Vixen Exclusive: Kimbella Talks "Love & Hip-Hop" + Juelz Santana's "Non-Fab" Factor
You’ve seen her on the cover of many male magazines and featured in countless music videos, now get ready to view her on a VH1 time slot near you, this coming November. Kim Vanderhee, otherwise known by Kimbella, has a spot on season two of hit reality series Love & Hip-Hop. Slated to be the breakout star of the second installment, this 27-year-old mother of two is ready to show the world she is more than a voluptuous goddess. Kim prides herself in the importance of family and strength, and it is clear, she will do anything to hold down her Harlem-bred man, Juelz Santana. VIBE Vixen had a chance to chat exclusively with the blossoming jack of trades as she enters a new arena with the concrete concepts of money, loyalty, power and respect. Will she be able to survive? Kimbella discusses her Love & Hip-Hop debut, relationship with one of hip-hop’s respected emcees and the strength of women in the music industry.
VIBE Vixen: How did you come up with your name Kimbella?
KIMBELLA: Kimbella is a name I created once I got into the modeling industry, but everyone calls me Kim. I felt the need to make my own existence, so I added the “bella” which means beautiful in Italian.
When you were younger, did you think you would be where you are now?
I always knew I would be somebody. I’ve worked so hard since I was a child to pursue my goals. I always knew I would be in the industry as an actress or just somebody. Looking back, I pushed myself. No one pushed me. My parents let me do whatever I wanted to do. I did it, [and] I did it the right way. Even though I didn’t have the guidance I needed, I still rocked out.
How did you get involved with Love & Hip-Hop?
Love & Hip-Hop approached me. I guess you could say they scouted me. They asked me if I would like to be a part of the show. Ultimately, I decided it would be a great opportunity, so I signed up.
What do you feel is your “role” on Love & Hip-Hop?
I don’t take it as a role. They’re just following me and what I do on a daily basis. It was a great opportunity for me to open up to the world. Instead of them seeing me a beautiful girl in a still picture, they’re able to follow me through my everyday with my family, holding the house down, standing behind a man in the industry and also building my career.
Did you face any difficult moments being the new girl?
Well, that of course is for everyone to see when the show airs on November 14th at 9pm. [Laughs] In any situation, when you’re the new girl and you’re coming in to meet new people, there are going to be challenges. There are going to be a lot of things going on because they don’t know you. It’s all about “show and prove.” That’s a real term I use all the time for anyone coming into a situation that’s just “wait and see.” I can’t really go into what happened. That’s for you guys to see when the show airs, but it will be great entertainment. [Laughs]
Which girl did you connect with first?
The characters on the show are Chrissy, Emily, Somaya, Olivia, Yandy and I. I don’t know if you know Yandy, but she’s Jim Jones’ manager. Me and Yandy have been friends for a long time, so she’s automatically a connection. It was great to have her be a part of that. She’s automatically on my team, so it wasn’t like I was going in by myself. I had my girl with me. With everyone else, you have to get to know everyone before you jump into something. There’s never an instance where you can jump in. It’s like, 'No, I have to see who you are. What you’re about. Can I rock with you?' That’s just how I roll.
Exactly! Because after season one of Love & Hip-Hop, it was clear these women have strong personalities.
With that statement you said just now, women in this industry, the hip-hop industry in particular, are some very strong women. We have a lot to deal with. I look at each individual woman as a strong woman. Not everyone can just roll up and deal with this. To deal with industry, it’s a lot to take in. There’s a lot to know. You have to play your cards right.
Now there are two reports swirling around: One claims you got into it with Fab, the other claims you and Chrissy have some drama. What’s going on with you and those ladies?
Listen, there’s a lot of BS going around on the blogs. Once you guys see the show, you’ll be able to see all the realness come to life. Once you see the show, you’ll understand. When you’re a public figure, people will say what they want to say and will create these stories for their own pockets. In real life, people and public figures are [saying], 'What the fuck? What are thinking? Where do you guys get those stories?' But Thank God I have a show where I can say, 'This is really what happened. Now what do you have to say?'
What can fans expect from Kimbella in particular?
In one sentence: I hold my own. I am a strong woman. Everyone will get a chance to see that when the show airs. I can’t wait because I’m ready to show the world that I’m not just a pretty bitch in a picture or on camera. I’m more than that. I’m way more than that because no one’s going to expect what they’re going to see. There’s going to be a lot going on, but ultimately, you will see I am the chick that’s holding down my family, my man, his career and my career. They’ll be able to see what type of chick I am with my personality, style, and overall. This is what I’ve been waiting to do.
Do you like Basketball Wives? What do you think is the biggest differences you girls and those girls?
I do. I watch Basketball Wives. I like those shows, of course. It’s hard for them as it is for us. We’re in the hip-hop industry dealing with all of that and they're dealing with basketball player/athlete situations. It’s totally different. I really couldn’t compare the two exactly. You just have to very strong-minded and hold your own in general. I’ve been dealing with this for a while now, and it’s never torn me and Juelz apart. Me and Juelz look at that shit and we’re like, 'Wait, but we know what’s real.' The blogs come out; we’re out that same night locking lips and taking photos because that shit doesn’t matter to us.
How does Juelz feel about you doing the show? Is he a Fab kind of dude?
There’s no comparison between Juelz and Fab. Let’s clear that up right quick! Everything that’s supports me and my daily life, will be in addition to the show. That’s all I’m going to say.
Are you nervous to shed light onto your relationship?
I’ve seen a lot of relationships ruined by reality shows, so I just wanted to make sure we were ready to do this together. Ultimately, anything I do, we’ll do together. I wanted to make sure we were ready because we’ve only been together for two years. It’s a whole other dynamic we’re doing together, and I just didn’t want to put too much pressure on our situation. Even though the show hasn’t aired yet, I feel like we’ve become stronger because of everything we’ve been through throughout the process. I only see things as getting better and us handling the negativity together. There’s no end to a great situation like this.
In an interview with AllHipHop.com, you are cited to want to begin an acting career is Love & Hip-Hop the first step into starting your career?
Back in the day, I’ve done a lot of acting as a model. Yes, I want to aspire to become an actress and have new roles after this. I have a watch line; the Bella line of watches. I’m aspiring to be a singer, a pop artist. I’m going to start a blog. I have a lot of different things I am going to make happen. I’m not just a video chick. I am a Vixen. You can call me a Vixen. My definition of a Vixen is different from what other Vixens have been classified as. I’m a mother, and I’m a wife. I also have my acting, singing career, my brand, and my column. I’m not just a Vixen because I used to model and do videos, I’m a Vixen because of the dynamic and what I’ve mastered in my life and what I’m doing now.