It’s a warm autumn morning in early October when La La Anthony walks into the Hotel Hendricks in New York City. She changes her ensemble, checks her makeup, and walks in front of a camera for BELLA’s “Gratitude” cover shoot. A true professional, she shows up focused, delivers, and effortlessly strikes cover-worthy poses with every look.
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Achieving success and maintaining staying power in the entertainment industry isn’t an easy feat, but La La has demonstrated time and time again that it can be done. Her resilient drive has secured her roles as an actress, producer, TV host, author, and entrepreneur. She seems to fearlessly conquer every role, which she says stems from the confidence her father embedded in her.
La La attributes her confidence to a motto her dad taught her early in life: ‘Love yourself from the inside out.’ “I remind myself that self-love is where love starts,” she explains. “It should be the basis for everything we do.”
Building on such confidence helped Anthony start her career at the age of sixteen. With humble beginnings as a radio intern and eventually the host of the Pop culture hit show, “Total Request Live” on MTV, she continued to evolve and transitioned into acting, producing, and writing two New York Times best-selling books.
Anthony’s passion for acting is evident, as seen in movies roles like Think Like a Man. Currently, she is best known for her role as Lakeisha Grant on the hit TV show, Power, which is currently in its sixth and final season on STARZ. You can also watch Anthony, playing Shay Barnes in the reboot of BH 90210 opposite Brian Austin Green as David Silver’s wife, the only Afro-Latina actor on the show. Next up, Anthony will play a recurring role in Lena Waithe’s show The Chi on Showtime.
As Anthony explains, “You can’t cheat the work. Hard work does pay off. You wait for these opportunities. And then when you’re given them, you have to seize the opportunity and shine because some of these chances only come around one time.” It’s what helps keep her focused she says. “So definitely — work hard, know your craft, really dig into what you’re doing.”
Anthony’s other acting credits include a guest spot on ABC’s crime drama, Reef Break, and the upcoming Netflix film, Holiday Rush. She has also appeared in the critically acclaimed Spike Lee film, Chi-Raq, BET’s The New Edition Story, and “Baggage Claim.”
Anthony also tried her hand in producing with a BET documentary film, Killer Curves. She also made history by making her Broadway producing debut in 2016 with Eclipsed, starring Lupita Nyong’o. Eclipsed received a Tony Award nomination and made history as the first all-female, all-Black show on Broadway. Currently, she is working as a producer alongside Queen Latifah to adapt her novel, The Love Playbook, into a film and completing a project called Intercepted with Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent.
Changing the Face of Beauty
Her creativity and initiative don’t end there. Anthony’s latest fashion collaboration with Footlocker emphasizes her belief in supporting the changing narratives of beauty. Her collection is made up of versatile pieces for women of all sizes. Her goal is to encourage women to express their individuality through their fashion choices while embracing self-confidence and self-love. “It goes back to self-love,” she says. “It’s about that inner confidence that we have that makes us all beautiful. It starts there.”
Anthony has teamed up with Andy Hilfiger on The La La Anthony Collection for Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Ashley Stewart, and other high-end department stores. Her beauty line, Motives for La La, is uniquely formulated for every shade of today’s woman and is now available.
Balancing It Like a Pro
I asked Anthony how she manages to juggle all of her endeavors and deal with life in the public eye, and she explained that she draws on strength from her faith in God and her mom, whom she calls her “hero.” Her gratitude toward her family is strong. She acknowledges how they’ve supported her career and continue to help her maintain balance with her busy life.
She and her husband, NBA star Carmelo Anthony, place great importance on family love being a constant, explaining that they are a united front when it comes to raising their son Kiyan. Anthony beams when expressing how Kiyan is her pride and joy.
“My son is my greatest accomplishment; he’s my greatest joy. I’m teaching him how to be a young, respectable Black man in America and be cautious with the way he moves, the way he talks to people. [I want him to] be humble and gracious,” says Anthony. “Having a son has been a really great experience for me.”
