There is no denying the presence of ‘The Kenya Moore’ factor on this season of The Celebrity Apprentice. The luxury expert was a force to be reckoned with on the show where she managed to throw shade at rival Brandi Glanville, dominate weekly tasks and smile in the boardroom seemingly all at the same time. Moore will, however, best be remembered for the PhoneGate scandal that saw her call out Vivica A. Fox for tweeting about menopause only to have Vivica accuse her of stealing her phone to send said tweet. In what was undoubtedly one of the best boardroom battles in the show’s history, Mr. Trump ended up sided with Vivica and sent the star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta home.
I recently caught up with Moore to get her side of the story.
Kenya Moore: Hi there, it’s Kenya.
Murtz Jaffer: Hey Kenya, how are you? I’m Murtz. Nice to meet you.
KM: Nice to meet you too!
MJ: That was one of the craziest episodes of The Celebrity Apprentice that I have ever seen. I want to get right into it. Did you take Vivica’s phone?
KM: Well I want to get right into it. Did you take Vivica’s phone? Because clearly we don’t know… we do not know who took Vivica’s phone. That’s the point!
MJ: Do you think the whole thing is crazy because I saw your tweet where you said if you took it, how would you have been able to get the pass code?
KM: I mean how would I get the pass code? How would I know which one is her phone? How would I get past all the security cameras with no one seeing me? It’s just so absurd on every level and then why would I bring up the tweet in the boardroom to incriminate myself? It’s just… none of it makes any sense.
MJ: If you didn’t take Vivica’s phone, what do you think happened to it? Like if I said you had to come up with a theory, what’s your theory?
KM: Honestly it happened a year ago, I really could not care less.
MJ: In last week’s shopping task, you and Vivica initially got along after Kate sent you on the shopping trip. When did you guys start to clash?
KM: When I was on her team, she was pretty much bulldozing over me. She was ignoring me wanting to get back to Kate and not have Kate be alone the whole time. She wanted to make all these unnecessary stops and I kept telling her ‘we really need to get back to Kate.’ She was completely disrespectful toward me and then she just tried to throw me under the bus when I got back in to the boardroom. They tried to gang up on me and get me fired. You know what? Truth be told, we shot this show a year ago, and it’s a game. People know that the only way you win is to have peoplebe eliminated for various reasons and go home and to me that’s all that it is really is about.
MJ: Did you find it ironic that Vivica called Shawn out for being on her period, but then alleged that she didn’t write the menopause tweet about herself?
KM: Yes. Sort of poetic justice, no? I mean she was so unapologetic to Shawn for bringing that up. Yeah she wants to get all emotional when it was clearly brought up from something that actually happened. Not something that was imagined or discussed in private. There was a tweet on her phone about menopause. Clearly when I brought it up, if I believed it came from her obviously she wasn’t embarrassed by it. In my opinion she was taking ownership of it. So it wasn’t something I brought up to be embarrassing towards her, but when she brought it up in the boardroom about Shawn it was clearly to embarrass her and to humiliate her.
MJ: You went in with a rival in Brandi and came out with a new one in Vivica. Are there any similarities between the two in terms of why you clashed with them?
KM: Honestly, I think that Brandi just is playing her role. I would have a hard time believing that Brandi takes any of that seriously. I think that she was playing her role to be relevant on the show. She likes that type of negative behavior and attention. You can see that from her own show with her various throwing drinks in people’s faces and starting… just all of the foolery that she goes through week to week on her show. That’s her brand and that’s where she lives. With Vivica, I just think that she’s kind of like one of those… she’s very angry all the time. She’s always angry and even if you watch her in the boardroom, the way she behaved in the boardroom… one minute she’s angry, one minute she’s crying, one minute she doesn’t want to be the mean girl but then next minute she talks about someone being on her period. I mean she’s all over the place. The one thing people can say about me is I was always consistent. I kept my head down, I did my job, I was a team player while everyone talked about me like a dog for what?! I never did anything to deserve that reputation.
