Sunday, December 14, 2014

Claudia Jordan Will Cry and Flirt on ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ But Says She Won’t Hold Grudges
When Claudia Jordan took the radio job with the Rickey Smiley show back in early summer here in Atlanta, she had already been in contact with “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” producers.

So when she arrived in town from New York in July, the show began filming her the first week she was there to test her out as a possible cast member. At first, she didn’t know if she’d be more than a sidekick to Kenya Moore, her friend and entry point onto the show.

But clearly, the producers liked her sassy, vibrant personality and gave her a full-time cast member status by the fall, once several weeks of taping had been reviewed.

She is a single woman on a show with the word “housewives” on it but she is hardly the first. “People get married. People get divorced. They do have to keep a few wives there. I’d like to get married,” she said in an interview I did last week.

On the show, she said she likes an alpha male but has had trouble finding a keeper. She now has the added pressure of wondering if someone is dating her to get on camera. And she is getting more unsolicited offers. “People definitely reach out to you. They reach out to my publicist. So and so wants to meet you. You have to look at them with more of a side eye.”

Jordan is not a foreigner to reality TV. She has done two rounds of “Celebrity Apprentice.” But that was all about business savvy, she said, and getting along with other celebrities and being creative. “This is about your personal life. It’s about being vulnerable and talking about any issues with dating, with family, with weight, whatever. Your struggles become part of your storyline.”

She said she’s used to being in the public eye with red carpets and work-related questions, but she never before had gone out of her way to flaunt her private issues. “This is definitely an adjustment,” she said.  She said she will be seen crying on camera. (It’s inevitable on “Real Housewives!”)

“I think it’s exhaustion from the crazy schedule, which allows you to be more open. You’re vulnerable when you’re tired. I remember talking to a couple of the women about something that hit close to home. I started crying! I couldn’t help it!”

She understands that viewers want to see your multiple layers, that they do not want  a one dimensional person. “They want to see your struggles and what you have to overcome,” she said. “People want to be inspired as well as entertained.”

Already, Jordan said she is getting blow back based purely on the trailer, which showed her taking a selfie with Porsha Williams‘ ex-husband Kordell Stewart. “It made me look mischievous,” she said. “It makes me look like the bad girl.” So far, the show has not shown that side of her, if it actually exists.

“I’ve known Kordell longer than Porsha,” she said. “He’s a single man. I can take selfies!”

She didn’t come on the show intending to go after anybody. “I want to be someone who is fun and fresh and a little different. I don’t take my self too seriously.”

She said Smiley, her employer, was a little apprehensive about her being on the show. “He doesn’t want drama around the station,” she said. “I don’t want it either. We’ve kept it that way. My priority is the morning show. It’s the meat and potatoes. It’s what keeps everything going. It’s Rickey’s baby.”

As for any competition with Porsha Williams, who does “Dish Nation” with Smiley after her radio show duties are over, she said there is no tension now. “It’s really a non issue,” she said. “We’re so beyond that.”

She hopes that when things that happened months ago appears on air that the women can get past it.

“Sometimes, it opens old wounds,” she said. “Social media can put a little extra stank and pump you up.”

She said she is good at getting past old hurts. “If I’m mad, I never stay mad,” she said. “I wake up the next day and I’m totally over it. I get over things.” She can deal with people who make mistakes but if she senses they are truly bad people. she won’t deal with them.

Jordan said balancing two jobs with strange hours was a rough adjustment. “My voice sounds really stuffy on the show,” she said. “I’ve been sick a lot. I wasn’t getting enough sleep and had severe allergies. I’ve been running myself ragged. I recently had bronchitis. It’s been tough.”

She said she has barely any time to work out. “I put on work-out clothes but it never gets done,” she said. But she has focused on work and has only been late to Smiley’s show once – by three minutes.

Adjusting to the radio show, she said, has been tough. She was getting a lot of well-meaning conflicting advice early on. “Speak faster, speak slower. Jump in more, don’t jump in so much. Everyone was trying to help me. I know what to do. I know how to do radio.” (She hosted a show on Sirius XM for a few years on the Jamie Foxx comedy channel.)

She also appreciates Smiley enabling her to talk about politics and do regular guest spots on HLN. She even flew to Ferguson over the summer. “I was very much involved,” she said. “I love reporting. That’s what I went to school for.”

As last Sunday’s episode shows, she lives in a beautiful high-rise in Midtown.  “I can see the Ferris wheel. I had a friend visit from out of town and we went to the aquarium.  I absolutely love it. I’m a kid in the candy store. I love stuff like that I’m a big nerd when it comes to nature and animals.”

On some of the other housewives:

Demetria McKinney (who will first appear on the Dec. 21 episode): “Demetria and I hit a couple of strip clubs. That was fun She’s a great girl. We have a real friendship.”

Cynthia Bailey: “She and I are extremely close. We talk every day. We have modeling and New York connections. And she’s just the type of person I relate to. People want to call her a lapdog or weak. She’s far from weak. She’s extremely supportive of other people and that can be taken for weakness. But you have to be a strong, secure person to support another person and put their needs over your own. Cynthia is a good friend but some people don’t deserve her friendship.”

Kandi Burruss: “I love her. I’ve seen her around talked about doing business. I respect her. She doesn’t see the other women as a threat.” (Has she bought any sex toys from Kandi’s line? “I’m not big on sex toys. All my friends back in L.A. say, ‘You have nothing. You need to build up your collection!’ My bad!”)
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