Be Better. Do Good
For a woman whose face appears on the MET Gala’s red carpet, Tyler Perry Studio’s grand opening, or giving back to our youth alongside Michelle Obama, Anthony always emphasizes the bigger picture. From movies and television, to radio and fashion, she is well aware of the responsibility that comes with her platform.
Her dedication to making the world a better place is what ultimately drives her.
“When it’s all said and done, I want people to know I used my platform for good,” Anthony explains.
“No one is put in this position by accident, and you have to use your platform to make a change in your community and in the world — big or small. That’s more important than any movie or TV show. I’ll always stay humble and never let this change who I am.”
“Some women should try being alone at some point in their lives to see what that feels like — being dependent on no one but yourself. That’s an empowering and amazing feeling.”
Below are all of our Q& A/quotes
“Don’t worry about what everyone thinks. There’s nothing that we can do that will please everyone, and you have to know that. We have to figure out ways to be our own number one fan. If you’re constantly looking for outside validation, you’ll always be disappointed.”
What should every woman try at least once in her life?
I think some women should try being alone, like at some point in their life being alone and seeing what that feels like, and being dependent on no one but yourself. That’s an empowering and amazing feeling. That’s one thing, and I think every woman should try it in their life.
Who are your heroes?
My mom is my hero, for sure.
What motto/quote do you live by?
Love yourself from the inside out. That was a quote from my dad, and that stuck with me all my life. I remind myself that self-love is where love starts — loving yourself from the inside out. It should be the basis for everything you do.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
You can cheat the work. Hard work does pay off, but you can’t cheat the work. You wait for these opportunities. And then when you’re given them, you have to seize the opportunity and shine because some of these chances only come around one time. So definitely work hard, know your craft, and really dig into what you’re doing.
What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a tomboy, and those who don’t know me might be surprised I am a sneakers and sweats girl — how you see me when I’m out and about. I love having a son I’m into sports. I love to play basketball. Having a son has been a really great experience for me.
What is your beauty secret? Any changing perceptions about beauty?
It goes back to self-love. They’re confident. They have self-love and high self-esteem. It’s about that inner confidence that we have that makes us all beautiful. It starts there.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
Don’t worry about what everyone thinks. There’s nothing that we can do that will please everyone, and you have to know that. We have to figure out ways to be our own number one fan. If you’re constantly looking for outside validation, you’ll always be disappointed.
How do you decide which projects to work on?
Right now my priority is acting and producing. You know there are different phrases. It’s my passion. I just watched the final season of Power-Intercepted Starz and am working on producing her first feature film.
Being a public figure vulnerable to the public opinion, what has sustained you?
I have a strong belief in God. We’re in this world, and you don’t get to pick and choose. You love the good stuff that comes with it, but you don’t get to pick and choose with the bad stuff. I roll with it and stay grounded with prayer and my family.
Describe the relationship between you and your son?
My son is my best friend. He’s my greatest accomplishment. He’s my greatest joy. My son and I have a lot of fun together. But at the same time I’m teaching him how to be a young, respectable, Black man in America and be cautious with the way he moves, the way he talks to people. Be humble and gracious. I’m learning lessons along the way, but I love having a kid that’s also my road dog. We roll out and have our days and have our fun.
Very Grounded. That’s important, and it is a different generation with social media and all the access at your fingertips. He’s twelve, and he doesn’t have social media. He’s aware of it, but doesn’t have an account. We keep close eyes on him and what’s going on around him, and we’re aware of what he’s taking in and what he’s paying attention to.
When it’s all said and done, what mark do you want to leave on the world?
I want people to know that I used my platform for good with charity events or giving back to my community. No one is put in this position by accident, and you have to use your platform to make a change in your community, in the world, whether big or small. That’s more important than any movie I’ve done or TV show I’ve been in. Always stay humble or never let this change who I am.