MJ: When you were on Team Infinity, it seemed like you were close with Ian while Brandi, Johnny and Leeza were on the opposite side. Was this the case?
KM: Yes it was. I was very close to Ian. I respected him a lot. He had great ideas. He’s very very sharp, very kind, very nice. He’s just a good guy. And I really was rooting for him to make it in the Top 2.
MJ: I want to go to the task itself, Kenya. Looking back, do you still think that the idea to go with buns instead of butts for King’s Hawaiian was the right way to go?
KM: Absolutely. They liked it. They even admitted that they liked it and that it had good potential for a viral video but it just… they liked the other idea better. You have to choose one or the other. You have a 50/50 chance and so no. I don’t regret it.
MJ: The BabiesLuvBuns slogan was something that everyone seemed to go after you for, including Geraldo. Can you explain the thought process behind it a little bit more?
KM: It’s a baby! I mean come on! The baby was reaching for buns in a bag just like the buns were photo bombing. It was cute. I don’t think it needs anymore explaining. It’s a baby!
MJ: Before the season started, many people thought you were there to stir up drama, but you managed to accomplish a lot on the show. Do you think you surprised people?
KM: Oh I definitely surprised people because I think that my reputation (on the Housewives) preceded me. When I got to the show, people treated me as target but [they had a change of heart] once they saw that I was just really about business and I was being a great asset for my team. I was being a boss, I had great ideas and I was an invaluable player and I think I wasn’t getting myself involved in the drama. I wasn’t playing into the drama and I was winning. Winning personally and winning on the show. So I think I definitely surprised people because they had a preconceived notion of what I would be like.
MJ: Who are you better friends with now that the show is over? Brandi or Vivica?
KM: I am not friends with either of them. I never was and so, you know, I am not a friend to either of them.
MJ: Is The Celebrity Apprentice about who raises the most money for their charity or who makes the best television?
KM: It should be about who raises the most money and who’s the most valuable player. And if that’s the case, Ian wouldn’t have gone home because Ian raised more money than 10 Leezas and 10 Brandis put together. Singlehandedly, he raised over $300,000 for his charity and they cannot say the same and he had two wins under his belt. So why on earth would he be fired? You know what I mean? It didn’t make any sense.
MJ: What’s next for you Kenya? Can you tell me more about your charity, the Detroit Public Schools Foundation?
KM: Yeah, at the time where I chose the Foundation… I am from Detroit. I was educated in Detroit public school system. I was born and raised in Detroit. I just have a soft spot in my heart for kids that are struggling with trying to make it and I think the only way to really get out is through education. At the time, with the city being bankrupt, I think is unfair that a child who has less i(n terms of means) would have a less of a chance at success. At least a lesser chance of success than that of someone who just simply had more money. The Foundation picks up where Detroit leaves off and I just appreciate them trying to give the students every opportunity at educational success that they possibly can. I will always support Detroit and educational foundations from Detroit and the kids of Detroit.
MJ: And what’s next for you?
KM: I’m launching my own hair care line called Moore Hair Care! I put a lot of what I’ve learned from The Celebrity Apprentice in terms of marketing and advertising into building my brand for my hair care line. I have a television pilot, a comedy/scripted show that I wrote, directed and produced called Life Twirls On and hopefully you’ll be able to see that in a few months. Fingers crossed.
MJ: Perfect well Kenya I look very forward to meeting you at the finale in a couple of weeks. I thought you were fantastic television.
KM: Oh thank you so much for the compliment! I appreciate that! There is a reason that Real Housewives have the highest ratings they’ve ever had and there is a reason why Celebrity Apprentice is now having the best season in the last 3 years. I already had one reporter say “it’s the Kenya Moore factor” so I thought that was really sweet.
MJ: I am calling everybody that I meet (like people that I don’t like) a “toxic trick”. That’s like my new line.
KM: [Laughs]. That’s kind of unfortunate!
MJ: Amazing. Will see you at the finale. Thank you so much. Have a great day.
KM: Okay, thank you. Bye-bye.
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Tags: Kenya Moore, murtz, Murtz Jaffer, The Celebrity Apprentice