Exclusive Interview: Jenileigh and Moya, Winners of 'Crowned'
Exclusive Interview: Jenileigh and Moya, Winners of 'Crowned'
In last night's final pageant on Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants, Jenileigh, 25, and Moya, 51, performed amazingly well, strutting their stuff in swimwear, soaring high above the stage in their impressive aerial routine, and speaking sincerely about their goals during the interview round.  All the hard work they put into training for the pageant paid off when they narrowly beat out their main competitors, Rachelle and Mindy, and were crowned with a pair of fabulous tiaras and awarded $100,000.

Jenileigh and Moya both spoke to BuddyTV about their experience competing in the pageant, their new pursuits now that the pageant is over, and how they plan to go about making the world a better place.  Below, you will find an audiofile and a transcript of the interview.

Hey everybody. This is Debbie at BuddyTV, and I'm talking to Jenileigh and Moya, the winners of Crowned on the CW. Congratulations to both of you. What was going through your mind when you found out that you won?

Jenileigh: I think it was just, "Oh my gosh, is this really happening?" I don't think that we ever thought that we would get to the final four, much less win the show, so it was just a surreal experience and just very exciting.

Moya: For me, I was just completely shocked. I really didn't expect them to announce our names. I was so thrilled to just be in the final four and then come down to the final two. And I'm just like, "I'm so happy to be here and this was such a great experience." And then, when they announced our names, I was definitely shocked, to say the least.


So, you seemed really calm throughout the entire final pageant. I was really impressed. So, what was it like competing?

Jenileigh: It was a lot of fun, competing with my mom through everything. I think swimsuit, of course, was the most nerve-wracking for me, and talent was by far the best. And I think everything kind of came together for us on the final night. We just told each other, "Relax, have fun, and go out there and be ourselves and do the best that we could," and that was all that we could hope for.

Moya: That's pretty much the way that I felt. I was just like, "Okay, we've made it this far, we've had such an amazing journey to this point. Let's just enjoy this whole night for every second, every minute, every piece of it." And for me, when we performed talent, there was just some real issues that I had trying to do the talent with her, and in that moment in time, it just all came together. And when we got done, it's like I really didn't care what else happened the rest of the night.


Yeah, you know, I was really impressed with the how well you performed in the aerial routine. I mean, obviously, Jenileigh is really talented and that's what she does, but, Moya, how much experience have you had with that?

Moya: Oh, absolutely zero, none, nothing. I mean, I watched and I've completely enjoyed it, but to try and do anything on that with her, that was a challenge. That was a huge, giant challenge.


Just curious. Did you use all six smiles that you learned?

Moya: During the night, I think that we used all six, plus maybe a few more that we didn't even know we had.


And, you said in the interview portion that you wanted to help people achieve their dreams. What kind of things did you have in mind for that?

Jenileigh: I think what I grew up with and what my mom instilled in me was basically, she always told me, "I don't care if you are a doctor, if you're a janitor. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you're happy and as long as you're achieving your goals." And so, I want to talk to people and educate our youth nowadays that you can really, honestly achieve anything that you put your mind to. I mean, like right now, I'm working on trying to get into Cirque du Soleil. I have my mom backing me for that and pushing me towards that, and it's just one of those things that some people don't realize the strength that they have within themselves. We would just really want to talk to people and let them know, "Go out for what you want. Don't let anybody stand in your way."

Moya: I have always been such a supporter of 'follow your heart, follow your desires.' I know we all have some lofty goals and we all have a lot of dreams that you feel that, okay, they're just dreams. But, as trite as it sounds, dreams can come true. You just have to make it happen. I think, a lot of times, that will only happen with a support system. So, hopefully, we will be able to be that support system for somebody out there.


So, specifically, did you want to set up a counseling service, or go to schools and talk to them? Did you flesh this out a little bit?

Moya: Jenileigh has already been to several schools, visiting with a lot of young, personable children, teenagers, helping them, talking with them, reaching out. Do you want to take that Jenileigh, since you've done it? It's just been a great experience for her.

