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Monday, December 14, 2009

Charlotte's Bad girl: Chatting up Kendra James of the Bad Girls Club

Posted By on Mon, Dec 14, 2009 at 3:01 PM

click to enlarge Kendra

Maybe we're too hard on reality stars.

Sure, they're generally narcissistic and walk around with a pseudo-importance during, and even years after, their 15 minutes of fame are up. But how many of us would turn down the opportunity to spend a summer in an LA mansion, being VIP at every club, and of course, drinking from a seemingly unlimited supply of alcohol provided by the show's producers. I'd say, "Fuck my internship," too.

Everyone you see partying, fighting, crying, bitching and ultimately building alliances to "survive" on reality TV has their own reason for auditioning — and Charlotte native Kendra James' was a whim.

She decided to road trip from Greensboro, where she was in college, with her girls to attend an open casting call in Charlotte, and after months of calls backs she found herself on season four of Oxygen's Bad Girls Club. Sounds way hotter than the Biggest Loser.

We recently caught up with the Queen City resident turned reality show hottie and talked about her TV experience.

Creative Loafing: How long was the audition process for the Bad Girls Club?

Kendra: I started doing The Real World. I did seven interviews with Real World, and then they called me and said you didn't make the Real World but do you want to try the Bad Girls Club and then I had three or four interviews with the Bad Girls Club.

Was it hard for you to drop everything and say, "I'm gonna go out here and live with a bunch of girls on TV"?

Well, Initially it was over the summer, so it was easy. I wasn't in school, I didn't really have any obligations, so it really easy for me to say I want to take this opportunity. But it ended up going over into the school year, so I had to push back my graduation date. I definitely wouldn't change anything, but it definitely changed my plans a little bit.

What do you think the response is going to be when you get back there [UNCG]?

It's going to be really really crazy. I think Greensboro's going to be flipped upside down a little [laughing]. And people who thought they knew me won't know me, and people that know me are going to be excited — so it's going to be mixture of responses, I think.

You're a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and — stereotypically — you wouldn't associate AKAs with doing anything crazy. So what do you think people are going to think? Do you think your sorors are going to be mad at you?

At the end of the day, I know that the Kendra that is an AKA is still an AKA, but that doesn't define the total person that I am. I'm still 22. I'm still young. I'm still going to make mistake. I'm still going to be controversial and my own personality, so I'm an AKA first, but I'm also a human being and a young woman for a reason. So people ... they have to be realistic about what it is to be a woman, what it is to be in college and what it is to be in an organization, whether that's a sorority or not.

You'll be out in May [graduation] so what do you hope this leads to?

Right now it's leading to a lot of opportunities. Just a lot of money making potential, I'm meeting a lot of people and being able to travel. That stuffs all well and good but I'm pre-law so my real, true goal is to go to law school and that's never changed. So whatever happens with the show is fabulous but I also have another back up plan.

Once you get on this reality show alum circuit, the money making opportunities don't dry up for a while. I mean you still see Real World people from years ago making money for club appearances, so what do you think the BGC will do for you in that sense?

Bad Girls Club, because it's really new and really taking off, we haven't seen the longevity of how long the girls can last from the show. But I think me personally, the BGC thing will fade away, and I can still be a personality in the spotlight.

It might very well pay for law school ...

It might, and I definitely have a story for my entrance essays so it's all good.

Being on the inside, what was the experience like living with a bunch of girls and having cameras tape everything? It's not like you had to kiss Flavor Flav or anything.

What is so weird about TV is that the audience becomes a little bit naive to what it takes to make a TV show, and they think the only thing they see on TV is the only thing that happened. And that's not the case. We were filmed for 24 hours a day, 75 days total; two and a half months, every minute of every day, and they can't possibly show that in an 11-episode series. So you're gonna miss a lot of things. Stories are going to be skewed a little bit, and you're going to miss good times when they just want to see the fights and arguments. I'm available to defend every argument you see, but you have to realize, as a regular person, that that's, of course, not it. And every time you see a fight and an argument, there's like 15 people behind the camera that you don't see, so it's crazy.

Fifteen people NOT breaking it up ... [laughing]

Mm hmm.

What's been the response so far? Like, are you recognizable? Have you seen your Facebook friend additions go up?

Oh wow, yeah my Facebook and Twitter have really blown up! But that was expected. On the streets, not really yet. I'm sure after a couple episodes, it'll get a little crazy. There's definitely support out there but it's definitely a lot of negativity, too, which I knew was going to happen. I mean, I'm not on The Apprentice — I'm on The Bad Girls Club. People are happy to see Charlotte on TV. And yeah, you're going to be a little upset [by] some things I do, but I think at the end of the day, everybody's going to be proud.

So you're not worried at all about how this may change your image or people's perception of you?

Umm ... [pause] no, no. I think If i was naive or a little bit dumb [laughing] it may skew me, but I'm so confident in what I did there. I'm confident in the progression and things that I've learned there that I'm ok with it. You know you can't please everybody, but I definitely had great time. I definitely experienced some things that people only dream of experiencing, so the good outweigh the bad.

Given the nature of the show, was there any incentive for you to play it up a little more — to be badder than you actually are?

There wasn't any incentive but it was just the situation, know what I mean?

What else do you want to tell people in Charlotte?

