LisaRaye McCoy may arguably BE the realest actress of our times. Her blatant honesty and down right “in your face” nurturing perception has made her somewhat of a She-roe in her own right. She’s truly lived the fairy tale life that most black women could only imagine, but has always remained humble and quite transparent through her infamous roles depicting the lives of Diana “Diamond” Armstrong (The Player’s Club), Neesee James (All of Us), and currently Keisha Greene (Single Ladies), along with showcasing her own life through the more recent platform known as reality TV.
LisaRaye’s story may appear to BE picture perfect, but she’s the first person to let you know that she’s not just acting when she’s keeping it real. She lives a very real life with even realer situations. She’s a daughter, a mother, and a woman. Her rough exterior still comes with a real soft spot for the things that she loves and cherishes the most.
LisaRaye recently sat down with BE Magazine’s Editor-In-Chief J.Write to discuss the life & times of The Real LisaRaye McCoy. No stone was left unturned in this EXCLUSIVE interview from her family life to life as the former first lady of Turks and Caicos.
BE Mag: I am sitting here with the BEautiful, talented, and lovely LisaRay McCoy. Let’s jump right into Single Ladies, which is blazing all over TV. How are you feeling watching and receiving it on TV after filming?
LisaRaye: I’m very proud with everything we have on TV right now. There are projects that some people may see as unprofessional and just crazy; so I’m proud to BE able to say that I am part of a project that’s positive, sexy, current, and fresh and shows us in a light in which the foundation is a total real friendship. I love that. It’s positive. BEsides, I’m back to doing what I do, which is acting. It’s a craft and my skill.
BE Mag: Absolutely and the storyline is very captivating. Do you and your friends get to sit around and watch it or are you busy working as it comes on?
LisaRaye: I think when you take six months to film something and I had relocated to Atlanta to do so, I am anxious to get back to my life. So, I leaving the viewing up to the audience and let them enjoy it BEcause I’ve BEen filming it. We worked very hard and long hours, so by the time I’m done with Single Ladies, I don’t want to look at any words but the picture. I have caught a couple of them, about the last three or four episodes. I don’t usually know which one is showing until I go onto my Twitter and see I’m trending, then I’m like oh, this is the episode showing right now.
BE Mag: You brought up something real important earlier and it’s a hot ticket right now. We know that you are a former reality TV star and now that you get to see some of the different turns reality TV is taking, what is your perception on the current reality TV shows that are out?
LisaRaye: You know what’s so funny is that I was actually part of one of the first reality shows years ago on Bravo called The It Factor. It was so much fun. It was like your commercial, if you will. It followed nine actors around their careers. It was a delight. Now, reality shows have really gotten out of hand. I am offended by it somewhat BEcause of BEing an actress; I’m now competing with reality TV stars on TV and in my pocket. You know, we do understand that it is cheaper to make a reality production and the return is more for the executives and the network. That doesn’t say a lot for me. However, BEing an executive producer for my own show, The Real McCoy on TV One, which is the highest rated show that I had given TV One in the history of TV One. My show, I’m proud to say was a grown and sexy show. It was a family show. You never caught me fighting or threatening anybody. I was a grown woman. What I would try to show in my reality show was the love and the nurturing. We would show the obstacles, the “we fall down, we get up”, the encouragement and the hurt. We made things relatable so that somebody viewing the show could say, “hey, I never thought about handling the situation that way.” I BEcame a hero to a lot of women. I’m very proud of that. What’s going on now, I can’t really say the same.
BE Mag: Let’s talk about your career longevity. Let me ask this, do people still call you Diamond?
LisaRaye: All the time. It ranges from Diamond to Neesee to now Keisha. People in the grocery store will call me Keisha and I look around like who, me? They reply with, “Girl you know that’s you”. But when you really portray a character that people can really identify with, they get into it. They stop me and ask what’s going on between me and Malcolm? I’m over that man.
BEMag: We know that you are known for stepping out in the freshest of white. Tell me where that kind of came from and how you keep that white so fresh.
