ESSENCE.COM: Since you stopped by the ESSENCE office in August, how have you been keeping busy?
LISA WU HARTWELL: Believe it or not, I’ve been speaking at churches and colleges. It all started at Pastor Jamal Bryant’s church for his empowerment seminar. I was invited to speak, and when I did I backed everything up with scripture. A lot of people were shocked that I knew the Word, but that’s a side of me folks don’t get to see on the show and that’s my spiritual side. I was saved when I was 19 and very into the church. After I spoke there were other bishops there and they invited me to come speak at their churches. It’s funny how everything comes back full circle.
ESSENCE.COM: Who knew? Would you describe yourself as an overzealous Christian?
HARTWELL: Yes, I was a fanatic. If I was in someone’s car and hip-hop was playing I would turn their music off, or I refused to be around certain people, which was wrong because those are usually the ones that need to hear the Word the most. My brothers used to hate to see me coming and called me a holy roller. I was really into church, but I started to backslide a bit, but I’ve always had morals and integrity. Now, I don’t claim to be holier and thou because I’ve learned to find the balance. It’s just funny how God has a sense of humor and makes sure to always bring you back to him without you even realizing it, so I’ve been enjoying speaking at churches.
In a recent interview with PEOPLE, Nene talks about her goal to have a talk show, her relationship with the ladies of Atlanta housewives and what she thinks about the song “Tardy for the Party.”
Below are excerpts from the interview-
What’s your relationship with Kim and Sheree like these days?
We’re just associates. I feel we have a business relationship. However, Sheree and I have known each other the longest and we’ve found a way to respect one another. And Kim and I just haven’t found that yet. And if Kim and I weren’t on the show together, we probably would never talk. But we’re on the show, so we have to talk and we have to be cordial, so we’re cordial. But I’m not friends with any of these girls. They’re my associates, and I don’t think that the word “associate” is a bad word. Some people don’t even get to be my associate, so they’re in a very good position.
So you’re not friends with anyone in the cast?
Down the road with some time, Lisa and I could possibly be friends. I don’t really know Kandi at all but I won’t close the door on that. I’m just saying I don’t know her because she’s new to the show. We didn’t get a chance to really get to know each other. She came into our relationship. I feel like I’m the HBIC [head b– in charge] if you know what that is.
The photos were shot by celebrity photographer Derek Blanks. Nene Leakesplayed the role of a mother and a stripper – a role she’s all too well familiar with, as she has admitted to being a stripper in the past.
Kim Zolciak’s alter ego had her playing a mistress and stepford wife. Kim has however denied wanting to play a mistress, claiming she was under the impression she would be playing a different role, and would have never agreed to play a mistress. Nene however insists it was Kim’s idea to play a mistress.
I thought Sheree and Kandi had the best photos. Photos are courtesy of Dblanks.com.
“We were just having fun,” NeNe toldRadarOnline exclusively at a signing for her bookNever Make The Same Mistake Twice at the Eso Won Bookstore in L.A. “Kim said I went too far, but for me it was just about having fun.”
“It’s very hard for me to be friends with someone who is not a real friend,” NeNe said. “If it wasn’t for our interaction on the show, we would have nothing to say to each other.”
In NeNe’s book, Never Make the Same Mistake Twice, she writes about her cast mates- the falling out she had with Sheree, who she says she has known for years. “I never expected to have the falling out with her that I did and on national television,” she writes.
NeNe says, though their lives are taped, certain aspects are off limits. “The master bedroom!” she jokes, before adding, “no, my husband is a very private person and that room is where we relax.”
Noticeably missing in attendance were Sheree’s fellow Atlanta housewives — Kandi, Kim, Nene, and Lisa. Trouble in paradise perhaps? “It’s just a working relationship,” Sheree explained. “We all have our different things that we’re doing. We’re not friends, but we are cordial.”
Stylist.com’sblog was able to get Sheree for a quick Q&A session, below are some excerpts -
StyleList: How does showing at Fashion Week in New York compare to having a show in Atlanta? Sheree: There’s absolutely no comparison. Being in New York for Fashion Week is like the ultimate. This is the fashion capital of the world so for me to be able to preview my line here, I feel like I’m on cloud 9. I need to go home and pinch myself, you know what I’m saying? Of course, my ultimate goal is to come back in February during the shows and do a full out presentation on the runway.
StyleList: How does your collection compare to Lisa’s “Closet Freak” collection? Sheree: Yeah, right … [laughs]. It doesn’t compare. I wish her well and wish her all the best, but it doesn’t compare.
You gotta love the cattiness. The clothes look a bit upgraded from she debuted in Atlanta back in May.
The Real Housewives Of Atlanta never fails to amuse us in ways we never imagined. Whether it be the disgraceful display of Sheree and Kim on The Ellen Show or Sheree pulling Kim’s hair, the list goes on.
We placed a poll on our website a few weeks ago and the results have been really interesting. Surprisingly, NeNe Leakes is still your favorite Atlanta Housewife, though her popularity seems to be dwindling down in recent weeks. It seems the more you all have gotten to know Kandi Burruss, the more she is liked. Lisa and Kim are tied in the like-ability department.
Kandi is without a doubt my favorite Atlanta housewife, as her easygoing demeanor reminds me of Jacqueline from The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Nene has become a tad more obnoxious this season. She’s louder, meaner and her unprovoked jealousy towards Kandi is rather transparent. Sheree is more unlikeable this year, who knew that was possible? She comes of as being angry at the world, while still having major delusions of grandeur. Lisa is still Lisa, and Kim? Well her wig looks slightly better this season.
It all started when host, Ellen DeGeneres, not so innocently asked about the wig-pulling episode that aired last month which involved bothKim Zolciak and Sheree Whitfield. This led to Sheree calling Kim a habitual liar, and the topic quickly deteriorated into an argument about bounced checks, name calling, and accusations of affairs with married men.
Ellen tried to separate Sheree and Kim by sitting on the couch between them before cutting to commercial. Their appearance on the talk show was rather embarrassing to watch. Remaining housewives, Kandi Burruss, Lisa Wu Hartwell, and Nene Leakes, were mostly quiet throughout the entire segment.
Part of the argument included Kim accusing Sheree of self promotion for wearing her ‘She By Sheree’ earrings during her NOH8 campaign photo shoot. You can view the controversial NOH8 picture here.
Tell Us – What Are You Thoughts On Their Appearance? Should Sheree Have Worn Her ‘She By Sheree’ Earrings For The Photoshoot?
The topic quickly deteriorated into an argument about bounced checks, name calling and accusations of affairs with married men. Ellen tried to separate Sheree and Kim by sitting on the couch between them, but by time they cut to commercial, Ellen almost looked relieved.
More Bravo housewives are following in the steps of Kim Zolciak, by taking photos for the NOH8 campaign.
Gretchen Rossi, Sheree Whitfield, Dina Manzo and Kandi Burruss are the latest housewives to participate in the NOH8 campaign, in an attempt to promote themselves gay rights. Real Housewives of Atlanta’s honorable 6th housewife, Dwight Eubanks, gets in on the action as well.
The NOH8 (No Hate) campaign was created to help raise awareness for marriage equality in California.
Check out the photos of the remaining housewives below!