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.