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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Phaedra Parks says she’s playing a character on ‘Real Housewives’

The Phaedra Parks we see on the TV show is only just one aspect of her, she said.

The Phaedra Parks we see on the TV show is only just one aspect of her, she said.

I’ve spoken to many people who know “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member Phaedra Parks in her professional life and are flummoxed by the way she acted and talked on the show in her first season.

In episode three, she said her husband Apollo, having grown up in a white household, prefers canned goods. At one point, she referred to NeNe as a  “heffer.” Later, she expressed her love for strippers. (See my favorite Phaedra quotes below.)

In an interview this week to promote the fourth season of the show, the entertainment attorney said she’s playing a character. Sure, there are aspects of her personality that are silly and Southern belle-esque, but the producers prefer to highlight that side of her over her more serious side.

So she is well aware that she can say 80 intelligent, insightful things and one dopey or catty thing and guess what? The producers air the dopey or catty quote.

“I try to live without regrets,” Parks said. “At the end of the day, I hope when people watch the show, they realize it’s for entertainment. If you don’t have editing rights, you can say a lot of different things and once it’s on the editing table, it might look like something else. That’s part of reality TV. Everything on reality TV isn’t as real as you think it is.”

Does all the scrutiny make her more careful the second time around about what she says?  “It doesn’t matter how careful you are. Whatever your character is is what they make it to be. It’s not who I am but who the producers think I am. For people who know me, they understand that. We each have distinct characters on the show. No one is one dimensional. Characters have to be consistent to the part they’re playing.”

Ultimately, Parks said the show hasn’t changed her. “I still have the same friends. I am still doing the same things I was doing prior to ‘Housewives.’ ”

Does this impact her reputation in legal circles? “I’ve been practicing law since 1999,” Parks said. “My reputation was solid prior to the show. I’ve been president of the Minority Bar Association [specially called the Gate City Bar Association.]. I’ve sat on big boards in Atlanta. My reputation speaks for itself. The TV show hasn’t changed people’s thoughts about me. It makes me more recognizable. My business was never based on the general public or advertising. It’s always been a boutique firm working off referrals. We still get all the referrals we need and more. My principle has never been to serve everyone. I’m a very specific type of attorney dealing with a very specific type of clientele.”

In the first episode this Sunday, Parks shows interest in the funeral-home business. She has done a lot of work dealing with legal issues of family members who have passed away. “For the past five to six years, I’ve been involved in a lot of funerals. I like the creative aspects of planning funerals and doing funeral programs. This year, I’m really delving into a little more, learning all aspects of the business.” She has even entered a part-time program to learn about the mortuary business, while juggling a new baby, her husband, the show and her legal practice.

Her closest friend on the show is Kandi Burruss, the musician. “We speak quite a bit,” she said.  “I knew her prior to the show but this has afforded us more time to hang out with each other. I consider her part of my close circle of friends.”

A teaser on the show also reveals she represented Sheree Whitfield in her child support case against her husband Bob. “I did it with Bobby Brown,” she said. “Family law is emotionally exhausting. You’re dealing with people’s emotions. You’re talking about something very near and dear to them. Sheree and I have become close friends as well. Any time a friend comes for legal advice, I’ll do anything I can.”

Asked about NeNe Leakes, she got cagey. “Obviously, we take a very long trip to Africa,” she said.

And why was she not on the pre-season “Before they were stars” episode that aired this past Sunday? “My aunt was sick in the hospital. I was helping my family out. After my aunt passed, my grandmother had a stroke. I couldn’t tape during that time.” She said if there’s a future episode like this, she’ll hopefully be able to participate.

She is also enjoying life with a 15-month infant Ayden. “I know why moms spoil their kids and take up for them when they shouldn’t,” she said. “It’s a crazy bond.” And she said her husband Apollo has become the disciplinarian. “I’m the marshmallow,” she said.

She confirmed that Bravo upped the episode number for season four to 18 from 16 season three, not counting the reunion shows. And since the show is debuting a month later than it did in 2010, the season won’t conclude until April.

You can’t blame Bravo. Of all the “Housewives” shows, this one is the most popular.

Notable Phaedra quotes from season three:

- “If they aren’t talking about you, you aren’t relevant” – Phaedra episode one

“I kept thinking that Dwight might be jumped by those heffers”Phaedra, referencing NeNe & Co. at Uptown Lounge & Restaurant when NeNe confronted him over some money issue, episode 2

“If you act the fool in public, you’ll act the fool anywhere.” – Phaedra, epitomizing the “Real Housewives” aesthetic, episode 2 

“Apollo does not like very elaborate dishes. I am a connoisseur of finer foods. Growing up in white households, he’s not used to all this fancy stuff. He likes canned food and packed meats. He doesn’t care. It’s important to feed people the way I like to be fed which is best of the best.”Phaedra, in episode three. She later said she said all that “in jest.”

“Be a lawyer: get your money honey!” - Phaedra, providing advice to a child who wants to be a model, episode 5

“This is like an estate sale in the parking lot of a burger joint” – Phaedra, about Kim’s sale of her stuff, episode 6

I’m only going to have this baby one time so I’m going to do it with style”Phaedra, packing for the hospital with fancy gowns and panties, episode 7

“This is a twin-size bed. Don’t they come bigger than that?”Phaedra, as she is placed on a bed at a hospital ready to get induced, episode 8

“I’ve never been this up close and personal with poop.” – Phaedra, after Ayden poops on her during the photo shoot, episode 10

“If Kim is a nurse, she must have one of those mail-order degrees, one of those you get for $59.” - Phaedra, after hearing from Dwight that Kim claim  nursing credentials, episode 11

“Just because you strip in a nurse’s outfit doesn’t mean you’re a nurse.” - Phaedra again going after Kim. (Kim actually did have a practical nurse’s certificate but wasn’t a registered nurse.) episode 11

“Cynthia doesn’t have a brain of her own, poor thing.” -Phaedra, being catty after hearing Dwight Eubanks pass on false information about Cynthia, episode 11

“She’s like Jessica Rabbit gone bad.” – Phaedra, on Kim in an over-tight black dress, episode 13

“I think people who see me in the courtroom being the little Johnny Cochran will be surprised that I’m Martha Stewart on the inside all day!” - Phaedra, being Phaedra, episode 14

“We’re attractive, we’re doing well and unfortunately, people are not happy for other people’s success in Atlanta. Haterville!”Phaedra, being Phaedra, episode 14

I do enjoy delighting in the pleasure of good stripping.” – Phaedra, episode 16

“She’s looking like a pretzel dipped in cottage cheese.”Phaedra, on Cynthia’s walkway appearance, episode 16

On TV

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” 9 p.m. Bravo, Sundays, starting November 6

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

37 comments Add your comment

Lisa

November 4th, 2011
11:06 am

I think Phaedra is hilarious. I’m hoping the funeral business works for her because I’m retiring in June, and my career counseling session said I should be a bereavement counselor. I also have a degree in Theatre, so I’m planning on sending her a resume! I think between the two of us, we could actually have some fun in the funeral business.

I met one of the producers of the show recently, and when we talked about these ‘characters’ she said Phaedra was ‘a mess’ in a really good way. Being an Atlanta native myself, I understand what she means.

[...] more Phaedra Parks says she’s playing a character on ‘Real Housewives’ at Radio & TV Talk… You Might Also Like…Phaedra Parks Cooks Up A Picnic at [...]

TG

November 4th, 2011
11:54 am

Thank you Rodney for clearing up the Kim/nurse thing. I knew that trash box couldn’t have been an RN like she claimed. Speaking of trash, the insufferable NeNe was on the radio this morning spreading her ignorance once again. I do wonder how long Bravo will be allowed to air this trash series.

brunt

November 4th, 2011
12:18 pm

I knew Phaedra could not be as dimwitted as they made her appear. I like her.

