Oprah Talks to Brandy and Her Mother, Sonja Norwood
Oprah: How can you project confidence to the world and yet have such low self-esteem?
Brandy: I'm a good actress—being Brandy is a job, you know? You smile, you dance around, you kiss butt. You do everything you can to get where you want to go. I wanted to be as big as Whitney Houston.
Oprah: That was the goal?
Brandy: Yes, and I was willing to work all the time to get there.
Sonja: In my opinion, Brandy became less valuable to herself when she got into relationships. When she focused on her music, she was always on point.
Oprah: Is that true, Brandy?
Brandy: Yes, but even then, I had low self-esteem.
Oprah: When you'd walk into a room with other powerful people, would you feel like you could hold your own?
Brandy: Yes. So maybe my mom is right—it was in relationships with people outside of my career where my low self-esteem started to show.
Oprah: And part of why you could hold your own is because when you walk into a room, you are Brandy.
Brandy: Right—and people feed your ego. They feed the Brandyism. Everyone wanted to talk with me, to take pictures of me. You start to feel like "I'm it."
Oprah: But what happened when you'd be sitting around in pajamas, no makeup, across from someone you were in a relationship with?
Brandy: I'd think, "Whoever I was in that room, I'm not that person now." And because the person I was with was tearing me down, I started to feel, deep down, that I was nothing.
Oprah: In that moment, why can't you call up that Brandyism?
Brandy: That goes back to not wanting others to perceive me as not humble.
Oprah: Was the relationship you had at 15 the one that became abusive?
Brandy: No. That one started when I was 19. I only had two serious relationships before I met my husband. In the first, I had to deal with the pain of someone a lot older than me cheating. I guess on some level, that is abuse.