INTERVIEW: Drew Sidora isn’t afraid of joining ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ ladies

Drew Sidora joins "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" in season 13. (Photo by: Drexina Nelson/Bravo)

Credit: Drexina Nelson/Bravo

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Drew Sidora joins "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" in season 13. (Photo by: Drexina Nelson/Bravo)

Credit: Drexina Nelson/Bravo

The actress has appeared in ‘That’s So Raven’ and ‘The Game’

Atlanta actress Drew Sidora makes her official debut on Sunday night’s episode of “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” the second of the season. It features a tense argument with her husband.

Sidora, 35, comes from the entertainment world, a common resumé for previous castmates on the show, including Eva Marcille and Kim Fields. She has been acting for more than 25 of her 35 years, including stints on “That’s So Raven,” “Wild Hogs,” “Step Up,” the VH1 biopic “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story” and the comedy “The Game” when it was on the CW. This is Sidora’s first foray into reality TV.

She shows up after the first commercial break of an extended 75-minute episode and is first identified as Cynthia Bailey’s friend. Bailey said she met her through Marcille, who was on the show for two seasons but departed earlier this year.

And while Sidora wasn’t a longtime viewer of the show, she said in a recent interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she has three sisters and couldn’t avoid hearing about the shenanigans of Kim Zolciak-Biermann, NeNe Leakes, Sheree Whitfield and the like over the years. “Even on sets and in makeup trailers, people would talk about it,” she said.

Once she knew she was being considered for the show, Sidora decided to watch previous seasons to understand what the show might want from her and to get to know the various women she was going to hang out with.

When she began shooting with the ladies over the summer, Bravo did not promise her a permanent spot. That only came after they watched her shoot scenes with the other ladies to get a feel for what she could bring to the table.

A Chicago native, Sidora is married with three children all under the age of 10. Her husband, IT business consultant Ralph Pittman Jr., makes an immediate first impression on the episode as ambitious and a little mysterious. After an argument, he left town for three days without telling Sidora where he was going. This absence is featured in the trailer of the current season.

Sidora, who moved to Atlanta a year ago, said she accepted that her marital tensions would become integral to this season’s storyline. She also knows she has no power over how the editors portray her or her husband.

“With everything we’ve gone through, I thought it would be wonderful to share our journey to be better,” she said. “We make mistakes. We show the good, the bad and the ugly. I am just trying to be my authentic self.”

This isn’t the first time the producers approached her to be on the show.

She said “Real Housewives” called her five years ago to film scenes in Atlanta while she was in Los Angeles, but she was pregnant and her water broke early. “I was supposed to meet with Kandi (Burruss),” she said. “I ended up hospitalized for five weeks. I wasn’t going anywhere. The timing wasn’t right. This time, I had just arrived in Atlanta. I met Cynthia at her wine cellar reopening party. It all worked out.”

Pittman, her husband, has family in South Carolina and her family is just a two-hour flight away in Chicago. “Atlanta just felt right,” she said. “And there is so much work here to be a producer and actor now.”

Indeed, Sidora has shot films and TV shows in Atlanta already, including VH1′s “Hindsight” and the TLC biopic.

SIdora opens the show with a cast on her foot. She suffered an Achilles’ heel injury while doing a play. She also suffered a life-threatening staph infection in her arm. So her mom came from Chicago to live with them, which only added stress in the household.

“I’m only now getting back to me,” she said. (The episodes airing now happened over the summer.)

Bravo has finished production for season 13 and as someone who has been on sets all her life, she was impressed by the producers and the crew, even under COVID-19 restrictions.

“Bravo is amazing at what they do,” she said. “They know how to keep the viewers engaged. And now that I’m seeing it from the inside, I’m excited to be part of the family. It’s been a joy and a roller-coaster ride.”

“Everyone has their truth,” she added. “It’s going to be fascinating. I’m going to be eating my popcorn and seeing how it all plays out.”

And she is ready for the inevitable social media judgment from viewers. “I’m here for the Bravo fans,” Sidora said. “They go hard. It’s a different world than I’ve experienced. But I’m ready. I’m doing the best I can. So I look forward to good criticism. Keep it cute! We can all be friends!”

ON TV

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” 8 p.m. Sundays, Bravo