This was posted on Friday, November 4, 2016 by Rodney Ho on AJC's Radio & TV Talk blog
Kenya Moore, now in her fifth season on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," embraces the drama of reality TV, accepts the artifice, enjoys the silliness and calls out anyone who doesn't take it as seriously as she does. (Kim Fields, anyone?)
Sure, she won Miss USA in 1993 but she is really famous because of "Real Housewives" and harbors no shame.
"It's been up, down, left, right. It's been all over the place," Moore said in an interview to promote the ninth season of the show debuting Sunday, November 6 at 8 on Bravo. "Overall, it's been an amazing experience. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. It brought me to where I am now. I feel like I'm in a great place."
Moore said this season she feels like she gets along better with most of the other cast members though tension with Porsha Williams is obvious in Sunday's episode. (Porsha attacked her nearly three years ago during a reunion show.)
But her personal life with her boyfriend Matt Jordan has been far rockier. When the season starts in late spring in the first episode, she had broken up with him after a vacation where he got angry and kicked in her hotel room door. Later, he peppered Instagram with dirty laundry about her.
"I'm dating someone 16 years my junior," Moore said. "That is definitely something I've never experienced before on this level."
As for his Instagram revelations, "I don't think social media is the place to fight or express yourself in that way about your relationship. Obviously, that happened to me in this current relationship."
I recently attended a "Real Housewives" event and she and Matt were together holding hands so it appears they have found some way to reconcile.
She has also been trying to have a baby. At age 46, that usually involved egg donations and in vitro fertilization. So far, no baby.
"I've been ready [for a baby] for at least five years," Moore said. "There have been a couple of bumps in the road with the donor situation, with relationships. It keeps taking turns. I've been in a long-term relationship for over a year and a half. I've had some reservations moving forward with my partner. I will touch upon that."
She said at her age, these decisions are not easy: "I have a reason for pause. As a woman of a certain again, do you want to be Halle Berry or Janet Jackson? Do you have to have a kid later in life? It's different now. Medical science makes it possible. But there's also that emotional aspect. My life is pretty good. Do I want to change everything and become a mother? It takes an emotional toll on you just trying to figure it out, seeing myself with children."
Moore has finally moved into her home, which she has dubbed "Moore Manor." She holds a housewarming party during the first episode, although the house isn't 100% finished.
"I've been moved in at least four or five months," she said. "It's been a labor of love. I bought the ugliest house in the neighborhood. It was a distressed property. It turns out, it was an amazing investment because of what I have now. I could sell this house and get back four times I invested in it. I can flip it."
On the show, she expresses some satisfaction that Sheree Whitfield has yet to finish Chateau Sheree.
But she doesn't mind having Sheree back full time this season to play off of.
"She's an asset to the show," Moore said. "I do miss NeNe. As much as we butted heads and were frenemies and friends and enemies over the years, she was incredibly impactful to the success of the franchise. She is sorely missed. But Sheree brings something different."
Moore takes pride that "RHOA" producers have not been able to find any decent full-time cast members since she and Williams arrived season five. (Claudia Jordan and Kim Fields lasted one season each.)
"I think the bar has been set so high," she said. "We are the No. 1 show on the entire network. It's important to ensure they find cast members that fit in."
When it came to Fields, Moore really felt she came more to collect a paycheck and get her name out in the public again than to actually get into being on a reality show.
"A lot of her behind-the-scenes behavior and the way she treated the producers and her job in general showed to me that she had no respect for the process or us," Moore said. "I wish her well. I'm sure she will continue to do her own thing with her own career path. I take this seriously. We are all partially responsible for keeping this show and viewers happy and the network and everyone happy. We need people fully dedicated to making this a successful franchise."
As for her tagline this season, Moore said it's all hers this season and she likes it: "I give people what they want... and they always want Moore."
Typically, she said, "It's a collaborative effort. We don't always have the final say. Sometimes, I'm surprised by the final product."
Moore disavows season eight's silly "Don't come for me, unless I twirl for you."
"Last year's wasn't mine," she said. "I didn't like it. I have to be honest. It didn't make a whole lot of sense."
All of Kenya Moore's taglines:
Season 5: "I won Miss USA, not Miss Congeniality."
Season 6: "People may think they have me figured out, but I am always the wild card."
Season 7: "People get exhausted trying to figure me out. And I just let them."
Season 8: "Don't come for me, unless I twirl for you."
Season 9: "I give the people what they want… and they always want Moore."
Last season, she screened her sitcom pilot "Life Twirls On" but has been unable to turn it into a series. Some of the actors have moved on to bigger and better things, she noted. "Even if you never see another episode, I know I helped someone along the way," she said. In the meantime, she said she's working on executive producing a film.
During her break, she took part in the most recent season of Food Network's "Worst Cooks in America" celebrity edition. She was cut first, although arguably "I Dream of Jeannie" star Barbara Eden's food might have been worse. (The Daily Mail reported she threw a fit after losing, which she denied on Ryan Cameron's morning show.)
On the bright side, "I really loved all of the cast [which also included Mindy Cohn of "Facts of Life" fame, Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino and comic Tommy Davidson.] They were just amazing. So much fun. It was a breath of fresh air from 'Real Housewives.' No one treated me a certain way. They welcomes me to have fun and laugh."
She also took part in the last "Celebrity Apprentice" featuring Donald Trump and felt he was fair, even taking her side when Vivica A. Fox accused her of stealing her cell phone.
And while she doesn't begrudge Trump for running for president and appreciates the passion, "whether I follow him in that passion or vision, that's completely different."
She was offended when he insulted fellow Miss USA winner Alicia Machado for gaining weight after winning. (He ran Miss USA after Moore won in 1993).
"It hit a nerve," she said. "I am sick to my stomach. I remember as a former Miss USA, I starved myself to death. I'm a woman of color. She's also a woman of color. We have curves. We're shapely women. We shouldn't be ashamed of those curves. She was completely healthy. She really gained only 10 pounds. He shamed her in front of the entire world. I felt very sad for her."
As for Hillary Clinton, "I love the idea of a female president. She is qualified to do the job."
She recalled during the Miss USA pageant in 1993 a question to her about Hillary helping Bill Clinton in the White House. "Life comes so full circle," she said. "I remember saying absolutely that a woman should speak up and her opinion should matter. Behind every strong man is an even strong woman. Here were are in 2016 with Hillary possibly become president. It's funny how life is."
How about doing "Dancing With the Stars"? (Leakes took part a few years back.) "I'm a trained dancer since I was six years old," she said. "I have taken a lot of professional classes. I can really dance. I love imitating Beyonce. I'd love to bring my Keyonce to 'Dancing With the Stars.' "
And she's working on her hair-care line, which was promoted during the "Life Twirls On" pilot. She said she has a major retailer lined up but can't say who. She hopes to imitate Bethany Frankel and have a major payday from her business venture.
"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" returns Sunday, November 6 at 8 p.m. on Bravo