In its newest episode, Nene Leakes joined Tamar Braxton for her Under Construction with Tamar Braxton podcast, where the two reality tv divas talked about the pitfalls and perks of the genre. Amidst the conversation, where they talked about reality tv stardom, being pushed to their limits, and what their regrets were, Nene opened up about it taking her “years to figure out who the real devil was,” when it came to corporate greed’s involvement in the way reality tv shows go done.
Amidst breaking down the fourth wall, Tamar asked Nene what she thought the least talked about side effect of reality tv was. In her response, Nene said that when she first stepped onto the scene, she was doing more than just reality tv. While her repertoire grew to include scripted tv, Broadway, an Ebony cover, and a residency in Vegas, the flip side came when she realized it would either all “come to an end,” or she would have to “level off.”
Tamar began by asking, “When you first get into reality tv, it’s a lot of perks, right? And then, here comes the side effect. What do you think the most not talked about side effect [is]?…”
Nene replied, “The other side of all the perks… I don’t know. I know that when I came out, I did everything. I did scripted television, I did Broadway, I was on the cover of Ebony magazine (the Power cover), I was the first celebrity in 30 years to have a residency out in Vegas on Zumanity, appearances, I did appearance everywhere. Every single talk show it was possible to do, I co-hosted everywhere for everybody, you know, I just did everything. The flip side of that is, it’s going to come to an end… Either it’s going to come to an end or you level off.”
“Now that’s one thing,” Nene offered before continuing,
“The other thing is, you could still be going just as hard as you were when you first came out but, that corporate devil is sitting right there. It’s a corporate devil that people don’t know is controlling a lot of your career. I did a lot of competition shows, I did Celebrity Apprentice, I did Cupcake Wars, I did a competition show where Gregg and I were cooking for these Top Chef people, corporate devil is a beast. That’s all I got to tell you. Like you think you’re going on these shows and you’re going to be like ‘I can win.’ Actually, before you even get on the show they already know who the winner is. That’s the corporate devil. It’s a lot that happens behind the scenes that people just don’t know about.”
Later, the two discussed things further when Tamar wondered where the line is between “reality tv” and “reality” itself. She asked, “When does reality TV, stop being reality TV and becomes reality? That’s the question,-”
to which Nene interjected, “-Because reality TV is better than reality. Cause you know, reality TV is a little twisted. That makes more money.”
Even though Tamar veered from the conversation, telling Nene with a laugh, “I love you so much. I wish we were in the same room, I just wanna hug the sh*t out of you. You’re so amazing,”
Nene stayed on the subject of how corporate greed has affected her life. “That is the truth, it makes more money,” she said. “You know, but it took you years to figure that out didn’t it? Listen, it took me years to figure out why all these girls were coming after me every season [we would’ve squashed something in the background], why some of my friendships were falling apart, it took me years.”
“I was blaming a lot of people and it took me years to figure out who the real devil was. When I figured it out though it really crushed me. It really hurt my heart really bad, I was really, really hurt over it. And I was like wow, it felt to me like American Greed or something… greedy, just greedy they will never stop, that’s what happens. It’s sad. It’s a lot and it’s a lot to deal with, so much.”
Both Nene and Tamar have had their fair share of reality tv woes off-screen within the past year. Following her suicide attempt in July of last year, Tamar seemingly accused WE TV, the host of Braxton Family Values, of making her suicidal.
Becoming more vocal about her own struggle with the producers of the reality tv hit, The Real Housewives of Atlanta in June, Nene seemingly co-signed the idea Andy Cohen should be fired for systematic racism. After shedding some tears over the treatment she received and lack of transparency from Bravo execs on the Tamron Hall Show, in October, by the end of the year, Nene was calling on fans to boycott Bravo in solidarity for her and her fight against the network.
Nene and Tamar’s closeness isn’t anything new. In the past, when things were at their worst with Tamar, Nene came out in support of her friend only days later. The connection between the two definitely comes across as genuine, and their conversation during this podcast really shed a light on how similar their experiences battling the network executives of reality tv has been. Even though it doesn’t seem like either one of them is rushing back to the genre soon, if we’re lucky maybe one day we’ll get to see the two link up onscreen.