Kimbella Kimbella

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, 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.

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Yvette Nicole Brown and Gabourey Sidibe were some of the actresses who were vocal about the treatment of actors of color when faced with beauticians in Hollywood.
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Celebrities Use #ActingWhileBlack Hashtag To Point Out Pitfalls Of Hollywood's Beauty Scene

While being a working person of color in Hollywood is something to admire, those fortunate enough to be working in these spaces often have difficulties finding the right person to do their hair and makeup with the right amount of diligent care.

Model Olivia Anakwe took to Instagram earlier this month to detail the issues she faced before a runway show, when she was disrespected by haircare professionals who refused to work on her textured hair.

"Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others?” she wrote. “It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class."

The hashtag #ActingWhileBlack began to spread on social media over the weekend, and people of color chimed in to share their stories.

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown shared that she often carries her own hair extensions and clothes for shoots, and that having stylists who are untrained in black beauty often runs the risk of them looking bad later on. Oscar-nominee Gabourey Sidibe shared a similar sentiment.

Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell hit the nail on the head in her tweet about the issue with not hiring the right people to work with ethnic hair.

“If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair,” she wrote on Mar. 11. “Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.”

Check out some tweets from celebs on this issue below.


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This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills. Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair. I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done. If I am asked to wear my natural hair to a show, the team should prepare the style just as they practice the look and demo for non-afro hair. I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class. I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that. Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better. || #NaturalHair #ModelsofColor #BlackHairCare #HairCare #Message #Hair #Hairstyling #Backstage #BTS #AfroTexturedHair #Afro #POC #Braids #Message #Spreadtheword #Speak #Awareness #Growth #WorkingTogether #BlackGirlMagic #Melanin

A post shared by Olivia Anakwe (@olivia_anakwe) on Mar 7, 2019 at 9:07am PST

#ActingWhileBlack Makeup & Hair in one bag. The other bags are filled with clothes because some wardrobe stylists don’t know that cute clothes exist in sizes larger than size 10. “Here try on this mumu, I know it’s a little big, we’ll just belt it!” #ActingWhileBlackAndChubby

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya!

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya!

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

If they don’t have the budget to hire a black hairstylist for me, or won’t, I just get the director to agree that my character should have box braids or senegalese twist.

— Gabby Sidibe (@GabbySidibe) March 11, 2019

PSA: If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair. Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.

Congratulations on advancing to the next level of inclusion!

— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) March 11, 2019

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Kim Kardashian is seen on February 7, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

Kim Kardashian Credited For Making Crimped Hair Cool Like Beyonce, Janet Jackson And Naomi Campbell Don't Exist

Spring is nothing without doses of cultural appropriation from those out of touch with black culture.

Insert Vogue, who decided to give props to Kim Kardashian for bringing back crimped hair on Friday (March 15). The businesswoman has been on the move lately, rocking a mix of kanekalon and yaki ponytails during fashion month, Chance The Rapper's wedding and other Kardashian-related events.

“What makes this look so modern is that the front is sleek,” explained her stylist Justine Marjan. “This gives a cool contrast to the texture.”

The texture? 

With many trends from the aughts coming back to the mainstream, this is one that hasn't really gone anywhere. But black beauty markers (layered gold chains, perfect baby hairs, name chains) paired with media ignorance and the Kardashian's own fascination with black culture has made it okay for her to receive all the props.

But we can't forget those who have slayed kanekalon, yaki and crimped styles like...

Janet Jackson

The singer's look for her comeback has been a uniform-like one, with Ms. Jackson rocking all black and her now signature ponytail.


This. was. last. year. How could anyone forget this? The entertainer rocked various styles of kanekalon hair for Beychella.

There was also this amazing look at Serena Williams' wedding.


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A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Nov 19, 2017 at 9:01am PST

Ruth E. Carter

The Oscar-winning designer made the look all her own while on the red carpet for Black Panther. 

Nicki Minaj

Fans of the rapper are aware her early looks included fun crimped and wavy styles. When she made to move to ditch her color wigs in 2014, she's kept the crimped styles close to her heart.

And we cannot forget about our queen, Naomi Campbell

She's owned the look her whole career, from the runway to the red carpet, Ms. Campbell has always been on the forefront of casual beautiful looks.

Social media also got wind of Vogue's post, including actor O'Shea Jackson who like many of us, is just over it.

Maaaaaaan come on now. Come ooooon now. Bringing it back? Vogue stop this

— Stone Cold Shea Jackson (@OsheaJacksonJr) March 15, 2019

Perhaps there's a bit of truth of the theories of fashion outlets trolling readers but this just deserves a permanent eye roll.