Jenileigh: I've gone to some schools and we've talked about different issues, like talking about health. I think that we want to find a way to set something up, like a counseling program and talking to people, to go into schools. I mean, that's the best way, I think, is to reach our youth so that they have goals for tomorrow, and really, really getting into the school systems, and just have fun with it. I think we're just going to explode with the opportunities that we have right now


And, you also said that you were willing to use all of the prize money from Crowned for this purpose, for your platform. Has that changed? Are you still thinking of doing that?

Moya: Well, of course, the first thing is, I need to seriously get out of debt. It's been a long, hard journey for me. We definitely want to help out any very worthy cause that we possibly can. The situation that I'm in at this point is I don't have a car to drive, so basically, once I have a car that I can get to places, then whatever we have, we're willing to give.

Jenileigh: And actually, at my job right now, we raise money for Habitat for Humanity, and so far, we've raised over $140,000. So we're already in the process of giving to charities and raising money and doing what we can do.


Wow, that's great. And switching gears here a bit... So, one of the most dramatic parts of the season was the big feud between the two big cliques in the house. And I've interviewed Brenda and Heather, and Ada and Christan who all say that they tried to stay neutral, but they could see both sides of feud. And I was just wondering what your perspective was on that. Were there specific instances that caused a fight to happen? How did that start and where were you?

Moya: I think a lot of it just stems from very strong personalities. You've got a house with 22 women that all have very definite ideas on what they want and how they want it. They all have very strong personalities, or else they wouldn't even be there. I think Jenileigh and I both feel that it was very, very unfortunate that that situation happened, occurred, exploded. And I think there were only a few people in the house that caused that situation to happen. We got along very well with pretty much everybody. Brenda and Heather were very wonderful, very genuine people, very, very likable. Christan and Ada, we both wish we had gotten to know them a lot better. It was just kind of an unfortunate occurrence that happened there.

Jenileigh: Yeah, I do have to agree that we, I think I was a little naive, going into the situation thinking, oh, everything's going to be all fun and games and it's going to be good, healthy competition. Unfortunately, that wasn't the way it played out. It wasn't all fun and games, and there was a lot of strong personalities that happened in the house, and unfortunately, that was the way that we got divided. I don't know, I can't specify when the quote unquote battle lines were drawn, but unfortunately, they were and, you know, you can't be friends with everybody.


And, what did you learn about each other throughout the season?

Jenileigh: Me and my mom already have a strong bond and really good relationship. As it is, but I had a really hard time always listening to my mom, and I think that the biggest thing that I learned throughout the competition was to sit back and to listen to my mom and to listen to her needs and to recognize I am the daughter and my mom is the mother, and she can teach me a lot and a lot about herself and her strengths that I didn't realize. So, I know a lot more now about my mom than I did.

Moya: And I feel we learned a lot about teamwork. We've both been on opposite ends of the spectrum. She's been in front of the camera, the frontrunner, the competitor. I've always been the one supporting her behind the scenes, just taking care of business, basically. And for me to have to step up and be a vital part of the team was a huge eye-opener for me. I got to see a lot of my strengths and weaknesses, and I learned that a lot of my strength comes from her. And if we work together more closely as a team, it makes us both stronger all around. And so, to see that happening and to actually live it, that was quite an amazing experience.


What's next for both of you now? For a Miss America pageant, you would go around and make appearances—do you have to do that for Crowned as well?

Jenileigh: We're not sure. We're hoping that we can go and we can make appearances and we can be spokeswomen and represent the show in a good light. Because we've been given this opportunity, we want to use it to our advantage and be able to speak out to the youth of today and to other mother-daughter relationships. And, I guess, just use what we can from here.

Moya: Seriously, I don't know what the future holds. I'm hoping good things will happen. I'm hoping we can use this to better our lives as well as to better the lives of many, many other people, maybe in the same situation, maybe in a lot of other situations. Whatever we can do is what we're hoping for.


-Interview conducted by Debbie Chang
(Image courtesy of The CW)

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