'Real Housewives of Atlanta's' NeNe Leakes to Create Fashion Line (Exclusive)
Her goal is to be the “Queen of TV,” and now NeNe Leakes also wants to be a princess of fashion.
She reportedly will be the highest-paid performer on the upcoming fifth season of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Atlanta, she has a recurring role on Fox's Glee as Coach Roz Washington and a role in Ryan Murphy’s upcoming NBC sitcom The New Normal, she is an author and TV magazine correspondent, and she was a contestant on NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice.
On Tuesday, the 44-year-old mother of two announced that she has signed with global brand licensing agency Beanstalk to make her move into fashion. Beanstalk says in an announcement tied to Licensing Expo 2012, now going on in Las Vegas, that it intends to “leverage NeNe’s position in pop culture to offer consumers fashion-forward, affordable apparel and accessories, designed to empower women to walk into a room and ‘own it’ -- like NeNe herself.”
No deal is signed yet, but Beanstalk will look to license a range of consumer products built around fashions that will appeal to the women who have watched her evolve on the show.
"While the fame of reality television characters is often short-lived and fleeting,” said Michael Stone, Beanstalk’s president and CEO, “NeNe Leakes has displayed versatility that has enabled her to transition from being a Real Housewives personality to a featured television star on Glee. NeNe's multifaceted personality and aspirational style will translate well into products that will emotionally connect with her fans."
Added Steven Grossman, Leakes' talent manager at The Collective: “Her no-nonsense demeanor and entrepreneurial spirit has allowed her to amass a loyal fan base that shares her ambition. Through the launch of authentic and compelling consumer products, NeNe will have the ability to enhance the connection she maintains with fans and extend beyond her existing entertainment platforms.”
Said Allison Ames, president of North America at Beanstalk, “NeNe’s rise to fame has eclipsed that of any other reality television star today, providing a real opportunity to extend her brand.”
Beanstalk will collaborate with Leakes managers at The Collective and lawyers at Fox Rothschild -- Darrell Miller, Staci Riordan, Julian Petty and Ellie Altshuler. Leakes does not have a talent agent.
Leakes is the author of Never Make the Same Mistake Twice and founder of a charity, Twisted Hearts, which works to bring awareness to the problem of domestic violence. According to multiple reports, will make $1 million in salary for the upcoming season of Real Housewives of Atlanta, making her the highest-paid performer on the show. The reunion episode during the fourth season received the highest ratings in the series' history.
She also is pursuing an acting career and has been shuttling between Atlanta and Los Angeles to make the transition to an actress in scripted shows.
Leakes tweeted this week that she was “Headin 2 meet up wit my actin coach 2day n LA! She's helpin me become the queen of tv.” Then after her coaching, she tweeted: “this chick is bad wit a script.”
She has also appeared as an actress on The Game and Let’s Stay Together and has as a correspondent or guest on a number of magazine shows, including The Insider, Live From the Red Carpet, Ellen, The Talk, The Wendy Williams Show, Entertainment Tonight and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Beanstalk is a global brand-licensing agency that is part of the Omnicom Group’s Diversified Agency Services division.