The latest season of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” is currently underway, and already the drama on the show is starting to heat up; due in part to feisty newcomer, Claudia Jordan.
The polarizing radio personality is probably best known for her appearance on Celebrity Apprentice when she went head-to-head with self-proclaimed, villain, Omarosa Manigaul. This season on the RHOA, Jordan is teaming up with popular cast mate, Kenya Moore. The ladies have been friends for over 10 years and the two are a force to be reckoned with.
Claudia spoke to Sister 2 Sister Magazine to dish on what you can expect from her this season. Check out the interview below:
How did you happen to join the show?
Claudia: The fact that I got the “Ricky Smiley Morning Show” before this, it kind of worked out because I had a legit reason why I was in Atlanta. I had to relocate here for my job and basically I hit the ground running when I got here. I started, like, July 15, on the radio show and I started shooting scenes for the “Housewives” show like a week later. It’s chaotic, but it’s fun chaotic.
Have you received backlash from Porsha Williams’ fans who hold you responsible for her demotion?
Claudia: Minimal. Of course, they’re going to be upset; I understand. When you’re a fan of someone, you want to see them, and they gotta look for a reason to blame someone, but I did not come take anything from her. That wasn’t my plan. I like to look at it like I earned my peach from my personality and my story. I know starting in a reality show this big, that kinda just comes with the territory. I hope people are open-minded enough to kind of give me a chance and get to know me for me, and not, ‘I don’t like her because she’s friends with Kenya. I don’t like her because she’s friends with Cynthia. She’s not Porsha.’ I just hope that people can just be open to fresh energy on the show.
What advice did you get from the show’s returning stars?
Claudia: Kenya told me out the gate, “Even though I’ve had issues with some of these women, you need to get to know these women on your own. Don’t form an opinion about them, based on my experience with them.” It was good advice. It was reinforcing what I already felt. Cynthia [Bailey] and Kenya told me, “Girl, you gotta put on more makeup.” That’s definitely something that they tease me about. I gotta step my glam up, my clothes up, my hair, my makeup. I’m really low maintenance. I’m coming from living in New York where it’s really about being comfortable. Here, people are like contouring. They’re putting eyelashes on. It’s full-on glam every, single day.
On the “Rickey Smiley Morning Show,” you commended Apollo for apologizing to Kenya. Are you #TeamApollo?
Claudia: I definitely want to make it clear that I’m not on either [Apollo’s or Phaedra Parks’] teams. It may seem like I’m showing favoritism to Apollo, but I’m not. I’m no Apollo cheerleader…but he didn’t have to apologize to Kenya. He could have just been bitter, let it ride and let the women just continue to fight while he’s in prison and he chose to kind of try to make at least one situation right. I am only commending that part. That’s it.
What’s your response to those who criticize the show for casting women who aren’t wives? There are three single women on the show now: Kenya, Porsha and you…
Claudia: …and Demetria [McKinney] and soon to be Phaedra. If you look at it really, at one time or the other, every single woman on this show, was unmarried at some point. I remember NeNe was divorced and then she got remarried. Porsha was married and then got divorced. Kandi [Burruss] wasn’t married for five years. Cynthia was single when she got on the show. When people say that, I’m like, ‘Well why don’t you take a look at the show.’ That’s the name of the show, but it’s really about personalities and each woman’s story. Who knows? I could possibly get married on the show. We don’t know that yet. Stay tuned.
Who surprised you and wasn’t what you expected?
