Tamar Braxton is the overnight sensation that's twenty years in the making. After decades singing backup for her famous sister Toni Braxton, the outspoken reality star is getting ready to drop a new album. The new mom is also co-hosting a talk show, The Real, along with Adrienne Bailon, Tamera Mowry and Loni Love.
BET Award-winner Braxton dishes to us about her long climb to fame, her first few months as a mother and the most hurtful things that have ever been said about her. Plus, scoop on her new talk show and what topics are off-limits for the table.
You're story is amazing. You had to grind for more than twenty years to get to this moment. Do you feel like you've finally arrived?
Anything you want in life you have to work hard for and I’m one of those people who is not willing to give up until I reach my goal. I want to be…a singer, an actress, writer, television producer. These are things that I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl. I am not willing to give up until I see everything come to fruition.
You must have had moments when you wanted to give up...
I have had five record deals and every last one of them did not work out. When that happens, you question yourself, you question your talent. Can you do this? Am I made for this? Do I need to stop and take a break? And I think the motivation for me is that God gave me this gift for a reason. He gave me that gift to share and give to the world so that was my motivation and it still is.
You've worked with a lot of producers over the years and you mentioned those five failed record deals. What's the craziest thing a label or producer has asked you to do to sell records?
The most ridiculous thing was to be a Toni Braxton clone. They wanted me to cut my hair off and get in an evening gown and stand in front of an audience and sing. I was like, well, how am I gonna pull that one off? She’s my sister and yes we have some features that are alike but they’re not all alike. I have big features, she has little features. A short haircut on me would be a disaster. And it’s not my thing to get in front of an audience with a long sparkly evening gown and try to sell a song. I have a lot of energy. I told people before...I have to pop and drop it! I’m serious.
You won your first-ever BET Award this year. How did that feel?
It meant the world to me. It’s the first award I have ever got in my entire life. It was incredible and so it meant the most to me. If I never get another award again, I know that I have been recognized in someone’s eyes that, "she’s talented," and you know, "we love her music." That will keep me going to put more music out and work harder actually.
How's it being a new mom? I know its early, but are you thinking of more kids?
I come from a big family and I never wanted kids before I met my husband. I think that right now we are enjoying ourselves being parents and we are going to take it just one day at a time. I don’t know if we’re going to have another kid or not. But just like everything else in my life, you have to stay tuned because I don’t know. But I’d be open to it at this point.
You said something interesting a while back, that it wasn't love at first sight when you had your son. Can you clarify what you meant?
What I meant was, when I first had my son…yes you do love your child. I love mine. But you’re shocked. You cannot believe that this person was swimming in your belly for nine months and here you are. Now you’re a mother. And I’m thinking, oh my goodness, I’m a mother and this is my baby. It feels like a dream actually. That’s what I meant when I said I didn’t fall in love immediately. I was in complete shock.
You already live a public life and that's just going to get more intense with co-hosting The Real. Is anything off-limits to you in terms of sharing?
I’m interested in talking about everything. I’m pretty transparent in my life, so for me to get on a talk show, I didn’t say, I’m not going to talk about sex or career choices or fashion. I think that’s very hypocritical.
You've been in the blogs a lot for things you've said about other people. Any regrets?
No. The only thing I think about is that I am honest, but I am not here to hurt anybody. I don't want to hurt people’s feelings or make them feel bad in any way. And if I have done that to someone, I deeply apologize. That’s not my intention. I would say that.
What's been the most hurtful thing someone has said about you?
It doesn’t hurt that much anymore, but a lot of people say I have bad skin, I’ve had plastic surgery, botox, all these augmentations done to my face. I've heard that I’m with my husband because he’s successful. Oh, the funniest one…I have been getting money off of my sister for years. It’s just crazy. The rumors have all been ridiculous.
You have a lot of celebrity friends who are parents. Any ones in particular that you admire?
It’s really hard to juggle and balance your career and motherhood and stay level-headed. I really pay attention to Nick [Cannon] and Mariah [Carey]…bringing their kids out with them while they’re working and stuff. The kids are hilarious, they’re not snobs, they don’t expect anything from anyone. And you would think that with someone as over the top as Mariah, but she’s so regular.
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(Photo: John Ricard/Getty Images for BET)