Kandi, you have a knack for staying on the outskirts of the drama. Do you ever feel like Halle Berry in Gothika: the sane person stuck in an asylum?
Kandi: I’m just doing me. It takes a lot to push my buttons. That’s just who I am.
Tamar: Everybody’s not popolicious.
And why are you so “popolicious,” Tamar?
Tamar: I’m not like that with my girlfriends, though. If we’re all out, I’m more outgoing, more fun. I’m not poppin’ off. I’m just not gonna mess up my face [laughs]. But on the series [spin-off] with [my husband] Vince, you’ll see me in a friendship setting. I’m just as passionate. I’m not just gonna fight. I’m not gonna be a donkey. I’m definitely gonna give you my opinion because I feel like that’s why you love me.
Chrissy: I was easily angered because I signed up for something that was supposed to be about girl power and women embracing each other in this crazy world of hip-hop. I thought it was gonna be more of a support thing instead of Gladiators. They would always bring somebody to challenge me. I would knock ’em down and they would bring somebody else.
So you’re saying the producers orchestrated the violence?
Chrissy: Absolutely. They would go as far as telling the new girl, “Chrissy thinks she’s Queen Bee around here so we need you to step up because nobody here has a strong enough personality. We need you to shut it down.” They were feeding people this negative energy from the door. I have no reason to lie.
Kandi: If [the producers] know this person and that person don’t get along, they’ll be like, “Okay, we want you guys to go to lunch.” They know if they have a conversation about what’s going on, something’s gonna jump off. But nobody can make you physically punch somebody in the face. We end up doing that to ourselves from people being real disrespectful in the way they’re speaking to each other, pointing fingers all in people’s faces. Some people just can’t take that.
On the flipside, people can’t see the producers setting you up. Do you guys ever feel regret?
Chrissy: Absolutely. It’s like, why did I let them get me that angry? It’s compromising to your soul because I didn’t sign up for this, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna allow somebody to make a fool of me because the cameras are rolling.
Evelyn: I do and [the bottle incident] was one of those things where I was like, “That was wrong.” The producers of the show could have edited that out but I take full responsibility. I mean, [Kenya] has kids at home.
Evelyn, does your daughter watch the show?
Evelyn: Yes, but if you know my daughter, you’ll know she doesn’t care about any of that. She’s very independent. She knows who mom is. And to her, mom is a character on a television show. [My daughter] knows that side of me because she’s seen both sides. The world hasn’t. But I take full responsibility for everything that I’ve done. It’s all me.
Tamar: This is what I’m saying—it’s not negative, because she learned from it. The beautiful part about it is that somebody can watch it and not make the same mistake. ’Cause sometimes when I watch Kandi, I wish I could be more like her. You’re never like, “Pop, pop, pop!”
Kandi: It takes a lot not to. The reason why I can be [so drama-free] on my show is that I wasn’t friends with [my castmates] before I got on the show. So anything they said didn’t matter to me. Tamar, you’re around your family, so you care.
Tamar: I mean, this is me, but if you family—cousin, brother, mother—you come at me crazy and I’m gon’ jump at you crazy.
Do any of you see yourselves as role models?
Chrissy: I guess if somebody is afraid to speak their mind and wanna stand up for themselves, then yes. I want people to realize that they can have whatever they want. You can be respected in your relationship exactly the way you want to be. It’s up to you to go get it. Some of the stuff is a little heavy, but you’re not going to be exposed to crazy situations in life just by watching reality TV. You can go to the corner store and see crazy shit going on. You can go to school and see crazy shit. Don’t put it all on me.
Kandi: You would never imagine how many people come up to me on the street: “How could you be a part of that? It’s a disgrace to Black people.” I’m on a show called Real Housewives and I’m not married so I guess I represent single mothers out there who are handling their business and trying to take things to the next level. So when people say, “You shouldn’t be on the show, it’s like, “Well, who do you want to go on there? More people you don’t like?”
Evelyn: As a parent I didn’t raise my daughter to look up to somebody on TV as a role model. I want her to look up to her mother, her family as role models. Also, I have nieces who watch the show and love it. So I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place because I’m being me but now I’m coming to the realization that I can’t do… I wouldn’t want my nine-year-old watching this, but their parents do. So I said to myself recently, “Young girls are watching the show. I really need to check myself.” Before reality TV was what it was, I had full control over my daughter’s television because you never know what they’re showing. Every parent isn’t like that. It’s not for me to judge but we’re talking a lot about sex; sometimes there are sexy scenes. I think it’s a little inappropriate, but regardless, I don’t think children should be looking up to reality TV stars as role models.