If you thought the season finale of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” was a little bland for the South’s new drama queens, their fiery reunion more than makes up. The show’s resident Queen B and ESSENCE.com’s pick for best-dressed housewife, Sheree Whitfield, sets the record straight on what lead to the reunion drama, she and NeNe's relationship, the status of her fashion line, and that seven-figure divorce settlement.
ESSENCE.COM: The reunion comes on tonight, and from the clip, it looks like it’s going to be crazy with people getting into each other’s faces. Did you expect all that?
SHEREE WHITFIELD: Absolutely not. I figured, we’re all ladies and we’re all moms. I had no clue it was going to go down like that and it’s hotter than hot. Sooner or later everyone’s true colors come out. As four African-American women and a Caucasian girl, they brought us together and wanted us to be friends. That’s where a lot of the differences [are apparent] because we didn’t really know each other like that.
ESSENCE.COM: After the show wrapped, you continued your relationship with Kim. Were you ever nervous about getting close after she and NeNe's friendship ended, and how was your experience when you two worked on the set of the film “The Joneses”?
WHITFIELD: It was wonderful. Everybody always says this is my calling anyway. Demi Moore was so cool and down to earth, and she looked great. She knew the show and the whole crew watched it. With Kim, I’m always very cautious about people I bring in my circle, especially right now. I like to give people a clean slate in my life until you show and prove differently, and I don’t prejudge them on their relationship with someone else. Honestly, Kim and NeNe weren’t as close as it appears they were at all. NeNe and I, we're cordial; we’re cool.
ESSENCE.COM: The sketches for your fashion line were hot but they didn’t turn out like you envisioned, yet you still hosted your fashion event with no clothing. What did you learn from that experience?
WHITFIELD: I always fall for the BS with people. Obviously, I am not a good person to hire someone. I had like four or five seamstresses, and at the end of the day, they all failed to come through. So what I’ve learned is I have to be a lot more hands-on. I don’t sew nor do I sketch, which most designers don’t. It’s my vision. I know I have to be more cautious and that I’m too nice. When I got the fabric the day before and day of, I had already spent all this money, time and energy in planning this event, so there was no way I could back out. And it was a viewing and was never a fashion show. People get it mixed up and misconstrued. But things have come together and people can look for the line in stores in fall 2009. I am so excited.
ESSENCE.COM: Congrats on the upcoming launch. So were you surprised to see your ex show up to your event? And you know folks want to know the status of your divorce and that seven-figure settlement you are hoping for.
WHITFIELD: I invited him to check it out, as I did it all myself with my contacts. A lot of times men want to be responsible for your success. We are finally at the tail end [of the divorce], and I cannot wait! It’s been long, long overdue. I may have a party when it’s done. As far as the settlement, I just threw something out there and it doesn’t hurt to ask. My kids have been accustomed to a certain lifestyle and I’m going to do everything I can to maintain that, and I don’t see why he shouldn’t be involved in the process also.
ESSENCE.COM: We also saw that you didn't come to DeShawn's barbecue she hosted for all the women. Knowing how much effort she put into it, do you regret being a no-show?
WHITFIELD: I wish I would have been there because she put so much time and effort into it. DeShawn's barbecue was the very next day after my viewing. My family decided we would all go but something urgent came up that day and we couldn't go. I told the producers several times and they said they would relay that message, but apparently they never did. The thing is, DeShawn and I never established a bond. They say she's the peacemaker, but to me, she's trying to egg it on and instigating. If anyone would have been a peacemaker it would have been Lisa. I definitely would have gone. It's horrible and unfortunate they didn't pass the message, and I am portrayed as this cold person that didn't show.
ESSENCE.COM: So after taping and watching the whole season, did people get to meet the real Sheree, and is there anything you would do differently?
WHITFIELD: Am I that way 24/7? No. I'm very much involved with my kids and my business. Even my oldest daughter came home for my viewing and they taped her and everything but they cut that out. Speaking of which, I'm still suffering the repercussions from when I sent in pictures of my family and here it comes on the Internet saying my daughter Tierra is my friend, and I never said that. My family is suffering and it's very emotional. Hopefully on season two they will show more of my compassionate side. But I still will always be me.
Editor's Note: Sheree's daughter's Tierra was incorrectly identified in an earlier image. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.