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A Charmed Life

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While 3.9 million viewers watched VH1’s Flavor of Love 2 last fall, making it the No. 1 show in Black households, comedian Mo’Nique shook her head in shame at the way the contestants were showing out on national TV. “You had 7-year-old girls watching this, and it was extremely disappointing,” she says.

Never one to hold her tongue, Mo’Nique shared her thoughts about the show’s negative depictions during an unrelated meeting with VH1 executives. The suits listened, and a few brainstorming sessions later, "Charm School" was born.

In School, host Mo’Nique leads 13 former Flavor housemates down a bumpy road to personal growth. Joined by a turnaround team that includes Essence ’s own beauty director, Mikki Taylor, she steers the women through a series of self-help commandments, focusing on proper etiquette, social skills and positive conflict-resolution techniques. (No more spitting on each other, we hope!)

Mo’Nique admits her approach was a bit naive at first. “I thought, 'Okay, we’ll have real conversations and everyone will walk away being better people'” she says. “Well, everybody is not going to get that.” Some contestants were challenged to open up emotionally about their cynical attitudes. And then there were those women with their own agendas. “Several ladies are just fighters and bullies,” the host explains.

Lips are sealed tight about whether Flav or Miss New York will stop by the house to shake things up. But when Mo’Nique is asked which bad-girl celeb -- Foxy, Britney or Naomi -- would benefit most from Charm School, the comedian answers with a laugh, but with heart. “There’s always something about ourselves that we want to change,” she says. “All of us can benefit from a little charm school.” Sign us up.

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