The love life of a celebrity is a complicated thing.
It’s not that they have a hard time finding someone to date, but it can be a challenge to find someone who wants to date them for the right reasons.
Many of those who have starred on reality-TV shows also say it is difficult to find someone that is willing to look beyond the wild antics of their onscreen personas.
Take Charlotte native Kendra James of the Oxygen Network’s fourth season of “Bad Girls Club.” On the show, James was known for being a party girl that liked to drink and have casual sex. Though the petite UNC Charlotte graduate appeared to be a sweet, demure pageant princess, James was portrayed as having a short fuse, a lot of attitude and raging temper that often put her at odds with her housemates.
“I may have a pretty face,” she remarked. “I may talk nice and proper, but at the end of the day I can play both roles. I can be your friend or your worse enemy.”
Since her season of “Bad Girls Club” ended, James returned to Charlotte where she works in financial services.
“I clean up nicely,” she said. “I like corporate America. It balances out my party-, fun-girl side. I’m a financial specialist during the week, and I go out on the weekends.”
James said even though she left her “bad-girl” persona behind when the show wrapped, the reputation it earned is still a factor in her dating life.
“Sometimes I meet guys, and they act like I was never on TV,” she said. “They act like they don’t know, but really they do. I’d rather just be up front and say, ‘Yeah, it was me. It is what it is. I’m that plus a whole lot more…’ I’m more than open to talk about it so that we can get over it.”
James said it also bothers her when guys admit that they saw the show, but downplay it saying it was no big deal.
“One thing you shouldn’t say [when approaching me] is, ‘I don’t care about that ‘Bad Girls Club’ thing. I’m trying to get to know you,’” she said. “That I don’t like because ‘Bad Girls Club’ is me. I’m older and it’s three years later, but when they do that it kind of puts me in a bad place.”
James said people also often get the wrong impression about the types of guys she’s into dating.
“I don’t have a taste or a certain type of man,” she said. “People look at me weird sometimes when I do have a man because they wonder who he is. He may be a nerd or somebody who doesn’t look like a typical athlete or someone that people would expect me to be with, but I don’t care.”
The bad boy
Michael McCluney of South Carolina is known as a bad boy for different reasons. On MTV’s “Making the Band 4,” McCluney was handpicked by Sean “Diddy” Combs to be a member of the group Day 26 and signed to Bad Boy Records.
On the show, viewers watched McCluney’s battle to lose weight. On one episode, he was chastised by Combs for eating one too many grilled cheese sandwiches and not spending enough time working out on the treadmill.
His singing group has since disbanded and McCluney is back in the Carolinas teaching dance and trying to get his solo career off the ground.
Although McCluney said meeting new people has never been an issue for him, he admits that his time in the limelight definitely helped him attract more women. The problem, he said, was that a lot of them were either crazy or attracted to him for the wrong reasons.
“I’ve had married women approach with their husbands on their arms,” he said. “I’ve had people grab me in places that you are not supposed to grab somebody when you are with someone. But the craziest thing was when this girl had my name tattooed on her. I met her at a lingerie Halloween party that I threw… It was a little awkward.”
McCluney said it would be refreshing to date a woman who was unaware that he appeared on TV or once signed a deal with Bad Boy. However, he doesn’t think it’s likely.
“I rarely ever get that,” he said. “I’ve got it a couple of times, but they were really lying. They tried to act like they didn’t know who I was, but once we started talking they would come out and tell me they knew my music, and I’m like, ‘I thought you didn’t know me. You didn’t know my name.’”