TGIF

November 4th, 2011
12:32 pm

Whew! I have to say, I was a little shocked of hearing (don’t watch the show) this side of her that I previously didn’t know. Glad to see the Phaedra I knew coming out more in the promo rounds for the show.

Negator

November 4th, 2011
12:58 pm

Where my other comments at?

Gettin' Wiggy With It...

November 4th, 2011
1:32 pm

Rodney busted Kim on the RN thing? Where’s the article?

Pelvis Messley

November 4th, 2011
2:51 pm

Phaedra is hilarious, phoney and playing a character on tv, yes, but hiliarous. I also like that adorable, ex-con husband of hers. Looking forward to season four. You go, grrrl!

The Snark

November 4th, 2011
4:52 pm

I met this woman. Shallow does not even begin to describe her. I actually got stupider just listening to her. She’s going to be pathetic when the looks fade.

LOL-crazy

November 4th, 2011
5:08 pm

thanks rodney for that friday evening humor. and please keep up the quotes for this season too. i love the way she expresses herself. she stated why she was not on “before they were stars”, but what about shree’, does anybody know?

greggy

November 4th, 2011
5:10 pm

Her open minded thinking & nice lil bod make her sexy 2 me, who cares about the rest.

kar

November 4th, 2011
5:27 pm

I believe someone has a mail order law degree as well:-)

Dr.T

November 4th, 2011
6:30 pm

@kar. Her Juris Doctorate is from UGA. That’s a law degree if you aren’t aware

Rodney Ho

November 4th, 2011
6:32 pm

@LOL-crazy Why was Sheree not on the special? I have no idea but I don’t think her career efforts over the years have been all that fruitful from what I can ascertain. At least Kandi, Cynthia and Phaedra all have had successful pre-Housewives careers. NeNe, Kim and Sheree? Not so much.

zoe

November 4th, 2011
7:20 pm

Hopefully non of the so called ladies are as devoid of intelligence as they are made out to be. Doubt it, though. They belong in the circus.

Shanique of Cascade

November 4th, 2011
8:02 pm

Please, please cancel this show. It is not entertainment and is an embarrassment to the women in Atlanta.

another comment

November 4th, 2011
8:38 pm

Sheree is very nice in person. She attends every single one of her son’s football games at Riverwood. Her children are now attending Public High School not Private school, since their father doesn’t bother with his child support. She is always two or three rows up in the stands and with friends she has had for over twenty years. She is really down to earth. She will talk to any other parent as a parent. She is an open book and will engage in parent conversations just like other parents do.

I Know What To Do

November 4th, 2011
8:40 pm

Now, I wonder what all the lamebrains who are constantly hollering every time someone points out that all these “Housewife” shows are scripted and fake will say now? If this doesn’t make you idgits think twice about give up your time and attention to these fame hoes, nothing will.

Justin

November 4th, 2011
8:45 pm

Nice article Rodney….I love Phaedra. Out of all of them she’s the most intelligent. Her husband is fine as hell too!!

Donna P.

November 5th, 2011
8:03 am

Phaedra is my least favorite on the show. I was hoping to see less of her this season.

Chaz

November 5th, 2011
9:20 am

Its really shameful, entertainment or not, its the character assasination of black women publicly. You can always find a ignorant woman or man on the streets, but to make it into a show and call it entertainment, there is somethign cynical and racist about that. If the women on the show dont understand they are pulling black women backwards, then thier acts are really not acts, they really are that dumb.
I can think of at least 10 women off hand that are real women, wifes and mother’s in Atlanta. Like they say if you dont know from which you came it easy to drag your dumbazz back there.!!! CANCEL THIS SHOW

[...] Phaedra Parks says she’s playing a character on ‘Real Housewives’ [...]

[...] end of the day, when people watch the show, they realize it’s for entertainment,” Parks told Atlanta radio host Rodney Ho. “Once [filming] is on the editing table, it might look like [...]

[...] end of the day, when people watch the show, they realize it’s for entertainment,” Parks told Atlanta radio host Rodney Ho. “Once [filming] is on the editing table, it might look like [...]

