07/24/2009 AT 12:00 AM EDT
took a lot of heat -- from her castmates and viewers -- after the first season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta
documented her rocky attempts at a music career and her relationship with an unidentified -- and
married -- man she called Big Poppa. So why go back for more?
"I figured in the second season you couldn't make me look any worse, so I might as well do it," Zolciak tells PopEater
The second Real Housewives of Atlanta
season begins July 30. Share your predictions for Kim, Nene, Lisa, Sheree and the newest member of the cast, Kandi.
With her newfound notoriety, Zolciak says she now has an appreciation of what it's like for other celebrities. "I feel bad for Britney Spears," she says. "I look at her and I'm like they just tear up one side and down the other! Then the next month, she's doing so great. She's lost weight. She's a great mom all of a sudden. I kind of sympathize with her because I take a lot of that heat myself."
Zolciak also identifies with Michael Jackson. "I understand the fame," she says. "My life changed in such a short period of time, I can't imagine what he dealt with. Sometimes, emotionally, it's
taken its toll on me, never mind him who is far bigger worldwide."
In fact, her attitude can be summed up succinctly: "I look at it like
negative press is better than no press," she says of her critics.
"People write 'Kim Zolciak sucks, Kim Zolciak is this,' " she says. "It's
like, really? Thank you for that comment. At least you're putting my name out there."
Similarly, her fame hasn't stifled any of Zolciak's opinions about her
fellow castmates -- specifically her former best friend (now frenemy) Nene Leakes
. "I would love to get a hold of her ass," she says, "but I don't have time for her." Still, she doesn't wish her ill. "I don't want to waste any kind of energy on her and what's she doing," Zolciak says. "I want her to be successful and rock on with herself."
But that's not to say there won't be lots of ups and downs this season. "The drama is there," she says. "It's gonna be there. You put five personalities together that are as strong as ours, you're gonna get a lot of chaos and drama. I think we all go through hard times and at the end of the day, we all come out smelling like a rose per se. Regardless of anything that's gone on, we all end up respecting each other." -- Brian Orloff
Virginia Sherwood /NBC