The real-life basketball wife and TV personality dishes to BET.com on her girls, career and reality TV's dreaded "couple's curse."
Alani “La La” Vazquez is no stranger to television. She was a VJ on MTV’s Direct Effect and host of the For the Love of Ray J reunion special. Last year she allowed cameras in as she prepared for her wedding to longtime beau, NY Knicks point guard Carmelo Anthony, for the ratings record–breaking VH1 series La La’s Full Court Wedding. Tonight, she’s letting the cameras role again to document her family's move from Denver to NY, as well as how she balances the role of mother, wife, B.F.F. and budding Hollywood honcho in La La’s Full Court Life. While driving her 4-year-old son Kiyan to school, the TV personality took a minute out to give us an idea of what to expect on the show.
What’s it like giving the cameras full-access? I saw in the trailer that you asked the cameras to stop rolling when your son Kiyan was overwhelmed by the paparazzi on the street and then by the cameras for the show. How do you manage the effect this has on him?
Anytime you sign up for a reality show, you know what you’re getting yourself into. So I prepared for it with the wedding special. But, when it comes to the photographers, I can’t control that; it comes with the territory. As far as filming goes, Kiyan is part of the show because I’d be lying to people if you didn’t see him, because he is my reality and the number one priority in my life. But what we did do is that if there was ever a moment he didn’t feel like filming or wasn’t in the mood, he definitely didn’t have to—there was no pressure. And Kiyan is very vocal, if he doesn’t want to do something, he’ll say, ‘I don’t want to film today.’ But for the most part, he enjoyed it. We made it a great experience for him.
Nene Leakes and Evelyn Lozada both recently discussed the reality TV “Couples Curse,” à la Nick and Jessica and Jon and Kate. Do you believe in it and do you think it could affect you and Carmelo?
[The curse]can definitely happen if [couples] don’t keep the core values of their relationship in check. But with me and Melo there’s a difference, in that it’s my reality show and Melo is a part of it because he’s my husband. Melo’s focus is basketball and his career so it’s not like you’re getting a newlywed show when you’re watching it. It’s me and my journey and you see Melo. So I think it takes some of the pressure off, whereas if it were like Newlyweds, he’d have to be there for every scene.
Well, there’s another show that yours has been compared to, and we’re dying to know what you think of it: Basketball Wives.
What Shaunie O’Neal has created is an incredible entity. It’s amazing entertainment—a great show that we all watch. I have friends over to watch sometimes. But what I’m doing is different and I think there’s room for both. It’s not that one is better than the other or I’m doing something they’re not doing. It’s just a different kind of show and I think that VH1 is proving that there’s enough room for two kinds of shows. And, hopefully, my show can be just as successful because it’s important for women to see that balance as well. Shaunie herself has spoken about giving people that balance. So I hope that I’m able to do that.
I’ve noticed that you have positive relationships with so many other strong female personalities in and out of Hollywood. How important is it to have those friendships?
It’s so important. I read an interview recently with Beyoncé and she said something like, ‘you worry when a woman doesn’t have female friends.' It’s something you’ve got to go, ‘Um, ok. Wait, what’s going on there?’ And I agree because, if you’re a good person, you attract good people. Sometimes with women there’s cattiness and it’s hard to get along, but we’re showing that you can have successful women all doing different and positive things in their careers that still support each other. Like when Kelly’s song and album came out, I was on the front line promoting and supporting and wanting it to do well. Kim, getting married this weekend, when Ciara’s working on any of her projects, it’s the same thing. I’ve been talking to Serena every day about her tennis matches, BBm’ing her to congratulate her. I think we need to see more of that.
I see that many of your girls will be making appearances on the show as well. What else will we get to see?
A little bit of everything. I am trying to move more into the acting space and producing space. I’m executive producer of my show, and yesterday I just wrapped the Steve Harvey movie Think Like a Man. To be able to work in an environment with such seasoned actors and actresses has been an amazing experience for me. So you’ll definitely get to see me making that transition.
What do you hope people take away from your series?
I hope people take away a positive family and see that we go through the same issues as any other family in life, career and relationships. Just because we are in the public eye, people put you on this pedestal, but you’ll see in the show that the same issues are there. And also the camaraderie between females and how important it is to have a good group of female friends that you can rely on and lean on and be there [for]. I hope people will watch because you get a lot of talk about television now—‘We want to see more of this and less of that.’ But you have to watch these shows if we’re going to continue to make them.