Since twirling onto The Real Housewives Of Atlanta in 2012, Kenya Moore has been a weekly hot topic.
Whether it’s the trials of her private life, professional triumphs, or sassy clap-backs, the former Miss USA continues to have the world talking.
Now, she’s parlaying her popularity into the launch of the Kenya Moore Hair Care line.
That Grape Juice caught up with the budding mogul to discuss the venture, as well as a whole lot of ‘Real Housewives’ tea – including the reunion and cast news for next season.
As ever, we ask the questions you really want answers to. Enjoy.
Kenya Moore Shouts Out That Grape Juice
Sam (That Grape Juice): We have so much to get through, but let me first say congratulations on the launch of Kenya Moore Hair Care.
Kenya Moore: Thank you so much!
TGJ: You’re welcome. Tell us a little bit about why you decided to start your own hair care line?
KM: I’ve always had a passion for hair care. When I was a little girl my grandmother always said that hair was your crowning glory. That just always stuck to me my entire life and I had just developed this affinity for healthy hair. Whether it’s long or short, however you wear it, I just believe in having healthy hair. I wanted to empower other women to feel good about the hair that’s growing out of their head versus the hair they are putting on their heads so to speak.
TGJ: Cool. From the inception to the actualization of [the line], tell us a little bit about how you set the wheels in motion once you realized it was something that you wanted to do.
KM: Well, you know, I’m a film and TV producer by trade. I’m used to putting things together from developing projects. I sort of approached it like an actual project of mine. I did a lot of research. Basically it started from when I was maybe 12 years old and developing this affinity for great hair care products and testing everything I could put my hands on. It’s figuring out what products worked, what ingredients worked and starting to nail down the formulations. As a former beauty queen and actress and model it was really difficult for me to maintain my healthy hair. I had a lot of breakage. I had a lot of damage but nothing worked so it just led to try to research it on my own by testing out products that worked and finally being able to put something together where I could put my name on it and formulations that I knew were proven and tried and tested and put through.
TGJ: As with any creation, there’s bound to be hurdles and stumbling blocks. What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced along the way?
KM: Honestly, this is what I do. I deliver. So the real primary challenges centered on just making sure that the product delivered on our promises. Will it make your hair stronger? Yes. Will it make your hair healthier? Yes. Will it make your hair less damaged? All of the claims that we make; I just wanted to make sure that the product delivered and it does. That was the main hurdle was making sure that once I got it to the testing phase that it really worked. I’m happy to say that all of our reviews and most of the reviews I’ve seen on the product solidified the fact that people really have responded great to the product line and actually wanted to continue to develop more and more products.
TGJ: Awesome. ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ platform has proven a very powerful promotional tool. For those not really in the know, how much leeway are you given to plug your projects while the storylines play out on the show?
KM: Well obviously they’re following our real lives so we can film it; it doesn’t necessarily mean that it makes the air. I’ve been developing this line for over five years since season six. At the end of season five I already knew that it’s something that I wanted to do and I’ve been working on it. I announced it at the reunion of season five that I was working on a hair care line. In that time, I’ve filmed scenes meeting with chemists, filmed scenes with test subjects, filmed with my staff. There are so many steps that I had to go through which were filmed but never made it to air. It’s not under our control at all what they end up filming. It’s sort of a gamble but yes, as you know it is an amazing global marketing tool, which is one of the main reasons I wanted to join the cast and this show because I understood the gravity of this platform.
TGJ: A lot of the ladies have entrepreneurial hustles on the show. Is there anyone else that you admire for doing what you are doing as well?
KM: Absolutely. We have to definitely recognize Kandi for her entrepreneurial spirit. She has several businesses and just doing a final plan every day. Even her son has a clothing line. He’s like one-years-old. He already has his own business. Of course, Cynthia who has her eyewear line-her sunglass and her eyewear. So I only can respect a woman that’s trying to do things for herself. It is very important for us to support one another and I have to say that I’m just very proud of them for developing their own businesses and product lines as well.
We know that you’ve got gorgeous hair. We see it week in, week out on the show but on a day that perhaps you wanted to add a bit of volume, would you ever rock anything from Porsha’s [hair] collection?
KM: Come on, that’s a shady boots question [laughs].
