Every lady on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” gets a quick intro at the start of the show with a quote.
Kenya Moore, the newest cast member, summarizes herself like this:
“I was Miss USA, not Miss Congeniality.”
In other words, starting this Sunday for the start of season five, Moore will stir the pot and stir it frequently.
I interviewed Moore a couple of weeks ago, before the trailers came out and before I saw the first episode, where she comes across as impressively diva-esque. On the phone, she was kind but clearly very confident in herself. She moved to Atlanta from Los Angeles, presumably for this show. Her primary occupation is producer nowadays though she was a model and actress for many years as well.
Here are highlights:
I’m a brand, baby: “My life I’ve just always been a risk taker. I thought this was a great opportunity to not only expand my personality brand but to really help grow my business as a whole. Also, to be closer to my family who are in Atlanta. This made perfect sense.”
Her prior connection to the show: Miss Lawrence, the hairdresser, who previously had been connected to now ousted RHOA cast member Sheree Whitfield. “Lawrence and I have been friends for eight years. I was his first celebrity client.” (There’s a scene in the first episode featuring the two of them dishing like two gabby girlfriends.)
Initial resistance: “I come from the scripted world. I’ve been a respected actor for the past 18 years. [Reality] wasn’t on the forefront of what I’d like to do. But the climate has changed. I was always a fan of the show, especially because of Lawrence. So he said when they said they were looking for someone, he mentioned me. He got me to talk to the producers.”
Her self description: “I’m a very strong woman. Very outspoken. I’m positive. And I think that for the most part, people will respect my choices and decisions and understand why I made them… I’m a warm person. I think I’m genuine. I’m a generous person. I’m a loyal person. I love my family.”
Starting fresh: She didn’t know any of the women well at all, though she has run across fellow model Cynthia Bailey and R&B singer/producer Kandi Burruss before.
Her thoughts on NeNe Leakes: “I think she’s a lot of what I thought she’d be. She’s a funny girl, a tough girl. She’s made some smart decisions in terms of her career. She’s a talented actress as well.”
On Kandi: “She reminds me so much of myself. She’s got great business acumen. She’s responsible. She’s likable. She’s a smart woman. She’s a girl next door, like any girl I knew growing up in Detroit.”
On Cynthia: “It’s just interesting how that relationships evolves. The viewers, I think, will enjoy the drama.” [Interpretation: "Meow!"]
On Phaedra Parks: “You’ll have to watch the show.” [Interpretation: based on the trailers, this is going to be a tense relationship because Kenya has eyes for Phaedra's husband, Apollo.]
On Kim Zolciak: “You’ll see Kim. I’ve had scenes with Kim. I love her. She was a sweetheart, funny and vivacious. You’ll see her in the beginning episodes.” [Interpretation: we won't be seeing much of Kim later in the season as her pregnancy moves forth.]
On Porsha Williams Stewart, the other new cast member: “There are women I initially clicked with and those I didn’t particularly care for. With that being said, you have to watch the show.” [In other words, these two will NOT get along and based on the trailer, that clearly is the case though it's not clear why.]
As a producer for Moore Vision Media: “I’ve been producing television and film the past 10 years. You’ll get to see what I do for a living. I’m very proud of my projects. My last movie ["The Confidant"] starred David Banner and Boris Kodjoe that was on TV One [in 2010.] I’m extremely proud doing this work. I’m able to empower others of color and give them jobs.”
On “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta”: “I’ve seen a few episodes. It represents a very specific group of people and you have to take it at face value.”
On “Honey Boo Boo”: “I don’t feel like losing brain cells every time I watch something.”
Pandering to Atlanta (and hey, we’ll take it!): “I feel great. Being in Atlanta, I’m finally home. I feel like I can relax. It’s a great place to raise children [she doesn't have any that I know of.], have a social life and be private at the same time.” [She lives in what she calls no more specifically than "Northwest Atlanta."]
Her favorite “Housewives’ franchise among the other ones: Beverly Hills
“The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” 9 p.m. Sunday, Bravo