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In celebrating divas who perform well at life, we know few better examples than talk show queen Wendy Williams.
The former shock jock has cultivated a massive following after the global the success of The Wendy Williams Show, which returned this month for an impressive fourth season.
We caught up with the mother of one recently, chatting it up with her about the show, her illustrious career, how she juggles it with home-life, and of course juicy Hot Topics.
Now matter “how you doin”, Wendy sure knows how to put a smile on one’s face. Enjoy.
Wendy Williams: Hi guys! How u doin’?
She Is Diva: Hey Wendy! How’s your day going so far?
Wendy: Going well thanks for asking.
SID: Good to hear. Let’s just jump right in!
Wendy: Ok, let’s!
SID: We have watched you for three seasons now on The Wendy Williams Show and now we’re going on season 4. Tell us when we can be checking our TV listings for season 4.
Wendy: You can go to wendyshow.com. There are a lot of people who say “Oh, you’re not on in Miami anymore” for instance….but, yes we are! We’ve changed channels and changed times. But wendyshow.com tells the story!
SID: And, how does it feel to be 4 seasons in? Give us the scoop on what new things we should we be expecting this season?
Wendy: Well, we moved studios. That’s the biggest thing. We have a bigger set now even though the set has elements of previous seasons to it. But, we’re in HD now! So between HD, getting a bigger studio, longer Hot Topics and the Friday round table (which people loved), those are probably the biggest new elements.
SID: In terms of guest stars, who we should be expecting to sit down with you soon?
Wendy: Well we recently had Melissa Gorga (‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’) who was great because their show’s season finale just happened. She hasn’t been able to talk about her relationship (particularly with her sister-in-law) for the past year because they tape a year in advance. Also, Tamar & Vince visited because their new show started. We’re going to have Amare Stoudemire – which is interesting because we don’t have a lot of sports people on the show, but when we do, it’s always fun. Big Ang is coming, Elle Varner is coming, Anthony Anderson, and more. And, of course, you know I love my fashion and food and this kid chef from New Orleans is coming. We’re also doing ‘Work Place Fashions’ with ‘In Style’ magazine. And ‘Shape’ magazine, as they have their 9th Annual Beauty Awards coming, because I love products.
I like knowing what’s the best moisturizer and stuff! We have everybody coming – from movie stars, reality stars, ‘Ask Wendy’, and just fun!
SID: Funny you say that: Because Sheisdiva.com is specifically geared toward women’s beauty, health, fashion, and more. So, you say you love your products right? Tell us, what is your “must have” product?
Wendy: Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour cream. Because it’s portable, it works, and when I say 8 hours – I mean 8 hours. You can wash your hands and even still feel it working! Trust me, I shake a lot of hands and I happen to love beautiful rings. So, Elizabeth does it for me.
SID: Ok. As far as fashion is concerned, now that you’re on television (and no longer on radio), tell us how has that transition affected your wardrobe choices – on and off camera?
Wendy: It’s allowed me to embrace the woman I’ve grown to be. You know, I’m 48 years old so jeans and Uggs are what I wore to my old profession. Certainly, I wouldn’t wear that outside of my profession – like if I was invited to something professional – then I’d get a chance to put on a chic dress. Now, jeans and Uggs are really a “sometimes” thing. Now, I dress how I want to dress. I love dresses, skirts, and heels. If you’re not forced to dress in that manner, it becomes a pain – so I never would [when on radio]. Yes, I had those things in my closet but I’d wait for a specific event for them.
Being on daytime TV has allowed me to embrace dressing like a grown woman.
SID: Exactly! Many girls who are used to dressing comfortably have a hard time transitioning into being required to dress professionally on a regular basis. Any advice for these ladies?
Wendy: Grow up! Realize that if you didn’t choose a profession that doesn’t allow you to dress the way you want (which is part of the reason I got into radio), then you can’t dress any old way. You know you’re a lawyer, nurse, or whatever. Realize that if you enjoy your profession or career, it’s worth the change. Put your own twist on it! I realize my dresses are short and that women my age would never dare to, but that’s fine for them. But, it’s about me and my spin on daytime chic!
SID: Definitely, now switching gears a bit…the recent year has certainly seen the ‘return of daytime talk’. We’ve got Ricki Lake coming back, Steve Harvey’s new show, Anderson, Katie, and more, what do you think is causing the sudden interest?
Wendy: I don’t think it ever went anywhere. I think 20 years ago we had a plethora of daytime talkers like Jenny Jones, Sally Jessie Raphael, Queen Latifah, Jerry Springer, and on and on. I’m a student of talk and a huge fan… always have been. I won’t say it ever went anywhere which is great for all of us.
SID: So, who are some of your favorites of the new school and of all time?
Wendy: Well, I don’t have a fave in the “new school”. I do happen to be partial to Katie Couric because she’s my girlfriend. But, I met Anderson the other day and I like him. I’ve had Ricki on my show before and like her as well. To me, the judge shows will always be legend to me! Not a day goes by that I don’t watch Judge Judy, Marilyn Milian, Judge Alex, and all of them. I love ‘The View’, ‘Dr. Oz’, all of it. I’m a fan that just so happens to be doing the kind of show that I want to watch.
