With a renewed contract for $1 million, "Real Housewife of Atlanta" NeNe Leakes has every right to rock her "I'm Very Rich" T-shirt. A staple on the hit Bravo program since its premiere in 2008, Leakes has never been shy about touting her fabulousness. But we'd be hard pressed to argue with her. It's not exactly easy to remain in the reality spotlight. But NeNe has had little trouble stretching those 15 minutes into a pretty long ride. In fact, there are quite a few reasons why the outspoken star is the highest paid "Real Housewife" of the series. Some of those reasons just might surprise you…
She's become the show's "mediator."
None of the Atlanta housewives are strangers to trouble, especially NeNe. Ironically, she's now the most sensible, often serving as mediator when the other ladies have their squabbles. She's the one who convinced Kenya to re-admit Porsha into her costume party during season 5's finale. The season before that, she served as referee when Sheree and Marlo got into a heated spat in Africa. Who says a leopard can't change her spots?
Her On-Again/Off-Again Relationship with Kim Zolciak
The world loves dysfunctional on-again/off-again relationships. (Why else would we be so fascinated with Chris Brown and Rihanna?) As such we've developed a love affair with NeNe and Kim Zolciak's semi-permanent frenemy status. Indeed, the bickering pair has created much of the drama for the series. But even after all those cat fights, back-biting, and trash-talking, it would appear that they've mended fences once more. Vibe magazine revealed in March, that the two are now attempting to heal old wounds.
From Rags to Riches
Rags-to-riches stories are always crowd pleasers. NeNe's professional growth on the show is particularly inspiring, especially since her aspirations have taken her all the way to Hollywood. Counting "Glee" and "The New Normal" as big chunks of her resume, Leakes is popping up literally everywhere on TV these days. In fact, she's one of the few actresses who's earning extra paychecks for just being herself on camera.
What we also love about NeNe is that she often says the things that others are thinking, but are too afraid to say. She did just that in season 3. When she was on Zolciak's tour bus, she referred to her assistant, Sweetie Hughes, as her "slave." You could hear a pin drop after that comment. And although Hughes didn't take too kindly to the remark, the following season found her with a refreshed makeover and a feistier attitude. And then she was fired. Hmm. Maybe NeNe had a point after all.
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