ABOVE PHOTO: Brandi Maxiell
Interview with Kam Williams
Brandi Maxiell was born and raised in Dallas by single-mom Terri Duncan who sacrificed to send her daughter to the best schools. Consequently, Maxiell learned at an early age that education was the key to success. She would graduate from the University of North Texas in 2007 before moving to Detroit to live with her high school sweetheart/fiancé, NBA star Jason Maxiell who was then playing for the Pistons.
While there, Maxiell was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She soon returned home to Dallas for surgery. The cancer came as a complete surprise to the otherwise very healthy 24 year-old. But due to the procedure and chemotherapy, she developed numerous additional health issues. Fortunately, following months of treatments, Maxiell was cancer-free by 2008.
A couple years later, Brandi had her dream wedding when she and Jason married. The couple wanted to start a family right away. but Brandi soon discovered that she had fertility issues. So, she went through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments which initially failed.
This was a low blow for Maxiell because she wanted to become a mother so badly. Despite being discouraged, she persevered. Maxiell did extensive research about IVF, tried again, and it finally worked. She and Jason welcomed their beautiful, miracle baby boy to the world on 11/11/11.
Maxiell is currently a cast member on the popular VH1 show, “Basketball Wives LA.” She is also the owner of Midway Salon Suites, located in Carrolton, Texas. She spends her free time playing with her precious son and giving back through various ovarian cancer foundations. She is happy to add that she and Jason are working on baby number two.
Here, she talks about her life, and about the fourth season of “Basketball Wives LA,” which airs on the VH1 Network. [check local listings]
Kam Williams: Hi Brandi, thanks for the interview.
Brandi Maxiell: You’re welcome, and thanks for having me, Kam.
KW: Congratulations on another season of “Basketball Wives LA!”
BM: Thank you, it wasn’t easy.
KW: Is there a surprising development connected to you in store for fans?
BM: This season is different and was a little difficult. I let the viewers get a glimpse of my personal life and what I’ve been dealing with this past year.
KW: How accurately do you feel you’re presented on the show?
BM: Last season, they presented me very well. I feel the same about this season. I’m very blunt and outspoken on certain topics. They stay consistent to your character. There are some people who fool the cameras, but eventually their true character is revealed in due time.
KW: Is there an unseen side of you that you’d like to let your fans know about?
BM: As crazy as my life may seem on camera, not many people may know that my faith and family are very important to me and are what keep me going.
KW: What’s been the biggest challenge in being married to an NBA player?
BM: Understanding. I have to understand that the lifestyle isn’t normal. Understanding that there will be plenty mistakes and risks. There are times when you get lonely in the cities you live in and miss your family and friends and won’t get to be there for events or holidays. As a wife, I also had to sacrifice any career plan or goal I had to be a wife first and be there for my husband. Being a wife to a professional basketball player is not the easiest but, if there is true love and unity, then it’s worth it.
KW: Have researchers made any significant advances in the fight against ovarian cancer?
BM: Every day, researchers do their best to find a cure. The biggest problem with ovarian cancer is that the symptoms are pretty similar to what women go through on a regular basis. When you start to notice the bigger symptoms is when it’s often too late because the cancer is so advanced.
KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
BM: I don’t think so. People are pretty detailed with their questions.
KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
BM: I would have to say food. I’m not a snacker. I’m more of a meat and potatoes type of girl. I love me some food. I’m a true Southern girl.
KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?
BM: Many children’s books. Since I read to my son every night. For myself, “50 Shades of Grey.” http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345803485/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20
KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
BM: Oh my! I have a lot of favorites but I’d have to pick my pork chops. Everyone loves my pork chops. That is the first thing on the menu when people come over. That, or my lasagna, cream of wheat and cabbage.
KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?
BM: Being around my family. I get so excited when I see them or just hang out with them. Family is all you have at the end of day. They truly have your back and light up your day. I also have a handful of friends I consider my family as well.
KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?
BM: I don’t have one, really. I like what I see and buy it.
KW: The Mike Pittman question: What was your best career decision?
BM: To venture out and just do it with no “What ifs?” It was this attitude that helped me partner with my mom on Midway Salon Suites in Carrollton, Texas.
KW: Was there a meaningful spiritual component to your childhood?
BM:Yes, I went to church almost every day with my granny. So, I was pretty much raised in the church house. I accepted Christ as my savior and my God. I turn to him FIRST before any single thing I do, to make sure I’m doing the right thing. My granny taught me that and always showed me how to do that.
KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
BM: A beautiful black woman, inside and out, who has faced a lot of challenges in life, who still keeps her head held high and smiles through it all. I’ve been blessed… truly blessed.
KW: The Dana Perino question: What keeps you up at night?
BM: I believe I was a rock star in my past life. [LOL] I literally don’t go to bed until 2 or 3 am. I feel like I can think better at night and get things done. It may be a Gemini thing.
KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would it be?
BM: To do and have all I want in life.
KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?
BM: Going to my granny’s house every single weekend to hang out with her, whether that meant going to church or visiting a half-dozen different grocery stores in a day to find a good deal. She was and still is a coupon clipper.
KW: The Melissa Harris-Perry question: How did your first big heartbreak impact who you are as a person?
BM: My first heartbreak taught me about people and friends. It taught me to choose my friends wisely, and also to watch who I call my friend. And to never let a boy with a cute face sweet talk you. [LOL]
KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?
BM: The other day with my mom. Every time I’m with my mom and family, I laugh so much. My mom is a comedienne, like, literally, the funniest person I know.
KW: The “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan’s question: What’s your dream locale in Los Angeles to live?
BM: I honestly don’t know. I’m always on the go when I’m in LA.
KW: The Viola Davis question: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the Brandi we see on the red carpet?
BM: I’m a pretty laid-back, chill type of girl. No makeup, hair pulled up, and in sweatpants.
KW: The Anthony Anderson question: If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?
BM: To hear what people are thinking.
KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
BM: They all hustle.
KW: What’s in your wallet?
BM: Besides the obvious things, there are coins for toy vending machines for my baby, pictures of my him and me, pictures of my husband and me, and pictures of my mom.
KW: Thanks again for the time, Brandi, and best of luck with the new season.
BM: Thank you, Kam. It’s been fun.
To see a trailer for Basketball Wives LA, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEAB3rxHkXM