La La Anthony: “I would like to continue building the confidence of young inner-city kids by providing better schooling and opportunities that may not already be afforded to them” Exclusive with Marco Derhy
I would love to continue to grow my philanthropy efforts to help inner-city kids through my La La Land, Inc. Foundation. This is something dear to my heart. I would like to continue building the confidence of young inner-city kids by providing better schooling and opportunities that may not already be afforded to them. The youth are our future, anything I can do to help them achieve their hopes and dreams would bring me the most joy.
As part of my series about “Exceptional Female Leaders,” I had the pleasure of interviewing La La Anthony. La La, 36, is a budding actress, producer, New York Times bestselling author, and fashion-and-cosmetics mogul whose presence in the film and TV industry is rapidly growing. She can currently be seen on STARZ Network #1 hit show, POWER.
Marco: Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve always loved music, so at 15 years old, I started interning at my local radio station in Atlanta. From there, I became an MTV VJ, which then transitioned into being a television personality, actress, and producer. But my love for hip-hop music ultimately launched my entire career.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
It’s actually funny how I got my start. To intern at the radio station, you had to be at least 18 years old, and at the time, I was 15 — so I lied and said I was 18. Lol. Thankfully they gave me a job, and the rest is history.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first started on the radio, a funny mistake I made did not to realize that my mic was on and everyone listening in could hear my every word. I was talking about so much personal stuff! Things a teenager goes through. 🤦🏽♀️ That experience taught me to pay attention to detail and be super thorough in everything I do.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Playing my character Lakeisha Grant on Power is one of the most exciting projects I am working on now. Watching her growth from Season 1 to Season 6 is incredible. She’s on an amazing journey, and I’m proud to bring her to life. Also, having the opportunity to produce content for television and film with people I respect and admire is amazing.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Ms. Oprah and Ms. Gayle King are two of the most inspiring people I’ve interacted with in my career. Both of these women are so positive and always leave you with little gems to think about that will keep you motivated and grounded. I absolutely love them both!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I would say that you definitely have to have a plan but still take things one day at a time. It’s important to realize that you cannot accomplish everything in one day. Planning is a process, it takes time, but if you stick to it — it will work. DON'T GIVE UP!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most good to the most people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would love to continue to grow my philanthropy efforts to help inner-city kids through my La La Land, Inc. Foundation. This is something dear to my heart. I want to continue building the confidence of young inner-city kids by providing better schooling and opportunities that may not already be afforded to them. The youth are our future, AND anything I can do to help them achieve their hopes and dreams would bring me the most joy.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started,” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes we rush through things because we want it so bad. When it doesn't work — we quit. Every no brings you closer to your YES. Don’t quit!.
2. Hard work does pay off. In the end, you can outwork anyone with your work ethic.
3. Being kind goes a long way. People want to work with people who are nice and that they like.
4. Stay humble, don’t ever become arrogant, and think that you’re better than anyone.
5. Ignore the haters. There will always be people who don’t believe in you, but don’t let that deter you from your dreams.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Love yourself from the inside out.” That quote is super relevant to my personal growth because I’ve learned that you have to love yourself first. Build up your self-esteem and confidence. It all starts with YOU!
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Chaka Zulu, Ludacris’s manager, was also the first person to see my potential. If it were not for him giving me a chance to be his intern as a teenager, my story might not have been the same. I absolutely love and respect him.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world or the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Michelle Obama! I am grateful already to call her a friend, but I can never have too much time with her. I love picking her brain. She truly embodies the type of woman I aspire to be. I read her book, Becoming, in one day, and it’s still one of my faves.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Marco: Thank you so much for joining us. This was indeed inspirational!