I'm the first to admit that hearing Ryan Murphy tapped Nene Leakes to join Glee's third season made me laugh harder than his writing ever had. But I was eating my words milliseconds into the Real Housewives of Atlanta star's McKinley debut since she was sharp, well-suited to the material and erased any memory of the Nene who once shouted, "Close your legs to married men, trashbox!"
Murphy, recognizing what a diamond he's dusted off, then crafted a role specifically for Nene on his newest show, The New Normal, and imbued the character of Rocky with the unique brand of moxie only Nene could deliver.
"Ryan Murphy is my fairy godmother," Nene tells TheInsider.com. "I'm forever in debt to him, and will always be loyal to him." Which means you could very well see her straddling two shows in the coming months. "You haven't seen the last of Roz," she added about her Glee swimming coach.
But no matter how you slice it, Nene's fans are eating up what she's serving. "I've been getting great reactions here in New York," Nene says. "People are stopping me on the street and telling me how much they love me, how much they love Rocky and how much they love the show!"
That could be partly because Rocky inherited some of her dynamic DNA from Nene herself. "I love that Rocky is outspoken ... but Nene is also," she laughs. "It took time for me to be able to speak my mind, so I love that Rocky is forever speaking her mind, is fabulous and wears high heels to work every day. I love her."
What Nene can't fathom is the idea of becoming a surrogate herself! "Absolutely not," she exclaimed when asked if she would ever contemplate emulating The New Normal's Goldie. "I would not be a surrogate for anyone. I could not do that. I am done having children. Shop is closed!"
The New Normal airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.
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