Single Lady LisaRaye McCoy

Monday, 03 September 2012 16:56 Written by  Tiffani Alexander

Actress, designer, mentor, businesswoman and mother. All of those things and more, LisaRaye McCoy has been gracing our small and big screens for years. From her tough yet vulnerable portrayal of Diamond in The Player’s Club, to her familiar role as a newly single mother navigating the ups and downs of blended families as Neesee in All of Us, LisaRaye is like an old “girlfriend” to many of us.

The actress, who many say, “reminds them of their best friend or auntie,” spoke with GlossMagazineOnline (GMO) about her hit VH1 show Single Ladies, the roles she chooses to play, her thoughts on reality television, what’s she’d like to conquer next and her most important role––that of mother. (GMO): To me, Single Ladies is kind of like Girlfriends meets Sex and the City – with three very different women navigating career, relationships and life in general. What drew you to the project in the first place and what message do you think the series is sending to young women?

LisaRaye: It is something fresh, current and sexy, and it is relatable. When I say current, it’s something we are going through now––we’re trying to find that significant other, not just females but males as well. We do need to hear each other’s voices on what we’re looking for.

What drew me to the project: My girlfriend, Stacy Littlejohn, who is the writer/creator, used to write on my sitcom, All of Us. I knew how brilliantly she wrote back then and when she sold the script to VH1 and partnered with Flavor Unit…just being happy for your friend to be able to have a project sold, I was just excited about it. But when it came across that the character was the sassy, opinionated, ex-video vixen; she’s about her money, she’s vulnerable, she’s a dresser––and the common dominator of having and sharing this with two friends who show support in whatever you do in your life––I thought that was such a positive story that needed to be told.

GMO: Your character Keisha reminds me of a friend of mine: well-put together, super confident, especially when it comes to dating, but also super guarded with her heart. How do you view Keisha, and what parts of her live in LisaRaye?

LisaRaye: I view the character as I said, how she was written. None of those attributes I can take credit for. The writers, you give them credit for their vision. As an actress, I just say to myself what kind of life can I breath into this character? And it will be a little bit of myself. It will be a little of my mother, my cousin, my friend. Is LisaRaye a little bit like Keisha? Yea. But LisaRaye is also a little bit like Raquel and April as well. So, when people say to me, ‘oh you play it so real, that’s you, you’re playing you,’ it’s like, ‘no, that takes skill and I am acting.’ You know? [Laughs] So if I’m making the character that believable then I’m doing a great job.

But I like some things that Keisha is as well––we all like a confident person. We all like a person that’s a go-getter. We always like that person who always has, what seems to be good advice, and when we are talking to our friends we try to help them as much as we possibly can. I would love to have two really good friends like that. I have about 11 or 10 good friends that I grew up with: We agree to disagree or disagree to agree, whichever way it is. I like the show. It’s showing us how to be friends to each other, how to have a togetherness with each other, how to bridge that gap between the hate and the jealousy and the envy.

GMO: I know you can’t tell me what’s going to happen next on the series involving you or any of the other characters…

LisaRaye: I honestly can’t remember!

GMO: No? I really want Keisha and Malcolm to find their way back to each other.

LisaRaye: Oh, you on Team Malcolm? [Laughs]

GMO: I am. [Laughs]

{Note: on the season of “Single Ladies” Keisha did in fact choose Malcolm. All was well within my world!}

GMO: There have been many cameos this season on Single Ladies, anyone coming up soon that we should be on the lookout for?

LisaRaye: I know we had Queen Latifah and Paula Patton. We had TI, Lil Romeo, LaLa and Tony Rock … Chili, Eve, we also had Margaret Avery (The Color Purple’s Shug Avery) – When she was on set it just felt regal. It was like ‘Oh my God!” I wanted to say, ‘you sure is ugly!’ [Laughs]

I think just because a person has a name value – they are bringing their star power to our show. But I love all of the cameos and guest stars that come in because they have great eye candy. I’m not mad at the people that be walking around the set!

GMO: I always say that! Where are the men that April, Keisha and Raquel are dating? Because those men don’t really exist in real life, at least not in mine!

LisaRaye: I’m vicariously living through Keisha right now. She is getting it in, all my friends are getting it in –– I’m just dreaming right now! [Laughs]

GMO: Switching gears a little bit, your reality show, The Real McCoy was pretty popular, shedding light on your phenomenal relationship with your daughter––who we also interviewed last year. What were you favorite parts of doing that show?

LisaRaye: I’m very proud that my show was a family show––a grown and sexy show, none of what’s going on now. It did show the relationship between my daughter and I, and how mother and daughter can be close, and how my daughter likes me as a person. It doesn’t mean that she always listens to me because she’s grown. I just give her guidance and she takes it if she wants to. But as a mother, I feel an obligation to still have a responsibility to help raise her to turn her over to society. That helps when you’re close to your kid. Plus, she got the best love that I’ve ever felt, besides my mother and father––I know she ain’t leaving me. That’s my baby–it’s me and her.

GMO: Will there be another season of The Real McCoy, or would you ever do another reality show?

LisaRaye: I’m feeling like everybody’s in competition with the next drama reality [show] that’s going on, and I’m not down for that. When I shared my story with the world, it was to show them what I was going through and help women that perhaps were going through, or may not have to go through, what I went through. I wasn’t just getting a divorce––I was getting a divorce from a head of state that had government issues of money laundering. That kind of implemented me and made me guilty by association. So getting out of that––revamping, rebirthing, refocusing, rebranding myself––was huge. The message was, we fall down, but we get up. How you get up is what my message was, and I told that story the first season. The second season was more of me finding my life and getting back on my feet––exploring other possibilities and just still living life under the umbrella of my family and friends [who helped] to motivate and encourage me.

Through my story, I’m able to motivate others. And that’s what I’m about: I’m about motivating and encouraging others. I’ve become like a shero to a lot of women and I like that position because I know what I know, and I know what I don’t know. I’m willing to be sponge and I’m willing to be open. I’m willing to be transparent and I’m willing to be able to teach so others can learn through me. That’s the highest form of fellowship.

GMO: You’ve been a recognizable face in entertainment for years, with a following that started with your role in The Player’s Club and continued with All of Us and beyond. What do you attribute your longevity and success to, and what advice do you have for others?

LisaRaye: I don’t take myself too serious, but what I do know is that I have a set of skills that I can get paid for and whoever enjoys those, I appreciate. The ones who don’t, change the channel, you don’t have to watch. I understand that there are places for me; I work when I want to work. I don’t let it define me, I work as much as I want to or as little as I want to and when I get tired, I get tired and I do something else, like I’m about to do now. I’m going over to producing.

When I say don’t take yourself too serious, just like you know people say, ‘you play all the roles that remind me of my best friend or my auntie,’ and it’s like thank you. I don’t take that lightly because some people say, ‘oh you need to get an Oscar to be accepted.’ At this point in my career, I don’t really care about an Oscar. I just care about doing good work, learning more and being able to get paid. That’s what I care about. I’m looking at retirement here! I have fun with what I’m doing, each role I’ve played I’ve had fun and it ain’t been overwhelming, it’s been great.

GMO: Who are your professional role models, and who would you love to work with in the future?

LisaRaye: Just any and everybody who is doing something that they’ve dreamed of doing and are being rewarded by blessing people with entertainment and making money while they’re having fun.

GMO: You’re quite an entrepreneur, with your own jean collection, “The LisaRaye Collection” and hair line, “LisaRaye Glamour.” Tell me a little about both lines: where can we find them?

LisaRaye: I am no longer with PZI jeans––that deal fell through. So I’m actually putting my jeans out on my own. So look to for information in the future for where you can find the jeans. And the hair line as well, that’s coming soon.

GMO: What’s next for LisaRaye?

LisaRaye: I’m working on the book and actually producing. I want to kind of pass the baton a little bit now. I want to help make stars; I got a good eye for that and encouraging the youth. I do a lot of motivational speaking, speaking to kids in high school and college. I just care about my role as a mother and as a responsible professional, and I’m seeing it in a whole different light now. I want to be able to help the youth, because for real, for real, for real––they will be running this world one day. If we don’t do a good job enhancing them and preparing them for what they need, then we are setting them up for failure. So I want to take a little bit of responsibility and try to help.


For more information on LisaRaye visit or follow her on Twitter: @TheRealLRaye.

Tiffani Alexander

Tiffani Alexander

Publisher and Editor in Chief of (GMO), Tiffani Alexander came to Chicago in the fall of 2004 to pursue her Master's degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. Tiffani earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of
 Maryland, College Park. She has worked for both Cygnus Business Media and Maher Publishing before embarking on her dream to start her own magazine. In addition to publishing GMO bi-monthly, Tiffani freelances and works as an editor on a legal journal in Washington, DC.


Tiffani can be contacted at

Follow her on Twitter: @TiffaniGMO