LisaRaye: You know, I just have to say everybody can’t wear white. Haha, but I really don’t have a big “ta-da” answer for that. It’s not like I woke up and said I’m going to wear white to set myself different from anybody else. It did not start off as a trend. It did not start off as me trying to make myself different from anyone else. I just think one weekend I was going out of town and I realized I had all white outfits and they looked so fresh and so different. I figured it BEcame like a challenge to me and I was like let me see if I can pull this off all week. Then I tried it all month and shoot, 10 to 14 years later, I’m still doing it. I just don’t know really what’s BEhind it. We definitely know I’m not a virgin…haaha. I’m not an angel either. I really just don’t know. I’ve tried dresses that were in different colors, but at the end of the day, I’m like let me get my white back. My shoes, purse, BElts and accessories are colorful, but the clothes have to BE all white.
BE Mag: So of course you are on the hit VH1 TV show, Single Ladies. America definitely wants to know are you a single lady and what advice would you have on love and life.
LisaRaye: I am a single lady. I can’t really say I’m looking for him. I want to just bump into him. I want to BE surprised. I want to BE swept off my feet like is that? Could that? Why…it IS him. I want that kind of thing with the music singing in the background. But if not, I’m sure that God is going to send me someone, whoever that may BE. I’m just excited to get to know who he is and about him getting to know who I am. I’m at an age where I don’t want to BE by myself. I’d like to share that foundation with someone else by creating that friendship first.
BE Mag: What’s coming up for LisaRaye that you can spill? I know that at times, you can BE in production and you can’t always spill it out but for the BE Readers, what’s coming up?
LisaRaye: Seeing that we just finished filming Single Ladies, I moved back to LA. I was in Chicago visiting my mom for about a week. So I’m excited. I have a new publicist and a new agent. They are very excited about me. Now that I am back, I’m excited about seeing all the possibilities there are for me. I know there’s not a lot of work for us but I’m going to try to fit myself back in movies. I don’t want to BE so still and stick with only TV. Ultimately, I want to do a romantic comedy, trill and suspense, or action film. I’m definitely looking for some endorsements. I look great for my age, so I’m looking for an age-defiant product. I want to do more motivational speaking, not only helping kids, but also women in finding love and help them move forward. I’m so into liking the woman I am now that I want to share my stories to other women and BE able to empower other people. I just really think we need to BE able to bond together and BE friends.
BE Mag: BEfore I let you go, what would BE one of the biggest differences in BEing the first lady over there to now coming back to your career over here?
LisaRaye: Totally different. When you grow up in America, you know our rules and regulations. I’m not a CaribBEan woman and I was in the CaribBEan Islands. I had to learn the culture. I was a newlywed so I’m learning my husband as well. And learning how to BE a first lady and how that is without ever having a protocol. I was kind of like a fish out of water. They did know about me and what I did in the states. It was a modern day fairytale. I wouldn’t change anything about it. The man took very good care of me. He was a very sweet man. I came back to the states and gained my composure. BEing over there and giving up my career for a couple of years was fascinating. I am the first African-American actress to ever BE a first lady, so they’ll never BE able to take that away from me. I’m very proud of that. Some things you’re not so proud of and some things you are. You live and learn and I’ve learned to move away from that. I was able to have a successful show, raising my daughter, BEing a great daughter myself and BEing able to move on and do other things.
BE Mag: We have had such a joy watching your journey. You are empowering in so many levels. You are so direct…listening to you made me so hype.
LisaRaye: Thank you. Some people can take that and other people can’t. Some times in interviews, they turn my words around and I’m like, that is not what I said. That is not what I meant. But I do know one thing for sure people know that I am real. They know that I’m 100. And those politically correct answers just don’t work for me. They just don’t. I think the BEst way to BE relatable is to BE transparent. You guys will always get the real from me and I appreciate the people that appreciate it and the ones that don’t, don’t listen.
BE Mag: We’re just like you, we keep it 100% positive. There’s enough good in people that we can find out here. We don’t knock the gossip blogs and all that, they have a market too, but for us, we can find the good in the hood and let people know what is really going on with people. We appreciate people like you that can come along and speak directly and honestly BEcause that’s what real journalism is all about.
LisaRaye: Well I love it and thank you for the opportunity so much and I appreciate it.
BEMag: We appreciate you too and we will have to link up again soon. Go ahead and give us your Twitter and website.
[Photo Credit: Bossip.com & Bobby Quillard | Interview TranscriBEd by Anthony Ukaogo Jr.]Tweet