prepping new music for 2024. She says she's on her "Beyoncé-ish," planning to tell her truth through song, and even collaborating with producers and songwriters behind hits for Queen Bey, as well as SZA and H.E.R.

'The music is definitely elevated and reflective of my real life -- my actual life," she says. "I'm kind of like theming this project as chaotic. It's chaos."

A recent Collider op-ed declared Candiace could be the Cardi B of Bravo... if she times her departure from Housewives just right. Cardi made a name for herself on VH1's Love and Hip Hop franchise, jumping ship to superstardom just after dropping her hit, "Bodak Yellow."

"Someone tagged me in that article and my heart kind of stopped, because it feels like, no matter what happens with me and this crazy rollercoaster ride that has been Potomac, it feels like I am being validated as an artist, and that means more than anyone will ever know," she says. "I do recognize that coming on to the scene as a reality star, you are fighting against people who think that I am just a reality star."

Candiace has faced that feedback on set of her scripted projects, too, but she's out to prove her doubters wrong. Her latest show, Hush, returned for its second season last week. The saga follows the story of sex therapist Dr. Draya Logan (Joyful Drake), who finds herself behind bars after spinning a web of lies... and murder. Candiace is Syleena, one of Dr. Logan's patients turned pawns in her attempt to get out of prison. 


"Syleena is my alter ego," Candiace says. "She is afraid of nothing. She always has a plan, she runs everything. She runs her household, she is running kind of this drug operation, but she does it in a way that it doesn't feel dirty -- or even illegal!"

"Put your kids to bed before you turn this on," she cautions. "That part is fun to play. I definitely don't have as much moxie as she does, but it's fun to pretend. I think that the part of her that does run parallel to me is the, um, she is an alpha female, and she stands up for something -- albeit maybe not right, but she stands in that -- and I think this season, what I love is, that you get to see her being compassionate. I am a very compassionate person, so it was fun to let that part of her peek out, but not too much because she is not going to lay down and brush her hair and, like, make you breakfast."

New episodes of Hush debut Thursdays on ALLBLK, while The Real Housewives of Potomac airs Sundays on Bravo at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Episodes of RHOP stream next day on Peacock.