Kenya Moore is allegedly the newest castmember on Real Housewives of Atlanta. The former beauty queen and current model/actress was called in to replace the fired Sheree Whitfield. Interestingly, until recently Kenya didn’t even live in Atlanta – she lived in LA – and she’s not from there. She grew up in Detroit. So how did a non-Atlanta native land a spot on a show about Atlanta housewives?

Additionally this begs the question – is Bravo taking storyline manipulation too far? I mean this is supposed to be reality TV, but how little is too little reality? Popular Atlanta blog Tamara Tattles has been investigating the issue of how Kenya ended up on the producer’s list to join the show.  First of all, Tamara confirms Kenya is definitely a member of the cast next season.  And that she came to the producers’ attention from former Apprentice villain Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth!

And how does Omaraso know Kenya? Through NeNe Leakes! Apparently back in the days when NeNe was threatening Star Jones on Celebrity Apprentice, Omarosa was her behind-the-scenes mentor. While she obviously didn’t do a very good job directing Ms. Leakes in business etiquette, she made an impression on the feisty housewife and the two remained friends.

Last July, NeNe (along with supposedly estranged husband Gregg Leakes) were hanging out at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. Omarosa was also there – with her friend Kenya! NeNe and Kenya hit it off and NeNe started dropping her name to producers. Kenya agreed to relocate and thus her entry into the Real Housewives was cemented.


Apparently producers are in desperate straights to appease their break-out star NeNe by giving into some of her demands. After the immensely popular season three of RHOA, numbers dropped significantly in Season four. The main reason seeming to be the defunct relationship between NeNe and other break-out star Kim Zolciak.

With NeNe and Kim refusing to patch things up for the sake of the cameras and NeNe pretty much refusing to film with any of the other girls, save for Cynthia Bailey, Bravo had to do something to reconnect her to the cast and the storyline. And sadly the fabricated Smalls vs. Talls debate didn’t really take off with the viewers. In fact, according to Tamara Tattles’ source, NeNe and Cynthia have little in common, but they don’t really like any of the other girls so they decided to stick together.

Bravo decided their faux friendship wasn’t really enough to keep NeNe in the loop (and NeNe was likely threatening to quit the show since she had other lucrative deals in the works anyway) so producers started recruiting a “friend” for the Neen. And NeNe, anxious to have some input, helped. Which makes sense since they were allegedly her friends. NeNe has been allegedly pushing for producers to add not just one, but two new ladies into the mix. Both of them Team Tall.

Rumor has it that Bravo was reportedly hoping to cast one new small and one new tall for next season. One to replace Marlo Hampton, who was bumped from the cast after her legal dramas and her trashy behavior/gay slur; and one to replace Sheree. StraightFromTheA reported months ago that Toya Wright, formerly married to Lil Wayne, now married to Memphitz; and star of her own BET show was a top candidate to join the cast.

Toya even had a storyline all sewed up – starring in a fitness campaign called Fine & Fit with Kandi Burruss and her new marriage to Memphitz. Unfortunately that was the problem – Toya is close friends with both Kandi and Phaedra Parks. Kandi was even a guest at Toya’s recent wedding!

But that wasn’t ok for NeNe who likely didn’t want The Smalls having any influence on the cast and dominating the storyline, so producers decided to start casting exclusively for Team Tall. With her recommendation from NeNe and her past dating a string of celebrities – including Terrell Owens – not to mention her penchant for the controversial, Kenya was perfect!

Both Tamara and StraightFromTheA allegedly have information on the other new girl, but neither lady is ready to dish. Reportedly this lady also came from NeNe’s suggestions, which is interesting as that means NeNe has basically cast this show from the beginning. Remember, she brought on Kim, Sheree, and Lisa Wu-Hartwell. She knew Phaedra from wayback.

According to Tamara, The other new lady is also a “quasi-celebrity” like Kenya and she has connections to the music industry through a relative.

What’s interesting about this to me is how contrived this show – like others in the Housewives franchise – is becoming. What was once a show about real friends and real ladies in the community is now becoming a show about pseudo-celebs who want to be actual celebs and willing to go to any length to achieve that acclaim (I won’t say fame, because we all know they aren’t getting “famous” off this trash for the most part).

Bravo is reportedly interested in casting more and more of these types who will bring the drama and have experience doing so. The new Real Housewife of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Hadid, fits that mold and reported new Real Housewives of Orange County castmember Shayne Lamas does as well. These women aren’t “real” in anyway, save for the fact that they exist and are people – we hope!

Additionally, much like Marlo got onto the show under the false pretense that she was dating NFL star Charles Grant, the ladies are now “changing” their bios to appease producers and make themselves more interesting. Instead of casting for quality, Bravo is casting for outrageous. Which is how they ended up with people like Marlo.

The Real Housewives of New York cast seems fairly legit at this point (even with the new additions) and it seems Bravo is still taking the “ordinary woman” (to a degree) approach with Real Housewives of New Jersey. The rumored potential Housewife is Heather Robinson, who is married to a retired NBA player. But the others in the franchise have all descended into complete fabrication. Even the new cast on Real Housewives of Miami has seemingly descended into complete famewhoredom.

I wish Bravo was keeping their reality a little more real, but I suppose in a culture so imbued with the over-the-top and fantastical, real lives aren’t real enough. Even if said real lives are better than most of our ordinary ones! I suppose we couldn’t go back now, even if we wanted to, as we’re all accustomed to a certain level of crazy. Hell, even I find myself thinking a show is boring if it’s just basically a round-up of the ladies’ daily lives. Although, I do miss the old days – the first seasons of Atlanta were the best. Television gold with real, authentic eccentrics.


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