NeNe Leakes will be the first to admit she has used Real Housewives Of Atlanta to her advantage to leverage a pretty spectacular career – and now other reality stars are following suit. In a battle of veteran vs. virgin, NeNe talks how reality TV has changed, while Claudia Jordan reflects on her first season.
“I would like to say I’ve grown,” NeNe says. Of being an influential black woman on TV, she says, “Reality television has been both negative and positive. When our show first started, it was mostly positive. Even though we got in your face, it was never a fist fight,” NeNe recalls. No, not a fist fight – just a wig tug courtesy of She by SheBroke! Or a plonk and a bloop and poke your eyes out, courtesy of NeNe!
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NeNe complains that the new black reality shows coming on have “just been negative” and RHOA is following suit. Citing last season’s reunion fist fight, NeNe reflects, “It was always mouth – we call it reading and shading one another – but they [Porsha and Kenya] really took it there.”
As a veteran, NeNe cautions other black reality stars about ruining their reputations for temporary gains. “I say, ‘I can’t believe you did all that for a dollar and 50 cents!’ It’s not that serious! You cannot go all the way left and feel like you’re gonna have a career after that,” lectures NeNe who seems to forget her own past actions on reality TV! Luckily for her we have it ALL. ON. TAPE.
NeNe says the positives of RHOA are that she is a role model for other black women by showing them they can be a designer, an actress, on Broadway if they just work hard. “You can be anything you wanna be, if you reach for the stars,” she encourages.
Moving on, Claudia says when she joined RHOA, she recognized she’d have to put it all out there and deal with the consequences later. “This is about your personal life. It’s about being vulnerable,” she explains. “Your struggles become part of your storyline.” Maybe we finally have a reality star who isn’t hiding behind a facade or a veneer – let’s hope!
And although she is an open book for viewers, she admits it was “an adjustment” to live her life on camera. “I think it’s exhaustion from the crazy schedule, which allows you to be more open,” Claudia describes to Atlanta Constitution Journal. “You’re vulnerable when you’re tired. I remember talking to a couple of the women about something that hit close to home. I started crying! I couldn’t help it!”
“Sometimes, it opens old wounds. Social media can put a little extra stank and pump you up,” Claudia acknowledges. Such as viewers already judging her for reportedly dating Kordell Stewart. “It made me look mischievous. It makes me look like the bad girl,” Claudia accepts. But she quickly points out that Kordell is very single and they were just hanging out as old friends. “I can take selfies!” she jokes. “I don’t take my self too seriously.”
Dealing with conflict is another matter. “If I’m mad, I never stay mad. I wake up the next day and I’m totally over it. I get over things.” Including Porsha, the Dish Nation co-stars butted heads this season, but Claudia says neither of them has brought the drama from one work to another, and they’ve since moved on. “It’s really a non issue. We’re so beyond that.” Refreshing!
Other than with Porsha, Claudia has formed relationships with other Housewives. Demetria McKinney: “We have a real friendship. She’s a great girl.” On Kandi Burruss: “I love her. I respect her. She doesn’t see the other women as a threat.”
But Claudia formed the deepest connection with Cynthia Bailey. “She and I are extremely close. We talk every day,” Claudia gushes. “People want to call her a lapdog or weak. She’s far from weak. She’s extremely supportive of other people and that can be taken for weakness. But you have to be a strong, secure person to support another person and put their needs over your own. Cynthia is a good friend but some people don’t deserve her friendship.”
So what I’m hearing is that Claudia has replaced NeNe as the friend that monopolizes Cynthia’s life?! Careful Claudia – soon she’s gonna blame you for ruining her marriage, which is not at ALL Payday Loan Peter‘s fault.
Tonight is a new episode of RHOA. Cynthia and NeNe continue to air their grievances. Phaedra helps Derek J sort out a hairy situation, meanwhile Kandi and Todd travel to NYC where Sharon confronts Kandi about Mama Joyce calling her a prostitute!
Reality Tea will be live-tweeting so make sure to join us.
TELL US – IS NENE GIVING GOOD ADVICE? DO YOU THINK CLAUDIA WILL BE REAL THIS SEASON?
[Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo]