Exclusive: NeNe Leakes Talks New HSN Clothing Line, Cynthia & Marlo, Wendy Williams & Why She Keeps Coming Back To RHOA

July 30, 2014  |  

Source: HSN

NeNe Leakes doesn’t really need any introduction around these parts does she? At least once a week something she’s said, done or something that involves her, in one way or another, is featured here on MN. We’re always talking about NeNe and have been since she joined the cast of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” with her one of kind brand of “keepin’ it real.” In honor of her launching her new clothing line with HSN, we got a chance to speak to Ms. Leakes about everything from her new business venture with HSN, the end of her friendships with Marlo and Cynthia, the issues she has with Wendy Williams, why she can’t leave RHOA even if she wanted to and whether or not we’ll see her on Broadway. Just like the NeNe we see on television, Ms. Leakes in real life had plenty to say when we spoke to her on the phone and I ended the conversation remembering just how she became the one-to-watch reality star that she is today. See what she had to say.

What inspired the clothing line?

I wanted women of all ages, all shapes, all sizes to feel comfortable and confident in the clothes that they’re wearing. My motto was, for every woman to walk into her closet, walk out of her closet and own it. I just want them to own it. I would go out like that. I would have women that would approach me and say things like, ‘Hey NeNe where do you buy your clothes?’ First thing they would say, ‘You’ve lost so much weight.’ And I would say ‘No I haven’t.’ You watch me on television and I know television sometimes makes people look much larger but I’m not plus size. But people thought I was plus size from watching me on television and I would say, you know I need to come out with a line of  clothing that makes women feel good, affordable luxury. I’m able to walk through the store and obviously buy things that are very expensive but there was a time in my life when I couldn’t afford things either. So we came out with a line with good fabrics, things that really felt good, things that wash good, things that dry cleaned well, things that didn’t tear. And then clothes for larger, curvier girls. We can tap into a market that nobody is really tapping into right now and that’s what I did.


What made you chose to partner with HSN?

We took meetings with a lot of different people. And HSN actually felt right. When they walked into the room we totally clicked. And you need to really work with people who really understand and get you. They even took a little bit of a chance too. There’s a reason why people aren’t going into market for the curvier girls. They felt like it was a little scary to kind of go up to sizes that were so large but I felt very adamant about us clothing the curvier girl. And I felt like the curvier woman or girl would want to come out and purchase this line if we made things that weren’t frumpy, if we only made things that were stylish. I felt like a lot of their issues were they couldn’t find things that were stylish in the market.

I’m a beginner in the fashion industry so I wanted to be able to learn my craft. One thing I hate is doing things that I don’t have the full knowledge of. I feel like I can turn it all the way out if I have full knowledge of how the game works.


Source: HSN

Did you get into reality TV to use it as a platform? 

You know when I first started I didn’t really know what the whole reality tv world was about. I had watched “Flavor of Love” and the two brothers [from “I Love New York.”] The Osbournes and “The Real World” but I really didn’t know that much about reality shows. I was acting at the time. I was going back and forth from Atlanta to Los Angeles to be a part of  pilot season. And when I got approached by these producers to do the housewives of Atlanta I wasn’t thinking about anything other than maybe this could help my acting career. So I didn’t really go into the show with a plan. Once I got on the show and saw what the show was, I was like ‘Oh ok, I’m about ready to turn this into a business. We really need to start working on our dreams.’ And just from that– I didn’t even know how I was going to work on my dream actually.

I met this man, whose my manager now, Steven Grossman, he would say ‘I see all of these things for you. I watch you and I feel like you can do this, that or the other.’ And I thought, ‘Ok, so he wants some money.’ So I let the meeting go and went a whole other year and he would always try to send me a message like I still want to work with you and I was like ‘Ok…no!’ Until one day, I sat back and thought I just really learned the game after doing the show a couple of seasons.

I really was able to work on the show and saw that there were so many girls on the show who wanted to be popular. It was so weird to me because honestly… honestly I never wanted to be popular. I never thought about that. I always thought, I want to damn eat and I want some damn money. When other girls on the show were thinking about how popular they were, I felt like I was always popular. I was popular in high school. It was never that serous to me. These girls wanted rich boyfriends but they never wanted to do anything. They just wanted to date a popular guy. So I learned real quick. I thought, hey I’m married. All I can do right now is try to figure out how we can eat. It just popped in my mind to start working, you got to do other things outside of this show. So I reached back out to Steven and I said let’s give this a try. And it just worked for us. It just worked in my favor that people wanted to meet with me.

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  • grape roberts

    Nene is 100 percent right. I stop watching Wendy after that show, the way she went in on Nene, I said to myself Wendy is a hater.

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  • oscardgrouch

    Hood rich…..

