Today, we get up close and personal with the "Single Ladies" actress, who talks to us about everything from life to love to work.
Even more? She gives us the scoop on her brand new line of form-fitting jeans with PZI. Read on to celebrate, laugh and be inspired by LisaRaye!
LisaRaye: This is not my first introduction into fashion, I had a lingerie line about seven years ago that I did a great fashion show for during New York Fashion Week. But then when I got married and became the First lady of Turks and Caicos Islands, I decided that title and lingerie didn’t match that well.
ESSENCE.com: What happened next?
LisaRaye: Seven years later PZI approached me! I put the jeans on and fell in love with the fit! The owner then hit me with, “I’m really looking for a partner and a business venture with you. I think you would be a good addition to our line and we would let you design and build your own collection." The experience allowed me to put on my designer hat again!
ESSENCE.com: We know white is your signature, so how many pieces of white denim are in the line?
ESSENCE.com: Wow! What was your design philosophy?
LisaRaye: I wanted to design jeans that I wanted to wear, and that's exactly what I did! It’s all white, even the hardware! You don’t have to fight with whatever color shoe you want to wear! I am very proud of all of the line! I have seventeen pair of jeans right now that I can intertwine with whatever jacket, blouses and shirts that I want to wear.
ESSENCE.com: How did you get into wearing it as a signature color?
LisaRaye: I’ve been wearing white for eleven years and being able to partner with someone that believes that white will push even after labor day is, a great trend set, because i am a trendsetter. And you know, to me, white never looked so good up against snow! So i bucked the stereotype and, you know, you can look on TV now and on videos, and white is more relevant now. Dolce & Gabbana's last fall collection was all white. You look in the audience at the awards shows and you see a lot of white. White is everywhere, it's so fresh, so clean and it's just so vibrant. Black does what it does, and it has its place, it's sexy and sultry, but white is fresh, it's clean, it's here, it's the light.
ESSENCE.com: Who would you say are your style icons are?
LisaRaye: I really don't have one person! For me style is what you make and and what looks good on your body. So I’ve never really been a label whore per se. But of course, you know, there are different designers that I like, and different super models that I've seen, and different styles that I like.
ESSENCE.com: How do these designs inspire your style?
LisaRaye: I always think I would like to see this in white. That’s what I do! I say ‘Oh, does this come in white?’ I might maybe mimic it and send a picture to my designer and get it in white! I used to wear a lot of Valentino when I was First Lady. A lot of couture things like that. I love Prada, I love Miu Miu, I love Luca Luca. And I really love Donna Karan, I love how simple her dresses are! I also love Diane von Furstenberg. I love shopping. I love to do anything that looks good on me!
ESSENCE.com: How important do you think the fashion is on ‘Single Ladies’ and how much input do you get to have?
LisaRaye: I think it is important for every actress to be able to feel whatever garment she has on because we as women we know when we look good. We know when we feel good. We look in the mirror and it’s like: ‘This outfit hugs my body right! It shows off my curves right! It’s the perfect length! It’s the perfect fit!’ When you have that you kind of confidence, you walk differently.
ESSENCE.com: What are some style tips dressing with a curvy body?
LisaRaye: It's always been a problem because I do have a bubble butt, an onion! I also have a small waist, so a lot of times I would have to nip them in at the waist. But with the PZI LisaRaye collection, you don’t have to do that! The waist band of the jeans don't gap, so when you squat down you're not showing all your business in the back, which is not cute or sexy. These jeans fit your curves which is important because I’m into looking good and feeling good!
ESSENCE.com: What other projects are you working on?
LisaRaye: I just debuted my hair line Lisa Ray Glamour at Bronner Brothers hair show in Atlanta. I’m happy to say I sold out of hair!
ESSENCE.com: Why did you start it?
LisaRaye: I started it because i wanted to be in that billion dollar business. I felt like I needed to have some of that. While I’ve been re-branding and repositioning myself it has been so awesome for me to be able to embark on a career as an entrepreneur. Acting is wonderful, but it's not pulling in the type of money that I want. It’s not bringing in the type of money that I am used to or the type of money that is going to supply my lifestyle. I'm a leisure girl, I like to be over in Italy or in Europe, you know shopping or vacationing, you know.
I want to be able to invest my money smartly and do something that I care about and give back to people and let them have a little piece of LisaRaye. The PZI collection allows me to do that! It’s selling on its own. So is my LisaRaye glamour hair. I’m happy I have those two investments in my back pocket and still have acting and can be relevant and still have my fame and stay visible.
ESSENCE.com: Is vacationing a big part of your work and life balance?
LisaRaye: Believe it or not -- I get it in! I really do! I am such a vacation girl. I have little places that I go to frequently! If I am not too busy on a weekend, I try to go someplace like Mexico or Manzanillo or something like that. I just got back from Italy after a two and a half week vacation! It’s not vacationing! I've got to be able to get my time off whether it's just enjoying my house or the peace and quiet of my family and being there and cooking for them. I love doing that. I also love doing leisure things. I ride horses. I love to shop. I love to drive!
ESSENCE.com: Any other activities?
LisaRaye: Believe it or not, I love to drive up the coast! I love nature. I love green scenery. I love to be able to be outside!