Claudia Jordan is on the move, literally. In addition to filming FOX SOUL’s Tea-G-I-F, she’s hosting a variety of shows, acting, doing home renovations, and now competing in Deal or No Deal Island. An original model on the game show, Jordan is showing that she’s skilled both physically and mentally, and that age is nothing but a number. She’s also currently filming Season 3 of the BET+ reality series College Hill: Celebrity Edition.

Jordan spoke with Blavity’s Shadow and Act Unscripted about signing up for Deal or No Deal Island and how it felt like home. In the competition, there’s $200 million on the line, and she wants parts. She revealed her strategy and dished on what to expect on College Hill. And of course, we asked her about being named by Funky Dineva in a YouTube video when he explained his exit from Tea-G-I-F — but Jordan says she’s staying out of the mess. 

Congrats on being part of Deal or No Deal Island. This is very exciting. You were a model on the show. So when this opportunity came about, did you jump at the chance to be part of it?

1,000%. I love anything related to Deal or No Deal, and I’m flattered any time they ask me to still be a part of it, because I feel like I was part of the show from the very beginning. I was there from the pilot episode, so I have been there pretty much the longest, so I feel like I would have felt extremely hurt if I wasn’t a part of this show. So I was really happy when I got the call.


You have a background in track and field. So how competitive are you? What was your strategy going into this competition?

I am competitive, but I’m also 50. Okay. So before this, I was like, ‘OK, let me work on my cardio just a little bit.’ I was going to be upfront about my age at the gate to just let people know, maybe that would make them think I’m less of a threat. And I was kind of on the fence about whether I was going to let them know [about my] involvement with Deal or No Deal, if I was going to downplay it or not. 

Do you feel as if your strategy worked?

Well, you have to see if it works now. I can’t give you that because then you’ll know if I won or not.


Deal or No Deal wasn’t the only game show that you were a part of as a model. What was your favorite part of working for game shows? 

You know, when you work on a game show and like, people receive life-changing amounts of money, it feels like you’re doing charity work without you coming out of the pocket. I was going to work and just bearing witness to people’s lives being changed and just seeing good people win. And I remember seeing people leave Deal or No Deal with $1 million and their entire life changes, even like $100,000 and them being able to get something that they always wanted. And it felt really good. 

I love seeing the good guy win. That is something that makes me emotional seeing the good guy or girl win. I feel like we’ve been seeing so much bad behavior get rewarded in society, especially with social media. So when I see someone that comes in with a story about what they needed or they’ve just been good to other people and then they finally get there, it just made me feel so good. I used to get emotional all the time, seeing it and rooting for people. I just like seeing good people win.


Now, going back to Deal or No Deal Island, who would you say was your biggest threat or competition?

Really nobody and everyone at the same time. I wasn’t going in like, ‘Oh my God, that person, I’m scared of them.’ But I also thought this was anyone’s game. With this show, you can be really good at Deal or No Deal and be bad at the social side of this game. You could be good at getting along with people. You can get along with everybody and then be terrible at the game. So there are a lot of different ways, like the weakest link physically can still win and the strongest person physically can still lose. So it’s like a combination of both — that’s going to make you the ultimate competitor for the banker.

You have a lot of stuff going on outside of just this show. You’ve been acting, you still do some hosting, and obviously, we all love you from your show like old Tea-G-I-F on Fox Soul. The initial trio is no longer. It was initially you, Al Reynolds, and Funky Dineva. Dineva is now gone, and there’s been some controversy surrounding his exit. Is there anything that you would like to say regarding that situation, especially since some of it played out online, unfortunately? 

There’s a desire for people to want there to be beef. But for me, there is none as far as I’m concerned. There is no beef. He made a decision that was best for him financially and so he can focus on his YouTube channel. I was happy to bring him to the network and work with them for three years. I think we created a fantastic show. His vibe is missed. He’s fantastic. I can’t judge anybody for what they want to do for themselves, for their money. There is no issue with us as far as I know. I think he’s a talent. I think he’s really funny. We were lucky to have him for three years, and I do wish him well.

There are a lot of YouTubers and people just jumping onto the drama and wanting this to be a thing, and I get it. But I’m not going to sully the memory of what we have. We had a really fantastic run, and I really think that that show was the natural replacement and a void for The Wendy Williams Show. I think that that show should have been the show that took place.

There has been some changes in the reality TV sphere, and you’ve done reality TV as well. You did The Next 15, now you’re doing this reality competition show Deal or No Deal Island, and we loved you as a one-season housewife on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. What is your take on the cast shakeup that’s happening? And I know you mentioned in the past that your experience wasn’t necessarily the best, and you were kind of upset when you weren’t expected to be a full-time housewife. But now that there is a shakeup, is there something that you would consider maybe returning as a friend of the show? Because people say that you are the most underrated, overlooked Real Housewives of Atlanta that ever existed in the franchise.

I really want to clear the air that I wasn’t let go. They asked me to come back as a friend of the show and to try and to earn my peach back, and they said that was definitely a possibility because the year that I had a peach, Porsha [Williams] was actually demoted to a friend of the show. And then she got her peach back, as she should have. I just was a little mentally exhausted because I wasn’t familiar with the rigors of a show like that, and how the issues become real life. I was just over it and said, ‘I’m going back to LA.’ And I worked with Carlos King in The Next 15

I would go back to Real Housewives of Atlanta now. I have a better understanding of reality and how it works. I have more glam in my life. I have more assets in my life. I have a more glamorous lifestyle. I know that the show is really all about that. Andy [Cohen] was quoted recently saying that he feels like I never really got a fair shot. I didn’t really become a housewife until the very end of filming. So therefore, they had to scramble to get a storyline together and they weren’t following me the whole season. I had a bunch of stuff going on that they just missed the chance to get, so my life would have been way more interesting had I started the show as a housewife. But I would go back.

I think the current shakeup was necessary. I hate that Kandi [Burruss] is not going back. I think she’s a huge part of the success of the show. But my girl Kenya is there. Porsha’s back. I think she’s really entertaining. 

Well, hopefully, we will see you on the show in the future.

Well, now I am filming College Hill.

Yes! And with another person that you allegedly had beef with: Tamar Braxton.

And Saucy Santana. So I want y’all to see how this all plays out and what happens because we’re all in a house together.

Hopefully, there is some resolution. Is there anything you would like to tease about the season? 

I’m fighting to be the valedictorian.  

Deal or No Deal Island premieres on NBC on Feb. 26. Episodes can also be streamed on Peacock.