Thickettes, I had the pleasure to sit down with Kai Morae the first plus size Apple Bottoms model and the star of “The Real McCoy”. Most of you know her as “LisaRaye’s daughter” but after you read this interview you will see that she is much more than the child of a celebrity.
Me: Have you been a thicksational girl your whole life?
Kai: Yeah I’ve always been plus size even when I was little my mom use to call me “chunky thing”. I always had thighs, my breast developed before kids my age so I was always bigger in size and I’m pretty tall for a girl as well.
Me: Did you have any dark moments being a plus size girl?
Kai: Yeah being that my mom is a sex symbol people compare us saying things like “Oh that can’t be your mom, your mom looks better and you” and you can’t compare a mother and daughter that’s a whole different area. Then you have kids who pick on you when you are younger. I had issues with shopping for clothes and I had moments where I said I didn’t want to be this way but I have a grandmother who was skinny when she was younger and she got bigger as she got older and she was fine with it and she told me I have curves and as long as I am healthy I’m fine.
Me: How long did you live in Chicago?
Kai: Well, my lifestyle is crazy (laughing) I’ve lived everywhere. I moved from Chicago when I was 8 but I went back every holiday and summer so when I say I am from Chicago I know Chicago streets better than I know Los Angeles streets.
Me: Is there a difference living there vs. Los Angeles as far as being plus size?
Kai: Oh yes in Chicago most of our roots are from the south and a lot of people in the south are thicker so it’s normal to see thicker people. In Los Angeles everybody is focus on working out, eating right and being super skinny. When I am in Chicago I eat whatever I want in LA I think about what I should or should not eat it’s more of a mental thing.
Me: Are you compared to your mother a lot and how does it make you feel?
Kai: Sometimes you want to stand on your own and that’s why I am doing my own thing. I am in a whole different branch and we are not in same industry, she’s an actor, I’m a model it’s very different. There are moments where people say this is Kai “LisaRaye’s daughter” that’s not my last name and people don’t have to say that. I usually do not tell people who I am unless they ask me. If they don’t know I can’t help them.
Me: What are the positives of being LisaRaye’s Daughter and are there any negatives?
Kai: I always say it’s a blessing and a curse because a lot of people say I’m just getting my fame because of who I am and I don’t have to work as hard to get my face and name out there but I feel if you’re not giving me my fame then you can’t give me that dirt either. You can criticize me for having it as well. Yeah I do know more people than the average person, I can call somebody up and say I want to be in their fashion and it will happen but I also have to work twice as hard because people know I can do that so I have to prove myself. A normal girl can come into casting and she is trying to sell herself but I have to prove myself.
Me: What do you say to critics who may feel you are only successful due to your mother’s success?
Kai: Keep an open mind. Just because I have access to these connections doesn’t mean I am guaranteed success. For example you can be a rapper but that doesn’t mean you are going to get a deal. Just because you know JD means nothing. People just want to know are you going to represent them well and are you going to make them money. With me getting my deal with Apple Bottoms is wasn’t because I knew Nelly, I knew him but once I told him I was a model he didn’t care. When we started crossing paths more he came up with the idea that I should model for Apple Bottoms since it’s a clothing line made for women with curves. He asked me if I wanted to model and I said you damn right I do (laughing)! He saw something after knowing him for years.
Me: Are there any plus size models that inspire you?
Kai: You know what, I don’t want to branch it off as plus size because most of the people who inspire me aren’t plus size. I like people who embrace their curves regardless if they are plus size or not. Tyra Banks for example she went on TV and said she was comfortable with her curves. People like Queen Latifah who say I’m this size and I am a queen at this size no matter what people say. So it’s not necessarily a plus size focus.
Me: How do you feel about the plus size model industry?
Kai: Honestly we are taking over! 2010 was the first year there was a plus size runway show in New York Fashion Week and that’s never been done. The average woman is a size 14, we are representing for the average woman and the average size so I feel like this is our time.
Me: Did you always want to be a model?
Kai: Yes, I did a lot of ads when I was younger so it’s in my blood but I got bigger and I wasn’t feeling my body. Once I started to get comfortable with my curves and realized that I had a nice figure, I knew I was more than just a pretty face I am a pretty girl so I started to pursue my modeling career again.
Me: Now that you are in the entertainment industry do you see any prejudices towards the plus size community?