[...] spoke with the Atlanta Journal Constitution about Sheree’s child support case: “Family law is emotionally exhausting. You’re dealing with people’s emotions. You’re [...]

[...] the day, when people watch the show, they realize it’s for entertainment,” Parks told Atlanta radio host Rodney Ho. “Once [filming] is on the editing table, it might look like something else. That’s [...]

[...] th&#1077 &#1109h&#959w, th&#1077&#1091 realize &#1110t’s f&#959r entertainment,” Parks t&#959ld Atlanta radio host Rodney Ho. “Once [filming] &#1110&#1109 &#959n th&#1077 editing table, [...]

[...] end of the day, when people watch the show, they realize it’s for entertainment,” Parks told Atlanta radio host Rodney Ho. “Once [filming] is on the editing table, it might look like [...]

[...] of the day, when people watch the show, they realize it’s for entertainment,” Parks told Atlanta radio host Rodney Ho. “Once [filming] is on the editing table, it might look like [...]

[...] end of the day, when people watch the show, they realize it’s for entertainment,” Parks told Atlanta radio host Rodney Ho. “Once [filming] is on the editing table, it might look like [...]

[...] end of the day, when people watch the show, they realize it’s for entertainment,” Parks told Atlanta radio host Rodney Ho. “Once [filming] is on the editing table, it might look like [...]

gladtohavecircusback

November 8th, 2011
12:39 pm

Phaedra is funny. I would love to see HeHe go against Jackie from basketball wives of LA in some spin-off. It would be the ultimate show down.

mary sanders

November 9th, 2011
6:36 pm

Phadra is a big,fat, ugly lip’s ignorant sow….how in hell do you become a funeral director, without going to school…she is so disgusting, I wouldn’t let that nasty piece of s*** bury a dog, if I cared anything about it…unless it’s LIFE INSURANCE was paid up. How dare you make fun of people that loses loved one’s,and think it’s a way for you to become rich..I hope you rot in HELL. My precious Mother died 21 yr.’s ago,and it still hurt’s me to think about it.That stinking cow said the ‘LAST THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR LOVED ON,WAS TO HAVE A BIG EXPENSIVE GOIN’AWAY PARTY’ well the last thing I did for my Mother,was hold her in my ;arm’s,as she drew her last breath,then her funeral meant nothing to me,My Mother wanted to go home that night,and so I held her as she slipped away.That was the kindest thing I could do for her, not wait for her to die,then put on a big show..and that’s what that disgusting thing want’s people to do,so she can buy more shoe’s and hat’s…yoou makle me want to vomit..and again ROT IN HELL!!!!!!!!!!

TY-STL

November 10th, 2011
10:43 am

To poor haten on life MARY SANDERS. GET A LIFE!!!!

LadyThunder

November 10th, 2011
11:53 am

Poor Mary Sanders she hates everybody cause her mom died. pray girl that the lord will help you get over your fellings of lost, cause you sound like you need some help to stop haten.

john

November 10th, 2011
8:51 pm

I love this show, this is the only Housewife show I watch, I could care less about the other Housewife shows. The preview show was excellent NeNe, I love you but you lied about back dooring Sher’ee it does not take a rocket scientist to figure that out! Kandi is one successful business woman, hat’s off to you. Kandi we all love our mother’s but stand on your own to feet!!
Sheree is very elegant, a lady with class and it show’s. Cynthia, a beautiful woman who makes her own decisons, I hope that the Modeling Business you opened up goes right to the Top where you should be!! Phedra, a great business woman keep up the good work. Kim, Thank God for Kandi, she made you. Kandi, business is business have them sign a contract before you record them, just in case they blow up like Kim did.

Lady B

November 11th, 2011
12:47 am

I love the show .i really don’t like Sheree she think she is better than the other ladies with her broke ass. NeNe make your money girl. Kandi you are my favorite but leave your mom at home sometime she is in your business too much. Mrs Phadra you got yours the man, money, house and kid work it girl.