Bravo’s newest reality series ‘Kandi & the Gang’ is about how Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker juggle their business and family.
via: Page Six
Kandi Burruss’ latest Bravo docuseries, “Kandi & the Gang,” will inevitably face “Vanderpump Rules” comparisons — but the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star’s new restaurant-based reality show has a secret ingredient that is notably missing from Lisa Vanderpump’s recipe: gay men.
“It is so funny because it wasn’t even intentional,” Burruss, 45, tells Page Six in an exclusive interview, praising the many LGBTQIA+ employees who work for her and husband Todd Tucker at the couple’s Old Lady Gang eatery in Atlanta.
“It just so happened that they’re really cool people and then cameras came,” she adds. “You just get to see what we already have going on. Our restaurant has always been inclusive.”
Vanderpump, 61, herself is a fierce ally of the LGBTQIA+ community — and previously welcomed Billie Lee, a transgender woman, onto the show part-time for a short two-season stint — but “Pump Rules” has yet to cast an openly gay SURver over the course of nine seasons despite its proximity to West Hollywood and massive Pride festivities.
Though Burruss is a big fan of Vanderpump — “I’ve been to her restaurant and I thought it was great,” she notes — she is happy to pick up any slack from the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” alum.
“When I realized that we did something that was different than anybody else was when the commercial [for ‘Kandi & the Gang] came out,” says the veteran Bravolebrity, who has fronted five previous spin-offs for the network.
“I saw people in the comments saying, ‘Wow, this is dope that they are showing this and I feel included now.’ I was like, ‘Wow,’” she continues. “We all exist, right? But we’re not necessarily all represented when it comes to television. So come on to ‘Kandi & The Gang.’ We’re going to make everybody feel right at home.”
Burruss — who admits she has “never seen” an episode of “Pump Rules” — is probably unaware of its simultaneous diversity issue. The show, which has never featured a full-time BIPOC cast member either, experienced an exodus in 2020 after the racially insensitive actions of multiple players came to light amid the Black Lives Matter movement.
Meanwhile, “Kandi & the Gang” readily celebrates the intersectionality of its black and queer stars — the men in particular, Burruss says — who make her restaurant shine.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, they don’t really show a lot of black men [on reality TV],’” she acknowledges.
“You have a lot of black men [on our show]. You have some straight, some that are gay and then some that are masculine-gay and then some that are not as masculine, which is cool because I think so many people will feel represented, who haven’t really been represented before,” she elaborates.
“There’s always the stereotypes that you see. But to be able to see it on television where it’s not a stereotype, it just is what it is, I think it’s really cool.”
Burruss can’t wait for fans to meet the entire OLG crew, including her cousin and “ladies’ man” Patrick Dallas, the “extremely handsome” Phillip Frempong and the “hilarious” BFF duo Shawndreca Robinson and Dom’Unique Variety.
But she seems to have a special place in her heart for Brian Redmond, whom she frequently mentions throughout her chat with Page Six.
“He’s so over-the-top. You can’t help but love Brian,” she raves of the server, known for his vibrant personality and collection of stylish toupees.
“People come to the restaurant just to sit at his table because they love him so much — and that was before there was a camera around. The world is definitely going to love him.”
“Kandi & the Gang” premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.