TGJ: Okay, moving on. Delving into the show a little bit. We’ve seen part of the reunion. It’s been quite intense and there’s still more to come. How was the reunion for you and what can fans expect to play out?
KM: It was definitely a better reunion for me because I’m not in the hot seat. I think I had a very good year – in terms of the relationships I have with the other girls. Much less drama than I’ve had in the previous years. I feel really good about where I am with my relationship with Shereé.
She’s the only person I’ve really had conflict with throughout the season. We ended in a very good place. We’ve been working together to produce … Well I’m producing a PSA on domestic violence with her being involved as well. I’m really happy with the way that that relationship played out.
[As for the others], the fans can just expect to see something that just … I don’t know. It’s definitely epic. There will be a lot of years of secrets being revealed. I think that you just have to watch and see how that all plays out. It’s definitely one for the history books. It’s our first four-part cut reunion so that speaks for itself.
TGJ: Ok. Rounding up on the Real Housewives side of things; are you going to be back for another season?
KM: Well, come on. How can they have another season without me? What would they do?
TGJ: Great answer [Laughs].
There’s a lot of talk about other cast-mates coming and going. There’s talk of Kim Zolciak coming back; Phaedra not coming back. Do you have any insight into that? Have you started taping? What’s the situation on that front?
KM: There definitely is going to be a shakeup. I think that we’ll probably-hopefully get a new housewife or one or two. It’s just that Kim and Nene are both negotiating to come back in some capacity, whether they’re full-time or part-time, I really don’t know. I do believe that-it’s our tenth year so I know that they’re going to do something different for season ten. It’s a huge benchmark. I’m sure you’ll see a lot of your favorites coming back. I’m sure the fans will see a lot of their favorites coming back.
TGJ: That is awesome. Bravo has been really successful with formats such as the ‘Housewives’ and ‘Married to Medicine.’ Do you watch any of those other shows and if so, who do you think would make a good addition to ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ cast?
KM: That’s very difficult to say. I do watch some of the other shows. I just started watching [Real Housewives Of] Potomac. I’ve seen ‘Married to Medicine’ a few times. It’s very difficult because they haven’t hired a new a permanent housewife and re-hired them since I joined the cast. The bar has been set very high unfortunately.
KM: [Laughs] They’ll get them but they don’t stay around. What was it at the end of the second question? I’m sorry.
TGJ: That was a great answer.
Switching gears, tell us a little-known fact about Kenya Moore?
KM: A little-known fact … I think I’m a total goofball. A lot of people have the image of me that I always dressed up in heels and I’m always in full hair and make-up and designer clothes. In reality, I’m somewhat of a tomboy and I definitely don’t like to wear make-up most of the time and I love to be silly and just really pretty much hangout at home with my friends and family.
TGJ: You’ve been on The Housewives for about five years now. We’ve seen you dabble in many arenas from acting; which is obviously your mainstay, to fitness to building “Moore Manor.” What other ventures can we expect from you moving forward? What’s on your to-do list?
KM: I’ve got a lot on my to-do list but my baby right now is Kenya Moore Hair Care. I am so excited about this hair care line and bringing more products to the consumers. We’ve got amazing feedback. We’re growing exponentially. We are in retail stores now which is Valley Beauty Supply and other stores coming soon to sign a big distribution deal in North America for a lot of top stores across the U.S. and Canada.
KM: Thank you. I’m just ready to focus on the success of the brand and just bringing the best possible hair care to the masses as possible. It’s affordable luxury and really I’m just trying to be the next Madam C.J. Walker; empowering women to feel good about themselves one head of hair at a time [laughs].
TGJ: You are renowned for throwing shade grenades. How did you learn to read like that?
KM: Shade grenades? [hysterical laughter]
TGJ: Yes. Shade grenades. Where did you learn to read like that?
KM: [Still laughing] I think you just have to be quick-witted. It’s just really, to me, based in humor. It’s not really serious. I like to throw funny shade versus cool shade. I’m just silly and I think that just comes from me being silly and quick-witted.
TGJ: You’re definitely that. The final question, “Kenya Moore, what is your proudest achievement?”
KM: Wow. That’s a good question. I can’t pick one. I think just me being able to be fearless in my pursuit of whatever endeavor that I have. Whether it’s business, life, family, building myself-for me just being the person I’m meant to be and just going on that journey.