Move over, She by Shereé! Former Real Housewives of Atlanta cast members Shereé Whitfield and Lisa “Closet Freak” Wu-Hartwell aren’t the only ones with eyes on the runway. RHOA breakout-turned-Glee guest star NeNe Leakes is launching her own fashion line, EW has confirmed.
Between readying for a fifth season of Housewives and preparing for her role on Ryan Murphy’s fall sitcom The New Normal, Leakes has a partnership with global licensing agency Beanstalk in the works. Though no papers have been signed yet, the company said Leakes hopes to create pieces “designed to empower women to walk into a room and ‘own it’ — like NeNe herself” at this week’s Licensing Expo 2012 Las Vegas.
Beanstalk president and CEO Michael Stone praised Leakes’ “versatility,” “no-nonsense demeanor and entrepreneurial spirit” and said her “multi-faceted personality and aspirational style will translate well into products that will emotionally connect with her fans.”
Leakes follows in the footsteps of fellow reality stars turned fashion designers, including Nicole Richie, Lauren Conrad, and fellow Housewife (from Orange County) Gretchen Rossi. Then again, for every Lauren Conrad, there’s also a Jenni “J-Woww” Farley, whose Filthy Couture struggled to sell despite Farley’s Jersey Shore fame. Indeed, Conrad’s first time striking out as high-end fashion designer, well, struck out.
Beanstalk promoted Leakes’ proposed fashion line as “fashion-forward [and] affordable.” It seems she’s planning to follow in Conrad’s more recent footsteps when her deal with Kohl’s set the stage for her current success as a celebrity entrepreneur. The jury’s still out on her success in fashion, but with a building acting career and a network of contacts (Murphy, Wendy Williams, Ellen DeGeneres), she still has her dream to be the “Queen of TV” as a fallback.
This news was first exclusively posted by The Hollywood Reporter.