SID: And that’s just one of many feats we’ve seen you accomplish. Over 20 years of experience, one of few women in the National Radio Hall of Fame, and more. But, what would you say has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
Wendy: It’s two fold: one of them is landing a talk show with a relatively unscathed radio past. I spent very little time, no more than two weeks, being unemployed my entire radio career. I never remember being unhappy with my radio career. I never worked a job I didn’t like. The other fold is being able to put together my family. I found a man who’s the wind beneath my wings and not hating on me, but also got married and had a child. You know, often times women forego a family for their career or vice versa. So, I’m most proud I’m able to have both.
SID: Speaking of your husband, we know he is a crucial part of the expansion of “brand Wendy”. You mentioned to us last time about movies in the works (including a biopic). Any updates on what’s in the works for you?
Wendy: I recently did a video with Susanne de Passe (‘Sister, Sister’). She’s a really positive woman. She and I – Suzanne de Passe Entertainment in conjunction with my entertainment company have a deal where we want to do original programming for TV. We’re currently in talks with some major networks about taking on our projects. This is not about me wanting to act, but more about me wanting to produce. I want to make some really sexy movies based on books and possibly have my own book done into movies (or spun off into a show). It’s more about making good TV with good content. I’d love to be a part of Oxygen, WE tv, Hallmark, Lifetime family in doing that.
Also, I’m still continuing to work on my shoe line. Nothing happens overnight. It’s bad when I’m asked “what’s in the works” because I could see you in one year saying “what ever happened with that thing?” I hate having to explain if it doesn’t happen. But, I am getting back into publishing. I have six books out now with two of them as New York Best Sellers, but I haven’t written one in six years. My new book is set to be out at the top of 2013 (but I’m not announcing who my publisher is quite yet). But, listen, I always have something in the hopper.
SID: As ever, we will be on the lookout for those. Now, we want to quickly address three fan questions:
1) What are your thoughts on your son, Kevin Jr., pursuing a career in entertainment?
Wendy: That ain’t happening! He can do anything he wants, but I don’t want that. Now, yes we support our children so if that’s what he wants to do, fine. But, he sees so much just being the 12 year old that he is. He already told me he wants to be an NBA player, but if that doesn’t work out, he says he wants to be “the boss of the company”. So, he wants to make business crack with his dad.
SID: 2) You have a no-nonsense, “tell it like it is” type of attitude. What encourages you to be so open?
Wendy: Either you are or you aren’t. I don’t know what makes other people tick. For me, I picked a career where I could utilize the absolute person that I am. I’ve always been a “tell it like it is” person. I have more permanent dents in my shin than you could ever know from my when I was a child and my parents kicked me under the table whenever I said something inappropriate, the wrong thing, or gave T.M.I. I have a very curious mind. I feel as though a good interview is not necessarily an A or D list person. A good interviewer and good conversationalist can have a good convo with anybody. I wasn’t manufactured, I was born this way!
SID: Thanks for that. Now, wrapping up here, we definitely want Wendy’s weigh in. Like last time, just like you have Hot Topics, we have “Diva Dish” (in honor of She Is Diva). First up…women of color on TV. We have shows like ‘Scandal’ and ‘Single Ladies’ all the way over to the ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ and ‘Basketball Wives’. All of the previously mentioned have attributed to a rise of African American females on television. What are your thoughts on that?
Wendy: Well, like any race, there’s good and bad. I like to think I’m part of the good and I’m proud to say that. As my mom says, “Mommy, you’re good for our people”. I take that as the highest compliment.
SID: Absolutely! Next, we have Britney Spears on X Factor USA, Christina Aguilera on ‘The Voice’, and now Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on ‘American Idol’. So far, Aguilera is leading in the ratings, but what are your thoughts on the overall reality talent tv diva showdown?
Wendy: Well, Christina is leading the pack now, but she’s also leaving. The verdict’s out if Shakira will be able to capture our attention. My bet is still on American Idol. I like Christina and Brit, but I’m with Nicki and Mariah. Mariah is the genuine article, so when she tells you that you’re whack, you can’t come back and criticize her. Plus, she gives us all the crazy we need (and I mean that in the best way).
SID: Certainly. Now, we recently saw Usher‘s tell all sit-down with Oprah concerning his divorce and custody battle (Tameka Foster). What are your thoughts on that?
Wendy: With Usher, I just don’t know the circumstances because I’m not in that marriage. But, try as I might, I see nothing that says Tameka needs to lose custody of her son. I don’t know what kind of man fights a woman for primary custody of her children. I think it’s cruel beyond words that he could do this to her. This, in addition to the fact she’d just lost a son in the skiing accident.
SID: And, lastly, the continued hoop-la over Chris Brown and Rihanna – from their VMA embrace to the similar tattoos – do you think it’s time we let it go or does the public have a right to be concerned?
Wendy: We should just let it go. Dr. Drew said it best…they will get back together because it takes a woman at least eight tries before she successfully gets away from an abuser. So, after the incident (from what we saw), that was their first time splitting up. They’re both young, they love each other, and will eventually get back together. We need to let it go.
SID: Thanks so much for your time Wendy, as ever, it’s been a pleasure. So, before we go, tell our fans in 10 seconds why they should tune in to season 4 of Wendy Williams show:
Wendy: Easy – Great outfits, great guests, and extended hot topics!
Interview by: Q.R. Taylor (She Is Diva – US)
Special Thanks To: @wendywilliams
For more information on season 4 of ‘The Wendy Williams Show’, visit http://www.wendyshow.com