Reality television shows come a dime a dozen nowadays. It seems like any and every one can get one for anything. For years, originality in the genre seemed to have gone out the door, reaching an all-time low with Lifetime’s Born In The Wild! Still there are exceptions to every trend, and some shows actually make reality television worth watching. No, we are not talking about any of the “sistahs” from Real Housewives of Atlanta, but we are talking about a few other actual sisters—five of them to be exact—The Braxtons! You know these five amazing women, Toni, Traci, Towanda, Trina, and Tamar, as members of a musical family; each gifted with an angelic voice and the ability to raise a grand scale of Hell!
Like any group of sisters, each of them has their own personality and way of living life. However, it is Towanda Braxton that serves as the anchor of the group. Usually she keeps its simple by being the peacemaker, keeping her younger sisters in line, and balancing a healthy lifestyle with her family and career in tow! All of The Braxtons are naturally talented and pretty, but only one comes, as aptly described, “The freakin’ Rock of Gibraltar!” “It’s hard being the strong one, but someone has to be it in any situation…Most times it just happens to be me…”
Towanda Braxton is somewhat the unicorn of The Braxton Family and her sisters. Not only is she one of two middle children (Traci being the other) of the family, she is also the middle girl (Toni and Traci are older, Trina and Tamar are younger). As in such, she was often “seen and not heard” by everyone around her. “I was the least of my mother’s worries; she could always count on the fact that I was where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing, and acting right… When you’re good and the middle child it’s very easy to be glossed over…I love my mother to Heaven and back because she did a great job with six children, five of them girls, I don’t know how she did it, but she did it!”
As an adult, Towanda still tends to be the voice of reason among her sisters and their antics. When Braxton Family Values first premiered on WE TV, she served as Toni’s personal assistant; and could usually be seen either refereeing squabbles between one of her sisters or struggling to balance her professional life, motherhood, and her marriage. Towanda is strong, this we know. However, she like the rest of us, breaks down from time to time. Her moment, surprisingly, took place on camera in front of millions last season during a heated confrontation with her sister, Tamar, reached her breaking point.
In a rage she began to clear and smash glasses off the table, and sent silverware flying everywhere, screaming, “Nobody ever cared about me! Nobody!” This referenced her aforementioned feelings of being overlooked as a child. It was undoubtedly the most emotional we had ever seen her be; and was definitely the most emotionally charged moment in the show’s history. “You know that’s not me on a daily basis and that was the culmination of forty years’ worth of anger and repressed emotion all coming out at once! I was embarrassed and I hate the way it came out, but I am glad it came out…” Since the debacle she and her sister have made up, and she does not blame her for the mishap. “Let me tell you Tamar is always going to be Tamar and she’s the monster we all had a hand in making [she laughs]! She’s the baby and we always let her say whatever she wanted and now that we’re older and trying to establish boundaries she’s like ‘Uh-uh where’s that comin’ from! [She laughs again]”
Recently, Towanda and the rest of her family decided to work on a few of their issues and sisterhood with televangelist, T.D. Jakes. Ms. Braxton digresses that the process took an entire day. There he talked with their parents first, then all of them together, followed by individual counseling, and finally a family session. “We learned a great deal from the experience. He [Bishop Jakes] pretty much told us we were spoiled, selfish brats, but individually we came to the conclusion I’m the most sane [she laughs]…but I really liked how my parents came together to deal with these issues with us…everybody knows my mother is not the biggest fan of my father so that was a big deal…Our sisterhood is still a work in progress but we are actually working on it this time around by speaking up, addressing things, and fighting fairly…All families have their issues trust me when I tell you we’re no different…”
Currently, Towanda is moving beyond her family drama to become an entrepreneurial powerhouse in her own right. Besides continuing her role on the show, she has launched The Secret Squirrel, a business school that will train people on how to be personal assistants. “You know one thing I’ve found is people say they want to be personal assistants, but don’t really understand what comes with that…it’s about being very organized, being one step ahead of any situation, being prepared, and prioritizing the needs of the person you’re working for…nowadays people think red carpets, extravagant trips, and going to concerts. I admit those are some of the perks when you’re working for certain people, but even then you’re working…their needs don’t stop and you have to realize that…” Secret Squirrel does charge tuition for its training, but it is affordable and they help you find a job upon graduation. Who better than someone already in the industry to point you to where you are needed!
Besides Secret Squirrel, a few of Towanda’s other business ventures include a line of gel nail polish. However, there is no need to fret The Braxtons will be back for another season, in Towanda’s opinion. “Well I will just say it would behoove them to bring us back. We are the number one rated show on the network.” Additionally she informs us that she has no plans to follow in her sisters’ footsteps and release an album. “I’m happy being me and being a doo wop bop pop chick!”
Brains and beauty are the highlights of the elegant woman that is Towanda Braxton. She attributes her amazing physique and agelessness to exercise, drinking water, and healthy living. She has always been athletic and still believes in remaining active. However, nowadays she gets most her exercise from chasing around her children, Braxton and Brooke. The Braxtons are definitely one of the most talented families in the world. It is truly brave of them to deal with their dirty laundry on the landscape of reality television. Towanda mirrors her family’s bravery by daring to be the best mother, daughter, sister, businesswoman, and person she can be. “You know at the end of the day it all about being the best person you can be for yourself. When you’re a ‘super-you’, then you’ve got it all…” Well said Towanda! Be sure you catch Towanda, Thursdays on WE TV in Braxton Family Values!