NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 02: Real Housewives of Atlanta's Phaedra Parks attends the Ebony Power 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 2, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
I requested interviews with NeNe Leakes and Kenya Moore, the two biggest names on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," which debuts its sixth season Sunday on Bravo at 8 p.m. But figuring I probably wasn't going to get them, I asked for backups in the forms of Kandi Burruss or Phaedra Parks, a pair I have interviewed without incident in the past.
Bravo got me Parks, who has always been sweet as punch with me in that Southern Belle sort of way.
She is the type who won't dish dirt because really, that's not polite, child! Heck, she wasn't even willing to bad mouth Kenya Moore, who decided last season to flirt with her husband Apollo and release a copycat exercise video. Her euphemism for Moore's actions: "She's a free spirit."
I posed the idea that while others on the show such as her and Kandi actually use their fame as leverage to do real things, Moore seems to do everything for the cameras. Her actions don't seem to correlate with anything genuine or authentic. Phaedra's bemused response: "You should be a medium!"
Based on the trailers, expect more to come in the Phaedra-Kenya realm as we see Apollo and Kenya possibly exchanging inappropriate texts.
Phaedra will also get in the middle of big drama between Kandi and her beau Todd, plus her mom Mama Joyce. Joyce is suspicious of Todd's motives. And she thinks Todd is having inappropriate relations with a friend of Kandi's. Phaedra said she introduced Todd to Kandi. "I always believed that he was her soul mate," she said. "I stand by my position."
"It will be quite the story," she teased. "Bring your popcorn. There's going to be fireworks!"
Phaedra's life, otherwise, is pretty darn busy, even if the show didn't exist.
First of all, she had her second baby boy Dylan earlier this year."He's mild-mannered, a happy baby," she said, at four months. "He smiles all day long. He's very big and muscular for his age. I think he takes my side of the family." (Apollo looks awfully muscular to me, ahem...)
Ayden, her three-year-old son, is still her Prince. "We call Dylan Mr. President!" she said. And he's not jealous that he's no longer the center of Phaedra's universe. "He's very protective of his little brother," she said.
Phaedra is also about to graduate from mortuary school in preparation for running her own funeral home, one of her many quirky interests. "The program doesn't allow any time off so I took a final exam two weeks after my baby," she said. (She commutes to Birmingham for school, believe it or not, every week and spends Wednesdays at a local mortuary.)
She remains at her law practice, which is being spun into a Bravo spin-off show. (No date yet on that.) She has a staff of 12. "It sort of runs itself," she said, even when she's not there.
Phaedra also taped a pre-natal exercise video two days before she delivered. It's set to come out next month. And there's a book, too, about Southern manners ("Secrets of the Southern Belle") coming out November 12, too. "You don't have to be from the South to be a Southern belle," she noted. "It's a way of life."
She and Apollo recently moved from Vinings to Buckhead in a lavish home she's renovating. But don't worry. This is not a Chateau Sheree situation. "It's bought for and paid for," she said.
"The Real Housewives of Atlanta," 8 p.m. Sundays, Bravo, starting Nov. 3