Call her Thaedra Braxton?
Real Housewives of Atlanta alum Phaedra Parks made her return to reality TV a few weeks back on Braxton Family Values, helping to fill the void left by the majority of the Braxton family. Four of the sisters -- Toni, Trina, Towanda and Tamar -- all went on strike midway through filming season six, leaving the show’s future in jeopardy. Only Traci Braxton kept her commitment to filming, with the show refocusing on her life, including her newfound friendship with Phaedra.
“We've always loved each other from afar, and now we're up close and personal,” Phaedra gushes. “I obviously know Traci, know her sisters, and have a lot of respect for them. So, when I received the call, I said, 'Well, I have to know what I'm really getting myself into,' because, of course, I'm not new to it, honey. I'm an old vet.”
Phaedra calls the casting “a match made in heaven.” The ladies were just acquaintances before producers surprised Traci with Phaedra, as well as comedian Luenell and Bad Girls Club star Natalie Nunn, at a “wellness boot camp” filmed for the show.
“When I heard it was the Braxtons, I was very excited,” she adds. “They are huge! And they've contributed so much to showing positive images of women, women of color. So, I was like, 'Oh! This will be fun!' So, I showed up and she showed up, and hey!”
While Traci welcomed Phaedra with open arms, her sisters weren’t exactly feeling the addition to their cast. In a since-deleted Instagram video, Tamar Braxton dubbed Phaedra a “wannabe.”
Phaedra is aware of the criticism but is not paying it much mind.
“I have seen the dark side of reality TV,” Phaedra shares. “I've been in the dark side of reality TV, so I understand her position. I understand how it feels to be in this position, so I just wanted to support her, I want to see her win.”
It’s safe to say the “dark side” Phaedra is referencing is Real Housewives. The 44-year-old exited the Bravo series at the end of its ninth season, and it wasn’t exactly on good terms. The season ended with co-star Kandi Burruss at war with Phaedra at the reunion after Phaedra allegedly spread rumors that Kandi once attempted to drug and rape someone, all of which Kandi has vehemently denied. It’s unclear whether Phaedra and Kandi were ever able to clear things up, off-camera, but Phaedra says she has “no regrets” about how things ended.
“I mean, whatever I've said, I've already said it,” Phaedra offers. “So, this is -- that was now, two years ago? So, yes, I'm living in 2018.”
The mom of two has “no plans” to return to RHOA anytime soon, and says rumors that she filmed for the upcoming 11th season are just that, rumors. Still, she does admit to still being friendly with NeNe Leakes and Porsha Williams.
“I don't want Porsha to be all upset and everything 'cause I'm all jumpin' up with her little friend, lady,” Traci admits. “I'mma give her back! I'mma give her back, Porsha!"
Well, it doesn’t look like Traci will be giving Phaedra back anytime soon. The ladies promise Phaedra will appear on most of the remaining episodes of season six of Braxton Family Values, and who knows? The gig may become full-time!
“Well, I never rule out anything,” Phaedra teases. “You know, I'm in a wonderful place, and I love being around Traci. I love what she stands for, she's got great energy. We have a ball when we're together.”
“My first priority is being a mom,” she adds. “I want my boys to be able to watch me and be proud of me. I want to do television that edifies women and empowers women, and if I do reality, I want it to be real. So, what I was doing with [Braxton Family Values] was really real. So, you know every moment you will see, it's real and very organic. I can feel good about it at the end of the day, there's no stress associated with it.”
Phaedra plays coy when asked if her previous reality TV experience was missing that criteria, though.
“I'm living in the present,” she reiterates. “I was with Housewives for eight years. No regrets, but this is very different. You know, every season comes to an end, and I'm just happy to be in a new place and doing something that I'm having fun doing. Because as long as you're having fun, it's not work.”
Braxton Family Values airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on WE tv.
Cynthia Bailey on Why She Was 'Pissed' at Kenya Moore and Misses Phaedra Parks! (Exclusive)
Porsha Williams on Returning to ‘RHOA’ as a ‘Better’ Person After the Phaedra Parks Scandal (Exclusive)
EXCLUSIVE: Andy Cohen and Bethenny Frankel Weigh in on Phaedra Parks' 'Real Housewives' Exit