La La Anthony is no stranger to creating the ultimate “Power Playbook” and playing by her own rules to sustain longevity and harness reinvention to stay at the top of her game. At just 16 years old, she began planting the seeds of success, landing an internship at one of Atlanta’s most popular radio stations. The grit, grind, and tenacity didn’t stop there. She secured the coveted hosting gig as an MTV VJ for “Total Request Live” and hasn’t slowed down since, landing acting roles in the Think Like a Man franchise, Power, The Chi, and Black Mafia Family (BMF). Outside of being in front of the camera, Anthony is busy making moves behind the scenes, whether building her haircare brand, “Inala,” putting on her Broadway producer hat, or using her star power to secure partnerships with brands willing to amplify Black businesses.
The television personality sat down with BLACK ENTERPRISE to discuss creating a competitive advantage in business, learning to avoid burnout, entrepreneurial roadblocks, and discovering your passion.
Why was it important for you to partner with Now and Later for their “Pause Now, Hustle Later” campaign?
La La Anthony: It was important because I am learning and understanding the importance of self-care. I came from the mentality of work, work, work, grind, grind, grind, which is a beautiful trait to have, and it’s great to be that passionate and that driven, but it’s also understanding that in life, it’s about working smarter, not necessarily working harder.
I also love that with this partnership, reminding people to “Pause Now, Hustle Later,” we get a chance to highlight Black-owned self-care brands. Anytime there’s a chance to highlight Black-owned businesses and give them some shine, I’m always excited about it.
Why is self-care so important for Black women, especially now?
Just the state of the world right now. There are so many crazy things going on that we have to continuously check in on our mental health, check in on us slowing down and taking care of ourselves. Also, check in on each other because they always say, “Check on your strong friends,” because you might look like you have it all together, and inside, there are a lot of other things going on.
Let’s switch gears and discuss the biggest challenge you had to overcome as a businesswoman to get your haircare brand Inala off the ground.
In the beginning, money is spent before you see anything coming back. But you have to believe in the brand to get through the beginning stages of trying to get it off the ground. In some cases, you’ll have these brands where they hit immediately and go crazy, and some are a slower build. Initially, the challenges were “How do I stand out? There are a million haircare brands. What am I going to do that’s different? What will make people like my product when they have all these other options?”
I’m glad you mentioned that because people assume otherwise from the outside looking in. You’re La La, and you have this platform with millions of followers, but you are still figuring out and asking yourself, “How do I stand out above the rest.”
Of course, because there are so many products and choices out there. What will make people choose what I’m putting in the marketplace instead of something else? It’s challenging, but you get through it. You work hard, and when you’re passionate about something and believe in it, that will push you through some of those trials, tribulations, and bumps that happen along the way.
You said the keyword passion because people can put products out there, but your consumers can read through it if it’s not authentic to you and whether or not you are passionate about it.
Very true. That is a very true statement.
Like so many women, you’re balancing a busy schedule as a mom, a businesswoman, creative, and just being La La. What practices do you suggest for other women to do if they’re feeling stuck right now?
I try to delegate my time better, look at everything going on, and say, “I probably have too much going on when I’m feeling stuck.” What’s happening is I’m focusing on everything, but I need to focus more on one thing. Sometimes it’s about narrowing it down to one thing, focusing on what’s doing well or driving you and putting your time and energy into it instead of having a million things going on.
Entrepreneurship is a journey full of ups and downs. What is one fundamental question every person should ask themselves before embarking on their entrepreneurial journey?
The question is, is it something that you’re passionate about? Would you do it if you weren’t getting paid for it? That’s really a question because you have to be passionate about it to not give up and get through the ups and downs. You have to believe in it so much that it would be something you would do if you were doing it for free.
That’s how I look at it. I understand that nobody wants to work for free. I’m not saying that, but I’m saying that passion and mindset will push you through all the ups and downs of creating a new business.
Didn’t you have unpaid internships early in your career?
That’s how my career started. That’s why I talk about it, and I know it’s not such a big thing anymore. But in the beginning, I was doing a lot of internships and not being paid for them, but the experience and what I learned ended up making me so much more money in the end. The people who took jobs at that time for money didn’t sustain themselves or didn’t get to where I was because, for me, it was about learning. It was about understanding.
Sometimes you have to learn before it’s about, “Oh, I want to make money. I want to do this.”
Well, what do you know about this space? What do you know about this brand? What do you know about your competitors? What do you know about formulating a product? What do you know about any of this? You have to learn it first.
Through the years, you’ve continued to thrive, break down barriers and build a name for yourself. What keeps your creative spark alive?
I always think, “OK, what’s the next transition for me? Or “What’s something I haven’t done, but it’s still in my wheelhouse?” I never get bored because I don’t stay in one place or mindset for too long. I’ve gotten good at constantly reinventing myself.
Source: Black Enterprise