Dr. Heavenly Kimes shines in her role as a premier Atlanta dentist. Having been a staple on Bravo’s Married to Medicine, viewers have watched her dental practice empire expand as she diversifies her business portfolio to include a beauty supply store and Dr. Heavenly University, a financial literacy program. The intelligent, hardworking and downright hilarious medical professional has let cameras into her life since season 2 of the popular reality show as she navigates family, business and friendships with some of Atlanta’s elite medical professionals. Kimes is known for telling it like it is and often offers her unwanted opinions, which sometimes rubs some of her castmates the wrong way. She has a reputation for throwing shade that keeps her in the dog house with her peers, but she is a good friend with a good heart. Thanks to her loving husband of over 20 years, Dr. Damon “Daddy” Kimes, and her three children, Kimes stays grounded. Ahead of the season 10 premiere, she talked to Blavity about all to expect from the explosive season, which includes the exits of two cast members, the entry of two new cast members and lots of drama.

Going into season 10, we’re losing two cast members, Contessa and Anila. How does that shake up the group?

Dr. Heavenly Kimes: I don’t think it’s a factor. And I wish the ladies the best. I think they’re living their best lives. I know they are going on to great things. But as far as the season is concerned, I don’t think anybody’s mentioning them.

You guys have two new cast members, Phaedra Parks and Dr. Gregory Lunceford’s new wife, Lateasha. There has been a lot of discussion about whether some of the cast members sought Dr. G’s new wife out to be on the show. What can you say about that?

HK: I think that Dr. G has been a friend of a lot of the husbands. For example, he’s a psychiatrist. And I didn’t realize how much Damon and his specialty coincide because he does interventional pain and personal injury. A lot of times, with people in pain, they do need a psychiatrist. So, they refer each other to patients. So, of course, we’ve extended our relationship with Dr. G. So he brings his wife.

Do you feel Dr. G’s new wife fits into the group? She shakes things up because Quad, his ex-wife, is on the show. There’s been a discussion about whether casting Dr. G’s new wife is considered disrespectful to Quad. What’s your take on that?

HK: I think it’s a messy show. I think it’s Bravo. So I think this a dynamic we’ve never seen before. I think it’s definitely great for TV to see the dynamic of Greg and his ex-wife in how they fare. You asked me. As far as his new wife, I think she’s very different from the group. She’s much younger. She’s 31, and she has not been exposed to a lot of different things. She’s not well-traveled. She’s from meager beginnings. So I think she’s just happy to be with Dr. G and experience the new things that she has with that relationship.

Phaedra Parks is also joining the group. How does she mix and mingle with the cast, coming from one ensemble cast on The Real Housewives of Atlanta? The last time we saw her on RHOA was in season 9. But she joined the series in season 3, and she’s coming on to Married to Medicine very late in the game in season 10.

HK: I think that Phaedra meshes well with the ladies. It’s Atlanta, so we all know each other. We’re probably not the best of friends. But we’ve seen each other around, and we’ve had conversations. Phaedra is different. I think a lot of us are direct. She’s kind of — for the lack of a better word — underhanded. She has her hands in a lot of things and then hides. She’s fun. She’s funny. She definitely fits in. She’s a boss. She does Reiki now, which is a form of alternative medicine. I like the dynamic of Phaedra being there.

Aside from your iconic shade, we love watching your family. Now, we’ve watched your daughter, Alaura, grow up. She’s in college now. And it’s been fun to watch a close-knit, successful Black family on reality television. How important is it for you and Dr. Damon to continue to push the narrative that these families exist in our community on a platform like Bravo?

HK: I think that is one of our main focuses is this family. We’re all about family, Dr. Damon and I. We always say God first, then family, then everything else. So that’s our priority, our children. And we’re in a different dynamic now that we’re officially empty nesters. All my kids are grown and gone out of the house. So it’s been bittersweet for me. My baby girl is my best friend. I keep telling everybody the same thing repeatedly. We spend a lot of time together. So it’s a part of me that left and went to Florida A&M University with her. I can’t be mad. That’s my alma mater, one of the best public HBCUs in the land. But it’s hurtful. That’s probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done on the show: let my baby girl go.

It has been great to see. I don’t want to say it’s a softer side because I don’t think that everyone has to be super emotional or wear emotions on their sleeves like some people want us to. Still, there have been discussions on the show about your perceived lack of empathy, or you’re being too harsh with your costars, and you easily not throwing away friendships but not being rattled by whether your relationships with some of the women continue or not. How would you describe your growth in that area on the show this season?

