Have you been watching the new season of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta?” If you have, you’d already know that former Miss USA Kenya Moore, now an actress/model and film producer, is staking her claim as this season’s drama queen. Arguing with Cynthia over a “Jet” magazine model search? Check. Hiring her own personal security guard? Check. Throwing a hissy fit over the fact that her boyfriend once asked out Kandi Burruss? Check. Paying just a little bit too much attention to the husband of another Housewife? Check. Watch Kenya in action at a “Jet” magazine model search event.
So just who IS this Kenya Moore? We caught up with Moore, behind the wheel on an L.A. freeway, and asked her for the truth behind some of the rumors. Read on for some facts about “The Real Housewives of Atlanta’”s new diva in town.
Was she booed as a pageant queen?
TRUE. Yes, Kenya says. In 1993, after winning the Miss USA crown she represented the country at the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City. When Miss Mexico failed to make the top 10, the host country got a little upset. “They booed the late Dick Clark, [who hosted] they called in a bomb threat and the judges had to be escorted out and they booed me because the U.S. owned the Miss Universe pageant. I came in fourth and the top three finalists were all Spanish-speaking women. (Dayanara Torres, Miss Puerto Rico and the woman Mark Anthony divorced to marry Jennifer Lopez was the winner.) You had 85 girls from all over the world. We were all titleholders. It didn’t matter if we won. It wasn’t as competitive as Miss USA. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.” Watch Kenya Moore crowned as Miss USA 1993.
Did Kenya go to the same high school as Diana Ross?
TRUE. Moore graduated from Detroit’s famous Cass Technical High School which was once best known as the school that also graduated Diana Ross. Since then, a number of future celebrities have graduated from Cass Tech including rapper Big Sean, David Alan Grier, TV hostess Shaun Robinson, and two current NFL players – New York Jet Vernon Gholson and Oakland Raider Joseph Barksdale. The school is still considered among the top public schools in the Detroit area. “Cass Tech is not only a famous high school, it’s a school for gifted children. You have to be tested to get into Cass and you have to maintain a certain GPA. I’m proud to have walked the same hallways of some of the famous graduates, but I’m also proud to have gone to a school that promoted education.
Are her hair, eyes and breasts fake?
FALSE. Moore does not wear a weave, colored contacts and hasn’t had breast implants. “I don’t wear a weave, a wig, clip-on hair extensions or whatever all that stuff is. I’ve actually been working on my own hair care line and that’s something I’m going to introduce on the show. I think weaves and wigs are perfectly fine. My product line is basically to promote healthy hair. You can wear weaves or wigs if you want to, but you can wear your own hair as well. I’m very serlous about healthy hair. I do have my own hair. It is just hair. I don’t live and die by my hair. I’ve worn weaves for a movie but in my every day life when you see me on the RHOA, it’s all my hair. I don’t have fine textured hair. I have very thick hair. I don’t perm it. I don’t’ relax it. I’m wearing color in my hair right now but I don’t put any chemicals in it other than color. I wash it, let it air dry and flat iron it in small sections and use roller sets. As for everything else, my fans who’ve known me for a long time know that I’m a natural girl.
Has she really been proposed to six times and if so, is it anyone who’s name we would recognize?
TRUE. (Laughs) But no, I don’t think so and that’s my final answer.
Did she date Mike Tyson, Jay-Z, Jamal Anderson, Allen Iverson and Terrell Owens?
FALSE. No to all of the above. Mike Tyson: “I’d consider us friends. No story there. Jay-Z: “We did a video together(pre-Beyonce) and he’s a great guy and he made me laugh. But he never asked me out.” Jamal Anderson: “I’ve known him since forever and he’s always had a woman the entire time. I never, ever dated him.” Terrell Owens: “There was interest, but I caught him at a bad time and didn’t want to be part of the drama.” Allen Iverson: “I’ve met the man one time.” But did she ever date an NBA player? That is true, but Moore was cagey about which one, although it’s possible that he is the “Houston” boyfriend she and Miss Lawrence mention on “RHOA.”
Is she still estranged from her mother, Patricia Moore?
