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The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of Atlanta

Kenya Moore's Entertainment Career From Movies to Music Videos to RHOA

Here's what to know about about the Real Housewives of Atlanta cast member's showbiz career.

By Sophie Vilensky

She's a star. And a peach! While Kenya Moore has been stealing the show on The Real Housewives of Atlanta since Season 5, her entertainment career began much earlier. 

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When fans first met Kenya in Season 5 Episode 1, she'd just moved to Atlanta from Los Angeles. While introducing herself, she gave a brief summary of her resumé. "I'm an actor, producer, author, director. I'm a hustler," she said. "I like to win."

From pageants to the People's Choice Awards and everything in between, here's what you need to know about Kenya's entertainment career.

Kenya's life before she was famous

Kenya grew up in Detroit, Michigan. Always the performer, she noted in a 2018 interview with OTS Magazine that she started dancing at age 6 and modeling at age 14, eventually attending a college preparatory high school where she majored in performing arts. Prior to entering the spotlight in a major way, she graduated from her hometown's Wayne State University, receiving her degree in psychology.

Kenya's beauty pageant past and Miss USA win

Kenya Moore as Miss Michigan USA

"I won Miss USA, not Miss Congeniality." -Kenya's Season 5 tagline.

"I entered my first beauty pageant at 14 called 'Little Miss Black Star' because all of my friends were and it was something fun to do. It was actually a talent pageant and I performed a modern dance as I’m a trained dancer," Kenya recalled in her OTS interview. "I placed first runner-up. It was a very positive experience. From there, I continued to enter pageants and won the very next one. It was great because the prizes often included college scholarships which paid for my education."

In 1993, Kenya won Miss Michigan USA, going on to win Miss USA — the second-ever Black woman to do so. Later that year, she competed in Miss Universe, placing in the top six overall.

In an October 2022 interview with Glamour, Kenya said that winning Miss USA changed the trajectory of her life.

"There’s nothing that would change your life like winning an international or national beauty pageant in the ’90s, for a little Black girl from Detroit who didn’t really have much, didn’t have a lot of exposure, had never been out of the country," she explained. "We lived a very modest lifestyle in the inner city, and then I was catapulted into fame and wealth and traveling all over the world. So I would have to say winning Miss USA and being the second Black woman crowned."

Miss USA 1993 Kenya Moore

Kenya's modeling career

Kenya Moore modeling on a beach

In addition to her pageant competitions, Kenya began modeling at age 14, eventually landing covers for magazines such as Ebony Man's, Upscale, Smooth, Jet, and Essence.

In April 2020, Kenya shared a "comp card" from early in her career with her Instagram followers. This card, left over from the '90s, basically served as her business card, an easy way to send measurements, photos, and contact info to potential clients.

Naturally, she was as gorgeous then as she is now, sporting a full head of curls and faraway gaze.

Kenya's movie and TV roles

Kenya Moore and Jay-Z in the "Money Ain't a Thang" music video

Kenya kicked off her film career with a role in the iconic female empowerment movie Waiting to Exhale. Directed by Forest Whitaker, the film also starred Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, and Loretta Devine; Kenya's character, Denise, briefly showed up as a romantic rival of Houston's.

Today, Kenya has 15 films under her belt, as well as a number of music videos, including playing the love interest in Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri's video for the 1998 hit "Money Ain't a Thang."

Kenya's first television project was a 1994 episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Since then, she's acted in numerous shows including Living Single (alongside former RHOA cast member Kim Fields), Smart Guy, The Jamie Foxx Show, Martin, In the House, The Steve Harvey Show, Girlfriends, and The Parkers

Kenya also makes magic happen behind the scenes. In 2010, her production company Moore Vision Media produced the movie The Confidant. She also worked on a scripted TV pilot, Life Twirls On.

Kenya's appearances on Dancing With the Stars and other reality shows

Kenya Moore Entertainment Career 01

What can't she do? During Season 30 of Dancing With the Stars in 2021, Kenya came in 10th place. She was eliminated during Week 6 after performing an Argentine tango with partner Brandon Armstrong.

"I just want to say thank you so much for this opportunity. This has been a dream come true," said Kenya at the time, according to People. In an Instagram video, she called her DWTS tenure "one of the happiest times of my life."

Kenya Moore Entertainment Career 05

The following year, Kenya was nominated for the "Reality TV Star of 2022" award at the People's Choice Awards. The multi-hyphenate has appeared in a number of reality shows besides RHOA, including The Celebrity Apprentice, Bravo's The Millionaire Matchmaker, Worst Cooks in America, and, of course, Season 1 of Peacock's The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip (among others).

Kenya's music career

Kenya's single "Gone with the Wind Fabulous"

Kenya Moore: Gone with the Wind Fabulous

In 2013, Kenya released her single "Gone with the Wind Fabulous." The song pays homage to an iconic moment in RHOA history, when she stated she was "gone with the wind fabulous" while physically twirling around during an argument in Season 5 Episode 7.

Kenya noted in a blog that the comment was made in honor of Hattie McDaniel, the first Black woman to win an Academy Award for her performance in Gone With The Wind. "Gone with the Wind Fabulous" has been released as an official music video and performed by Kenya in the Watch What Happens Live Clubhouse and at BravoCon 2022. 

BravoCon 2022 Brings a Musical Medley to Hammerstein Ballroom
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