Kenyа Moore Hаѕ Stoррed Self-Blаmіng for Her Dіvorсe Yeаrѕ After Tryіng to ‘Sаve’ Her Ex from Hіѕ Own Red Flаgѕ

‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ star opens up to PEOPLE about her “next chapter” while discussing her new Lifetime film ‘Abducted Off the Street: The Carlesha Gaither Story’

Kenya Moore is turning a corner in her life, onto a new path that’s free from self-criticism and full of self-love.

While discussing her role in Lifetime’s newest film Abducted Off the Street: The Carlesha Gaither Story, The Real Housewives of Atlanta star tells PEOPLE she’s finally giving herself “permission to just live now” following the long-awaited resolution of her divorce to ex-husband Marc Daly.

“I’ve never given myself that before; allowed myself the freedom to just let go and walk through life fully embracing every part of myself,” Moore says. “That’s what I want to do moving forward, because I’m tired of holding myself back. This ‘next chapter,’ as I’m calling it, is all about flourishing, removing myself from those burdens and stepping into me.”

A big part of that move for Moore, who turned 53 on Jan. 24, is about quieting that critical voice in her head.

“I’ve always judging myself with my grandmother’s eyes,” Moore explains. “She was old-fashioned and very religious, and while I appreciated that and appreciated her morals, I feel like I’ve been wound a little to tight in the past. I’ve always contained myself, especially in my personal relationships. And I’m done doing that.”

A big part of that move for Moore, who turned 53 on Jan. 24, is about quieting that critical voice in her head.

“I’ve always judging myself with my grandmother’s eyes,” Moore explains. “She was old-fashioned and very religious, and while I appreciated that and appreciated her morals, I feel like I’ve been wound a little to tight in the past. I’ve always contained myself, especially in my personal relationships. And I’m done doing that.”

She’s also committed to no longer shouldering the emotional burden for things that have gone wrong in her life, such as her divorce to Daly. The former couple — who share daughter Brooklyn, 5 — wed in June 2017 and, as PEOPLE exclusively reported, finalized their divorce in December after more than three years of litigation.Kenya Moore and Marc Daly

“For years I blamed myself for my divorce — in the same way I judged myself, that was my default,” Moore says. “But recently, I looked back at text messages between us, emails, listened to voice recordings, and it finally hit me: It wasn’t me. So I said, ‘I’m sorry, but I’m not going to do this to myself.'”

“The only thing that I can say with me is that once I did see the red flag, I should have gotten out then,” Moore says, looking back. “I needed to stop being Captain Save-a-Ho, Some hoes can’t be saved!”

Now, Moore is focused on checking off things on her bucket list, which includes expanding her Kenya Moore Hair Care business to a point where she can still be CEO, but not running the company the way she does now. “This way, I can have a bit more free time and the company can have more overall grown,” she says.Kenya Moore attends a special screening of Lifetime's "Abducted Off The Street: The Carlesha Gaither Story" at IPIC Atlanta on February 01, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia.

She’s also open to finding a man to join her on that journey, though admits that’s not her No. 1 focus. “If there’s an amazing gentleman that pops up on the horizon who wants to take me to Monaco and we have a yacht ride or something, then yes — yes. I will,” she laughs. “Don’t ask me twice! And no, I’ll not apologize for it either.”

Another aspect of Moore’s next chapter is about returning to acting, which she did for the bulk of her career before RHOA fame and after breaking into the zeitgeist with her historic Miss USA win in 1993 when she was just 22.

Abducted Off the Street: The Carlesha Gaither Story is a big step in that direction. The movie tells the true story of Keisha Gaither, a mother who will stop at nothing to get her daughter Carlesha back after she is abducted off the streets of Philadelphia while returning from a family gathering.WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Episode 20129 -- Pictured: Kenya Moore

It’s the first leading role Moore has had in over 10 years, and the first since she became a mom herself — something she channeled while playing Keisha. “It armed me with tools,” Moore tells PEOPLE. “Losing a child or not knowing if your child is going to come home, that’s a mom’s worst nightmare. So to be able to kind of tap into that sort of primal fear as a mom, it helped me be successful in this role.”
“I’m really proud of the movie,” Moore continues. “It’s part of the Black Girl Missing series on Lifetime, which draws attention to the disparity in the news media when it comes to missing Black women and Black girls, because they just don’t cover our stories. So it feels so good to be in such an important film and to come back to acting with a project that will hopefully make a difference in educating people and saving lives.”

And that’s just the beginning. “I’m so happy because it feels like there’s this shift in Hollywood for Black women, both in front and behind the camera,” notes Moore. “So the timing just feels right.”

 

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“I’m up for two other movies right now. So it feels good,” she adds. “Whether I get them or not, there’ll be others. I know I’ll have other opportunities and development deals to come. It just all feels so right.”

Abducted Off the Street: The Carlesha Gaither Story airs Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.

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