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NENE LEAKES

Say whatever you want about NeNe Leakes but she has certainly parlayed her appearance on Real Housewives of Atlanta into a full-fledged career! 

This season NeNe is juggling two reality shows: RHOA, of course, and Dancing With The Stars. She had her first dance this week with partner Tony Dovolani and NeNe is more determined than ever to make her personality (and maybe even her background as a stripper) work in her favor.  Despite Wendy Williams' prediction that they won't win!

NeNe is also not going to let the health issues she experienced earlier this year hold her back! And she's also hoping she'll be hit with the added DWTS bonus of losing weight. "I'd love to lose 15 pounds," NeNe confesses to Essence. "That's a lot. I can't see me at 15 pounds smaller. That would be a disaster, OK? I'll be wearing everything."

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"I'm on medication though [NeNe suffered a pulmonary embolism in November], that kind of make me gain weight.  We're working out a lot. I'm scared to step on the scale because I like to judge myself from how my clothes fit. We’ll see what happens. I do have a goal. And I definitely want to lose some weight with Dancing with the Stars." 

VIDEO: WATCH NENE'S FIRST DANCE! 

NeNe and Tony are dancing an estimated 4-5 hours per day and it has been an adjustment for NeNe who admits going to the gym has never been part of her repertoire. "I'm busy because I work all the time, but I'm not very active," NeNe explains. "I am a go-getter though and I'm not scared of a challenge. So I'm in there. I'm running around the dance floor with Tony the whole time. He's totally shocked. We're laughing and we're having a good time."

NeNe also shares that her stripper past has definitely NOT been an added bonus thus far. "I thought it would give me a little edge. It didn't give me not a thing," she laughs. "I thought I could at least roll my hips. They roll their hips in a whole other way. Their hip rolling is incredible. So, the exotic dancing didn't help me a bit, chile. I sure wished it had." 

Finally NeNe talks RHOA. After a rocky season that has left her looking negative in the eyes of the viewers, NeNe shares that the show always has to have a villain and this season her number was called. "I feel like these networks and production companies—I'm just keeping it real—I just feel like they build you up to tear you down. I feel like they've done whatever they could do to try to not show me in the best light," NeNe complains.

"There are so many things that happen on the show and they… I don't even want to talk about editing, because I feel like so many people cry wolf on editing. I'm just saying that they've done whatever they could to try and diminish anything that I've done and I'm okay with it because I know about reality TV."

NeNe admits that sometimes every girl gets a bad edit. "Every season there has to be a villain, there has to be somebody that straddles the fence, and there has to be a little s**t stirrer. All of those things make the show. They decide who's going to be the villain this season or who's going to be this person or that person. We don't have any control over that. I think that the show has gotten great ratings."

NeNe clarifies that she is not biting the hand that feeds her and reveals that a bad season will not prevent her from returning to the show. "This has opened up so many opportunities for me that I'm really grateful for," she states. "And I will say that I will continue to do it for as long as I can. I don't really know when that will be. But I know that I won't be doing it forever."

[Photo Credit: ABC/Adam Taylor]

TELL US – DOES NENE HAVE A CHANCE AT WINNING DWTS? IS SHE GETTING THE 'VILLAIN EDIT' ON RHOA – OR IS HER EGO OUT OF CONTROL?

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