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BAM! Thank You, Ma'am


If Bravo is TV's reigning dynasty for drama-loving gays, then this season's hit series The Real Housewives of Atlanta is its golden child. And the show can thank one Housewife in particular for its triumphant track record: the gloriously outspoken NeNe Leakes. We went behind the scenes of this month's cover story photo shoot to catch up with the unpredictable Georgia peach, who just released her memoir, Never Make the Same Mistake Twice, and announced she used to be a stripper. Her eyes poppin' and lips bustin', Leakes talks about her gay husband Dwight, her dislike for fellow Housewife and former BFF Kim Zolciak, and her crush on a certain CNN silver fox. Is there a question you're afraid I might ask?
NeNe Leakes: I'm an open book. You can ask me anything, viewers can ask me anything. It doesn't matter. I have thick skin. Just don't be mad at my answer.

What did you think of the first episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, when Sheree got into a row with her party planner, Anthony?
I was just as surprised as you were. First of all, my gay husband, Dwight, came over and gave me a fantastic crawl, darling. I love that. As for Sheree? Drama! Sheree and I don't always agree, but I have to be on her side on this one. Naturally, it's her party, so you do what she says. She hired Anthony to do the job, whether it was for free or not. It doesn't matter.

Can we expect any explosive moments from you this season?

I'm kinda quiet. Just kidding, honey! You really need to laugh at that. I still try to mend things with Sheree and Kim, but some things stay and some go. Some are done forever.

How are you doing with Kim?
Kim is Kim. I don't expect anything. We're definitely not gonna be friends -- that's for sure. But we work together and I can deal with that. At my age, if you're gonna be my friend, you're my friend. Everyone you meet cannot be your friend, and Kim cannot be my friend. She's not trustworthy enough, and she's not even a good enough diva.

Have you changed your opinion about her singing voice?

No, she truly can't sing. The truth hurts, but she's gonna try again, so clean out your ears and get ready.

Read more with the housewives and Bravo's Andy Cohen:

Chef in Command: New York'sBethenny Frankel.
The Gal With the Thorn in Her Side - Jersey's Dina Manzo .
Andy Knows Best - Bravo'sAndy Cohen.

And you have a new addition to the cast.
Yes, [singer-songwriter] Kandi [Burruss]. I didn't know her before the show, and I still don't know her now. But the few times I've been around her, I've found we're like oil and water -- we just don't mix. I'm OK being around her, but she's not the kind of girl I'd hang around with, go grab a glass of wine. It's absolutely fine though. In my contract, it didn't say we had to be friends -- or lovers.

Why are you so fascinated with Dwight's "crawl"?
You need to crawl across the floor for your man! Dwight and I just have a great time together. Me and him, our chemistry is just poppin'. I was showing him my dance and then he showed me the "dance" I need to do for my husband. He's like the official sixth Housewife. He understands who I am. He is definitely a bigger diva than me.

What is the gay appeal of The Real Housewives?

Well, the gays like me because I go to gay clubs. I come to New York City and go to the gay bars and clubs, and they just love me. I used to be a gay man in my past life, I think. I'm tall, I'm outspoken, and I love my gay guys. We connect. Gay guys like divas. They like the fact that we can wear nice handbags and heels and tell it like it is and be bitches some days. They're like, "Mmmhmm, tell 'em, girl, tell 'em." I'm a huge gay fan. In September we have Atlanta Gay Pride, and I'm hosting two events. I'll be there in my highest heels, all done up -- really done up. People say, "NeNe, when the camera is on you have such a huge personality," and I tell them all I have camera balls. When the camera comes on, my balls drop out and I'm a dude.

Who's your favorite CNN reporter?
You know who my favorite CNN reporter is! Anderson Cooper, that's my boo. He's very handsome and has that twinkle in his eyes. Something about him is saying, "You don't know all about me. I'm up here reporting the news, but you don't know me, boo."

Was there a scandalous moment during shooting for this season of TRH Atlanta that we won't see?
We see it only three days before you guys. So we're right about where you are, so I don't know. But I'm over it. You know, people don't realize we don't just get up, get dressed, and have a good time. We're grinding every single week for days straight. First of all, you can't wear the same clothes again. Then your family is saying things they shouldn't. And I need to have my hair groomed and makeup done. Last year, some days I wasn't wearing makeup and pulling my hair back. When I saw that stuff on camera, I was like, No! This year I have hair and makeup and a stylist.

Read more with the housewives and Bravo's Andy Cohen:

Chef in Command: New York'sBethenny Frankel.
The Gal With the Thorn in Her Side - Jersey's Dina Manzo .
Andy Knows Best - Bravo'sAndy Cohen.

You seem to have put your grand entrance line "BAM!" on the map. Will we discover any new catchphrases this season?
I'm sure. You know how you say little things that you don't pick up that other people pick up on? "Who gonna check me, boo?" We hadn't heard that before. "Eyes poppin', lips bustin', I'm just givin' you the T, honey." What's the T? It's the Truth. I'm just givin' you the dirt, honey. We're from the South. We got all these sayings. What do you say here?

Gay men in New York City sometimes call each other "ladies."
Well, I'm gonna tell you, in Atlanta we have a huge population, and most of them wear heels and handbags. It's so gay. You got your jeans and shirt, and then you have your high heels on. The gays will wear men's clothing and high heels. This year, I do a fund-raiser event on the show with heels called Heeling the Soul. I have all the gay guys wear their high heels, and they run a quarter of a mile for charity. When we talked about it people were wondering who was gonna win. I was like, Who you think gonna win? You know a gay guy gonna win. They spend their nights running through the alley in high heels in Atlanta. A gay guy won.

Read more with the housewives and Bravo's Andy Cohen:

Chef in Command: New York'sBethenny Frankel.
The Gal With the Thorn in Her Side - Jersey's Dina Manzo .
Andy Knows Best - Bravo'sAndy Cohen.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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