Logo’s The A-List may be a gay men’s lions’ den, but Nyasha Zumicha is not easily intimidated. The former beauty queen from Africa pulls a Heather Locklear and comes onboard on Season 2, premiering tonight.
How will the straight self-proclaimed diva spice up the boys’ club? Queerty editor Oscar Raymundo spoke with Nyasha about why she decided to join the guilty-pleasure-of-a-show and which of the gay housewives she thinks has the biggest balls.
Are you straight, lesbian, bi or trans?
Straight and lovin’ it!
So what’s a straight girl like you doing on a gay show like The A-List?
I think that question is very ’90s. It’s not illegal for gay people and straight people to hang out. It’s weird that people would be shocked to see a black girl hanging out with a bunch of gay guys. We know how gay men love their divas.
Well, the show’s producers did go out of their way to just cast gay men originally, so maybe the concept is what’s really ’90s.
You’re right though, we do love our divas. You don’t seem to think of that label as negative.
Not at all. Diva is not a bad word. To me, diva is powerful and strong and makes a positive splash.
Reality TV, especially this show, doesn’t always portray people in a positive light. Did you have any concerns before coming on board?
There’s always an element of surprise. It’s the price to pay to get to impact 2 million people a week with your brand. I can’t control how people are going to react. There’s also the element of editing. True Entertainment, the production company behind the show, is very successful. They know what they’re doing. The client, Logo, is a great network. I liked the tone they were after when I met with them and they seemed to get me. Obviously you’re not going to see 360 degrees of Nyasha in 10 episodes, but that’s not the point of the show.
What is the point?
To show the different dynamics. I’m sure I’ll be upset when I watch some of it. But that’s what comes with a project like this.
How did you get involved in the show? Did you know any of the guys before?
No, actually I did not know any of the guys. I was working on another TV project when I was approached by the casting director.
You think that the producers brought you on to broaden the audience and reach out to female and minority viewers?
I’m not ruling it out, but I don’t think it was a defining factor. They saw something in me. And it’s a great way to show America how normal the show is. I cry, I get bloated, I get my period, I call my mom every day. I think people will be surprised to see how genuine these relationships are. It’s not just stereotypes. I don’t snap my fingers every time I finish an argument.
You did snap a little in that teaser scene when you met the guys. One of them asked you if you did white women’s hair…
That was Austin. Austin is an uneducated human being. Uneducated about hair.
Did it come off as a racist remark?
No, it didn’t. I think Austin is just insecure and felt threatened. He was trying to make fun of people who did hair. That’s why I mentioned Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I wasn’t trying to brag or anything. I was trying to explain to him what I did.
How did the rest of the guys react to you coming on board?
I think at first they felt I was encroaching on their territory and not really sure what I was doing there. Maybe felt intimidated. But I didn’t go in there trying to compete. I don’t have to. It takes someone like Ryan to understand that. Now, I have built great relationships with some of the guys, and I’m even surprised at how personal they’ve become.
The show has gotten criticized for highlighting the worst characteristics of the gay community. Do you think it might also highlight the worst characteristics of the black community now as well?
No. Whatever I show, that’s who I am. Some people feel the pressure when the cameras are turned on them to need to be this character, confrontational or just a hot mess. I don’t.
Are you referring specifically to some of your cast mates?
Recently we got an exclusive offer to buy a 20-min video of Reichen jerking off for $6,000. As a businesswoman, what do you think a video like that is actually worth?
I can’t comment on anyone else’s business.
The A: List New York premieres Monday, July 25, at 10pm on Logo.
Images via Logo