LeToya made her foray into acting in 2010 with a lead film role in Preacher’s Kid, followed by roles in movies including Killers, From the Rough and Concerto; and television roles on shows like Second Generation Wayans, HBO’s Treme and VH1’s Single Ladies. We sat down to chat with LeToya about her role on Single Ladies as mean girl, Felicia Price; and to find out how she balances her many creative projects, how she stays healthy on the road, and what’s in her Ultimate Beauty Arsenal.
Tell us about playing Felicia Price, the mean chick on Single Ladies.
I’m completely different from Felicia. I had to do a lot of character research on her. I hate watching a show where viewers hate someone so much that they don’t want to see them anymore. I wanted to find a way for everyone to love her and hate her at the same time. I had to watch Devil Wears Prada--a lot of times! She nailed it: hair was right, nails were right, clothes were right; so I put my own little spin on that. I gave Felicia a back story so people would know there’s a reason why she’s this cold person, and not as touchable or approachable as the other characters. In a nutshell, she loves music and entertainment. She started from the bottom and took the steps without short cuts, so she doesn’t take flack from her employees. One reason that she goes so hard on the character April is because she sees potential in her and she doesn’t want her to sell herself short. She wants her to be the best, and that’s what you do with the person you love or see potential in--you go harder on them because you want them to be their best. Yet, I couldn’t go super hard on her to where I break her down as a human being. It’s a great story--I hope people continue to watch.
You did a great job with a character so unlike you--you nailed it. When we interviewed Leslie Ann Brandt, she told us how genuine and nice you are. What’s your relationship been like with her and the other cast members?
That is so sweet of her! She is a wonderful person. Not only is she gorgeous, but she’s talented and I learned so much from her. On a show that involves a lot of women, it can involve a lot of ego--thank God this isn’t a cast like that. It was like a sisterhood. Leslie would come in my trailer and we’d go over lines. She loves the craft and I admire her discipline. She knows I’m a shopaholic so she took me to Rag & Bone; we go shopping and eat--she’s really healthy but I got her into the fried chicken and cupcakes. We learned so much from each other.
As a singer/song writer and actress, what’s your favorite way to stay fit even while away from home?
Watching what you eat (is important). Beauty starts emotionally and with the things you put into your body. I know when you are on the road its easier to go thru the drive-through, but instead of fried chicken, try a salad; or instead of white bread try wheat bread. You might not be able to make it to the gym everyday so you have to watch what you eat.
Are you into taking vitamins and supplements?
I take vitamins, like a multi-vitamin for women, because it helps me with energy. B-12 or greens and Echinacea help keep me from getting sick on the road. When you are getting on planes, shaking people’s hands, etc, taking a vitamin helps you fight against germs; it helps to build your immune system.
Juicing is a huge health trend right now--are you a juicer?
Yessss I love juicing--I just juiced yesterday! I do kale, spinach and berries for antioxidants; I love kale because you can’t taste it in the drink. I’m big on taste so I love that I’m getting my greens but they’re not clashing with the fruit. I add strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries because (fruit) is good for your skin. I love mango, and ginger is good too. If you are real about it, you will do beets!! LOL. Juicing help keeps you young.
How do you balance all of your creative projects and how do you know when it’s time to focus on one thing over another?
That’s tough, but you said the key word: balance. Both singing and acting are emotional. You have to be in a certain space in your mind, free of the clutter and garbage that go on throughout your day and the distractions in your life. Those two things take all of your energy, your time and your mind space, and you have to be able to give yourself in both. I’m passionate about both so I find ways: taking that time, getting that inner peace, focusing, cutting the phone off, getting off of Instagram and Twitter, putting everything aside and focusing--that’s what I have to do. I find that me time and find that place of peace and go there before I take on a scene. Both are very time consuming so it’s crazy.
So when you say you have to ‘find your peace’, does that mean you take a minute even if you are on set? Do you go to the restroom and say or prayer--what do you do to center yourself?
I absolutely find a dark corner and I pray. I stay connected and stay centered and take that time to myself. It’s crazy because when I was filming Single Ladies I was also leaving the set and going straight to the studio each night, regardless of whether it was midnight. I knew I had to accomplish both of those things so I’d have to be mentally ready for my day, get the right sleep, and not be on the phone; so a work out, a quick prayer and being as organized as possible (are what work). And I have a great team: my agent and manager help keep things aligned.
What’s in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal—the top 3 beauty products you can’t live without?
Cocoa butter and Cetaphil moisturizer and lip-gloss. I love Cetaphil moisturizer because it keeps my skin glowing. It’s not heavy on my skin, which can be oily. I have to be careful so it balances my skin. Palmer’s cocoa butter lotion because I love the smell. And a good lip gloss.
Do you use any products at night?
I wash my face 2 or 3 times a day. In the morning I use Cetaphil. Sometimes I put Crème de la Mer serum on my face, because it gives a little light glow.
Read the rest of the COCOBelle of the Month interviews featuring the cast of VH1's Single Ladies: