You guys, it fucking pains me to type these words. I’ve been holding off on writing about Kenya for a while now – not because of my normal procrastination – but because I wanted this piece to end with her victory lap as she returned for another season against all odds. Sadly, it seems even Kenya Moore can push Bravo too far. Fingers crossed as soon as I hit post that a new report comes out and a peach is officially in her hand.
Mixed review debut:
RHOA was in a period of flux when Kenya twirled onto the scene. Nene was in Hollywood, Sheree was freshly fired, and Kim storms off five episodes into the season. Kenya, along with Porsha, brought a new vibe to the show and I wasn’t sold right away. The drama seemed particularly manufactured and Kenya didn’t seem genuine. There’s a reason seasons 5-6 are my least favourite era of Atlanta and part of it was that Kenya had yet to click for me. Her “Gone with the Wind fabulous” fight with Porsha – arguably her most famous moment – was pretty lame. Atlanta gives us amazing fights and drama and her twirl moment was more style than substance. Still, it made Kenya Moore a household name, and brought us an eventual music video. I respect her dedication to her brand as well and came to love her using “twirl” for everyfuckingthing.
Behind the peach:
People get exhausted trying to figure me out, and I just let them.
There are parts of Kenya that certainly are enigmatic, but the above tagline is not referring to any them. Kenya is a painfully obvious person to psychoanalyze. Above all else, she is a desperate attention-seeker. Even among the Housewives as a whole she stands out, and that is as big of a group of thirsty narcissists I’ve ever seen. Her antics in the beginning were a bit grating, but as time wore on I grew to anticipate and love each and every display. From the reunion props, to the costumes, I was all aboard Kenya’s unending need to be the centre of attention. No lie, I fucking *die* everytime I see Kenya in that Grinch costume. She committed so hard and most people at the party barely dressed up and all of a sudden this insane green woman is popping up into frame. Yes, yes, yes. It is never not hilarious. There’s also a recurring motif with Kenya, where she likes to dramatically throw people out of whatever party she is hosting to make a big scene. Off the top of my head I can think of two times she kicked Porsha out of her events (the black icon one, and Moore Manor housewarming) and back in Miami when she made a big deal about removing Tammy Mccall Brownings nephew from their house. I mean, maybe she wasn’t wrong on that one because then Tammy got knocked the fuck out. The existence of the gem soundbyte “CALL A AMBULANCE” is directly thanks to one Ms. Kenya Moore.
Now tying into Kenya’s aforementioned need for attention is her main storyline that will be a part of her entire run on RHOA. Kenya has had a rough go of it with her family. Her mother has refused to acknowledge her for her entire life. This obviously manifests in her need to be noticed, along with her persistent desire to build her own family. I always believed her about having a terrible time growing up with her mother, but it wasn’t until about season 10 when I realized the extent of just how fucked up the situation really was. Rather than her mother being estranged from her entire family, she was actually present at family events all throughout Kenya’s life and just refused to speak or acknowledge her. More than anything this made me “WTF” at the rest of her family who raised her and continued to interact with her twisted mom for some reason. Kenya maybe a cartoonish savant sent from another dimension to create a new reality on my screen, but she’s capable of gaining my empathy.
Love & marriage:
Kenya Moore is a pioneer. Atlanta above all other franchises focuses on the couple as a unit. Rather than playing second fiddle to their partners, the men are more often than not at the forefront alongside them. Aside from my personal feelings on this aspect of ATL, it does put the single ladies in a position of disadvantage when every trip is a couples trip. Worry not though, the solution is to just hire a boyfriend! Kenya brought out Walter first, an allegedly gay tow-truck tycoon who could barely pretend to like Kenya while she was putting on the pantomime of demanding her propose to her. The Real Housewives series has a long and storied history across all franchises of women fronting about all facets of their lives, be it their wealth or crumbling relationships, but Kenya’s version is something so extreme and unique it stands apart. After Walter’s contract was up, she followed up with her anonymous African Prince who nobody had ever seen and she would not name and definitely, absolutely did exist. Matt was a weird turn to the macabre, what with the violence and stalking but it was compelling viewing. Finally, we end up where we are today: Kenya secretly marrying a mystery man and apparently finally getting knocked up at the fertile age of 47. Marc refused to film for the majority of the season and she wouldn’t even share his name for weeks, leading to the hilarious gag of Flat Marc. Tragically, snubbing Bravo on her wedding didn’t work out like it did for Lu, proving once again that women really can’t have both love and a career. Single ladies Porsha and Cynthia follow in her footsteps with their princes and boyfriends of dubious intentions/orientations, but they cannot compare to the OG.