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'Boomerang' Episode 6 Recap: Homecoming

On this episode of BET’s Boomerang, the love story between Bryson and Simone begins with a flashback to their freshman year of college. After several years of not seeing one another since their childhood, Bryson is shocked to see a slick-back pony-tail wearing Simone insert herself into his class during a presentation. Nothing has changed with her. Even pre-bob and with Bryson rocking a sharp Steve Harvey-like hairline, even from their younger days, they have always been the dynamic duo of marketing strategy. The product featured this week: Pro-Black T-Shirts.

The devastation of not having his secret love in his life spills over into their sophomore year when a beanie-wearing David and Crystal are happy in their fake hood love. By this time, a rapper named Prisoner has all of Simone’s attention and this makes Bryson big mad. The man can’t even hide it. In an apparent fit of jealousy, he calls Simone out for living under her father’s shadow, in front of everyone. It’s safe to say that sophomore Bry struck out badly.

This isn’t just about Simone and Bryson; they’re not the only ones who’ve made transformations over the years (and I’m not just talking about their hair ‘dos). In his earlier life, Ari was less eccentric and more focused on making his family proud as a young black man in college who isn’t running on BPT for class. Ari was as straight as 180 when he’s first put into a situation where he’s forced to confront his sexual identity. As big and bad as he looked while working as a “rough & tough” bouncer at a nightclub, a flirtatious patron sees right through that persona.  After being charmed by the man who helps him realize self, the rainy night sets the tone for a steamy kiss between the two in the front seat of Ari’s car. The look on Ari’s face is a blend of fear, then relief, then ultimately bliss as he seemingly reminisces on his random but welcomed encounter. Although he enjoyed it, Ari didn’t seem to embrace his identity totally. That same year, we see a less hood-David changing more into the Christian we now know and Ari isn’t buying it. Something about this “we can do all things in Christ mentality” rubs him the wrong way. Facing one’s true self is tough.

Junior year, Bryson has a much better barber but things haven’t changed; he’s still checking for Simone. She and Prisoner are still dating if you want to call it that. Prisoner is the type of dude you’d expect to see Simone date in college. He’s flashy, has money, probably doesn’t even go to the school, and he’s rude AF. As Simone and Bryson reconnect for the two millionth time, Prisoner’s pimp tone telling Simone to hurry up is a strong indication he’s not here for their friendship. In analyzing the hair, it’s clear that Simone is not herself. Seriously, at this point, she’s rocking a glueless lace wig.

With her new hairstyle, she realizes that she made the mistake of loving a man more than herself. Prisoner is officially a dub. To celebrate her revelation, she finds herself drunkenly wining and grinding on her childhood bae, Bryson. Does this look familiar? Well, think back to last week when they were doing the same in the parking lot before 5-0 arrived. Because she couldn’t hold it, Simone ends up using Bryson’s bathroom which leads to a very sober thoughts-type of conversation in the bedroom. It is recognized that Bryson has always had a thing for the kid and Simone regrets that she never said anything about her feelings. His commandeering attitude (like the day she walked into his class freshman year) reminded her of the Different World “Strangers on a Plane” episode. It was an iconic one because it’s where Dwayne and Whitley’s love story began. That’s a telling comparison.

With that being said, Simone always felt Bryson was the Dwane to her Whitley. Unfortunately, the timing was always off and just when we think the two finally catch up to one another, cue: the vomit. Poor Bryson. Did someone do brujeria on this kid? He has the worst luck. But, like the gentleman he is, he takes care of his queen to make sure she’s all comfy in her drunken slumber. He whispers, “I love you Simone Graham,” but on the wake up it looks like sis suffers from sudden amnesia. She pulls the “best friend” card, making it clear that it’s friend zone from here on out. Prisoner’s trifling friend calls to offer to take Simone out to eat and in an act of “let me solidify that Bryson knows this is going nowhere,” Simone agrees to go out with her ex's friend. Once again, a blue-balled Bryson is left sorting out his feelings that Simone continues to perpetually confuse.

It’s important to note that the story of Brymone is not a new one. We’ve seen it in many action movies, comic book flicks, and on “Strangers on a Plane” where the geeky male character is overlooked by the badass female, only to win her affection in the end. Nice guys don’t always finish last, but in Bryson’s case, could it possibly be heading in that direction and is Simone even the heroine worth winning? In browsing through what is essentially the best years of any young adult’s life, Simone had many times to figure out if Bryson was the one for her and yet she chose to ignore her feelings. Unlike David, it’s not like she found Jesus; she hasn’t yet found herself.

One thing she does know is that she cannot lose Bryson because it’s possible she may love and need him more than she’d like to verbally admit. He’s no Prisoner or no flashy member of the entourage. He’s the “gentleman who wears tuxedos and makes sure his homegirl is safe” type of dude and unfortunately, that isn’t one Simone is interested in, for now.

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