LisaRaye McCoy

LisaRaye McCoy is one fifth of our COCOBelle of the Month feature with the cast of VH1’s Single Ladies. The charismatic actress, model and former First Lady of Turks & Caicos is also an entrepreneur, having launched two fashion lines, as well as a line of jeans for curvy women called PZI. Lisa Raye is best known for her role as Diamond in The Players Club, and as Neesee on the sitcom, All of Us. She has also appeared in films including Beauty Shop, Love Chronicles, The Wood and Civil Brand; television shows The Parent ‘Hood and In the House; and in her own reality series, LisaRaye: The Real McCoy.

LisaRaye has returned to star for a third season on VH1’s Single Ladies, and we got to talk with her about how her character, Keisha, has evolved; how she maintains great health and glowing, beautiful skin; and got some inside scoop on her soon-to-be-released book. Read on to learn more.

Let’s first talk Single Ladies--can you tell us how Keisha has evolved from season one to season three?
Keisha’s character has changed a lot this season. I don’t want to give it away but she is more supportive of Malcolm this season. The relationship that so many people love between Malcolm and Keisha has evolved. They are a couple now and they are committed to each other. Keisha is showing him, “I’m the one for you.” It becomes less easy when they get into an argument because now they can’t just bounce when they get mad, they have to learn how to deal with it while they are still in the relationship, so I think it’s interesting to show the balance of how you do that when living with your loved one. It’s also laced with some drama.

Then there’s the relationship with her girls: learning how to agree to disagree and figuring out how much space to give each other. Sometimes you have to show a person how to be a friend to you, and how to respect you. Even in the longest of relationships sometimes you grow and the friends don’t (or vice versa). That’s a great dynamic to show--that they are real friends.

What is in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal—your top three beauty products you just can’t live without?
For hair I have my own hair and shampoo conditioner product: The LisaRaye Collection. I don’t put soap on my face. I use Dr. Bronner's peppermint oil. It’s called an astringent, it’s like a soap/astringent combination, but I’ve been using that for my skin. I heavily moisturize my face with Crème de la Mer--I use the thinner moisturizer for day and then at night I use a thicker cream.

So you don’t use any (bar) soap on your face?
No, not at all.

How do you take your make-up off?
I live for the Neutrogena make-up towelette wipes. I like those better than the MAC kind, which are stronger and burn my eyes. Neutrogena is hypoallergenic, and it’s natural and I can get that eyeliner and mascara off and not have such oily skin or any residue on my skin. I also use rose water as an astringent for my face--like a refresher. I spray it on like a mist and I also use it after I have make-up on to set my make-up.

Did you learn these really good tips after being in the business over the years, as you were trying different products? Or is it just from years of learning what works best for your skin on your own?
It’s a little bit of both: I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s peppermint forever but working with different make-up artists, and on different sets, you do pick up what works for your eye shape and what works for your skin and what’s too much. Now I use CoverGirl bronzer from the Queen Latifah Collection for my face.

Your daughter is beautiful. Has she given you any beauty tips?
My daughter doesn’t tell me anything, I tell her every thing. It used to be hard for her to receive from me—she is modeling now so she’s trying to find her own way. Recently, I hosted the NAACP awards and she brought her dress to me and said, “We need to accessorize”, so that means she wanted to play Barbie doll. I was running around putting stuff on her saying what I liked or didn’t like. She has been telling me about the trendy nails--the stiletto nails. I’m not into that. I’m not a trendy person--I’m a solid person. I’m going to go with the things that are going to be around for a while. I stay more natural with my nail color: pale white or French tips or a little glitter, but I don’t wear color. I leave that up to (my character) Keisha. Keisha’s nails are popping this season. Our show is a fashion forward show.

What is the most indulgent pampering experience you’ve ever had and how did it change your outlook on self-care?

