If you thought Towanda Braxton was the pushover Braxton sister, think again. During this season of WE tv’s Braxton Family Values, she’s demanding the support she often gives but doesn’t receive, seeing her sisters — especially Tamar Braxton — for who they really are, and taking the time to heal from wounds of the past. Towanda is now a tour de force, a display of strength and ingenuity as a loving mother, dream-seeker, and beloved sister and daughter. She recently shared her no-holds-barred take on the upcoming season of her hit reality show, her family, her impending divorce, and her struggle to shine among a family of stars.
UPTOWN: What can UPTOWN readers expect from the new season of Braxton Family Values, that premieres Thursday, March 16, 2017?
Towanda Braxton: Girl, it’s so much realness. It’s family things that families sweep under the rug. And I think now we’re like we gotta face it. In order for us to move forward, to heal, we have to handle it and deal with it. When my father remarried 30 days after my parents got a divorce, it was devastating. We never healed from it. This season we’re trying to heal and process it so that we are really able to have a relationship with our dad no holds barred.
U: Being a fan of both of you, are you and Tamar Braxton in a good sister space right now?
TB: Yeah, You know what it is. We have created this monster. The monster is spoiling her, allowing her to feel and think she can say and do whatever she wants to other people. And not have any repercussions. And now our point is: “Listen, we have created boundaries.” Since we have created boundaries, she was kicking and screaming like, “I don’t want any boundaries.” And now it’s like, she understands, realizes, and respects this fact. She’s turning 40, so she gets it and she has a kid. We are 100 years old, you can’t be acting that anymore.
U: Do you think actually filming the show has brought your family closer together or do you feel it has torn you further apart?
TB: Well, that’s quite interesting that you asked that because Trina [Braxton] and I just spoke about this the other day. “Sissy, do you think the show has brought our family together or has it torn us apart?” And I told her, “Well, Trina, I think it has allowed us to see us for who we really are.” Money and fame don’t necessarily change a person, it reveals who that person is. Like what Dr. Maya Angelou used to say, “When a person shows you who they are, believe them.” I got to the point, before a lot of my sisters, that I started really believing that person. You’re showing me, I don’t care what you’re saying out of your mouth. You’re consistent to who you really are. I think it just revealed certain things even though we grew up with each other. And now, we have to deal it.
U: I can’t wait until the new season!
TB: Girl, it’s so good. It’s so juicy.
U: How does it feel to always be referred to as “the responsible one”? You’re always the voice of reason, I don’t care what’s going on. Everyone’s flawed. You don’t talk a lot, but when you do talk, your words really have a lot of weight behind them.
TB: I was just talking to a good friend of mine, for over 20 years, the other day. He always checks in on me. And I told him, there are times that I don’t feel like being responsible. There are times I don’t feel like being responsible for everybody. And I’m in that space right now because I’m going through my divorce. I have to concentrate on my children. And my family because I’ve been like the Rock of Gibraltar and because I’ve always taken care of stuff, they ignore what I’m going through. Just because I don’t wear things on my sleeve, doesn’t mean I’m not in pain.
U: You and Andre Carter are going through a divorce. Are you at peace with your decision?
TB: I’m so at peace … I talk about it a lot. This season is all about healing. I know there are a lot of women who are in the same situation. You’ve been with the person for so long, you become complacent. It has nothing to do with that other person. It has everything to do with you and your happiness. And sometimes, we as women, we get stuck in a situation because we feel that we’re so used to this. I don’t want to change this. We also go through a fear of the unknown.
U: Now you know what didn’t work in your marriage, what qualities do you want your next mate to possess?
TB: Just complete transparency. I think we as women, we get kind of fearful of being ourselves and being honest about our feelings. When you know that person is there for you and is in your corner, you don’t have to worry or be fearful.
TB: My kids are so wonderful. I love those babies so much. I feel like the most blessed mother on Earth because I couldn’t have asked for better children, my son and my daughter. I am the only girl in the family with a girl. My brother has girls, but I’m the only girl with a girl. To whom much is given, much is required. I don’t think anyone else in my family would have the patience to deal with a girl, I’m being honest.
U: I’m so glad that they are doing well. I heard recently they did something for New York Fashion Week. Can you expound on that?
TB: They walked in the Rookie USA fashion show for fashion week. They were so excited, especially my daughter because she’s a little shy. And when she walked on that stage, baby, she woke up. She owned the stage like that’s what she is supposed to be doing. She’s 10 years old but she’s 5’3”. Brooke’s tall. And my son owned the stage. They really liked both of them. Braxton was the first one out for Hurley. I was so excited. I was screaming their names.
U: What can you tell me about your upcoming film project?
TB: I was in a movie with Carl Payne, and I played a cop. It’s called Misguided Behavior. That was a lot of fun. He was the director. Me and Carl Payne are very good friends. For him to direct and to be able to watch him in his element was amazing. It comes out in April 2017 and it was filmed in Las Vegas.
U: Towanda, I really commend your grind. You are a loving mother who fights for her dreams. Has it always been a dream of yours to be an entrepreneur? And what impressed you about the Amara Beauty Co. that made you want to partner with them for your T. Braxton line?
TB: I’ve always wanted to do things on my own. It’s cool to do things with your family, but you also have to make a mark for yourself so that you can build a legacy for your children. I absolutely love getting my nails done! That’s my favorite thing in the whole world. I love it. I don’t answer my phone. I love for my nails to look pretty. When I met with Adam Tran, he was heaven sent. He kind of fell in my lap. We met through a mutual associate. He was like, “Look Towanda, not only can you do nails, you can do hair care, you can do this. You don’t have to stop here.” I was like, “That’s amazing!” He’s just leading me and guiding me to everything that I’ve ever wanted to do and not being fearful of doing it.
U: Towanda, that’s dope. Is it already being sold? Where can people get it?
TB: It’s actually being sold right now on the professional side. We just launched it in the professional warehouses and all that good stuff. We are doing the shampoo, conditioner, and the lotion, and that’s going to be on the consumer side. We’re also going to have the nail polish on the consumer side. The gel polish line that we are going to launch is a one-step gel polish with no lamp.
U: You have a very full plate. What ways do you pamper yourself? And who are the music artists you love to play while you are relaxing?
TB: I love getting my nails done and I like a good old massage. I love listening to George Michael and Michael Jackson. I love “Everything She Wants” and “Freedom.” Eighties music makes me happy.
U: Speaking of music, will you be recording with your sisters or solo in the near future?
TB: No. We did the Christmas album together and that was like pulling hen’s teeth. We all had differences because we’re all creative. We were able to pull it together for our parents, for Mommy and Daddy. I don’t want to do it. I can and I thank God for the blessing of giving me the gift. It’s just never been me. I’m not knocking anybody who wants to do it. I only went with the grain because that was our family’s business. Acting has always been my thing. And then you miss opportunities because you’re so fixated on making sure your family is pleased. I can’t do that anymore. Sorry, not sorry.
U: This interview has been everything. Is there any special message you would like to send to your fans? And is there anything else you would like to share?
TB: One thing I would tell everybody is don’t be afraid to live. So many people are walking around afraid, worried about what people are going to say and think. And it has nothing to do with your happiness.