The who’s who of the Atlanta social scene descended upon the W Buckhead Hotel Tuesday night for the red carpet premiere of the anticipated second season of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Kim Zolciak, Lisa Wu-Hartwell, Sheree Whitfield and NeNe Leakes — along with new Housewife Kandi Burruss — happily posed together for photographers, but it wasn’t long before the war of words began.
“We are still not friends,” Leakes said of Zolciak, her sparring partner on the first season. “Nothing has changed … A lot of work with they don’t like everyday. I am just one of those girls who work with I don’t like.”
Well, something has changed. DeShawn Snow has been replaced in season 2 by Burruss, a singer and songwriter who has penned songs for artists like Mariah Carey, Destiny’s Child and TLC.
Burruss told PEOPLE she and NeNe didn’t exactly hit it off. “She called me ghetto at one point,” she said. “She has a lot of nerve. Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?”
“I did not know her before the show and I still don’t know her now,” Leakes replied. “I think she was hearing negativity from somewhere else because she does not know me well enough to treat me the way that she does. But, it’s okay. I find that women who are very weak cannot stand up to a strong woman like me.”
Burruss, however, viewed the situation differently. “Her mouth is just way too much. I cannot take the loud talking and the waving of the finger in your face,” she said. “If you do that to me, I am ready to go after you.”
A former member of the ’90s girl group Xscape, Burruss said her experience with the group prepared her for Housewives. “I am used to dealing with women. I have the ability to work with someone you have just had an argument with. But, towards the end of taping, it became really tense,” she said. “NeNe and I got into to it and then the producers wanted us to come back and talk about it. That talk did not go so well either.”
While Leakes proclaimed herself “the realest of the Atlanta Housewives,” Burruss expressed doubt about NeNe’s authenticity. “At times, I would think, ‘Is she just trying to egg things on for television or does she truly think and act like this?'”
NeNe explained: “I have what they call, ‘camera balls,'” said Leakes, whose memoir, Never Make the Same Mistake Twice, debuts Aug. 11. “When the camera comes on, they come out … I am not superficial nor am I fake. I don’t switch gears. I am always this way. If you —- with me, I will —- with you!” –Isoul Harris
Tell us: Are you excited for The Real Housewives of Atlanta? Are you team NeNe or team Kandi?