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Briana Rene’e has been at the center of her share of drama on this season’s Little Women: LA. I got a chance to sit down with Briana to hear her side of the story on a year filled with changes: including a new marriage, music career aspirations, and shifting alliances with old friends. Here’s what she had to say about that, and much more! 

Did you ever think you’d wind up on a reality TV show?  “You know, I didn’t. When you watch stuff you always wonder what it would be like, but until I was offered the opportunity, I never considered it seriously.”

“To say the least, it’s definitely been a wild ride! The fact that I am myself completely – what you see on screen is who I am off screen – I make myself basically wide open to the public and vulnerable to positive and negative reactions. It really is wild. It’s an experience that you can only really understand if you’re in it. It’s been a wonderful opportunity and an amazing platform for educating the public though.”

What is your relationship status with each of your cast mates right now?  “At this point, we’re giving each other space, but are seeing each other when the opportunity arises. At the end of the day, you realize you were friends, you are friends, so you take it day by day. I mean, it was rough. But you don’t just end a friendship because you have one big argument.”

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Are you & Christy McGinity still speaking?  “Um, we’re working on it. I mean, we’re not obviously at the level we started off, but you know it’s something we need to work on between ourselves. And we are.”

“We were definitely very close, but when a lot of life happens it leaves opportunities open for a lot of changes in the dynamic. It can be very hard when things can suddenly change. But you’ve just got to step back and reassess the situation.”

So, you’re just letting time take care of things, then?  “Yeah, time and being open to opportunities of getting together. You know, we are nice and would make the best of things if we hang out.”

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I see you have a public appearance coming up with Jasmine Sorge and Brittney Guzman. Do you still see them socially?  “I do still see them. Brittney’s been taking advantage of a few new opportunities since the show. Jasmine and I, we got along on the show and were friends beforehand too. Unfortunately the other girls weren’t available to be there [at the appearance], but it’s nice to be able to connect with everyone who’s been so lovely and supportive of what we do.”

What do you think of Jasmine and Brittney as new cast members this season?  “It was an adjustment. Jasmine and I were friends before she came on, so it was natural. I thought, hey – this will be perfect, we get along, there should be no issues. Brittney, on the other hand, she’s very sweet, but she’s very young. I’m ten years older than her myself, and I’m one of the youngest in the group! So it was a little bit difficult to relate to her. You know, when I first met her she was five and I was fifteen! So, we’re in different stages of life.”

Do you think Matt [Ericson] was edited or portrayed fairly on LWLA?  “Um, no. I don’t feel that way at all. But again, it’s a reality show, so I don’t knock it. I just accept what comes. But honestly, Matt and I went with what we thought was best for us. It wasn’t for a show, it wasn’t for publicity. It was based on how much we wanted to be married, and we didn’t have the support team we would have wanted. So we thought, let’s do this [get married] for us. But it wasn’t well received, and that left us open to be edited in not the most positive, accepting light.”

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Terra Jole seemed to be at the center of this lack of support, correct?  “Yes. Terra’s never supported our relationship, and she has her own opinion. But at some point, the idea of expressing one’s opinion exhausts itself. It could have been over much sooner.”

Has Matt warmed up to your co-stars yet? Do you think he will?  “I guess I think he will. But when you’re attacked and you’re so judged from the get-go – and it just never lets up – you have a breaking point. And that’s what that was [the reunion]. That was a hurt, frustrated, tired-of-it breaking point. You know, when you feel like you’re defenseless, like you’re constantly fighting an uphill battle, what do you do?”

“So, I think time will give way for opportunities for mending, or at least be at peace with the situation. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to turn around and all be ‘best friends,’ but at least accepting the situation. Matt has no issue with that, or them. It’s just, when it’s constant, you come to that ‘I’m done’ point.”

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So, Matt was at his “breaking point” at the reunion?  “Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Of course, I stand by him 100% and I know where all of his frustration was coming from, but he even surprised me. Because sometimes we talk, and as a man he’s not usually as emotional as I would be. But he was really feeling on that level there. I thought, man, these women got to him more than I even figured! Because he was just done. Enough was enough. You can only take so much, so that definitely was his breaking point.”