TRUE. In 1993, after winning Miss USA, Moore told “People” magazine that she had little contact with her mother. I can honestly say I don't love her," Moore told the magazine. "I don't even know her.” At the time, “People” reported that Kenya was not even named by her mother and was instead raised by her grandmothers. “That is true,” Moore says. “It will come up on the show and I’ve written a book that will be out next year called “Invisible.” One of the nice aspects of the show is that you do get into our personal lives. I was raised by my beautiful grandmothers. I owe my strength and my positivity to them. We are our parents, our family and our experiences and you’ll see a little bit more about me and kind of understand how I got to where I got to today.”
Is what we’ve seen in two episodes indicative of the person Kenya Moore really is?
FALSE. “I am a really sweet person and 20 years in the business you don’t get anywhere being nasty. There’s a lot left up to editing and that’s something that I can’t control. People don’t change their colors overnight. That’s one of the biggest fears I had in doing a realty show that you’re not being portrayed the way you really are. I was disappointed when I watched the footage as well, although I think I was portrayed better in the second episode. You’re only two episodes in and my journey is my journey with these girls and you have to watch. The show has 18 episodes and if you prematurely judge from what you see then you would be remiss. You need to see the entire season play out.
Will she be the one getting married on this season of RHOA?
MAYBE. “You know you gotta watch to find out. I’ll say that someone is definitely going to get married.”
Read the full transcription of Kenya Moore's interview with the TJMS below.
TOM JOYNER: Kenya Moore from the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Hey, Kenya.
KENYA MOORE: Hey, Tom!
TOM JOYNER: How you doing?
KENYA MOORE: I’m excellent, how are you?
TOM JOYNER: I’m good, I’m good. You are the star now of Real Housewives of Atlanta.
J. ANTHONY BROWN: That’s right. Forget Nina, it’s you now.
KENYA MOORE: Oh, wow. Thank you. Yeah, I’ll take it.
TOM JOYNER: Now, I have to confess, I don’t watch, but I do read the recaps in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. And …
KENYA MOORE: Okay.
Q: Yes, I do. I can’t, I can’t take it. So I just read about it.
KENYA MOORE: Don’t be a hater Tom, you should watch the show. It’s very interesting to see, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
TOM JOYNER: It is.
SYBIL WILKES : Interesting’s a good word.
TOM JOYNER: Interesting is a good word.
J. ANTHONY BROWN: It’s a good word.
SYBIL WILKES : An accurate description.
TOM JOYNER: Now, what I’ve been reading though it says that, uh …
J. ANTHONY BROWN: Beef.
TOM JOYNER: Kenya, you’ve been …
J. ANTHONY BROWN: You got beef.
SYBIL WILKES : You already started some things there, Kenya.
Kenya Moore: Started stirring up some stuff?
SYBIL WILKES : Yeah.
SYBIL WILKES : You and Cynthia, for sure already.
KENYA MOORE: Yeah, we got, we locked horns in the beginning. You know, we’re both bosses, and she was a having a casting, and it just wasn’t necessarily being run the way I would run a casting.
SYBIL WILKES : Mm-hmm?
KENYA MOORE: And, you know, we just had some differences there, so.
SYBIL WILKES : They were at Cynthia’s business and they were casting for Jet Beauty of the Week. And there was just, it just started to be just a little, not a dust up, as it were, but you did call security on her people at her place.
KENYA MOORE: Well, he was very disrespectful to me and I just didn’t know who he was and why he was talking to me. Because honestly if it’s Cynthia’s business and if there was an issue with anything that was going on, then Cynthia, as the business owner, should have had a conversation with me, not her employee.
TOM JOYNER: Do you like your image on Real Housewives of Atlanta?
KENYA MOORE: I think, you know, it’s taken some time for me to adjust on the editing process. I think, you know, people that know me and have known me for the last 20 years in the business I’ve definitely been, you know, a classy woman. I’ve been articulate. I’m a lot of things. And the show seems to be moving my, you know, editing process, or my image in a certain direction.
J. ANTHONY BROWN: They’re editing you wrong, huh?
SYBIL WILKES : Well, they’re not showing you in that classy way already, Kenya.