Claudia: They’re pretty much what I saw from television. I thought NeNe would be a little more open with just being cool to the fun girl, the new girl. She’s the Queen Bee. I was kinda shocked when she was coming for me. I didn’t come on the show to try to go at NeNe or try to get fame or anything. I love big personalities and I’m always open to be friends with those kinds of people, but I was surprised by the some of the hostility I got from her and we have had no negative history. I’m not trying to take her man. I’m not trying to steal her clothing line idea. I’m not trying to play the evil stepmother on Broadway. I’m not trying to do anything that NeNe’s doing. We’re all on the same show. We’re Black women and I think people are sick and tired of all the fighting and bickering. It would be nice to show some good times and some fun and some girl power. Let’s work together on some things. Let’s entertain the audience. Let’s show people that not every reality show is jut Black women fighting all the time. Of course, there’s going to be conflict, but that should be when there’s an issue. That shouldn’t be the meat of the show. My intention was to come on and be fun and bring a fresh perspective to the show, and try to bring some resolve to some of the issues that are on the show. I’m the peacemaker.
I see your point, but NeNe has already let us know that the friend of her enemy is her enemy, and you’re cool with Kenya and Cynthia.
Claudia: True. I’m very optimistic even when there seems like there’s no way that could happen. At the end of the day, she’s not a spring chicken; none of us are. You have to know that in life, you’re going to have to interact with someone that may be friends with someone you don’t like. If you’re just going to write off everyone who’s associates, friends or family of people you don’t like, that’s a lot of people you’re going to have to cross of your Christmas card list. I think that would be exhausting. I even mentioned it to NeNe before: “NeNe, we’re not in high school anymore,” and she seemed like she was open to moving forward, but then I see otherwise at times.
You said you’re the peacemaker. Which relationships have you tried to reconcile?
Claudia: I made it very clear out the gate that I would love to see some healing take place between Kenya and Porsha. I see Porsha at work. I do “The Rickey Smiley Show” and she comes in and does “Dish Nation,” so I see her every day. So, I think about it all the time. I’m kind of in the middle. I made it clear that’s something I would love to see happen. I thought I could be the voice of reason between those two. As far as NeNe and Cynthia, I didn’t try to broker that peace treaty. I think I would be biting off more than I could chew with that one.
In the previews, it looks like you’re very friendly with Porsha’s ex, Kordell Stewart. What’s that about?
Claudia: I met Kordell over 15 years ago in Los Angeles. He and I are friends. We’re cool. People like to jump the gun. People like to attack. People like to think the worst all the time. I just invite them to be open-minded to the story and watching what unfolds. I think people really are quick to form a negative opinion sometimes when they see someone that they love, that they’re a fan of, and they see their ex. There’s nothing wrong with Kordell and I being friends. Porsha is a divorced woman. Kordell is absolutely back on the market. Whether he’s with me or someone else you’ll have to tune in to see. I’m not doing anything wrong. I had nothing to with their divorce, absolutely not. He’s always been a great person and a cool person, a good guy to me.
Other than being the fun peacemaker, what’s your story going to be on the show?
Claudia: …some of my struggles as a Black woman, and I’m also biracial and that’s something that we really could speak more about and get into and some of the things I have to deal with with other women and sometimes feeling out of place and rejected by my people that I love and that comes from both sides at times, and it’s kind of painful for me. I share that. I’m in a new city and I’m starting over in Atlanta and I’m starting new relationships and friendships.
What is your background?
Claudia: My mom is from Italy. She is the only person in her family to come to the United States. My father was in the Air Force and he met my mom at the Air Force base and fell in love… We definitely had a lot of struggles growing up with racism. I got hit in the face one time by a skateboard by a real racist White boy who called my mother a n*gger lover. It’s funny because years later after I went to Hollywood and was doing my thing, I came home to visit my mom and I went to the grocery store and the person who was so horrible to me was the man who had to bag my groceries. It was bittersweet, but God doesn’t like ugly.
I speak on a lot of things that people tend to keep to themselves. I’m really transparent and open about things that have happened to me in my life. I battled depression. I definitely had it all and lost it all and got it all back. I think a lot of people on television are so concerned with putting out an image of who they want people to think they are; I think there’s something that’s beautiful about being imperfect and being open to share. “I went through this and I bounced back and you can, too.” I’ve had a very eventful life, with very good things and very tragic things and I think it’s kind of kept me humble and very appreciative of when things are great.