Brandy is coming up on two decades in the spotlight and might be in the middle of her biggest year ever. A new album, new movie, new relationship and an all-new season of The Game are just some of the things on the 34-year-old star's mind. We caught up with Brandy in Los Angeles, where she reunited with her BET family, including her newfound "sister" Lauren London, and opened up to us about the highs and lows of her extraordinary life.
Congratulations on the new season and the 100th episode. How does it feel to be back in Chardonnay's couture?
It's so exciting! I just love her. She's so free, such a feisty, strong Black woman who's doing her best to adjust to this new life and new environment that's just so different for her.
In what ways are you similar to Chardonnay? Does she tap into something in your own personality?
Well, it's great to just play myself. [Laughs] But really, I think she's so wonderfully animated, and I'm a little bit more controlled. Inside we're very similar, but she has no filter, and I have a little bit of a filter on me. That's from years of being in the business and knowing what to say and what not to say.
You've been in the business for a minute now. How do you feel you've evolved over the years?
Yeah, it's been almost twenty years now. I've evolved so much just as a woman, just going through the things that I've gone through in my life. To be in the public eye, going through some of the things…it's been a very, very tough challenge for me. I've fallen, but I've been able to get back up, and that's thanks to my family and the amazing people I have in my life. The hardest work in your life is self-work. I'm still gonna make mistakes, I'm still gonna fall, but it's not about the fall, it's about how you get up.
You seem very open to talking about what you've been through.
It gets easier to talk about the tougher times because I know I can inspire so many people when I'm honest with what has happened.
Do you feel you can be an example to the new generation of young stars?
Most definitely. People need to see that it's the imperfections that make you grow. But the most important thing is to keep the "no" people around you. Those people who, no matter how famous you are or how rich you are, aren't afraid to tell you "no."
Has motherhood changed you?
Oh my God, girl. Getting pregnant was the best gift I've ever received. Not only because now I have this person to love unconditionally, but because she really forced me to get my s--t together. You don't want to be responsible for leading another person down a wrong path.
This is a huge year for you. You're engaged, you've got The Game on TV, your album and a new movie coming out [Tyler Perry's Temptation]. What's your focus this year?
My priority is to always provide for my family. But, I would be happy if I could help people not feel so alone. If they're happy when they hear my music, or laugh at my comedy, or if they see what's going on with me and think, "Oh God, if she made it though that, I'm okay. I'm not alone," then I feel I am of service.
The Game and Let's Stay Together premiere on Tuesday, March 26 starting at 10 p.m.
Get ready for the BET Experience, featuring Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, R. Kelly, Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar and many more. Go here for more details and info on how to buy tickets.
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(Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)