Monay has running joke with her famous dad thanks to ‘Claim to Fame’
Season 1 contestants of ‘Claim to Fame’
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Claim to Fame, season 2, episode 10, “Needle in a Haystack.”
Monay made it to the finale of ABC’s Claim to Fame without anyone trying to guess her famous relative, but in the final face-off of the game, Gabriel won by figuring out Monay was the daughter of Curb Your Enthusiasm star J.B. Smoove. Then, Monay surprised them all by revealing her name is actually Jerrica Brooks, but she wanted to throw people off her trail since she was named after her famous father (the J.B. stands for Jerry Brooks).
In her exit interview, the season 2 runner-up tells EW why Smoove was nervous about her being on the reality competition and reveals their new inside joke about Steve Harvey thanks to the show. She also shares how close she got with Shayne, J.R., and Gabe, and her reaction to learning that Hugo and Olivia started dating after the show.
Claim to Fame Monay and J.B. Smoove
Monay/Jerrica and her dad J.B. Smoove
| Credit: ABC/Gizelle Hernande, Kevin Winter/Getty
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Monay, or Jerrica I should say, you had such a good game. You were working so hard to keep people thrown off to protect yourself and your allies. Are you happy with the way you played?
JERRICA BROOKS/MONAY: Oh, yeah, I had a blast. I had a blast some days. I miss it. I’m super competitive so I felt really in my element.
How easy did you think your celebrity relative would be to guess and how did you feel about the clues they showed?
When I first walked in that house, I saw there was a curb and I was like, Oh, no, but it was next to a bloody knife, so then I [said], “Oh, somebody from It is in the house.” I just tried to angle it that way. I tried to see exactly what clues they would use so when I asked Gabriel to pull my clue, I had a big feeling it was going to say Curb Your Enthusiasm. And I would hang out with Gabe a lot and I knew for sure he’s never seen that show. It was a big risk, but I knew if he pulled it, he would show me. Then I could strategize from there. It worked out. I made it to second place.
What did your dad say when you told him you were doing the show?
At first he was really excited and then like two days before he got nervous because I’m an only child and I work directly with my dad all the time. Day-to-day, we’re hanging out, emailing back and forth, doing calls together. So when I said I was gonna go on the show, he got nervous. He’s like, who’s gonna take care of everything? I’m gonna miss you, blah, blah, blah. But I made sure he was set up fine and then he was excited for me again. He just gets nervous.
Has he been watching?
Yes. Every week [he’s] calling me [to say,] “This is so good. Oh my God, I love this show. This show is so good.”
What’d he think about some of those wrong guesses people had for who you were related to?
He claims that he knew that Chris was Donny Osmond from the first episode. So every week he calls me cracking up about [us guessing] Elton John, Billy Idol, Elvis Presley, everything but Donny Osmond.
What about who people guessed for who he was?
Oh, the Steve Harvey thing? He was cracking up. He was like, “Steve Harvey?” I was like, “Yeah, that’s my new dad.” So it’s a running joke in my house now.
Have you met Steve Harvey?
Yes, I’ve met Steve Harvey. My dad and him have a nice relationship.
You and Shayne, Eddie Murphy’s daughter, seemed instantly bonded, and your dads are in the same industry and I imagine know a lot of the same people. Had you ever met before the show?
It was so crazy to see how close a lot of us were in the house, but I’ve never seen any of these people before. We instantly clicked, Shayne and I, that’s my girl, man. We’re still close to this day. We hang out. We just went to dinner yesterday.
When all the eliminated players returned in the finale, is that when Hugo and Olivia found love? Because Hugo said he started dating Olivia after the show, but we didn’t see when that connection was made.
I still don’t know when that connection was made to be honest with you. I’m so happy for them. They’re like my favorite people. I just don’t know when that happened. We were all surprised.
Were there any other love connections made on the show? In that moment at the end when Gabriel burst into your confessional, you guys looked cozy on the chair together. Were there vibes there?
I’m crying! No, Gabe and I just were like best friends, man. He is [an] absolute gem and we’re still cool to this day. We just spent so much time in the house together. He was like my best friend. I started off with Shayne and then J.R. We all were like a big group, and then they dwindled out because they got guessed out or guessed wrong and then I was left with Gabe, so we hung out a lot.
Was everyone from the show able to instantly start calling you Jerrica or do some of them still call you Monay?
The only people who do not call me Jerrica are Gabe and J.R. I don’t know [why], they just won’t call me Jerrica. I’ve tried to correct them plenty of times. I say, “You know, guys, it’s Jerrica.” They’re like, “No, Mo Mo, Mo-neezy.” They give all these little nicknames, but refuse to say Jerrica.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Season 1 contestants of ‘Claim to Fame’
Claim to Fame
Twelve contestants who are related to big stars live in a house and try to uncover who each player is related to, all while keeping the identity of their own famous family member a secret.
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