Last night, we were treated to yet another version of former Kenya Moore on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Having waited nervously for the results of three breast biopsies, the former Miss USA determined that, for the sake of her health, she’s going to be Zen Kenya — taking deep breaths instead of tearing into Porsha for her inability to make coffee, for example, and refusing to be pulled into the drama that always swirls around these women.
That lasts for less than a complete episode, as we eventually hear her her shriek that she wants to tear Phaedra’s face off in traditional Kenya form. But really, what would this show be without a crazy Kenya? And that may have been exactly the question Kenya asked herself when it came time to audition for the show, at least if you believe the rampant rumors on the Internet. It’s been said that Kenya faked her relationship with her boyfriend Walter Jackson (an accusation he made on an Atlanta radio station, which could make his inclusion in the ultimate series reunion tricky at best), her cancer testing, and most of her body (as Phaedra has suggested with her “Home Depot” smears, Kenya is accused of having butt implants as well as breast implants and colored contact lenses). Kenya is said to be a “professional gold digger” who has hooked up with professional basketball players, Mike Tyson and even Jay-Z.
It isn’t hard to surmise, if we believe all this (and it is a lot to believe), that the Kenya Moore we see on television is as much a creation as any of the characters she’s played as an actress. And what a character! Yes, it was crazy of her to dress up like Phaedra at a charity event, but wasn’t it memorable? Watching her twirl around Anguilla became a running joke for the other women and shorthand for crazy for everyone else.
As for me, I’d be almost a little relieved to think Krazy Kenya is pure fiction. It isn’t hard to tell that the former Miss USA is plenty smart, and her behavior on the show (which Phaedra dismisses as “bipolar”) is often self-destructive. Of course, I have to wonder what being the resident bad girl will get her — unless (and this is likely) she “rehabs” the character more fully next season, a la Camille Grammer on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” While we love to hate some of the women on these shows, we also are happy to forgive. Just look at NeNe, who once personified weave-yanking lunacy and now plays the settled, almost maternal figure on the show just a few years later.
As we all know, reality television is rarely all that real. When a camera crew is waiting inside someone’s house, we can be sure no one is dropping by unexpectedly. When women fight on any of the “Real Housewives” franchises, we can be pretty sure there’s a producer goosing along the action on the sidelines. So the question is, do you think Kenya Moore is playing the role of a lifetime? And more importantly, do you care if she is?