Not many people can say they've had our attention from the moment we saw them the way La La Anthony has. From her days on MTV's TRL to her multi-hyphenate reign as a Hollywood heavy hitter, La La has shown us the power of effortless reinvention. As a mother, wife, and friend, she continues to prove that nothing can stop a woman who is living by her own standards. As she gears up for a busy year- adapting her New York Times best-seller The Love Playbook for television, executive producing a horror-comedy movie alongside Issa Rae, and reprising her recurring role on Showtimes's The Chi, we caught up to talk about how she stays grounded, motivated and healthy through it all.
Iman Milner: Thank you for taking time out of a crazy busy schedule to talk with 21Ninety today. There's no doubt that you are a woman who constantly has a lot on her plate. Give us the secret to maintaining your friendships, goals, and sanity in this process?
La La Anthony: It's hard. Balancing everything along with COVID now is tough. For me, I just prioritize who and what's important in my life, and you make time for them. You always hear that saying that you make time for what's important. I found that before the pandemic, I was running myself into the ground and just tired every day. I was working overtime and so hard, but now it's just about managing my time better. That's been good for me.
IM: You're about to have a high-schooler. How do you feel about that?
LA: It's so crazy. I can't believe Kiyan is going to high school. So definitely communicating and staying in touch with his thoughts and feelings because high school is not a game. From middle school to high school is a big transition. So, just working with him through all of that.
IM: Can you believe how quickly time has passed?
LA: You hear people say it all the time, and then you look up, and it's like, "Wow, it's really happening." Time does fly. It used to feel like you're never going to grow up, and then all of a sudden, it's here.
IM: In terms of self-care, so much has changed, and we can't do our normal routines. How have you adjusted and made time for that?
LA: It's about not feeling guilty for self-care. I used to not want to do anything for myself or feel bad like 'you've got other things to do, you gotta work, you gotta be with Kiyan.' Self-care looks different for everybody, but for me, it could just be 5 minutes out of the day of no phones, no Zooms, no emails. Or it could be zoning out with Kiyan or watching a movie by myself. It comes in different ways, but it's so important that we take care of ourselves because if we're not good, we won't be good for the people in our lives. I had to learn that because I was really spreading myself way too thin.
IM: When you feel that happening, how do you regroup? What lets you know that it's time to take a step back?
LA: I just know the feeling when I'm really burnt out, or I'm so tired that I'm dragging. I don't like that feeling when I know I'm not giving 100%. I tell myself it's time to trim the schedule down so I can have energy and can feel good about what I'm doing. When you're doing things you love, you should be able to do your best in it. I'm in Chicago now working on The Chi, and when I go to set, I don't want to be so tired because I've been working so much. Also, just telling myself that I am so blessed to do what I love and that I am in a great position. Walking in gratitude and giving myself those positive affirmations makes a difference.
IM: A little birdie told me that a TV series is coming based on your best-selling book.
LA: Yeah, The Love Playbook. It was #1 on the New York Times best-seller list, and it was such a powerful book. The questions about love and the dos and don'ts and "how do I make it work" or "am I going to find love?"—they never get old. So, following people in 2021, the pandemic, social media, how do you date, how do you meet people, or how do you maintain a relationship if you already have one; those are so important. It's going to be really fun following these characters as they go through different journeys in their lives.
IM: I know you like to wear both hats—producer and actor. Will we see you in the series?
LA: I think I might pop in. It's my book, so I would like to be a part of it. It just depends on what's going on with some of my other acting work, but I'd love to be a part of it for sure.
IM: You're working on The Chi now, but where else can we see more of Lala?
LA: Right, Dom is coming back to The Chi, so I am here shooting that. 50 Cent and I are working on a bunch of projects together. Issa Rae and I are producing a feature film together called JuJu. I'm just staying busy and working with people I admire and love and bringing some great content to the screen.
IM: Let's talk about longevity. You've transitioned from one part of your career to the other with such grace. How have you kept going through the ebbs and flows?
LA: It's hard work. Hard work always pays off. You're always going to stay in the game with hard work, and, as you said, there are ebbs and flows. It's not going to always be at its height. You're going to have downtime. You'll have times when it's other people's moment, and you have to be happy for other people's success. And you have to know yours is coming.
Also, finding things that work for me, fulfill me, and make me happy—maintaining a healthy lifestyle, finding time to work out, and make time for me. I'm not great at working out consistently but understanding how good that is. You see, I have these Kellogg's Special K keto-friendly snack bars here, and they work for me when I'm on set. I take them with me everywhere I go. I love to snack, I love chocolate, and I don't have to feel guilty about eating them. That's a small thing, but it's about finding things that you implement in your life that work for you and keep you on the right track.
IM: When you hear the word wellness, what comes to mind?
LA: Wellness starts with yourself. When I hear the word, I am always thinking about taking care of myself. It starts from the inside out. It's about loving yourself from the inside out.
IM: When you hear the word beauty, what comes to mind?
LA: Self-confidence is beauty. You can feel when someone is confident and feels good about themselves. They may have on something that you feel like, 'I could never wear that,' but you're like 'they look so good in it,' it's all about that self-confidence. That comes out. Beauty starts with feeling good about yourself.