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Southern Belles

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Since The Real Housewives of Atlanta premiered on Bravo last fall, one of the wives, Lisa Wu Hartwell, has shot down rumors of drug use while another, Kim Zolciak, has had to contend with those sniping about her singing abilities. (And who can forget her would-be hit single “Don’t Be Tardy for the Party”?) Now, as the guilty pleasure begins its second season, a new housewife, Kandi Burruss, has arrived (she replaces the relatively drama-free DeShawn Snow) to take on the juiciest of the Georgia peaches: Ms. Tell-It-Like-It-Is, NeNe Leakes. Ladies of a certain Garden State, take notice. “The Jersey [housewives] had table flipping, but we’re way better,” says Wu Hartwell. “Get ready.”

Lisa Wu Hartwell

Age: 38

Best known for: Juggling multiple jobs and a toddler

Little-known fact: “I have two sons who are 14 and 11 in addition to [baby] EJ,” says the real estate broker who is wed to former NFL linebacker Edgerton Hartwell. “Their dad [R&B crooner Keith Sweat, who has custody of the kids] wouldn’t sign the waiver, but I hope you’ll see them on the show soon.”

Season 2 preview: “Ed and I are talking about having another child. I would like a little girl, so we’ll see.”


Kandi Burruss

Age: 33

Who she is: The Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter of the ’90s girl group Xscape is a single mom raising her daughter and isn’t worried about getting along with the other ladies. “It’s similar to being in a group, because if personalities clash, we still have to work through that.”

Season 2 preview: While she and NeNe soon lock horns, Kandi befriends Kim despite warnings. “She hasn’t done anything to me, but the other housewives always add, ‘Yet!'”

NeNe Leakes

Age: 42

Best known for: Her outspoken commentary and flamboyant flair.

Embarrassing moment: The breakout star of last season, she has found that now her trips to Walgreens are posted online. “They wrote, ‘NeNe must be broke because she’s buying her own tampons,'” says the mom of two. “Where am I going to buy tampons? At Neimans?”

Season 2 preview: NeNe rekindles her friendship with Sheree and Kim—sort of: “You’ll see how it pans out.” She also continues her search for her father and her habit of giving (often unsolicited) advice.

Sheree Whitfield

Age: 39

Best known for: Her diva divorcée antics

Job perk: Though she didn’t win the “seven-figure settlement” she’d demanded after splitting with her NFL ex Bob Whitfield, Sheree, who has two kids, is still aiming high. Despite a stalled launch last year, “my fashion line She by Sheree will be in a few stores this fall,” she promises.

Season 2 preview: “With Kim there’s only so much I can take,” she hints. “The wig snatching was priceless.”

Kim Zolciak

Age: 31

Best known for: Her big, blonde hair and her unseen sugar daddy known as Big Poppa.

Job perk: In addition to her country-singing aspirations, the mom of two is “working on a wig line,” she says. “I got so much heat for wearing a wig, I thought to turn a negative into a positive.”

Season 2 preview: “There’s some physical violence, and someone put their hands on me,” Kim says. “I don’t tolerate that.” Plus: Big Poppa, back after last season’s breakup, is still generous (look for a new Bentley) and still anonymous. “Fans have contemplated so many people being [him] it trips me out.”