'Real Housewives' NeNe Leakes Talks 'The New Normal,' Gives Breakup Advice to Adrienne Maloof (VIDEO)
Bravo’s original The Real Housewives of Atlanta castmember NeNe Leakes is feeling herself these days. The reality star has parlayed her career into scripted television – first with a recurring role on FOX’s Glee and now on the cast of the new NBC comedy, The New Normal.
“Oh, success is definitely the best revenge,” Leakes, 44, tells Celebuzz at PaleyFest in Beverly Hills this week. “And when you’re working and doing something you love to do, nothing’s better.”
The New Normal portrays a gay couple (played by Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells) and their surrogate mother’s (Georgia King) path to having a baby together. Leakes plays Rocky, the no-nonsense assistant to Rannells’ father-to-be Bryan.
What does NeNe bring to the character?
“She’s very outspoken. She’s fabulous. She’s boisterous. She’s protective over her gays,” Leakes describes. “I love to tell everybody that she uses her boss’ credit card without his knowledge, which I absolutely love and think it’s hilarious. You know, NeNe is a lot of Rocky. Well, at least the old NeNe.”
A breakout star from the Bravo series, Leakes expanded her unscripted resume when she appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice last year. But, Glee and The New Normal co-creator Ryan Murphy is a big Real Housewives fan and already had his eye on taking Leakes into the scripted genre. Originally, he called the reality star up to talk about the role of coach Roz on Glee and then later invited her to join the NBC comedy’s cast.
But Leakes had actually chased an acting career before joining the Bravo show and says she appeared in the 2003 film The Fighting Temptations starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyonce along with small TV parts on Girlfriends and The Parkers.
Having finally made the crossover into acting, Leakes tells us that she often forgets to stop and smell the roses.
“When I do sit down and think about it, I’m like, ‘Five years ago, I was somewhere else. And here I am five years later right here with you.’ And it’s so great when you can grow and come into your own,” she explains. “The freeing feeling of that is everything. It’s amazing.”
That doesn’t mean reality TV no longer has a draw on the burgeoning actress, but she has a plan for that going forward as well. “I love reality television and I hope to do some work on producing some shows, creating some things, so I’d love to be on that side,” she reveals to us.
Leakes currently lives in Beverly Hills. And while she went through a very public and onscreen divorce with ex Gregg Leakes, he was in attendance at the Paley Center event along with their young son, Brentt. So, we asked her if she had any advice for divorcing Beverly Hills housewife, Adrienne Maloof.
“The one thing I would say is shhhh. Shut up. Don’t say nothing. Be quiet,” she answers.
Watch our full interview with Leakes above.
The New Normal premieres Tuesday at 9:30 PM on NBC. Bravo has yet to confirm a return date for The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s fifth season.
What do you think of NeNe's career success? Will you be tuning in to The New Normal? Tell us in the comments section below.