With a disposition as abrasive as Kenya’s it’s not surprising she’s scrapped with just about everyone in the cast. She started off with a bang versus Porsha for committing the unforgivable sin of referring her to Miss America instead of Miss USA. I can’t remember much of their petty feud beyond traded insults and reunion physical assault. While in theory I do not advocate violence, nobody has ever begged to be dragged as much as Kenya did with that megaphone. Kenya’s meatiest feud is undoubtedly with Phaedra. While they began as business partners on the donkey booty workout DVD, when Phaedra tried to cut her out she made her own competing stallion booty workout. From here things unravel: Apollo then claims that Kenya has been texting him offering up blowjobs. Kenya had been openly flirting with Apollo for a while and it didn’t seem too out of character and she got dragged for it…but surprise! Years later Apollo admits he made it all up. The damage was already done, unfortunately. We did get this moment out of it, so I’m on board with another of Phaedra’s eventually exposed evil plots.
Noticed a significant feud missing above? That’s because it’s my absolute favourite beef: Kenya vs. Sheree. The Phaedra vs. Kenya feud ends up kind of dark and icky and Porsha is too much of a non-entity to get invested in, but Kenya vs. Sheree is pure petty. A light and breezy shadefest that always delivered. I don’t remember if there was some drama beforehand, but as I recall it Kenya literally purchased a bare bones, partially constructed foreclosure solely so that she could finish Moore Manor before Chateau Sheree. From that point on it was war of the houses, as the ladies both worked to complete them and tossed off hilarious insults like Kenya’s “Chateau She _____” series of talking heads and “bitch twirl on some motherfucking baseboards.”
Perhaps I have only portrayed Kenya as a scripted, dramatic narcissist but she’s super smart, too. Her talking heads are among the funniest, her clapbacks are witty and well-timed, and she knows how to take down an enemy. My absolute favourite example, and the moment I realized that I indeed loved Kenya, was back in season 6’s “Dropping the Ball” when she was at odds with Nene. I think it was some leftover drama from the notorious pajama party fight, but whatever it was Kenya was trying to make amends for, she did it perfectly. See, she decided to make nice with Nene by throwing a masquerade ball to support Nene’s favourite charity in her honour. Brilliantly, she realizes this would be a much better olive branch extension if it were kept a surprise. Naturally, Nene finds out about the scheme just once it’s too late to back out so she shows up with the stankest attitude known to man. Kenya calls her up in front of the crowd and has her address them unprepared and she makes a complete ass of herself. Honestly, it’s one of the most genius housewives moves I’ve ever seen played out. She trapped Nene – either she went up there and made an ass of herself by being publicly salty as she did, or she sucked it up and pretended she was in on it. Either way – Kenya wins.
In the end:
Hopefully this isn’t the last of Mrs. Daly on our screens. Her sporadic presence in season 10 of RHOA was really to its detriment. Her firing seemed surely inevitable. And then, mere minutes into the reunion she drops the bombshell that she is finally pregnant at 47 thanks to good old IVF. In her final moments she managed to create a signature shady Kenya moment – because faking a pregnancy really is a whole new way to level up her game. Rumours of “friend of” contracts and VH1 spinoffs are abound, but even if my love Kenya never holds a peach again, she’ll always have a piece of my heart.