Drew Sidora is back on the small screen in Lifetime's thriller 'Line Sisters' and later this year, 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta.'
"I've never been able to do a scary movie -- I can't even watch scary movies!" Drew confesses to ET over video chat. "Everybody's like, 'How are you doing a scary movie?' But I felt like I needed to conquer this, you know what I mean? So this was my first one and it really challenged me as an actress. It was something out of the realm of any other work that I've done."
"It really was scary," she says of shooting the film, which follows a group of "line sisters" -- women who pledged a sorority together -- 15 years after some hazing took a deadly turn. Now, someone who knows their secret is back to haunt them during a Black Greek life reunion.
"I worked with a real snake," Drew notes. "So in my mind, I'm reading the script and I thought it would be a prop or something like that, and I had to do a whole training on how to deal with the snake. And I was like, 'This is really some scary sh**. Who wants to work with a snake?!' And I had to lay next to it! So that, for me, what you saw on the screen, that was not acting. That was really me being freaked all the way out."
The made-for-TV thriller has a little fun with Drew's status as a Housewife, too, with a direct shoutout to the franchise and its cast members' tendency to fight over room assignments on vacations. The on-set experience, however, was not like Housewives at all.
"You rarely get to connect with women and you know where I come from, working with women where you're allowed to really love on each other, support each other, uplift each other and want everyone to win," Drew explains. "I felt like that was priceless for me."
Drew is wrapping up production on season 14 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which will be her second as peach-holder. "That is spicy," she teases of what's to come. "I will tell you that. It is going to be very spicy, so stay tuned."
"In some ways, I know a little more," she adds. "I'm building a little more relationships with those individuals -- certain ones -- so I'll say I know a little more in some areas and a lot of things, it's f'ed up. It's worse than I ever could have imagined. It's below the belt and yeah, it's gone to some places I didn't and I wasn't prepared for."
Drew returns as a full-time 'Wife along with series veterans Kandi Burruss and Kenya Moore. Longtime "friend of" Marlo Hampton got a promotion to peach-holder, too, and OG Shereé Whitfield is back for her third time as a cast member. Newcomer Sanya Richards-Ross, a track and field Olympian, rounds out the cast. Gone are Porsha Williams and Cynthia Bailey, the 'Wives Drew was closest to in her first season on the show.
"I'm really excited," Drew says of the new lineup. "I really hope we see some fashions with Shereé coming. I'm just here for the fashions this season. I'm like, 'Where are they?' I haven't seen them yet. I'll keep you posted."
Sherée is notorious in the RHOA realm for attempting to launch her "She by Shereé" clothing line -- in season 1, she hosted a "fashion show with no fashions" and in season 10, she proclaimed the collection would debut in "spring, summer... September."
"I'm still trying to see where I can Google and get them," Drew cracks. "So I'm here for that, though -- if it happens, I'm here for it. I think it's been a long time coming. I'm excited for Marlo. I feel like she is the example of dedication, perseverance. She's here and she's putting it all out. I'm seeing so many different sides of her that I'm enjoying and getting to know Marlo a lot more this season."
"And the new girl, Sanya... I think she's definitely adding to the group," Drew adds. "She's an amazing track star, gold medalist. It doesn't get better than that. So getting to know her has been a journey. I'll say that. It's been a journey. It's been an interesting journey."
Drew was noticeably absent from a recent group photo on a cast trip, but she can't share why that was the case, offering a pregnant pause before promising, "You'll see. You'll see."
There's a lot more to see from Drew than fans got to experience in season 13, which was filmed amid COVID lockdown restrictions. She was also in a medical boot for most of filming, with castmates Kenya and LaToya Howard immediately starting drama with her, all while Drew was dealing with her husband, Ralph Pittman, briefly going MIA (he was taking some "me time" in Florida).
"I'm happy that people still get to know me," she says. "I feel like last season I had to come in and defend myself from the beginning and stand up for myself. And it was just eh, throwing blows the whole time. And that's not who I am. But if need be, she will arise to the occasion. But I have many different sides to me that I think hopefully people will give me a chance, get to know me, and see those other sides and embrace it."
One of those other sides is Drew's musical side; after years of wanting to, Drew is finally making an album. She recently signed a recording deal with eOne.
"So that's a new chapter we'll be able to go on, I have a new single dropping that I can't wait to [share]," she teases.
It's a bit of a full-circle moment for the multi-hyphenate. When ET first sat down with her in 2006 to promote her then-breakout role in Step Up, Drew said she would struggle to choose between acting or singing, as both are passions. After watching back her nearly 16-year-old interview, Drew tears up and reflects on the road she's walked since that big break.
"Wow," she lets out. "Through my journey, I can say I've had some discouragement and that Drew believed she could have it all, and I admire that Drew. It wasn't an easy journey, you know what I mean? Because I've been a single mom. I've been open about that. So, I didn't think at a certain time in my life I could find love. There were times that I didn't work and I struggled with weight and health issues. So, that Drew just thought, 'Oh, it's going to be easy. You can do it...' but I believe that that inner strength and that heart that she believed is what has me where I am today."
"I have an amazing husband, amazing children -- three beautiful children," she continues. "I am now back to work, which I will say to anyone, your mental health and your spirit is so important. You have to care for that because it was only through me having a lot of prayer and me going and seeking counseling and really making sure my mental health was where it needed to be got me to this place. It was not an easy journey. So I got emotional because I'm happy to see that I stayed on my journey and on my purpose and what I believed I could accomplish. And I am sitting here before you living that."
And others can live it with her by tuning in to support the premiere of Line Sisters on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.
"You're going to laugh, you're going to dance, you're going to cry -- you're going to be scared!" Drew promises. "You're going to scream. It is one of those movies that you're going to be screaming at the television and you're going to get into it, so bring your mother, your cousins. My kids watched it, so it really is something for the family. I would say that. And just be ready!"
As for how she plans to watch, Drew's inviting some of her RHOA co-stars to a premiere party -- key word being "some." As for who's not snagging an invite, Drew says, "Well, we'll just have to see who ends up on Instagram..."
The Real Housewives of Atlanta is expected to premiere later this year on Bravo.