Anyone who's seen Braxton Family Values (Tuesdays at 9/8c on We) knows that the littlest Braxton sister, Tamar, needs no introduction, but if she did, it would most certainly include the words "dot com." The mouthy singer, who regularly adds Internet extensions to her speech for emphasis, talked to us about Braxton family candor, playing to the camera and why she's actually on a "dot-com diet." (How many Weight Watchers points are in a medium "dot org," anyway?)
Your sister Toni told me that this show was your idea. Was it a result of you merely looking around at your family and taking note of all the great material in front of you?
Tamar Braxton: It was actually at Thanksgiving dinner. I was watching everybody and I just knew it had to be on TV. I'm sure there are millions of families just like mine, and what better way to show the world that this is real life and that it's OK to be yourself and it's OK to go through things [than to go on TV]? I just felt like we could learn from the public and the public could learn from us.
What sets Braxton Family Values apart is that most reality shows assemble strangers for the purposes of arguing. This show merely turns a camera on a family, and there it is.
Braxton: Absolutely. But the initial idea wasn't, "Let's get on TV and argue." It was, "Let's show real life." With sisters, you go through things.
A big part of your story arc has to do with wanting to be a star and wanting to get your career off the ground. Because you're such a breakout on the show, it seems like you're accomplishing that via reality TV.
Braxton: Thank you, but it's not intentional. It's just a subject that came up within the girls, and I said, "I'm tired of singing background and I'm going after my solo career." It just kind of took a life of its own after that. It wasn't, "I want to do a reality show because I want to be a superstar!" No.
Does that mean that you never play up for camera?
Braxton: Hell no! (Laughs) Most of the time, I forgot the camera was there. Those moments are when you see me go all the way in, like on the Miami trip. I had to apologize [after] to my sisters, because it wasn't like I was trying to blast them or their men, but these are the things girlfriends and sisters talk about.
I can't believe I've talked to you for this long without mentioning your signature of tacking "dot com" onto the end of descriptors.
Braxton: I trying to stop! I am on a dot-com diet.
Braxton: Because! It's something I've been saying for years. It's just the epitome of what I can say. I can't say anymore-dot-com.
Toni says you have the best voice in the family. Do you agree?
Braxton: I don't agree. I'm a really big fan [of Toni's], but it wasn't until [1995's] "Let It Flow." She was just my sister on the radio and that's what she did for a living. I wasn't a fan. But now that I am a fan, I do believe she's incredible.
You didn't like "Another Sad Love Song" or "Breathe Again"?
Braxton: It didn't faze me one bit, to be honest. They're great songs, but I was just so oblivious to what was going on that I did not know that Toni was a superstar. I thought that she was just my older sister who sang at bigger places than we did when we were little. This is the God's honest truth. This is what we did. We pack up, we go on the road, we sing at a church or a convention and we come home. And that was our life. And then it became: we're packing up again, and now we're singing at the Staples Center and we go back to the hotel. It was the same thing to me.
Is it surreal in retrospect?
Braxton: That's what I know and it's all I know. I can't imagine anything else. But when we did go back to our old hometown, it was expected that we'd act a certain way, and I didn't really know what that was. All I've ever known was to be myself, and I have to give that credit to my mother because she instilled that in us as little girls: be who you are, don't apologize for it. Apologize when you make mistakes, but that's about it.
How has hearing the response to the show been for you?
Braxton: It's been amazing, however, it's a lot. I've always felt misunderstood by my sisters, and now I feel like I'm misunderstood by the world.
What's the biggest misconception?
Braxton: That I'm jealous of my sisters or I don't want the best for them or I'm not in their corner. I'll be the first one to stand up and fight for them.
You're confrontational on Twitter.
Braxton: Twitter is new for me! I'm not used to people talking about my family like that. I really do take that offensively. It's tough for me because people say, "You can't pay attention to people on Twitter." And I'm like, "Yeah, but did you see what they said about my sister?!?" I'm quickly learning that you can't have a Twitter confrontation. It's not always the best thing.
Do you ever watch and think, "Oh, I shouldn't have said that," or read a critique on Twitter and think, "Hey, they're right"?
Braxton: Most of the time, I'm like, "I shouldn't have said it like that." Nine times out of 10, I'm saying what I truly mean, but I don't want to hurt their feelings. [I'm] toning it down. You can't be on level 10 all the time.
Now, does that mean you'll be toning it down should Braxton Family Values be picked up for a second season?
Braxton: No, I'mma be Tamar.
At one point on the show, you said that all the Braxton sisters were being hot messes, except for you. Which of the Braxton sisters is the hottest mess?
Braxton: Probably me, because my mouth is so crunk. My sisters have been telling me that for years and now that I see myself, sometimes I am over the top, for-real-dot-org. Sometimes I want to just shut my own mouth through the TV.