HK: I love all the ladies. Maybe people are misreading me. I think I’m the most solid friend there on this show. I do laugh at the wrong things. I think that’s a coping mechanism for me. I do not wear my feelings on my shoulders. I grew up thinking that crying was something that was not allowed, and it actually bothers me to see other people cry, and I don’t know whether that is good, bad or indifferent. But that’s just the way I’ve been raised. And it may not be good, but I think I’m one of the best friends you can have. I’m very loyal, very solid when it comes to friendships. I think you just have to learn that about me. I do laugh about a lot of things. I do laugh at the wrong things, but it’s, like I said, it’s a coping mechanism for me. As far as seeing my softer side, I don’t even know if you guys even really see that. Because I don’t want to cry. And maybe there is an issue there. That’s just me. Take me, or love me or leave me alone.

Now, another area of contention for some of your costars has been your YouTube channel. I particularly enjoy it, but I can see how it could cause strife in the group if you are presenting your commentary on what goes on during the show, having to relive it and giving your opinions. Have you decided to scale that back, or is it that they have to accept it for what it is?

HK: I think my YouTube is hilarious, just like you say. I think it’s an extended edit of the green screen, and I think people would say things that they think on a green screen. So what about me doing it is such an issue? Everybody can do it. I don’t think it’s going to stop. Maybe I should let other people in to say things that I can’t say. I don’t know how to maneuver it, but I would take into consideration how they feel. But I will continue to do it because I think it’s such fun, and the fans love it. It’s an opportunity for me to build in some of the missing links of what happens on the show because we only have seven minutes shown from a seven-hour scene. So a lot of times, I’m just filling in the blanks with commentary, and that stuff is funny, and it’s fun. That’s what I think.

Now, for a few years in the beginning, some people have felt like Married to Medicine has in the past gone under the radar. But it’s emerged as Bravo’s bright light. What would you say attributes to that and its staying power? Because of all of the Bravo franchises, Married to Medicine seems not to have similar issues or fans complaining about forced storylines and fake friendships. But what else would you attribute it to?

HK: Like you said, we’re real friends. These are our real issues. These are real personalities, and all of them are very different. Everybody’s an A-type personality. Nobody minds telling you what they think and how they feel and how we feel, and we stay together. I think that people know that I’m loyal. I do give you the hard truth. And I think that one of the different things about this season is that Jackie comes out of her shell. She says the things that she’s really thinking. Simone and Toya always come to work. Toya is hilarious to me, and I think that one of the reasons that Married to Medicine works is because it’s so funny, and we really know each other, and we know how we’re going to respond to things and what the pressure points are, and sometimes we push them.

What are we going to see out of your specific storyline this season?

HK: I think mostly it’s going to be about my daughter. Like I said, it is the hardest season I have ever had, being that she’s going away to college, and I am trying to convince her to stay. I mean, I got a whole beauty supply store for her to run. I tried to bribe her and buy a house. But you all already know, and anybody who’s ever followed me knows she’s at Florida A&M University, which is bittersweet. But she’s my best friend. So that’s my story. My husband, my family, and how we deal with my daughter being the last one, meaning that we’re officially empty nesters. The boys have gone, but she’s gone for real. I mean, she’s the last one to go, so all of them are gone. So, we are in a different chapter of our lives.

How has it been for you and Dr. Damon transitioning to empty nesters? I know some parents who look forward to it. Other parents, like you said, it’s been more difficult for you because of your close relationship with Alaura. But do you feel you have been able to connect differently, and you’re experiencing a different level of happiness in your marriage? Or are you still like, ‘I miss my baby.’

HK: I’m still like, ‘I miss my baby.’ I think we’re OK as far as like us two as a married couple. I mean, we spend more time together, which is always good. And we go on vacation together. Before, either Alaura went with us, or I just went with Alaura. So I don’t know about everybody else’s marriages, but it was very rarely that me and Damon went by ourselves because Alaura always wanted to go. So, I just miss my baby.

Now, you mentioned that you have a beauty supply store. We know you as a relationship expert. You have various dental practices. What else can we see this season regarding your expanding business empire?

HK: One thing I’ve been working on for a decade now is Dr. Heavenly University. I don’t know if they showed it on the first season. I know we filmed it, but I’ve been doing it for a while. I train dentists on how to start and run a successful business, teaching them higher-level dental procedures. But I’ve extended it. I opened it up for everybody, and we talk about financial literacy, and I just love, love, love it. We are actually helping people become millionaires and showing them how not just to make money but how to keep it with a family legacy.