I go to Canyon Ranch in AZ every year for a week by myself. The experience of being at a resort that is natural, herbal and healthy, from the spa to the treatments to the workouts to the hiking to the pampering, even the breakfast lunch and dinner--the peace that you feel there is so tranquil. You are allowed to get your self together and get into your own inner thoughts without anyone else coming into what it is that you are trying to accomplish, because sometimes you don’t even know what that is. When you are in the business you are with people all of the time; when you are alone you get to be with your thoughts and you have Godly thoughts where you can get back inside yourself and who you are and what your purpose is. When you are working, you are doing someone else’s purpose along with your own. Acting is part of my job, but it’s also part of my ministry--I look at my work that way. People come up to me and say, “I love Keisha! Are you really Keisha? I love how she plays this…” and they know the scenes, and they know the episodes--that’s a kind of ministry. My acting skill gives back to certain people’s lives and it helps them connect with the character and the story line; so I am teaching as well as entertaining.

In the colder months, a woman’s hair needs more TLC. What are some of the ways you protect and care for your hair for the winter?

I use MoroccanOil. It smells good, it’s light and it doesn’t take a lot of product. When I travel I put it in another travel size bottle. When using, I pat it thru the middle of my hair so it adds a little shine and takes away the static cling, which comes from dry hair. I don’t like to put oil on my scalp, but when you put that on your hair it will automatically go to your scalp without clogging your pores and weighing down your hair. And it smells so good! When I swing my hair and someone says your hair smells good, I’m like yep yep… LOL.

Tell us about your health, diet and nutrition preferences.
I am totally a juice buff now! I do a 14-day cleanse which is all green, natural juice from vegetables: kale, spinach, collard greens, cucumber, celery and parsley with an apple or pear to sweeten it. I do it for 14 days straight, and the weight falls off. It’s what I do to become smaller when I have a project, and when I start filming Single Ladies, because the camera adds like 10 pounds. I get smaller (maybe a size 5-6) and then the towards the latter part of the season I start picking back up my weight (so I can be a nice juicy 7). When I do the detox it’s not only for weight loss, it’s also for spiritual purposes, to give the digestive tract a rest, and for detoxing the liver, bladder and skin.

(While juicing), I become more disciplined. It makes me feel like, “Go girl you’ve done this for 3 days and you only have 11 days left. You can do this!” I become focused and it becomes nothing. I have more energy, because I am drinking everything I need that I’d normally have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That energy level is high when I get all that stuff out of me and I am feeding my body naturally from the earth--the way it was designed.

I swear by it. I came back to work this year, and everybody was like, “OMG what did you do-- you look amazing!”

Do you use organic veggies?
I go to Whole Foods but that’s not a must--you can go to your local grocery store and get green veggies.

Do you still eat meat are you going vegan?
No, my family is from the South--every now and then I need a hamhock in my red beans and rice! For company, I throw in a turkey leg--I do live in LA. But every now and then I need some pork bacon or chitterlings with hot sauce. That’s why it’s important for me to juice…LOL.

You are writing a book, right?

Yes. It’s a life story of how I grew up, became an actress, things I went through being in Hollywood, and going through being the first lady of Turks and Caicos--how that fairytale turned into a nightmare. I’m now understanding that wasn’t a nightmare at all. I regained all of my focus. (The book) is a story of how we fall down, but we get up. I’m waiting to sign on the dotted line so I can’t say when it’s coming out, but I do want to create a little buzz so people know it’s coming.

How do you find your happy place on a daily basis?
That is a great question because I’m finding my true happiness more and more every day. I’m happier now than I’ve been...well I’ve always had a happy life… my most difficult time was going through my divorce. That wasn’t happy at all and it was embarrassing, so trying to come out of that I had to find a different level of happiness, which allowed me to go on a spiritual journey. I start my day by saying thank you to Him and that thank you turns into a small prayer of appreciation for waking me up and for what He is doing with me. Sometimes I don’t know where that’s going but I trust Him and my faith is there. He is replenishing me with His grace and mercy. I feel thankful even when I walk around my house. I’m thankful for that picture that I was able to afford because I wanted it. I’m thankful when I go in my closet and see how many pairs of shoes I have. I’m thankful for my house itself. I’m living my dream.

Read the rest of the COCOBelle of the Month interviews featuring the cast of VH1's Single Ladies:

LeToya Luckett
Denise Vasi
Lesley-Ann Brandt
Charity Shea