The Real LisaRaye: “So F**k An Oscar Right Now / I’m digging for platinum”

If there’s anyone more real than LisaRaye, I haven’t met her yet. Recently, I had the pleasure to meet and sit down with the tell-it-like-it-is actress to talk about her hit new reality show, LisaRaye: The Real McCoy, her love life and why she’s headed for platinum status.

Singersroom: So of course, you’re wearing all white today, which is your signature look. I’ve heard that you’ve been wearing white for 8 years. What would it take for you to wear another color?

LisaRaye: Sporadically, I might do a yellow or pink just because my stylist would say, “Girl, I couldn’t find any white,” and then it’s too late for me to grab something out of my closet. As a character or in photo shoots, you can have whatever color you want, but personally I wear white. The funny thing is I have a whole section of colored stuff in my closet with tags on it, but I just don’t ever get around to wearing. But I have good intentions!

Singersroom: Even your nails are white. They’re gorgeous!

LisaRaye: I like it. It’s just so clean. I wear this, or either the light, pearl white or nude. It goes with everything.

Singersroom: So congratulations, I heard your show is the highest-rated program on TV One.

LisaRaye: In history.

Singersroom: That is so exciting. So what made you decide to do the reality show?

LisaRaye: We actually pitched it and sold it to them. It was a business decision because, you know, so often we forget about the business side of show business. The show part is the lights, camera, action, the red carpet. However, nobody really understands that it costs money to look the way we look on the red carpet. So, when I came back off of the scandal, off of the divorce, off all of the gossip, rumors and blogs and the obsession of who they thought I was, I looked to TV to figure out how do I jumpstart my career again? And I said, reality TV has totally taken over. We are now sharing the red carpet with reality stars. It’s almost like if you can’t beat them, join them. Let me be a part of this reality craze, and I have a message to tell. I have a story to tell. And people definitely did not know what I was going through-and what I’m going through still-which means that they wouldn’t know how to support me, or hate me. But there’s a message within my journey of me being the first African-American actress to be a first lady. Historically, it’s a title that I hold and it can’t go anywhere. That’s something that no other actress has done. So fuck an Oscar right now. I’m not there, but I helped run a country. I’m in a whole league by myself. And for that, I’m proud. So coming back, I said you know what? I am still LisaRaye, I am still talented, there’s still a fan base for me, and I have to tap into that and see where would they like to see LisaRaye while I’m trying to figure all of this out. And I’m still doing it. I also had to let go of a lot of anger [with my ex-husband]. I had to let go of that guilt of what could I have done better or more of. And I had to move forward because failing is not an option for me.

Singersroom: Is your divorce final yet?

LisaRaye: My divorce is final but the financial settlement is not, which is the most important part to me.

Singersroom: So, are you dating anyone?

LisaRaye: I want to say I’m looking. I hope that I find someone because I’m definitely a fan of marriage, and love, and of a partnership and a union and respect. I want to belong to someone, and I want someone to love me.

Singersroom: So what would you say has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your previous marriage?

LisaRaye: The sacrifice and the acceptance of what I did that I could have made better. Being able to compromise without losing yourself. Although I walked around for a bit with a little guilt, because what worked for me as a sex symbol in the States did not work for me as a sex symbol in Turks and Caicos as a first lady. So I had to shed that image and become a whole total different person. And when I was married, I felt like a princess in a glass house. It was like I’ve got everything, all the jet skis, diamonds and planes and stuff, but it’s like am I happy? I’m not as happy as I could be. Or as happy as I want to be. And when you think that, and you have to answer those questions, you say to yourself “Nah, I’m not.” Then it’s really time to move on.

Singersroom: So would you say you’re happy now?

LisaRaye: I’m happier now. I’m not at the happiest. You know, because I’m still coming out of what that divorce is. I’m still healing. I’m still trying to find my way back to my career. I haven’t gotten to my ultimate job yet, whatever that is.

Singersroom: What is your ultimate job?

LisaRaye: Maybe my ultimate job is the role that I just got actually. I am dong a movie with Queen Latifah’s production company, Flavor Unit, which is a VH1 movie of the week that they’re turning into a series, and it’s like a black Sex and the City. And my role is very much like Samantha, so it’s very high-end fashion, and it’s about friends that talk about their love, their career, their friendships and empowering one another. I also want to do some behind the scenes stuff, like producing. I want to empower other people now. I want to employ others and still become powerful with me learning how to produce and direct. I really like the set up of building something, an idea coming from scratch. So I see myself going in that direction. And I also see myself doing more mentorship or philanthropy, like I do with my nonprofit, LadyRaye Foundation.

Singersroom: Sounds fabulous. I have one more question I have to ask. You recently did an interview for Essence and they asked you about being a so-called gold digger. And you pretty much said you were digging for gold back in high school. Please elaborate.

LisaRaye: I don’t know what the definition of a gold digger is but I always say: you don’t know me. You don’t know where I come from, what type of family I come from. I was interested in gold when I was a teenager. I’m at diamonds status now. So I don’t like digging, even in a garden. And I don’t like taking out the trash. So if gold digging is finding someone that I’m evening up with, finding someone that I can look at his history, where he’s been so I can know where he’s going, that I can bring my value and my work to the table with him and build together with that, if that’s gold digging, then I’m digging for platinum. —— By: Crystal Tate


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