By Brady Rhoades
So, La La Anthony, how do you become a movie star, TV star, producer, best-selling author, and fashion icon?
You might be surprised things don’t come so easily to the self-described Afro Puerto-Rican, considered one of the most beautiful and glamorous women in the world and currently starring in the much-anticipated final season of Power (first episode is Aug. 25).
“Hard work! You can’t fake that,” she said, in an interview Hispanic Network Magazine.
Anthony is affable. Movie star looks and chops with a girl-next-door approachability.
She’s never forgotten where she came from.
She started working as a radio DJ at 15, when she was very green and made mistakes that she learned from. Those mistakes were forgiven by radio executives at WQHT-FM, HOT 97.5 and 102.3 in Los Angeles because they saw her star power and her toil and sweat.
Also: humility, kindness, resilience and friendships.
Anthony has forged relationships with former First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, and she’s sponge-like: she learns from those who forged paths before her.
“She embodies the type of woman I aspire to be,” she said of
Michelle Obama. “I read her book, Becoming, in one day and it’s still one of my faves.”
“Renaissance Man” is a common term. Anthony is a 21st Century woman. She’s a realist when it comes to obstacles, but she’s not so big on putting limitations on yourself, and she wants other Hispanic women to think likewise.
“You can do anything you want,” she said. “But it doesn’t always happen overnight.”
And you don’t do it alone.
“Being kind goes a long way. People want to work with people who are nice and who they like.”
In an effort to make a difference in the lives of inner-city kids, Anthony formed La La Land, Inc. Foundation. Better schooling and greater opportunities for children are at the top of the foundation’s list of goals.
“I would love to continue to grow my philanthropy efforts to help inner-city kids through my La La Land, Inc. Foundation,” she said. “This is something dear to my heart. I would like to continue building the confidence of young inner-city kids by providing better schooling and opportunities that may not already be afforded to them. The youth are our future; anything I can do to help them achieve their hopes and dreams would bring me the most joy.”
Anthony, born in Brooklyn, New York, came to prominence as an MTV VJ on Total Request Live in the early 2000s. She was the host of the VH1 reality television reunion shows Flavor of Love, I Love New York, For the Love of Ray J, and Real Chance of Love, and was a dean on Charm School with Ricki Lake.
Anthony, 36, ventured into acting, landing roles in Two Can Play That Game, You Got Served, Think Like a Man, Think Like a Man Too, November Rule and Destined.
In 2011, she made her stage debut in the off-Broadway production of Love Loss and What I Wore. Anthony also starred in and executive produced five seasons of La La’s Full Court Wedding, one of VH1’s highest-rated shows, which chronicled the time leading up to her wedding to NBA star Carmelo Anthony.
In 2012, she launched MOTIVES by La La, at the Market America World Conference held at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Her cosmetic line—for women of color—consists of mineral-based products for face, cheeks, eyes, lips and nails.
In 2013, she created a clothing line, 5th & Mercer. No, you don’t have to look like her to wear her clothes. And you don’t have to be a billionaire.
In 2014, she released her debut book, The Love Playbook, in which she shares how she found love and success on her own terms. The book hit No. 1 on the Barnes & Noble Best Seller list and The New York Times Best Seller list. Anthony’s second book, The Power Playbook, was released in May 2015.
This year, she is wrapping up the sixth and final season of the critically acclaimed, StarzTV show, Power.
Any secrets about the final season of the crime drama series and what’s in store for Anthony’s character, Keisha Grant?
“Anything and everything’s going to happen,” she said. “It’s really going to be crazy.”
Power is a megahit; fans will surely be in mourning following the final season.
The show centers on James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a wealthy New York night club owner who has it all, catering to the city’s elite and dreaming big. He lives a double life as a drug kingpin.
Initially, Anthony’s character, Keisha, did not have a starring role.
Anthony has turned her character into a fan favorite. She gets involved with drug-dealing Tommy. She’s in over her head. We find ourselves rooting for her. We know in season six the bills are coming due.
Anthony, who is married to NBA star Carmelo Anthony and has a son, stresses that she is not Keisha, and Keisha is not her.
Keisha has plenty going for her—including a legion of adoring fans—but she has not lived the life Anthony has. She’s not as street-smart or as accomplished. She’s not in a position to “pay it forward.”
So take heed, inner-city kids.
Here are three of Anthony’s secrets to success, emphasized through her foundation.
—Forget “fake it until you make it.” Work until you stake it, Anthony says;
—Be kind. Hollywood is big-time, yet it’s a small town, all in all. Besides, being kind helps you live your best life;
—Never give up.
Anthony never did, despite challenges that an Afro Puerto-Rican from Brooklyn would inevitably face.
“I believe in myself,” she said. “Who else will? I never believed the haters.