"We owe our mom more than to just be Jenni Rivera's kids," Mikey Rivera says in a candid interview with Billboard during a private screening of The Riveras, NBC Universo's new reality show based on the lives of the late singer's five kids.
It's not the first time the Rivera kids -- Mikey, Chiquis, Jenicka, Johnny and Jacquie -- have been featured on a reality show. In fact, they basically grew up with this type of spotlight: In 2011, Rivera had her own family reality show titled I Love Jenni on NCB Universo, formerly known as Mun2.
Five years later and following the tragic death of the Diva de la Banda, the Riveras are ready to show the world who they really are in this new reality show.
Below, read our Q&A with the cast of The Riveras, who talk about the reality, forthcoming Jenni Rivera projects and more:
Five years after I Love Jenni, you guys are letting the cameras back into your home. How did the decision to begin a new reality show come about and why was it so important for you guys to share such personal moments with the audience?
Jacqie: After my mom passed away, we kind of all disappeared. We were all trying to find some healing and find ourselves, but it also gave people space to speculate. So this is a good platform to show our reality, the way we're living, how we're handling life, be honest and fight the rumors.
Chiquis: For me, it was important because now that I'm so busy, that's how I get to spend time with my brothers and sisters. It brings us together and it doesn't feel like a job. Even if I'm tired, I'm just happy to see them. They're growing up, and for me it's all about trying to keep us close. As an executive producer, I make sure we have plenty of scenes together.
Was this a family decision?
Mikey: It's safe to say that me and Jenicka are the most reserved, and when I Love Jenni ended, we were like "Yes!" because we only started doing it for my mom. But like my sister said, the more room you give people to speculate, they'll do it, because regardless, people want to know what's going on with us, so they might as well just hear it from us. When Chiquis brought up the idea she said, "Brother, it's a good opportunity," and it is.
Chiquis: This time around, it wasn't so hard to convince them to do the reality show. I told them it was a good way to show ourselves and show that we have a great mother. None of us had our dads in the picture, so this is how we show the world that we're strong kids because of our awesome mother.
What do you hope the audience takes away from The Riveras?
Jenicka: That we're like their family. They get to see the problems we have because we struggle like they do. The most important thing for them to know is that we're real. They can hopefully learn from each of us. Jacqie is a mom, Mikey with school and his daughter, my sister with her career, me trying to figure out what I'm going to do and Johnny with his career -- so hopefully they can identify with us.
Mikey: My mom had so many damn kids that chances are you're going to relate to one of them. And there's people who might think that because we're Jenni Rivera's kids that she left us all this money and we don't ever have to work again. That's not true. We owe our mom more than to just be Jenni Rivera's kids. All she wanted was us to grow into our own person.
Chiquis: I want them to find out what the truth is behind the tabloids. All of things have been said and this is where you're going to find the truth and it may not be what you expected but it's the truth.
Johnny, you helped produce your mom's forthcoming album. Can you tell us more about that?
This is the last part of a three-part trilogy that we started back in 2013. It's the third installation of Paloma Negra Desde Monterrey and we're coming out with a regular and a deluxe version that includes 25 songs. It'll be a well rounded album, we've saved the best for last. The audio is crystal clear where you'll really get to hear the passion in her voice.
The Riveras premieres this Sunday (Oct. 16) at 10 p.m. ET on NBC Universo. Check out the official trailer below: