Whether it's starring in a witty, sex-positive play or earnestly working to improve her relationship with her mother on Family Boot Camp, Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett is never less than 100 percent true to herself: honest, cheeky, and hardworking. And that dedication to remaining true to self carries over into her parenting style. The former Playboy model and current star of the reality series Kendra on Top — premiering June 23 — is committed to raising her kids in an open and honest environment. Above all, Wilkinson-Baskett knows the importance of being true to who you are. In an interview with Romper, Wilkinson-Baskett spoke about her parenting style and how the honesty in her personal life influences how she raises her kids.
A huge factor that impacts Wilkinson-Baskett's parenting is her new career path — acting. The reality star has embarked on a new project, Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, a show about being open with sexuality. The decision to take on the role was difficult, the star explains. "I feel like I'm disoriented with this decision I've made to move away from my family for four months. It feels weird... it feels wrong." It's something many mothers feel when they are faced with new career opportunities. A 2015 study by the Pew Research Center found that mothers were twice as likely as fathers to feel that parenting interfered with their career advancement. But Wilkinson-Baskett isn't letting it stand in the way of pursuing her dreams. "It's the right thing to do, because nowadays two parents have to work. And at the end of the day this is the opportunity of a lifetime. And I love every minute of it."
Fans who love Wilkinson-Baskett's openness and personal expression will enjoy her play just as much. It encapsulates her mantra — being open and confident about sexuality. The reality star says that after becoming a mother, she has still been able to maintain a sense of self, which is important to her. "I still go to the clubs," she says. "I still dance like I used to dance when I was 21... And I have no shame in that because that's just who I am." She knows expressing her sexuality is inherent to her, and isn't the same for everyone else. She wants other women to not feel restricted by what they think they should be doing, as told to them by society. "I'll see [mothers] dancing funny just because they feel scared to release who they really are. They're scared to show their sexy side or something." Wilkinson-Baskett believes no one, especially mothers, should be afraid to be who they want to be. "I have no shame, and no one should have shame."
Wilkinson-Baskett's new career direction isn't the only influence on her parenting style. There's also her mother, Patti Wilkinson, who plays a big part in Kendra on Top Season 6. Although their mother-daughter relationship has been strained for some time now, Wilkinson-Baskett says she's learned a lot from it. "My mom did no wrong raising me," she says. "It sucks that she had to raise me single and alone. She is a hardworking mom, so she did a great job, she did the best she could." But all the same, she wants to make sure her children, Hank Jr. and Alijah, have all the tools they need for the future.
"Teaching [my kids] what to expect in there lives is something that didn't really happen to me," she says. Her sex-positive outlook factors in when considering how she raises her children. "Our moms, they thought that the best way to raise kids is to shield them and to say, 'Sex, ugh, close your eyes.'" But she feels that times have changed since then. "The way I'm raising my kids is to pretty much never hide a thing from them. And just really talk and listen to them."
From her bold new career choice to her openness with her children, Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett is paving a way for millennial mothers to take note.