  • Charlotte DiLondon

    I watched the HSN show, and I bought a nice blouse. I saw it, I liked it, and I bought it. I applaud people who try to live out their dreams. I never talk badly about anyone, nor do I judge them. Why? Because I am satisfied with my own life. We only pass through this life once. If you learn to do you. Get what you want. Do what you want to do, you would have no problem seeing others do the same. She may not be the greatest actor, or the most articulate person, but NeNe is doing NeNe, I have to respect that.

  • lol!

    “First thing they would say, ‘You’ve lost so
    much weight.’ And I would say ‘No I haven’t.’ You watch me on television and I
    know television sometimes makes people look much larger but I’m not plus size.
    But people thought I was plus size from watching me on television” –

    Hilarious, Nene is a straight nut!!!

  • Malanye Chantye

    Money and airbrushing sure makes her look better than she actually does.
    Get it NEne

  • Toni Jones

    I use to ride for Wendy Williams, I was down with her since the 90’s, but when she took a left turn on NeNe I couldn’t understand it. I mean she can talk, but then it got personal, talking about Gregg and NeNe has a fake relationship, how could she even kiss him, about her son having another child out there, ect. It all became too personal. Then I realized Why so many of our top Black Actors ,Rappers and reality show people don’t want to have anything to do with her!! She is a streight up hater! She has a serious dark side that now is showing it’s head again and it is who she WW’s truly is. Foul!!!

    • grape roberts

      I was also happy for Wendy when she got her own Talk Show, but she has a vendetta against Nene and Rihanna. She does more that gossiping, but make up lies about them. This woman hates black woman and thinks just because white people sitting in her audience she made it. If black people stop watching her, she is toast. Black people is her bread and butter.

  • Gwen Harris

    She’s right about Wendy flipping. One day she is in the person’s corner and the next day not so much. We just watched her show for the last season.

  • HHN

    Wait, did she bleach her skin?

    • Malanye Chantye

      They all do !!! Check out old pictures of black and compare them to now

    • This picture has been photoshopped and tie dyed so much she doesn’t even look recognizeable. She hasn’t Ibleached her skin. I saw her around the way and she’s still TeamDarkSkin this is just a combination of Photo Editing, Proactiv Plus, Good lighting and Ben Nye Banana Powder

  • Suuzie

    I know exactly what Nene wanted to say about Wrndy, but didn’t quite go there so I will do it for her. Wendy thing id degrading black women and men to get a laugh from her white audience and she would not dare say some of those same things about Taylor Swift or Jennifer a Lopez, she won’t even go hard on the Kardashians like she will do Beyonce or a Rihanna. The woman I shameless when it comes to calling out black folks…she is evil. Good luck and many blessings to Nene.

    • MiaSara

      Girl bye! When has Nene ever empowered any blk woman other than herself?
      She is just like Wendy if you ask me, she shucks and jives for the why te man’s coins, she’s jealous of any woman who is more successful, she thrives on conflict and she’s abt as genuine and trustworthy as a basket of snakes.

      • cubanflowers

        you and suuzie are both right……

        wendy is just like thomas jerome harris….

        they get paid to degrade their own race… nobody wants to hear anything bad about pink people… there is no money in reporting their asininity…

        even the main stream media knows that if you put a brown or black face in the headlines … you generate cash flow…

        both wendy and thomas are nothing but pink people’s whhhooo0ores…

        once their pink audience and bosses… get bored ….and tired of causing fissures in their culo….and bruises on their tonsils….they will throw them both to the trash…so the rats can chew and eat their flesh….

        be blessed..

    • grape roberts

      I agree with you 100 percent. She will be fired if she dare talk about whites the way she talks about black. I stop watching her after that Nene episode and the way she talks about Rihanna is a disgrace.

  • Phyllis Covington

    She by Shre………………uhhhhhh????

  • ohdearme

    This was by far the best interview I’ve read in a long time! God bless you Ms. Leakes in all that you do, I love this woman’s hustle as well as her ability to keep it real. Yes she can buy expensive things now but she hasn’t forgotten there was a time that she couldn’t.

  • Music

    “I’m able to walk through the store and obviously buy things that are very expensive.” LOL Nene is hilarious!

    Congrats! On your success, Nene. Great Interview as well.

    • guest

      Will this “Hood Rat” ever be quiet??? You never ever hear the “People with Real Money$$$) ex. B. Gates, The Big O, W. Buffett…brag about being able to go to any store and shop……Get educated on how to “Speak in public” and not about how much $$$$ you are making……Duh

      • Weaverinpitt

        What the hell did she do to you??? You go Nene; work it girl! Best of luck in all that you do!

      • grape roberts

        Puffy, Baby, Dr Dre, Lil Wayne bragged about their long money. I bet she has more in the bank than you will ever see in your life time. Stop hating and get a job loser. If you had watched that particular episode that Nene was talking about, you would agree with her.