Kai: I don’t think there is a lot of prejudice inside the industry. I think there is more prejudice outside the industry and people judging the industry. Sometimes I am on blogs and the actually post is not that bad, they may say some negative things but overall it’s a positive plus size post but the comments are ridiculous. Those are people who have nothing to do with entertainment but they are judging us.
Me: If there is one thing that you would want to do professionally and personally what would it be and why?
Kai: Personally, I was able to go to Africa 3 years ago and it was amazing and my grandmother wanted to go but was unable to make it due to her health so I would love to take her. Professionally, I would like to do a big runway show with all models plus size and skinny models.
Me: Where do you see yourself in 5 years professionally and personally?
Kai: Well, I am 21 now so I will be 26.
Me: You’re a baby!
Kai: I know (laughing). I want to settle down at that age. Professionally I should be branching out to more businesses at that time. I will be out of school and will have more experience to branch out.
Me: So you’re still in school?
Kai: I am unfortunately (laughing). I am not a school person but it’s something that I would like to have. You never know with this industry. I don’t like to depend on anyone so I want my degree so I can still be able to be independent.
Me: What are somethings that people don’t know about you?
Kai: I’ve lived everywhere, Houston, LA, Chicago, Switzerland, Boston etc. People think I am Chinese and I am half Japanese and it comes from my dad side of the family. Um there is a lot people don’t know about me (laughing) and I don’t know if I want them to know.
Me: What are some misconceptions people have of you?
Kai: They think I am a brat and I am stuck up but I’m not. Now I can be mean but I don’t snap at somebody just because, there is a reason behind me being mean. They also think I got my deal because my mom knows Nelly but I was sponsored by Apple Bottoms on the show for a year before I got my contract so I put in my work and time. People assume that I am rich but my mom is rich I am not and there is a difference. People wonder why do I work well, I have bills, she is willing to pay for everything but I am very independent I like to have my own money.
Me: Okay I am going to say 5 topics and you say the first thing that comes to mind.
Kai: Lord (laughing)! Today’s music isn’t musically, you can make a whole beat on the computer and you don’t need a band you can just have a DJ. I like to hear instruments. A lot of things they say today are crazy. I didn’t notice it until I was in the car with my grandma and realized I can’t say certain lyrics in front of her. It’s cool in the club but not in front of grandma.
Plus Size Clothing
Kai: They are ugly (laughing). I see a lot of plus size lines that are not cute. Just because you are plus size doesn’t mean you are 50 years old and just because you’re plus size doesn’t mean you can wear what the skinny girls wear. I think we need a designer that has some style and has the clothes in different sizes and that’s where I am going to come in (laughing)!
Kai: Me (laughing)!
Kai: I don’t have it (laughing)! I am very hard when it comes to love because people have always tried to be my friend because of my mom and my dad who is also very known in Chicago. People have always been very shallow so I think I have sheltered my love from others. I’m a very outgoing person but I don’t let them in and I don’t have a man so I don’t have love (laughing).
Kai: Kai Morae, I like it because it’s very unique and its my real name and I am a very unique person. Kaienja is my real name and it’s Japanese for “Soul Survivor”. Morae came from my mom LisaRaye. Her dad name was David Raye who died and a month later she found out she was pregnant. She said I saved her life because she was going through a lot of changes, she started smoking cigarettes, she tried to kill herself and I was her angel. That’s why she loves me so much and kisses on me a lot and people don’t really understand that connection. When she named me Morae she wanted to make sure I would keep the name because that’s a way to be connected to my mom and grandfather. I am also different from the average celebrity child. Most celebrity children have never had a job, I have had several jobs and I’ve been working since I was 15.
Me: What can we expect from the 2nd season of “The Real McCoy?
Kai: You can get insight on my Apple Bottoms photo shoots. It’s not pretty and glamorous we were on the set for 12 hours and my shoes were too small being a model is hard work. You will also get to see my 21st birthday party and you get to see my boo (laughing). There is more information about my mom’s divorce and some charity events that we worked on as well.
Me: Alright Kai thank you for your time.
Kai: You’re welcome and thank you!
As you can see thickettes Kai is no stranger to hard work. She does not assume that people will give her anything. She wants to earn her keep with or without a popular mother.
Watch out for Kai Morae she is a name you will always remember and will become a brand that will never die!