I want them to know that, at the end of the day, I'm not some regular, dumb broad, wanting to flaunt everything on TV. They found me while I was in school, while I was studying for my LSATs, while I was still having fun, still wanting to be crazy but also knew how to act, so you're going to see a mixture of it. Respect the reality of it, respect the fakeness of it, respect that I'm just a wanted to house sit out in LA. So you have to take it all in, you can't just be negative about the whole thing.

Let's be honest. Free rent, free booze and tense situations? We'd all have a drunken night and a drunken fight or two.

You can watch the Bad Girls Club Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on Oxygen. For more information on the show check out the Bad Girls Club Web site.

— Mike McCray

Was it hard for you to drop everything and say, "I'm gonna go out here and live with a bunch of girls on TV"?

Well, Initially it was over the summer, so it was easy. I wasn't in school, I didn't really have any obligations, so it really easy for me to say I want to take this opportunity. But it ended up going over into the school year, so I had to push back my graduation date. I definitely wouldn't change anything, but it definitely changed my plans a little bit.

What do you think the response is going to be when you get back there [UNCG]?

It's going to be really really crazy. I think Greensboro's going to be flipped upside down a little [laughing]. And people who thought they knew me won't know me, and people that know me are going to be excited — so it's going to be mixture of responses, I think.

You're a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and — stereotypically — you wouldn't associate AKAs with doing anything crazy. So what do you think people are going to think? Do you think your sorors are going to be mad at you?

At the end of the day, I know that the Kendra that is an AKA is still an AKA, but that doesn't define the total person that I am. I'm still 22. I'm still young. I'm still going to make mistake. I'm still going to be controversial and my own personality, so I'm an AKA first, but I'm also a human being and a young woman for a reason. So people ... they have to be realistic about what it is to be a woman, what it is to be in college and what it is to be in an organization, whether that's a sorority or not.

You'll be out in May [graduation] so what do you hope this leads to?

Right now it's leading to a lot of opportunities. Just a lot of money making potential, I'm meeting a lot of people and being able to travel. That stuffs all well and good but I'm pre-law so my real, true goal is to go to law school and that's never changed. So whatever happens with the show is fabulous but I also have another back up plan.

Once you get on this reality show alum circuit, the money making opportunities don't dry up for a while. I mean you still see Real World people from years ago making money for club appearances, so what do you think the BGC will do for you in that sense?

Bad Girls Club, because it's really new and really taking off, we haven't seen the longevity of how long the girls can last from the show. But I think me personally, the BGC thing will fade away, and I can still be a personality in the spotlight.

It might very well pay for law school ...

It might, and I definitely have a story for my entrance essays so it's all good.

Being on the inside, what was the experience like living with a bunch of girls and having cameras tape everything? It's not like you had to kiss Flavor Flav or anything.

What is so weird about TV is that the audience becomes a little bit naive to what it takes to make a TV show, and they think the only thing they see on TV is the only thing that happened. And that's not the case. We were filmed for 24 hours a day, 75 days total; two and a half months, every minute of every day, and they can't possibly show that in an 11-episode series. So you're gonna miss a lot of things. Stories are going to be skewed a little bit, and you're going to miss good times when they just want to see the fights and arguments. I'm available to defend every argument you see, but you have to realize, as a regular person, that that's, of course, not it. And every time you see a fight and an argument, there's like 15 people behind the camera that you don't see, so it's crazy.

Fifteen people NOT breaking it up ... [laughing]

Mm hmm.

What's been the response so far? Like, are you recognizable? Have you seen your Facebook friend additions go up?

Oh wow, yeah my Facebook and Twitter have really blown up! But that was expected. On the streets, not really yet. I'm sure after a couple episodes, it'll get a little crazy. There's definitely support out there but it's definitely a lot of negativity, too, which I knew was going to happen. I mean, I'm not on The Apprentice — I'm on The Bad Girls Club. People are happy to see Charlotte on TV. And yeah, you're going to be a little upset [by] some things I do, but I think at the end of the day, everybody's going to be proud.

So you're not worried at all about how this may change your image or people's perception of you?

Umm ... [pause] no, no. I think If i was naive or a little bit dumb [laughing] it may skew me, but I'm so confident in what I did there. I'm confident in the progression and things that I've learned there that I'm ok with it. You know you can't please everybody, but I definitely had great time. I definitely experienced some things that people only dream of experiencing, so the good outweigh the bad.

Given the nature of the show, was there any incentive for you to play it up a little more — to be badder than you actually are?

There wasn't any incentive but it was just the situation, know what I mean?

What else do you want to tell people in Charlotte?

I want them to know that, at the end of the day, I'm not some regular, dumb broad, wanting to flaunt everything on TV. They found me while I was in school, while I was studying for my LSATs, while I was still having fun, still wanting to be crazy but also knew how to act, so you're going to see a mixture of it. Respect the reality of it, respect the fakeness of it, respect that I'm just a wanted to house sit out in LA. So you have to take it all in, you can't just be negative about the whole thing.

Let's be honest. Free rent, free booze and tense situations? We'd all have a drunken night and a drunken fight or two.

You can watch the Bad Girls Club Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on Oxygen. For more information on the show check out the Bad Girls Club Web site.

— Mike McCray

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