J. ANTHONY BROWN: Uh-uh.
SYBIL WILKES : I must admit, I mean, I think from what we saw with Cynthia, and then what they have, they have foreshadowed, as far as your relationship with Phaedra and Apollo also indicates that you’re not the classy woman that you are …
KENYA MOORE: Well, that’s the key word that you just said, indicate. I think that that’s what gets, you know, people in trouble. I think you need to watch the show because, you know, when you have a teaser out there, or what most people would consider commercial, you, they’re designed to make you want to tune in. So some things are definitely taken out of context, and let me be the first to say I’m not interested in anybody’s husband. Not Phaedra’s, not anybody else’s. So you can put that on the record.
SYBIL WILKES : And you just, you just said, what you are interested in is getting a husband of your own. How’s that working out for you?
KENYA MOORE: Let the choir say, amen, yes I am.
J. ANTHONY BROWN: That’s right, she was on the, she was on the Fantastic Voyage looking for a man.
KENYA MOORE: No, I’ve never been, you haven’t invited me yet. What’s up with my invitation?
J. ANTHONY BROWN: Oh, you haven’t been?
J. ANTHONY BROWN: I thought you had.
KENYA MOORE: So how is it working out with the gentleman that we’ve seen you with thus far that you moved to Atlanta for?
J. ANTHONY BROWN: Talking about Me?
SYBIL WILKES : No, not you.
KENYA MOORE: Exclusively moved to Atlanta very late.
TOM JOYNER: She was Jay Anthony Brown’s ex-wife on the Ricky Smiley show.
KENYA MOORE: I was. We had a ball shooting that show, hopefully you know, they’ll have me back next year.
SYBIL WILKES : How was that for you?
KENYA MOORE: He was a really good actor. We definitely had some good chemistry. You know, I think what’s the good thing about a reality show is that it does give the viewers a glimpse inside our personal life. It’s not our entire life, it’s a segment of it. You know, we only shoot three or four months at a time, so you get a glimpse of what we really go through. Me being a single woman over 40, no children, and I’ve never been married, I represent 42.4% of black women that have never been married. So I think that the viewers would need to, you know, watch the show to see how I deal with the challenges that arise in my relationship and, you know, getting to know someone, and trying to get to the altar. I mean that’s always going to be my endgame right now.
SYBIL WILKES : How do you deal though, Kenya, with, as you’ve already mentioned, about the editing process and how they do manipulate your image?
KENYA MOORE: Well, I, what I understand from being in the media for the last 20 years is that you’re going to take some blows. You know, people report things all day long. You know, there was a rumor that I had been married. There were pictures all over the internet stating that I had been married, and certainly that wasn’t true. It was a picture that was from a still from a movie. And all of the sudden I’m married to somebody who is already married. So I think people have to be really careful on what they consume and know that, you know, you can pretty much in this day in age never believe anything that you hear and only half of what you see. And those are just sort of rules that I live by. Whenever I hear a rumor or I see something I don’t necessarily take it too seriously. I take it with a grain of salt. And at the end of the day it’s entertainment.
J. ANTHONY BROWN: Mm-hmm.
KENYA MOORE: But that’s what this is above. I think that the show …
SYBIL WILKES : So the rumors about you and Jay Anthony Brown …
KENYA MOORE: … gave us an opportunity to really grow.
J. ANTHONY BROWN: I started those myself.
SYBIL WILKES : Oh, oh, oh.
SYBIL WILKES : The rumors that you were started about you and Jay Anthony Brown were started by Jay Anthony Brown.
TOM JOYNER: Was started by Jay Anthony Brown.
J. ANTHONY BROWN: I started those rumors.
KENYA MOORE: You behave yourself. Don’t put our business out in the street.
SYBIL WILKES : Oh, that’s where his business stays, darling.
TOM JOYNER: Alright, Kenya.
J. ANTHONY BROWN: Alright.
KENYA MOORE: It was really a lot of fun, but you know, I have been successful in my, you know, my acting. I’m producing. I have a movie out right now with Boris Kodjoe, and David Banner called The Confidant,
TOM JOYNER: Well, good for you, Kenya. Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kenya Moore.