For most, Patti LaBelle’s commercial appearance as an Old Spice-loving mother-in-law was hilarious. For the soulful singer, it was a nostalgic moment that came full circle.
“My father was a dresser. I think that's where I get my style from,” LaBelle shared with BET Style exclusively. “He would take three showers a day and change into the most beautiful suits. And he always smelled of Old Spice. Those memories will never leave.”
While chatting with the highly decorated singer (and dresser), the Philadelphia-born beauty revealed that she personally started off her busy day with a shower using the brand’s Moisturize With Shea Butter Body Wash ($5). “I love Old Spice because my father turned me on to it back in the day. He wore it, every man wore it,” she explained, revisiting times with her late father.
She continued, “Old Spice was a thing for men. And now for women. Why can't women have what the men had?" It was great to do the commercial with Deon Cole and Gabrielle Dennis. My father would roll over and say, ‘Oh, she talkin’ about what I used to wear.’”
Ahead of her Old Spice commercial debut and the 20th-anniversary re-issue of her New York Times bestseller cookbook, LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About, we had the lovely opportunity to chat with Ms. LaBelle about everything from her radiant skin to the meals she cooked for celebrities that desired her legendary cuisine.
Her Secrets To Maintaining Beautiful Skin
"My mother and father were beautiful. They had great, great genes. I also don't smoke or get buck wild with anything. I drink red wine, and I walk my dog. That keeps me happy and young. And it keeps my face cute."
How She Remains Ageless At 77
"Waking up and believing that God has blessed you with another day and never taking anything for granted. Nobody's exempt from dying, but as long as you're living, try to do things that can enhance your life inside and out."
The Advice She Would Give To Her Teenage Self
"I would say stop being so nice. Stop being so trusting. And stop believing everything everybody tells you. I was very gullible and I got into a lot of trouble by letting the wrong people in my space. I would slap her now because she was stupid. She's grown up now and she has her head on her shoulders properly. You know? I'm proud to say that I went through that ugly in my life because now I am who I am because of the bad that I've been through. But she won't go there anymore."
The Biggest Lesson She Learned Amid The Pandemic
"I learned that I was a very spoiled American, that I had too many things. Things that I didn't need. When the pandemic happened, most people didn't have a job anymore. You know, I was 15 months without a show. I was doing things like this [Zoom] and other things.
I realized that I had too many shoes. I had too many purses. I had too many things, some things that I never wore. That's what happens when you are afforded to buy things that you don't need, just things that you want. I now know how to not buy. I don't need stuff. Good health will get you through. I have enough stuff for the rest of my life. You won't see me buying nothing."
What She Cherishes
"My son. I absolutely cherish my son, his babies, and his wife. Also my niece Stacy and my nephew Billy. All my family is gone, so the ones that I have left, I cherish them like crazy. It's a blessing to have some family members left."
The Celebrities Who Love To Eat Her Food
"I'm so blessed with people wanting my food. Tina Knowles Lawson bought my sweet potato pies. [The ladies of] TLC used to beg me to make oxtails. Arsenio Hall loved my sweet liver, onions, and cabbage.
Elton John, I fed him. My God. He was my piano player back in the day in London and I gave him my Tupperware. When he became Elton John, I said, ‘boy, where's my Tupperware?’ He ended up giving me a diamond. I said, ‘Okay, the ring works.’
Her Thoughts On Getting Back On The Road
It feels like heaven getting back on the road. For 15 months not having a microphone in my hand, not having pumps—although I wear the pumps around the house to get ready for my tour. For 15 months, I've been dressing up like I'm on stage and doing that Patti thing. I just can't wait to work. I can't wait.
Editor’s Note: This story has been edited and condensed for clarity.