Adam Taylor / ABC
Monday, June 23, 2014 | 4:26 p.m.
NeNe Leakes vs. Star Jones
Reality TV star NeNe Leakes (“The Real Housewives of Atlanta”) is bringing the drama of her often-controversial TV appearances to a run of 10 “Zumanity” shows.
It’s part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the show, and Cirque du Soleil officials have told me that if successful, it will herald other guest stars and new cast and routine changes into its second decade.
NeNe, who appeared as a stripper in the 2003 Cuba Gooding and Beyonce film “The Fighting Temptations,” starts her guest-hosting role Friday night, but this evening I’ll chat with NeNe after I watch her rehearsals as the erotic Edie, Mistress of Sensuality, in Cirque’s sexy, adult-centric show at New York-New York.
She’s already made it clear that while the show is provocative and risque and several performers go topless, she won’t be getting naked. However, fans will see plenty of skin.
“We’ll be as sexy as we can be,” 46-year-old NeNe told our colleague Susan Stapleton at Las Vegas Magazine. NeNe worked as a stripper when she met husband Gregg Leakes, whom she married in 1997.
Dancing won’t be too difficult for the “Glee” star (coach Roz Washington) when she takes over as “Zumanity” mistress Edie, as NeNe competed in Season 18 of “Dancing With the Stars” and finished seventh with pro partner Tony Dovolani.
I met NeNe during her run on Season 11 of Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” when she made a promotional appearance with “Apprentice” co-star DJ Lil Jon at Steve Wynn’s Encore. Also on that season: Meat Loaf, Gary Busey and Star Jones. NeNe quit the show before the Donald yelled his signature “you’re fired” line.
You all must remember the epic catfight to end all reality TV catfights between NeNe and Star on “Apprentice.”
NeNe says that while in Las Vegas, she expects to do a lot of shopping and dining at Strip restaurants. On Sunday night, NeNe was spotted at Tao in the Venetian with Gregg celebrating their anniversary. Dressed to the nines, the couple toasted with cocktails while enjoying appetizers and sushi. Guests nearby noticed the reality TV star and stopped by her table to say hello.
We’ll have her full interview Tuesday, but she has already commented: “I’m really looking forward to ‘Zumanity.’ It’s a great show, and I love performing before live audiences. This is going to be rewarding for all of us.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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