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LisaRaye McCoy on Being a ‘Single Lady’

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Lisa Raye Mccoy
Millions of viewers are tuning in each Monday night to watch LisaRaye McCoy bring the highs and lows of single living to life. LisaRaye stars alongside Stacey Dash in VH1’s record-breaking new series "Single Ladies," in which she plays fast-talking Keisha Green, a diva who wants a man, but definitely doesn’t need one.

We caught up with Ms. LisaRaye to find out what it’s like living "single" these days, and to see what advice she has for the ladies out there looking for love. Here’s what she had to say:

ESSENCE:  What attracted you to the project?
 
LISARAYE MCCOY: I identified with each female in the project because it’s a little bit of me on every level. I’ve been looking for love, I’ve been married before – didn’t work. I’ve date and it didn’t work. I’ve been cheated on and lied on while looking for my prince charming. In this generation, when looking for that perfect mate that you want so desperately to find and spend the rest of your life with, you need to find the comedy in all that’s wrong, and all that goes on in your life. I think this is such a cute and genius way to find laughter in life. I think it’s fresh, it’s current, it’s now, and it’s sexy. It’s bold. You’ve got great characters.

ESSENCE: You said that you didn’t marry your ex husband for love, but rather you grew to love each other. Did that experience help you prepare to play Keisha, who doesn’t get emotionally attached to men?

MCCOY: No, I don’t think so. It’s pretty easy to play the character because it’s really on paper. It’s nothing that I made up. You attach your experiences to what the director pulls from you. You know, I’ve had that experience with even boyfriends. You dated them and then you played the little game of, let me see if I can really like him. And then you’re like, I like this about him, but I don’t like that about him. Then you realize that nobody’s perfect. But you play that game of life.

You know everybody’s looking for a winner. Not just LisaRaye. Everybody wants to find someone who brings something to the table to make them equals or at least make them that much more powerful together. That’s universal. Keshia was a video vixen and so was LisaRaye so I identify with that. I identify with Val’s character too. You know I’ve taken it slow and tried to see if that was the right way. And I’ve had a one-night stand, and I thought, okay is this the way? It’s all trial and error. I think at the end of the day it’s about people when they go: “Oh my God you play that character so well, is that you?” and I’m like, “No, it’s a skill. I’m an actress. I’m acting.”

ESSENCE: What message do you want single women to take away from watching the show?

MCCOY: I want them to live life. I want them to laugh. I want them to understand what friendship is about. We have three friends in this project that think very differently, but ultimately it’s the unity they have that’s bridging the gap. They’re able to agree to disagree and that’s what it’s about. You gotta be able to have friends in your life that are gonna be able to tell you the difference between what’s right and wrong, and also not tell you what you always wanna hear. It’s hard to find friends that get you or who are going to understand you, so you kind of shelter yourself. I’ve been through that. Some of my friends were there for me when I was first mistress of Turks and Caicos, and I’m flying everybody back and forth and sharing this jewel of an island with all of my people. I look around now and when the chips fell, it’s like, where are the shoulders that I can lean on? It’s hurtful and it’s embarrassing but you can’t be scorned from that. You have to give someone else a chance and understand that people are in your life for a reason and a season.

ESSENCE: What advice would you give to single women out there who are looking for love?

MCCOY: Girl, if I had the recipe and the rules I would have done better my damn self. I, right now, am vicariously living through my own character. Keshia gets it in. Keshia is quite exciting. She’s the most. She has these great one-liners and these great philosophies on men and dating and she ain’t gonna let no grass grow up under her feet. And I’m like, alright girl! I’m working on LisaRaye’s inner peace and my spirituality. I’m not really so concerned with looking for him. I need him to find me.

ESSENCE: Is there anything that Keisha Green would do that LisaRaye wouldn’t?

MCCOY: Yeah, Keisha plays a lot of games. She has such a wall up because she wants a man in her life to give more and to give first before she gives in, and LisaRaye, I’m really a little too old to play those kind of games. I want to show you me so you can show me you. Keisha had her time when she was a video vixen and she stole to get even. I’ve never done that and I don’t believe in that. Keisha doesn’t know how to cook and LisaRaye knows how to cook her butt off.

Be sure to check out our weekly “Single Ladies” recaps.
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