Saturday, August 19, 2017

LISA RAYE McCOY

Single. Successful. Satisfied.

As she eyes the next chapter in her eventful life and career, LisaRaye McCoy knows how to keep it all in perspective.

BY KIMBERLY BAILEY-TUREAUD

LisaRaye McCoy

In a business where good fortune is giveth and taketh away with the stroke of a network or studio executive’s pen, LisaRaye McCoy is admiringly resilient.

Case in point: Her popular series, “Single Ladies,” was recently cancelled by VH1 after three seasons. But don’t expect the actress to descend into despair over the show’s end. She’s completely at peace with it, already looking forward to the next phase in her extraordinarily eventful life and career.

“It’s been a nice run,” she said in an interview, when asked about the end of the show on which she memorably portrayed Keisha, an ex-video vixen always on the prowl for her next profitable hookup. “There is a new regime at VH1 and there is a different president of the company. When you have different presidents, they want to implement their own vision. … Nevertheless, it’s been a great time.”

She added, referring to changes on the series that included the high-profile departure of its original lead, Stacey Dash, after just one season: “I have to be honest and say that once the show changed over the years …  it was a little different than what I initially signed up for.”

If there is one certainty in Hollywood, it’s that McCoy will always be asked to sign up for something. Ever since she burst onto the scene as the sexy Diamond in the 1998 hit “The Players Club,” she has been in heavy demand as a movie actress (“The Wood,” “Beauty Shop” ) television performer (“All of Us,” a beloved CW sitcom based loosely on the lives of Will and Jada Smith) and reality star (the highly rated “LisaRaye: The Real McCoy,” which aired on TVOne for several seasons before she left the show voluntarily over creative differences).

As busy as her professional life has been over the last two decades, McCoy’s personal life has been equally remarkable. Before her now ex-husband became ensnared in controversies involving allegations of corruption, criminal misconduct and infidelity, McCoy’s marriage to the former premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands made her first lady of the tropical paradise for two years.

LisaRaye McCoy

With the marriage now several years away in her rearview mirror, McCoy said, “I am currently comfortable in my space, and I am in love with me. What I am doing right now, and what my future partner deserves, is a stable me. As women, we always have a list of the character qualities we look for in a man. But we have to be honest and ask ourselves, ‘Do we have good qualities ourselves, and are we prepared to give them to a man?’ We all come into a relationship with a fair amount of baggage. I strive to enter a relationship with the least amount of baggage possible. I want to work on me and give the best of me that I can to a relationship. With this comes responsibility, commitment and encouragement. I don’t need a new man in my life to take care of me or to pay my bills. … I need him to be my partner, so we can start building our legacy together. I want love — real love. When I get ready to do it this time — I’m ‘sho-gonna’ do it right.”

As for her professional life, the next step in McCoy’s journey appears to be toward the stage, where she is developing a one-woman show.

“When I did the reality show on TV One, people got a chance to see my personality, so I gained a whole new fan base,” she said. “So, with all the rumors and all of the things people think they know about you — and some of the things they don’t know — I have intertwined that with how I was raised in Chicago, my journey to Hollywood, until my reign as the First Lady of Turks and Caicos Islands into a one-woman show. Back from that fairy tale-turned-nightmare marriage to my spiritual journey now. The show is hilarious, truthful, honest and raw. It exciting for me; something I haven’t done before. It’s almost like ‘The Vagina Monologues’ meets a variety show and a stand-up comedy production. I am very excited about it, and hope to do an HBO special and tour around the country. I get bored easily, and I always like to come up with new projects that shake and move. I have to stick in and stick out. That is the kind of career I have had.”

With so much focus on her career, McCoy is quick to note that she does have other priorities. One of them is her commitment to living a healthy lifestyle.

“My weight management is getting harder and harder as I get older,” admitted the glamorous star. “I used to take two weeks to lose my unwanted weight, and it would all suck back in. Now it takes about a good month to lose weight. I am learning my body, and I want to take care of my temple. I drink so much water that there really isn’t any room in my stomach to drink anything else. I drink a protein shake in the morning, and everything else I drink throughout the day is water. I also juice each day — that is incredible for me. Not for just losing weight, but it helps with detoxing my body. When I juice for 14 days; I never make it to day 14. I look at my body in the mirror and say, ‘This is enough.’ Juicing detoxes your body and flushes your liver and kidneys. It also detoxes your skin — and my skin is amazing.”

Her beauty and strength are the envy of millions, and McCoy points to her spirituality as the source of all of that she has accomplished.

“It is important to first strengthen your relationship with God. That is where your strength is going to come from,” she said. “Second, put yourself around positive people who motivate and encourage you. Get away from the haters and people who have a ‘stuck’ mindset. If you stay around those same people, that’s the blind leading the blind. You have to put yourself around others who inspire you and to take your hand so that you can begin your journey.”

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