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Niecy Nash: In Control

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Watch scenes from Nash's new show <<

When it comes to Black women claiming their sexual power, Niecy Nash says we’ve got it all wrong. In fact, the star of “Do Not Disturb,” a new Fox dramedy about the joys and perils of the hospitality business, has no qualms preserving her sexy on or off-screen. It’s Nash’s confidence and swagger that has endeared her to many and enabled her to birth real-life portraits of everyday women such as the zany Deputy Raineesha Williams  from “Reno 911!” and she’s also gained a following as host of the Style Network’s “Clean House.”  In 2009,  the buxom beauty is scheduled to costar in three films including “Not Easily Broken,” the screen adaptation of T.D. Jakes’s novel of the same name; “The Proposal” with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds; and “G-Force,” a Walt Disney Pictures action-adventure. ESSENCE.com chatted with Ms. Nash about Black women owning their sex appeal, her rumored engagement, and why the fellas should definitely be careful about trusting a big butt and a smile.

ESSENCE.COM: Ms. Nash, congrats on your show “Do Not Disturb.” How does your character Rhonda Peete differ from your other characters, or is she a combination of them all?
NIECY NASH:
Right now I’m describing her as an educated, ghetto-fabulous, truth-telling Mary Poppins. She’s a lot of fun because she’s who woman that thinks she has it all together but you really get to see the places where she’s broken. For instance, she can be a bit self-righteous and would never completely admit that she believes she’s above reproach. What I love about Rhonda is that she’s a very sexy woman. I appreciate seeing a Black woman who embraces her sexuality on primetime. She doesn’t have to have on a business suit, she has cleavage and she’s curvy and truly enjoys being a woman. Sometimes as a strong woman in a man’s world you have to pull your hair back and say,  “Hey, I’m better than the guys.”

ESSENCE.COM: Often Black women are more conservative and concerned how the media portrays their sexuality, especially in music videos. Are you concerned that they might feel Rhonda is too sexy?
NASH:
I don’t think a lot of it has to do with sexuality. I had people calling me thanking me for kissing and having a love interest because normally that’s not how Black women are portrayed. It’s White women who are always thought of as the sexy ones with a love interest. Rhonda is not a woman who is objectified, she’s grown and sexy, running the hotel, and has the last word, and embraces her sexuality. She’s definitely not some lil’ chick on the come-up.

ESSENCE.COM: Recently the blogosphere has reported that you’re engaged to Wood from “I Love New York.” Is that true?
NASH:
No, I'm not engaged. There's no truth to those rumors.  Sophia Fiori was kind enough to lend me that beautiful diamond ring for the Emmy festivities and it was so gorgeous, I felt like I needed to wear it on the marriage finger. I was married to the bling of it all!  Right now, I'm really enjoying myself and have a great relationship with my boyfriend [Wood.]  We met at an event that he was hosting in L.A. with my good friend, Wendy Raquel Robinson.  He told me he was getting into acting and being the person that I am, I offered to provide him with some referrals if he needed any help.  I know how it can be trying to gain access in this industry; so again, just being friendly I gave him my number and didn't think anything about it.  He called me a few times and I just kind of brushed him off.  Then he called me and read me the riot act and was like, “Check this out.” Once he made his intentions clear and was strong about it, I was like, 'Okay.'  I liked that he stood his ground and I became smitten in the process.  He's a good guy and we've been rolling together ever since. We've been dating for a year now, and we're having a ball!

ESSENCE.COM: Your “Reno 911!” character Deputy Raineesha Williams is comfortable in her own skin and dons one-piece thongs on the red carpet. Do you still receive flack for attending that movie premiere in such a revealing bathing suit?
NASH:
Raineesha would have worked the red carpet just like that. I think there was an issue with body imagery more from the White community and [bloggers] saying things like, “I can’t believe she did that! She looks horrible!” First of all, Raineesha’s lower half is prosthetic; they took a mold of my real booty and built it out. Frankly, I thought my fake butt looked cute, but I don’t think a lot of people know that it isn’t real. Now, had Pamela Anderson waltzed on the red carpet with her triple D’s with her tiny body in a bikini everyone would be saying she looked fabulous. Those sisters who didn’t know that I had a prosthetic booty were like, “Go on, girl, you rocked that booty!” I didn’t bother to tell them otherwise because I had so many say, “I embraced my body because of Raineesha!” And I thought to myself, If thinking that this is my real behind is going to make you feel like the queen you really are then get into it!

ESSENCE.COM: (Laughs) Well, Bell Biv DeVoe was warned that the fellas should “never trust a big butt and a smile.” As a voluptuous, beautiful sister how do you feel about the possibility of men taking such precautionary measures based on your shapeliness?
NASH:
I created the look for Raineesha. She is built like every woman in my family—big booty and all—and I love it!  Baby, if I went to the mall with that behind on, I'd get my rent paid, okay!  There are so many men who love that particular shape and most of them are disappointed when they see me in person and discover that Raineesha has a prosthetic butt. That leads me to the answer to your question: Be sure to check out the big booty and the smile in person because the way the world is now, with the Internet and all its foolishness, you never know what you're getting. Like BBD said in their infamous song, that girl could be "poison," or better yet, it could be just too much for you to handle!  When you see it up close and personal, you'll be able to gauge better if the body, the mind and the spirit are all in the right place.  And if they’re not, you better run in the other direction!

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