Basketball Wives LA's Brandi Maxiell Gets Deep About Marriage, Black Women On TV And Not Playing The Victim
Brandi Maxiell talks being a victim and stepping up her gangster in the upcoming season of 'Basketball Wives LA.'
Newbie to the Basketball Wives franchise, Brandi Maxiell came with a storyline unlike any of her cast mates last year. Now, she wants to set things straight before the start of her second BBWLA season.
Here, she talks about her union to NBA baller, Jason Maxiell, briefly and yet, openly shares the same sentiments as Kelly Rowland, who recently received a bit of backlash on her views discussing the art of balancing marriage and motherhood. "I feel like it’s first God, then your husband, then your child. I stand by that and it’s not to say that I neglect my son," Brandi says. "But you got to understand, in order for a unit to be good, the household has to be right–the husband and the wife. I got to get that back in order."
Maxiell has been known to "keep it cute" for most of her inaugural season on the L.A. show, but with new faces on the scene and a recurring struggle (more on this later), the survivor and reality TV starlet admits she turns it up a notch this go-round just before season four makes its grand debut on Sunday, July 12. – Erica Nichole
VIBE: Let’s talk about your start on BBWLA. How did that come about and what were your expectations for the show?
I was actually asked to do Basketball Wives, the second season of Miami. I was in a different place in my life and I kind of didn’t want to do it. I didn’t think it was right and I was a newlywed. Then they wanted me to do it in 2011 for the first season of Basketball Wives L.A. and I was pregnant. It was bad timing. I remember being on the phone with my girlfriend, Malaysia, and we talking and I was like, you know what, I think I’m going to just do it this year. Just tell my story so she can have a friend on the show. I came on and that’s how it happened.
A lot of people gravitated towards you because of your honesty and the story you brought to the show. How important was it for you to share your truths about your health?
I felt like there was no reason for me to be on a major platform without helping other women. At that time, I was five, six years out from ovarian cancer and I felt like it was the time. It was right. It was hard and very difficult 'cause I think that was the second time I've ever been open enough to talk about my story. I didn’t know how I was going to be viewed, how they were going to edit it, or make it to be. I’m so thankful that VH1 did a great job with that because I saved a lot of lives, I helped a lot of women, and that’s the main thing that I wanted–women to be able to just relate. When you watch, you like a character or a person based on who you can relate to and that’s important for me. This year’s a little different. I’m a little nervous but VH1 loves me so much. I hope everything is the way it was. I watch it when you guys watch it.
Since its inception in Miami, the show has brought about a lot of dialogue on the portrayal of black women on TV. What do you hope you’ve shown, personally, since being on the show?
I’m a strong woman. I’m a Southern girl. We’re real, we’re honest, we’re open, and we’re lovers. I just hope that by me telling my story people don’t get it twisted with being a victim. That’s why I was a little nervous of even telling my story because I didn’t want people to be like, 'Poor Brandi,' and that’s what I got a lot. That’s not what I want. I want somebody to look up my story to uplift them or help them if they’re going through the same thing or if they know someone. I don’t want, 'Oh, I feel bad for you, girl.' I personally battle with trying my best to not be that girl and I feel like this season, in one or two episodes, I’m going to get that core situation again like I did last year. I’m going to be so angry because I’m not that "victim girl."
You’ve mentioned how emotional you get speaking about ovarian cancer and the challenge in wanting to have another child. Where are you now mentally, seven years later as a survivor and after publicizing your journey about expanding your family?
As far as expanding my family, I kind of put that on hold a little bit. I’m trying to focus on what’s going on in my life now. I talk about this on the show so it’s no secret, but after having a baby, me and my husband forget a lot of things along the way when it comes to things in your marriage. We’re trying to get that back in tact. We’re trying to get back that "what it was" before we jump on to another baby. I neglected him a lot and it kind of caused little problems so we’re back trying to figure that out and get us together. We’re probably going to have another baby in the next year.
Are you currently involved in projects involving ovarian cancer awareness?
Yes, I put it on pause for a little bit because I was filming but before I was filming, I was going on tour. I was doing different things and telling my story. I used to have like a sip-and-tea situation. I would go to different cities and talk about my story and let other women talk about their stories and what they’re going through. We’d share, cry, laugh, everything. It was a small, intimate group and we would just girl talk. I’m picking that back up now. It’s a lot of people dealing with cancer. It doesn’t have to be ovarian cancer that we’re talking about. It’s a lot of people going through cancer. It’s everywhere. Me and my husband want to do an organization together and we didn’t know what we wanted to call it but that’s a lot of work.
What can we expect to see from you this season of Basketball Wives L.A.?
I’m very vocal. I took a lot of sh*t and this year, I don’t take any sh*t. It’s just like, I’m done. I stop letting people disrespect me, I stop letting people use me, and some people took the nice girl card from me too far and they took advantage of me. I start calling shots this season. I’m going through a situation with my husband and you got these random b**ches talking sh*t. It’s a good season. I’m excited for it.