Without a doubt, she is the queen of drama, pointing her scepter of shade at every corner of her kingdom. For certain fans, it seems impossible to imagine the relinquishment of her crown.
Now, however, in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Kenya proclaimed she is presenting a different side of herself on the show, one that is “carefree, happy, funny.”
“I’m the Kenya that I was always meant to be this season,” she revealed, and she insisted she’s “everyone’s friend.”
The star went on to say, “It’s so funny because I think that I got pegged into this villain role and now it’s like, girl, just let someone else have that baton. Here, pass the scepter on. Honey, it’s over for you! I just think I’m back to reclaiming who I was always meant to be on this show. Lighthearted, fun, sassy.”
“I will still tell a b***h off,” she said. “But I do it with such dignity and grace.”
The star believes she was “pegged into that villain role really early, and I just was never able to get out of that … I sort of, in my own way, leaned into it and then it was just like, ‘OK, this is old, because now this really isn’t who I am and I hate that I’m even perceived that way.'”
Kenya then referenced the exit of Porsha Williams (who now has her own spinoff), and she seemingly suggested RHOA has changed because of it.
“It’s a great season,” said Kenya. “It’s well produced, and it definitely got us to be back honest and not– a lot of girls started self-producing and we’ve gotten away from that … And if you watch their show, you can see the show villain versus the real villain.”
Kenya cryptically addressed her complicated relationship with Porsha: “I feel that where we were is … not necessarily by my own doing — especially in the last seasons … I definitely made that offer for peace, extending that olive branch and it was not returned. I realized it wasn’t me at that point and I was ready to move on. And yes, I’m free of that situation and happy for people to move on, too.”
Kenya expressed, “When you do all that you can, and people still reject your friendship, then let them go.”
She also delved into the subject of her divorce from Marc Daly. “The season was about me just coming into my own, reclaiming who I was before the divorce,” said the star. “It’s just fun, lighthearted, reclaiming my power. I think that I lost a lot of that during my divorce and my marriage. I feel like I had to just take inventory of myself and figure out where did I go wrong. Now that I’ve figured it out, it’s just back to being me.”
Kenya added, “I think where I went wrong in my marriage is that I lost my voice, is that I thought that I had to be a different kind of person to make a marriage work … Someone that says ‘yes’ and doesn’t speak up and just goes along to get along. And that is completely false.”
The star was “afraid” her marriage would fail. “I wanted it to work so badly,” she said. “I waited 46 years to get married, and so I thought I found my prince. I thought I found everything and I didn’t want to be divorced because of me.”
Despite her efforts, Kenya eventually realized that “being a strong person is exactly what my daughter needs … Not someone to swallow herself or become lost in a marriage for the sake of being married.”
Although the pageant titleholder is happier this season, her divorce isn’t finalized: “I’m still waiting, still don’t have that stamp … He refuses to talk to me about a settlement … Child care and support and visitation, all of that’s been settled already. So the only thing left is [money].”
She added, “We still don’t know what he wants because he hasn’t said … Because they’re waiting for my financial documents, so why are you waiting on my financial documents? Because if you wanted to change child support or something, you can just say that … But that’s not what they’re asking for, and I just think that when two people are civilized and they know that the relationship is over, you came into this marriage, two successful people, on your own. You don’t need anything from one another and I think that you should just be able to say, ‘Leave with what you came in with.'”
However, Kenya wants to focus on the positive. One thing she learned from the divorce was to “not take anybody’s crap.”
“I did that in my marriage and I think that when I draw the line, and when I put up that healthy boundary, there’s no gray area,” she said. “It’s like, if you cross that line, I will cut your head off like a snake, like the snake you are.”
One of her returning castmates, in Kenya’s opinion, is a “snake.”
“Starts with an M, ends in an O,” she said, referencing Marlo Hampton. “Unfortunately, sometimes people are not who they seem to be and they have ulterior motives, and I think that if you’re in a situation where you really have wanted something so badly for 20 years and you get it, you feel like you need to keep it. And so what do you do? You come after me.”
Last season, despite everything, the co-stars tried to establish a friendship.
“It’s unfortunate because I really did get to a place of trusting her and being excited about what we could be together as a duo,” she said. “And it just turned its head and spun around.”
In the past, Kenya suggested Marlo would never get a ‘peach’ as a full-time castmate. In the interview, Kenya expressed, “Listen, I think that’s up to Bravo to say if [Marlo] was deserving or not.”
Kenya also discussed the season 14 trailer, which reveals a clip of her calling Marlo “a pitiful little ho.”
“Well, I wasn’t the only one that had some choice words for her. I think you’ll hear a lot of people chime in on what they think she really is,” said Kenya. “There’s only one person that definitely brags about always hitting below the belt … and then expect to turn around the next day and issue a lightweight apology and think that that’s OK.”
She explained, “That’s just not my brand. It’s just not who I am. I think that you have to be organic. I think, again, boundaries are needed, and I don’t think that you can expect to be someone’s friend after you try to destroy them, just not how it works.”
To Kenya’s surprise, Kandi Burruss had drama with Marlo as well. “It was unexpected because Kandi is a friend to everyone,” she said. “Kandi is not that girl who’s ever a ‘villain.’ She’s always everyone’s friend. She’s very supportive of all of the ladies and to watch someone attack her unprovoked, and say the most disgusting things to her, it was very hard to watch.”
Kenya, however, denied coming after Kandi.
“I didn’t come for her… I don’t think,” she said. “I was just not happy with a certain situation that she placed me in, and I wanted to be honest about how I felt about it. So I don’t think that’s ‘coming for her.’ I never insulted her. I just told her how I felt about the situation and then we were able to move on, but you have to have honesty in a relationship.”
During a confusing moment in the trailer, Kenya says, “Go have yo’ husband buzzing my p***y all night!”
“Who said that?!” Kenya joked in the interview. “I was like, the profanity in this trailer. I was shocked. Can we get a beep? I was shocked that that was left in the trailer. What is the rating on this trailer? Definitely rated R, right?”
The trailer has several shocking quotes. One of them involves Kandi asking the group, “Who think they know some tea on me about sucking dick in a locker room?” Then a random woman shouts, “This is a kids’ birthday party!”
“[That woman is] a friend of mine,” Kenya revealed to ET. “Haven’t heard from her in a while.”
Kenya also discussed her friendship with Shereé Whitfield, who just returned to the show (but feuded with Kenya in earlier seasons).
“You know what? I really adore Shereé,” shared Kenya. “She’s actually one of the closest people to me on the show … After the cameras stopped on her last season, I had visited her home, she came to Brooklyn’s birthday party — her second birthday party — and we just got back to a different place.”
Kenya now thinks Shereé is “a really kind person. I think she’s misunderstood, so that kind of synergy is something that we have in common; but we are also fighters. We’re not going to take people’s stuff and I think that’s what kind of draws us together.”
Apparently, viewers will see a “different Shereé” in the new season. “She really surprised me,” said her co-star. “She was just really open and vulnerable. She spoke about her situation more. She showed a lot more. And I think the viewers will really… I think they will really appreciate who she is now. And what she’s showing. She’s giving, honey! She’s giving.”
“That was hard,” Kenya said. “There are a lot of similarities between Drew’s husband and my soon-to-be ex-husband — a lot — and so, I think it just hit a nerve when I saw how he was speaking to her in a certain scene and I just had to speak up, and I think something just overtook me, overtook my body because I just let him have it.”
“It was like I was speaking to my husband,” she continued. “I was channeling those feelings and just let them out.”
A different friend of Kenya’s, Sanya Richards-Ross, is a newbie on the cast, and she happens to be an Olympic gold medalist.
“Sanya is a fabulous addition,” said Kenya. “She kind of reminds me of that Cynthia energy, where she just seems like a normal, grounded person … And she’s kind of like a peacemaker. So I think that she fits right in very well … And it is hard for her to choose a side, so that fits!”
Kenya, however, said she’s “hopeful” about their future. “We’ve had conversations and it seems like we definitely are on that path to understanding each other more and appreciating each other more for what we did have in our friendship and in our relationship, so I’m looking forward to what it could be. I think it could be even better.”
During the trip, Cynthia felt Kenya was spending more time with other castmates. “Watching back the show, it definitely felt undeserved and I felt like it was a little out of place,” said Kenya. “Maybe there was some projecting going on. But at the end of the day, I think that when you really care about someone and you have all this love for someone, you’ll get back to that place.”
At the time, Cynthia had recently been demoted to a ‘friend’ role, and she was trying to decide if she should stay on the show (she decided to quit).
On the vacation, Kenya “didn’t know where any of it was coming from … Cynthia felt like I needed her support, but it turned out not to be that way. I just didn’t understand, well, what support? Because you don’t really get into it with anyone. You’re not that girl. So it just was confusing from then on, why she felt like I wasn’t really supportive of her.”
According to Kenya, her experience on RHUGT was better than RHOA.
“This show is not that show, you know what I mean?” said the star. “This is a totally different group of people. As you can see, the Ultimate Girls Trip was really, for me, one of the best shows I’ve ever done because I got to really be myself and really just have genuine relationships where people didn’t judge me from the other show. Well… they did initially.”
It also changed her outlook on RHOA. “It was just eye-opening,” said Kenya. “I’m not going to try to drum up drama with you or get into it with someone [when] it’s not making sense … This season is so different because I think we had fallen into this trap of being very methodical and predictable … Now it’s back to real relationships. Everything just feels really organic.”
“And yes, conflict, but it gets resolved,” she explained. “We had lost that friendship, and we lost being honest with one another and speaking up and people conspiring behind your back and things like that. We have a little bit of that but this season, for sure, is so different from the latest seasons.”
Of course, castmates often paint a rosy picture of the show, when in reality, it’s a disaster zone. On May 1, we’ll see how accurate her assessment really is.
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