Joseline Hernandez vs. Mimi Faust: Authenticity wins in court of public opinion

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Joseline Hernandez has the last laugh as ‘Love & Hip Hop’ fans applaud her authenticity and becomes fan favorite

Last night’s part one of the season four “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” finale was predictable at best. Fan favorite Stevie J made his signature faces and threatened to fight his ex-girlfriend’s ex-partner, Nikko.  The female cast members acted as anticipated and cursed at one another while wearing some of the most extravagantly revealing clothes coupled with some of the most extravagant weaves. It was exactly what viewers signed up for. What was different about this finale when compared to the previous three seasons is that one-time underdog Joseline Hernandez has traded places with one-time good girl Mimi Faust to become the triumphant fan favorite. Fans connect with Hernandez, they want her to win and Faust looks like an angry, misguided fraud.

“Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” debuted in June of 2012 and immediately became reality TV’s guiltiest pleasure. The antics of former super music producer Stevie J juggling two very different women was labeled many things, but entertaining was the most important label as numbers don’t lie — the public couldn’t get enough of the love triangle between Stevie J, Joseline Hernandez and Mimi Faust.

Hernandez, a self-proclaimed bisexual stripper who refused to go back to the strip club, no matter what, was pitted against Mimi Faust, the heartbroken mother of Stevie’s youngest child, Eva. While Hernandez struggled through the confessional scripts, weighed down by her inability to speak intelligible English and a tongue laced with profanity; Faust seemed more relatable as she was merely trying to keep her family together with a guy with a chronic wandering eye. The two women seemed as opposite as night and day. Hernandez bragged about getting money in the strip club; while Faust presented an image of the hardworking good girl, running a cleaning service and trying to set a good example for her adorable little girl.

Women in similar situations lamented Faust’s situation with claims of “She can do better” and “Stevie ain’t even worth it” while guys questioned what a “good girl like Mimi was doing with a guy like Stevie J?” Four years and a sex tape later and Hernandez’s truth becomes everyone’s reality. Hernandez was authentic about who she was from the first episode of “Love & Hip Hop.” She acknowledged her less than desirable beginnings and admitted to taking money in exchange for favors in the club. Hernandez was possibly the most transparent reality star on television, allowing cameras to follow her as she left the abortion clinic after terminating her pregnancy. She cried during confessionals, admitted that she knew she was being stupid for Stevie but she just loved him and his “beefcake.” We saw Hernandez fall and get up, we saw her fail but we never saw her quit and eventually, the budgets got bigger and she started looking like the chick she had been portraying herself to be.

Meanwhile across town, Faust’s good girl image was quickly disintegrating. She started dating a Stevie J look-alike with less talent and an even more self-centered agenda. The two of them schemed to take the spotlight off of Stevie and Joseline by beating them at their own game: sex. Unfortunately, their overproduced sex tape scheme was paper thin and the public wasn’t buying it. Besides that, the tape simply wasn’t very good. Before the public had an opportunity to absorb that their heroine was now a mediocre porn star, they were forced to swallow that she orchestrated the entire thing, and last night the final nail in the coffin was revealed. Stevie J and Mimi also had extra curricular activity in their bedroom: Stevie J, Joseline and Mimi all shared an intimate experience together during an off season period over the last four years.

If there was ever an example of authenticity winning the race, Joseline Hernandez has to be the poster child. There was no need for an “I told you so” from her or any explanation from Faust. Hernandez clearly won fans over with her audacity to be her true self. As a result, the viewers were able to grow with her, learn with her, connect with her.

The court of public opinion can and will be hard on all of its subjects. We judge those in the public spotlight much harsher than we judge ourselves or even our friends and family. Although we glorify celebrity, we love to see them scandalized and there is nothing more newsworthy than a fall from grace. Still there is something that outweighs the negative of failure and scandal, and that’s authenticity.

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