Everything is bigger in Atlanta: The houses. The personalities. And the drama. Bravo already offered a sneak peak of the season in July, but The Real Housewives of Atlanta begins Tuesday (9 p.m. ET) with a blowout as NeNe Leakes finds herself turned away from frenemy Sheree Whitfield’s ultra-exclusive birthday bash. We can’t say more–you just have to watch!– but already, they’re putting the Orange County and N.Y.C. ladies to shame. First, though, two of the castmates – NeNe Leakes and Lisa Wu Hartwell–called to discuss about why Atlanta is different than the other cities, which former Housewife they most relate to–and, of course, about that feud. –Brian Orloff
Did you watch any past Housewives seasons? Which women do you feel most similarly to? NeNe: I watched all their seasons. The very first season they had a young lady in the show by the name of Jo and I thought I could see myself in her so much . . . She had a lot of personality. She just was out there and I thought she really kept it real. And then Vicki is a little loud. I’m loud, too, so I could see myself being like Vicki. And then I did watch the New York housewives and the only one I thought that I could kind of relate to was the Countess… She had a little smart way of doing things. What do you hope viewers will learn about your lives in Atlanta? How is it different from New York or Orange County?NeNe: We’re all strong–really strong women. And all these women, you know, we have our differences in opinion but all of these women are truly smart women. Lisa: We’re very strong and successful by our own right. You don’t have to sit around the house and just spend your husband’s money. You can have your own thing going on and be independent. I’m from Los Angeles and we’re a little bit more laid-back in Los Angeles. But, you know, a lot of the vibe in Atlanta is like I’ve worked hard for it, why not show it?
How do you think you’ll deal with criticism?Lisa: There’s somebody on the show that every woman can identify with. And at the end of the day if your family and your friends know who you are, you’re true to yourself, that’s all that really matters because I might say something next week that just ticks you off, and now you’re upset with me again. So you really can’t be concerned about that and just be yourself and have fun.
NeNe, on the first episode you and Sheree have some drama. Did you always have friction?NeNe: Sheree and I met through a mutual friend and we kind of hit it off. I think Sheree is a lot of fun. I think she has a strong personality and I have a strong personality as well. And Sheree and I sometimes bump heads … Actually, Sheree and I had a really long history together. We would talk on the phone five and six times a day. We hung out. Our children played together. Just as time went on, things just didn’t work out for us. But we are cordial.