“He’s not a verbal or emotionally abusive person. He’s not someone who attacks people, or women. He’s not that kind of person. He’s loving and nurturing and protective, and that’s the side of him that was pushed to the breaking point. It was protection.”

“And this is our life. It’s not for the show, it’s not a script. We are fine and happy doing us. So, either accept it, or just go away!” (laughs)

What was your reaction to Matt saying, “I’m done with her forever,” about your sister Tiana on the reunion?  “That was [about being] ‘hurt’ because – based on what happened up to that point – it was a shock that she would come on and not have any positivity. Because before this, she had come over to our house and was like, ‘I’m happy for you guys!’ And we thought that was fine. But then she came on the show and I thought, Whoa! Where are these feelings coming from?”

“So, it obviously is something that needs to be worked out. But this is family, it’s personal. It was a shock. We were hurt. And we’ll see what will come after this.”     

Have your parents met Matt yet?  “Um, we’re working on that. This whole thing really got to a point where it just peaked. It went too far on so many levels. I was hoping in the near future we could all figure this out because it puts a strain on things. It’s a very highly emotional situation. So, we thought we were taking steps forward, but that [the reunion/show] kind of took us a few steps back.”

“I mean, I’m definitely hopeful. Matt’s never wanted to keep me from my family, or be the wedge. It’s a complicated situation and it takes more than one person to fix it. On all accounts, we need to figure it out.”

Any more words about the sexting scandal? It seems like that issue was beaten to death on the show!  “Yeah. I don’t think there was a time when, even if we came close to an argument, that it wasn’t brought up on the show. For me, I’ve accepted it. It is what it is, and we’ve gotten past it. That was almost a year ago that it happened! So, we took some time, accepted the situation, and even decided to get married after that. So, technically, if I’m okay – or at least have accepted it and moved on – they should be too. They should be on board with accepting it and moving on way before me! Because it’s my life.”

Can you clear up Matt’s profession? It sparked confusion on the reunion.  “He worked for the state government for fourteen years. He had a wonderful job and made the decision to basically leave that job for me. So, technically, it’s not his fault. He shouldn’t have to explain things.”

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You seem like such a good mom to your daughter, Leiana. How is she adjusting to life with a new stepdad?  “You know, she’s good! What you saw at her birthday party, it’s just natural for her. She’s accepting of Matt. The first time she met him, she grabbed his hand and wanted to sit next to him at lunch.”

“It was a very natural transition. She absolutely adores him, and she is happy – which is first and foremost important in my life. So, to me, I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. Honestly. There was no hesitation or wariness from the very beginning. She was like, ‘Okay, mom, if you’re happy then I like him!” and now she’s asking, “When are you getting married?” (laughs)

“She’s really happy. She’s been adapting perfectly.”

How do you deal with negative criticism in the media?  “You know, I’m gonna be honest: the first two seasons, it was really hard because I don’t hold anything back – I don’t leave anything out. So, the fact that it is my life and you get to see only so much of what’s going on with it – only certain sides shine through when you have so little time to show it – to me, it’s difficult. Because I’m like, ‘Wait, let me explain!’ But you can’t explain things to a million viewers. You can’t explain to 100,000 followers [on social media].”

“Everyone’s gonna have an opinion, and it’s not always going to be roses and rainbows. But I think you just have to not pay attention to it. At a certain point, you just go, ‘Well, it is what it is.’ I just try to express as much positivity and share as many positive things I’m involved in as possible. I just hope people see me for who I am. You may not agree with certain things, but maybe you can see I’m a good person.”

Is there anything the show left out about your life that you wish viewers would have seen more of?  “I would love to delve further into my music. You’ve seen that I’m a mom, that I’m truly happy with that. But what’s also important to me and my biggest passion in life is music. When you start off pursuing your biggest dream, you won’t start off at the top. You will start off with some weak moments, and you’ll mess up a little bit. But the fact that that’s all people have seen at this point, I’d definitely love to delve further into that. I want people to see that I do have power, I do have passion. And I’m not willing to give up just because I struggled a little bit.”  

Do you feel like music is your future? Is that your ‘dream job,’ being in the music industry?  “Definitely my dream. I will pursue it until my vocal chords give out or until every door in the industry is like, ‘No, it’s just not going to happen!’ I don’t give up. I don’t quit. I stumble, and I get back up. So that is definitely my biggest passion to pursue. It takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. But I’m very confident that some way, somehow, it will happen.”

