By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Sunday, December 5, 2015
Shamea Morton was one of several women "tested" to be a new cast member this season on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."
While "Facts of Life" star Kim Fields became the only fresh face among the regular cast, Shamea nabbed a consolation prize: "friend" status, which in Hollywood parlance means a recurring role. She does not appear in every episode and she is there to support the main cast. It's doubtful we'll learn much about her this season but hopefully she won't fade away like last season's Demetria McKinney. (Her supporting role gradually disappeared into practical invisibility by season's end. All we knew early on is that she sang and that was pretty much it.)
Shamea did make a first impression two weeks ago by throwing a bit of introductory shade in Kenya Moore's direction. At Kenya's hair-care line intro party, Shamea sniffs one of the sample shampoo bottles and discovers it's water! She can't help but point this out to a clueless Kenya, who takes it as an insult, not as a mere observation.
"Later, she kind of explained that it was for display. She didn't want her actual product out of whatever," Shamea said to me earlier this week. "I wish her well and hope she comes up with a great product."
And when Shamea - who is friends with Porsha Williams and Kandi Burruss - showed up on the Lake Lanier cruise Kenya was hosting, Kenya was none too pleased. When Shamea applauded Kenya for her achievements, Kenya quickly sensed this was more sarcasm than sincerity.
In fact, after saying Shamea should not be coming after the "queen" of the show, she asked the captain to turn the ship around so she could boot Shamea off.
But before that could happen, Porsha and Cynthia Bailey got into an argument that led to Cynthia kicking Porsha in the gut.
"I was not trying to be there to create drama. I had no plans to bring up the shampoo launch," Shamea said. Then again, drama is what gets people attention on the show. You may not seek it but you may just find it.
Shamea said she joined the "Housewives" crew for the exposure and the experience. It has raised the profile of most cast members who have been on the show, allowing them to varying degrees to grow their brands and fatten their pocketbooks.
"I was very fond of this group of women," Shamea said. "I'm having out with beautiful, fun, smart women. What's a better place to be?"
She had some trepidation jumping aboard but decided "not to be a Negative Nancy and have fun with it. I just tried to be positive."
These women, she noted, are all older than she is and know how to work the cameras. "They know all the tricks," she said, "Between takes when they are changing [mic] batteries and touching up. They make sure they don't look crazy! They also don't like to eat on camera. I'm chowing down and drinking!"
Kandi told her not to read the blogs, especially the inevitably nasty comments. She said delete the nasty folks immediately off Instagram.
She said she tries to keep it clexy-- a combination of classy and sexy. "I wasn't trying to shade Kenya," she said, referencing the shampoo comments. "She comes on strong and aggressive about it. I just wanted to know I was proud of you. Good for you!"
When I noted that sounded less classy and sexy and more sarcastic, she laughed. "I am sometimes guilty of sounding a little bit sarcastic. It's all in fun. Kenya is the queen of shading. She was shading me quite a bit and I let it go. A little shade never hurt nobody!"
A native Atlantan, she has had small roles in TV and recorded music with girl groups. She has been both a Falcons and a Hawks cheerleader. She currently does sideline work at Hawks games and is an overnight live jock at V-103 from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. She also fills in for Wanda Smith on the morning show with Ryan Cameron.
"I'm very blessed," she said. Cameron, who has helped launch the careers of C.J. Simpson, Elle Duncan and Rashan Ali, told her to embrace the fact she's a hometown girl.
"He helped teach me to be relatable on radio," she said. "I learned how to create a strong voice and stance, being every woman's home girl."
Shamea grew up in Decatur and Stone Mountain and graduated Southwest DeKalb two years behind Porsha. She received a bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology at Georgia State University.
She is working toward that big break, something exposure on "Real Housewives" may or may not hasten. "I'm hopeful," she said. "I'm prayerful."
As for the women, she had kind words for everyone but Kenya.
Her take on:
Kandi: "She's amazing. What you see is what you get. She's the realest person. If she doesn't like your eyebrows, she'll just tell you. She'll give it to you straight."
Cynthia: "She's really sweet and warm. She's a bit motherly in a good way."
Kim Fields: "She's very laid back, very conservative. If you need a prayer, that's who you want to call. She's not going to shade you. What she says comes from a good place."
Phaedra: "She's fun. I like that she has her groove back. She's really living life now."
Porsha: "That's my ride or die. She's my best friend on the show."
Sheree: "She's very fun. I love Sheree. Really Sweet. Kind of low key but she'll let you know what's going on and what's what."
Kenya: "I'd call any of these women to change my tires - except her."
"Real Housewives of Atlanta," 8 p.m. Sundays, Bravo