Just hours after VH1 announced the addition of Daphne Wayans to the season 2 cast of Hollywood Exes, Daphne took the time to chat with us about reality TV, motherhood, her friendship with her ex, and to share just how well she knows her co-stars.
Preparing for the interview was challenging because there is so little known about Daphne! There were no prior DUI's, no dramatic details about bitter divorce proceedings, no child custody battles or crazy interviews to be found! A real rarity in this business. All we knew about Daphne is that she was previously married to actor Keenen Ivory Wayans and that they share five children together: Jolie, Nala, Keenen Jr, Bella and Daphne.
I kicked off by asking Daphne if there was any truth to the rumor that she was originally meant to be part of season 1. She did confirm this as truth; she was part of the initial pitch for the show, but she simply got cold feet and decided to sit season 1 on the sidelines. What changed her mind for season 2? "The product speaks for itself. It is exactly what I was hoping it would be and even more. She says that what we see is the real deal. "That's the truth of it, that's not PR, that's not anything else."
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Daphne wasn't just randomly picked because she had a famous ex and thrown into the cast, she has had a long history with some of them. She shares that while she's gotten know Mayte, Drea and Jessica more over the past year, she's been tight with Nicole and Sheree for more than twenty years. "What's really nice and I don't think I've shared this before, but Nicole, Sheree and I were pregnant all at the same time. And I have to find the picture I have of the three of us pregnant together." We'll be stalking her Twitter, waiting for a peek at that one!
Keenen didn't have any reservations about Daphne doing the show, especially since they don't really focus on the exes and rarely even mention them. "Our name is a commonality we have, a shared reality, but there'd be no reason for him to be nervous. I suppose if you look at other shows that might be in that genre it could be true, but not here."
I asked Daphne what her kids think about her joining the show and I'm not sure how freely she could answer since they were in the car with her at the time, but she did say that she thinks they'll be "waiting to see". They're very much about letting each other be who they are, so she thinks they'll be cool with it. Daphne says that she will let the kids decide how much they'll participate on screen. "I'll let them make that decision for themselves. They're welcome to, but there's no 'must' on doing it".
So many people sign on for reality shows because they have an agenda and some products or services to promote, but Daphne's hope is to share more about her career as a mom, and to share some of her philanthropic endeavors, but mostly to talk sisterhood. "Just to spark some interest in the idea of having a sisterhood. That's what I'm most excited about. No matter where you came from, everyone has their journey. You can share that as a commonality."
Keenen and Daphne share five kids, but she has dozens of "bonus kids". She shared how far her 'brood' extends out: "I have Godkids and nieces and nephews and Keenen has a big family with thirty something nieces and nephews. I'm everyone's auntie. I'm Nicole's kids' auntie, I'm Sheree's kids' auntie. It's kind of how we live, very village-like."
Daphne is excited for us to get to know more about her as we watch the show each week, but did share a few tidbits about herself. "I'm a career mom, I'm from Los Angeles. I didn't know how much I would love being a mom. I really discovered so much about myself in doing that. And not just myself immediately but my place in the world and what a difference that makes. What was my job and my real intention is – to raise good people. One person can make a huge difference in the world, in a life, in a time. So if I did this five times – raising very good, decent people who will go out in the world and change it and make it better, more beautiful, then that would be good. And for them to be happy while doing all of that."
As her kids get ready to move out and on with their own lives, she's hoping do more traveling. "Everything is a hobby. I just love living. So, I'm discovering this other part. I'm going to have an empty nest very soon. What are these other parts of life, how do i take these pieces and explore the rest of life? Like beginning to treat the planet like it's my house. I have friends around the world that you want to see. You can talk about it for ten years or you can just get up and travel. I really, really enjoy traveling. I'm looking forward to having a lighter nest and to do that and live other places and explore other lands."
Daphne is proud of the tight-knit circle surrounding her. "I have amassed a group of friends that are like the top of the top of the top and some of the biggest opinion leaders of all time. I just attract them. It's really nice to be an opinion leader's opinion leader and to be regarded in such a way. I'm a safe person or a safe terminal for them, so that's pretty cool. It's nice to have friends that you really admire. You have a mutual admiration and you feed off of that. "
She doesn't think that there will be any surprises for her filming with her friends for the first time. "We've all been in and around it so we kind of know what to expect to some degree. So we know the volume of things that can come with that. One of the greatest influencing factors of (her decision) is that they were all having fun. No one had anything that they were shocked about, like 'oh this was a surprise'. They're like 'no, it's so much fun' and I can see that and truthfully when we're together, this is what it's like. We go from tears to side aching laughter in a minute."
The six women are very supportive of one another. "We plan to see each other. We support each other. [We ask] 'What's up, what do you need? Do you need help with this, Do you need help with that?' A friendship and a family in any relationship, you just work through it, right?" It's all them, all real, no fabrications. "If it was forced or fake it'd be something totally different"
Daphne says as far as she knows, she is the only new cast member joining for season 2, despite all the rumors. "I think I am the lucky one. It's just me."
She's not afraid to admit that she hopes to change the direction reality TV has been going, veering it off onto a more positive and constructive path. "I'm very excited and I'm very proud of the work the women have done and I want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of this movement that changes the trajectory of what that genre of TV has been. People do what they do and I actually don't watch TV but in passing have seen some of it. I want to bring more value, whatever that means. Sometimes you go through something and you have an experience because it doesn't just help you, that experience serves to help someone else. It sounds kind of cliche to say, but it's the truth that's the value of the lesson going. We've all had that happen where someone comes into our lives and we just find a different viewpoint on how to handle something or a different way that something can be. Not necessarily right or wrong, but just different. And it may resonate with another person.
Daphne opens up on her friendship with Keenen. "Even in terms of my relationship with Keenen, we're still family. We're very much friends. Things change because you're not married anymore. You have this wonderful history and you spent so much time together. You don't go through all that to be enemies, it's worth more than that."
She feels that people are ready to embrace a more positive reality TV experience. "People want to leave something feeling good. Feeling good kind of makes you feel more alive. It's undeniable. I don't think misery loves company. Upset and anger are some of the ranges of emotions that you can have and you can experience, but so is happiness and bliss and living well. That can also be a really nice utopia from anything. Every life has the half empty and half full cups. It is both. It's just what you choose to focus on. "
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Photo Credit: Sheree Fletcher's Twitter