Do you have something in the works with music producer Kerry Gordy right now?  “You know, there’s a lot involved in that and I’ve been very busy, so that’s something that’s been put to the side right now. But I’ll be going back to it very soon. My goal is going to happen. We just have to reassess everything and make sure we’re ready to get back into production.” 

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Are you busy planning a big wedding ceremony too?  “Not quite yet. You know, it takes a lot, and I want to make sure it’s stress-free and perfect. With everything going on, it’s hard to focus a lot of my energy into that right now. But it’s definitely something I plan on because it’s very important not only for us, but for our children. That’s what our kids want to happen. My daughter’s like, ‘I can’t wait for you to have a wedding!’” (laughs)

Do you have plans for another baby?  “I would love it. I haven’t gone down the route of even really looking into that yet. I would absolutely love one. I think it would be the perfect addition to complete our picture. But I don’t really feel like there’s a way to plan it or make it happen, so if does, it does. We’ll see. We just went through a really emotional experience. We just needed to sit back and let the cards land – or what is it? Let the dust settle!” (laughs)

Speaking of babies, have you seen Traci Harrison Tsou’s new baby boy Jacob yet?  “No, I haven’t. I got to see the pictures and he’s absolutely so cute! So cute.”

Traci and Terra are best friends. I hung out with Traci when she was more in the picture [on the show], but she had to step back and focus on herself and her health throughout the pregnancy. So I haven’t seen her, honestly. But she’s closest to Terra, so I’m sure they see each other all of the time.”

Will you do another season of the show?  “Yeah! I don’t see a problem with that. I would like the opportunity to show Matt and I in a different light. We were very stressed [this season], we had a lot of pressure, we were always up against the wall. When that happens, you start wanting to fight and push back. But that’s not who we are as a couple. That’s not who we are as a family. We’d like to opportunity to show a better side of us and to clarify some misunderstandings about who we are.”

Are there talks of a spin off for you and Matt?  “You never know. I would love the opportunity for both [LWLA and a spinoff] at this point! But right now, we’re just kind of coming off of everything and we accept whatever comes at us. I think one or both of those ideas would give us a better opportunity to show everyone who we really are though. You know, no relationship is pristine and ‘happy go lucky’ every day of every year for the rest of your life. But we’re far from what we’ve been portrayed as. That’s not all that we are. That’s just glimpses of us at our breaking point.”  

Do you know any of the cast members on the upcoming Little Women: Atlanta“No, Atlanta, I don’t. I heard they are feisty and definitely not ones to be reserved! It’s definitely going to be an interesting spin. Just from the preview, it’s already looks like it’s ready to just ‘blow’!”

Will any of the L.A. cast members make an appearance on LW: Atlanta?  “I don’t know. Plans like that are told to us just as they’re about to happen. So, I don’t know. I’d just say: stay tuned!”

Do you know if Little Women:NY is coming back for another season?  “I’m not sure – I don’t know. I’ll have to ask. I’ve been kind of out of the loop on everything!”

What do you think LWLA gives us that other ‘little people’ shows don’t?  “The biggest gift is that we are known as ‘little people,’ which is sometimes looked at with a negative connotation, but at the same time we’re also women. And a lot of women have fought for equality. So we’re going up against two stereotypes here. We’re showing that we’re so strong, we’re so powerful, and we can handle anything that is thrown at us.”

“Other little people shows are wonderful, but this is showing you a glimpse of women in all stages of life. So, like, someone is just getting married or just having a baby. Then we have someone like Tonya [Banks] whose daughter is grown. She’s empty nesting it! So it’s like, where do we go from here? It’s a better opportunity to see a different dynamic among women, and we happen to be little. Yes, we fight and bicker, but we also educate, empower and inspire.”

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Parting thoughts?  “Matt and I are very happy. Life has been a blessing. You know, friendships have their ups and downs, but it’s how you get back up that’s most important.”

“So, stay tuned…hopefully they’ll be more to come!”    

TELL US: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF BRIANA’S TAKE ON SEASON 3? DO YOU HOPE TO SEE MORE OF MATT AND BRIANA ON SEASON 4? WOULD YOU WATCH A SPIN-OFF? 

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