The late great Jenni Rivera wasn’t only one of Latin music’s most dynamic figures, she was also one of reality TV’s realest mamis. On I Love Jenni she introduced us to her life and her adorable, tight children — Chiquis, Jacqie, Jenicka, Mikey and Johnny. Continuing a tradition their mami started, her children are back on The Riveras on NBC Universo at 10PM ET on Sundays.
Here, the trio of sisters talk to us about their return to TV, embracing their bodies, and the aggressive, prying Spanish language media. Mami would be proud.
Why did you decide to return to reality TV now?
Chiquis: People have been asking for another reality show. We finished I Love Jenni and obviously it couldn’t keep going because I Love Jenni is not I Love Jenni without Jenni. So, we took a break for about a year and a half, we needed it. My mom always taught us to finish what we started, so we had to finish that reality show because she had passed right in the middle of it. We took a break, I think we all needed to heal, we had all gone through a lot as a family. On the show you’re going to be able to see my sisters and I talk . . .
Jacqie: . . . about reconciliations and differences that happened while we were dealing with that the first few months.
How different is The Riveras from I Love Jenni?
Chiquis: It’s going to be different from I Love Jenni because she’s not here but it’s still raw. I feel that we need to be honest with the public and let them know that our life isn’t perfect, we’re not perfect, that we’re just normal like everyone else. It’s just the kids but, of course, my Tio Juan, my Tia Rosie, my grandma, and some extended family but the core of it is us. I think it’s necessary, we talk about all that, we come out without makeup, we’re not girls that are a size 2 or 4, so we talk about that, those are things that we struggle with. Obviously my personal life, Jacqie as a mom, as a wife, trying to find herself. Shoot, I’m still trying to do that. It’s the process of evolution, I think you’ll be able to see it. We’re strong at the end of it because of our mom.
And you guys sold the house.
Chiquis: We sold the house and you’ll be able to see the process. It was hard.
Jacqie: From the decision making, to actually moving, to the tears. A lot of people judged or had their opinion obviously on social media. Why did you guys do that? Why’d you move out of Jenni’s house, she worked so hard? People tell us things that they think we don’t know. We know how hard she worked. We were able to live there because my mom worked so hard. She’s no longer here and we have to be smart children the way she wanted us to be, all our money is going into that house. I think personally it was the best decision because we were using that home like a shield and we weren’t growing. We just wanted to stay, feel like a part of her. But I feel she’d be much more proud of us making our own way, trying to figure out the world on our own, I think she’d be proud of us for doing that.
You’re often compared to another reality TV family, The Kardashians. Does it bother you?
Chiquis: It doesn’t bother us. I admire them, especially Kris Jenner. She’s made it happen for her family. I think the reason people compare us is because we’re such a big family. They’re so united, they have drama, they have problems, and I think we do too. At the end of the day a lot of things are said in the media but this is a way also of showing the truth of things. We have fight, we have disagreements but we’re united.
It seems as though the Spanish language media is more judgmental on your family than English language media. Why do you think so?
Chiquis: Spanish media is definitely harder on you. They’re brutal with everyone. Unfortunately, that’s something I’d love to be more vocal on, on our culture. Le encanta la gente el drama, like novelas they want the drama and all this craziness. That’s just how our culture is. I think that’s why. They’re so quick, that’s what makes me sad about Latinos, I wish we were more united and helped each other more, instead of trying to push people down and I see that a lot. That’s what I’m trying to say, we have to be more united.
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