Finding true love just got even tougher

Denise Wright

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For most, finding love is tough enough. But former Kent resident Angel Moore decided to make it a little tougher by throwing cameras into the mix.

Angel, who was living in Ravenna at the time, had enough elements working against her when she applied to be on VH1’s “Tough Love 2,” a reality show based on a dating boot camp. With the help of her parents, she was taking care of her now three-year-old son, Tucker. Tucker’s father, who was also Angel’s high school sweetheart and fiancé at one point, had walked out on Angel after the birth.

Angel provided for her son by dancing at the Diamond Lodge in Rootstown. And as the single life set in, so did the bitterness toward relationships. Angel admits to frequently getting drunk at work and hitting men during lap dances.

But after coming home from a shift one day, Angel realized she needed an escape. She began by browsing television castings online and ultimately applied to be on “Tough Love.”

“To me, applying to be on TV was the easiest way to get out,” Angel said. “But (the show) helped me more than I ever thought it would. It was my savior.”

Making it in the ‘Tough Love’ house

The healing process began with an unexpected call last summer.

“I was just grocery shopping one day, and I got a call saying I needed to pack for two months and get on a plane the next morning,” Angel said. “It was just a whirlwind.”

Angel flew to California where she and 15 other girls were each isolated on their own hotel floors. The girls went through a week of continuous interviews, which were used to cut the cast in half. Angel was one of those eight.

The girls moved into the house in July and spent the next 10 weeks going through lessons, dates and group therapy sessions. Angel said it wasn’t too difficult to adapt to the lifestyle change.

“The hardest thing to get used to was the fact that there were cameras everywhere,” she said. “But when we first moved in, we were having a lot of fun. It was like a sorority.”

All the same, Angel knew that when putting that many girls together eventually there would be fights. Especially when a certain Taylor Royce stepped out of the shadows of last season and into this season’s house.

“At first I felt bad because nobody wanted anything to do with her,” she said. “Steve (the show’s host and resident love guru) had asked me to try to bring all the girls in the house together, so I tried to be Taylor’s friend, and tried to get her to tone it down a bit. I would have wanted someone to do the same thing for me.”

But as viewers saw, their friendship didn’t stay intact for long.

“First of all, I want to say that I did not end my friendship with Taylor over a dress. I’m not that petty,” Angel said. “There was a lot more going on than what actually aired. The fight had been building for days because Taylor was just being a really mean girl. Like, she would say how she was craving cottage cheese and point at Sally’s legs. And then you had Jenna who’s this beautiful girl who has issues with how much she used to weigh, and Taylor would say how ‘fat’ she thought Jenna was getting. But she would do it off camera, so no one ever saw that.”

Angel said she actually felt bad for Taylor — who she compared to Anna Nicole Smith — but she knew she had to confront her about the situation. And during a group session on Episode 9, viewers saw the confrontation come to a head.

“It really hurt to hear Taylor say the things she did to me,” Angel said. “But it made me feel really good to see all the girls stand up for me and for themselves … And it meant a lot for Liz to comfort me over the situation. I mean, she like cried with me, and it takes a really good friend to do that.”

Finding true love

But through all the Taylor drama and the tears, Angel was able to find love in Adam — a man she met during the season’s second episode. Angel said she learned the most from the episode’s lesson: the value of listening.

“I really liked Adam from the very beginning, but in that episode you see that I just wasn’t a good listener; I tuned people out.” Angel said. “But I knew I needed to overcome that.”

Angel said although it was Adam’s tattoos that initially attracted her to him, she learned that they had a lot in common.

“We grew together because of the show, and we’re always going to be super close because this is an experience that we shared together.”

But are Angel and Adam still “super close?”

“We are dating,” Angel confirmed.

Since the show aired

Angel and Adam have continued to date since filming ended in September. One of the hanging questions left at the end of the show was whether Angel would pack up and move to California to be with Adam.

“I just can’t move my son across the county to L.A. unless I am a hundred percent sure that Adam is going to accept me and him, and we’re going to make this work,” she said during the season finale.

After leaving boot camp, Angel returned to Ohio, but not to stripping — she bartended at a friend’s bar instead. But after giving it some thought, she heeded Adam’s advice of “just pulling the trigger” and, with the help of Liz, another girl on the show, she moved her stuff to San Diego.

She currently works at the Longboard Bar and Grill and lives with Liz in Southern California. She said she’s been spending a lot of time doing promotions and events for the show but is looking forward to hosting MTV’s Spring Break celebration this year. According to her VH1 blog, she has not been in a strip club since leaving the show.

Her son Tucker has been staying with his grandparents since Angel moved to California four months ago, but she said her family has talked about moving west. She said she’s stayed in contact with most of the girls, especially Liz, Sally and Alicia.

She also talks regularly to the show’s matchmakers, Steve Ward and his mother, JoAnn.

“Him and his mom have been so helpful throughout this entire process,” she said. “I still talk to JoAnn on the phone, and I have dinner with Steve from time to time. Steve never changes; he still tells me to take the flower out of my hair. He’s just always like that, but he genuinely cares about each one of us.”

And Steve’s advice did help shape Angel into what he proclaimed was the best boot camper he’s ever had at Tough Love.

“I just want people to know that this is a real show; it’s not scripted,” she said. “These are lessons you take with you.”

That’s confirmed after our interview when she gets a call from Adam. As they discuss doing a photo shoot together when she gets back to California, it’s apparent the show really has changed Angel Moore’s life.

Contact features correspondent Denise Wright at [email protected].