La La Anthony and I are not friends. Or we are not friends IRL, but we are totally friends in my head where I entertain a vivid fantasy about beauty girls nights with her, Kim K and Ciara. In real life, we are strangers, until I get an email invite asking me to join La La and 20 or so other people at a “friendsgiving” event she is hosting in conjunction with the NFL. I say yes so fast there is fire coming off of the keys. For me, La La is a unicorn, someone I have been watching for years on television, but no matter how many swanky parties or fashion shows I have attended, she has always eluded me. Until now.
I am waiting for her in the lobby of a newly renovated hotel in Greenwich Village. When she arrives, publicist in tow, I am surprised to see her in toned-down makeup (it might be the case that she is not wearing any), soft curls cascading across her face due to a side part, and a cropped and customized Giants jersey. She looks more low key than I’ve ever seen her, but then again, I have to remind myself that I have never actually seen her. OK, fine, so the last time I saw her, she was making tongues wag all across the country in her bomb ass Halloween costume. Tonight though, she looks pretty normal, but ultimately, it is still surreal. I want to get the business out of the way first, so I ask her what her partnership with the NFL is all about. “I am partnering with the NFL for friendsgiving, which is basically just bringing the NFL into your home for the holidays. To me every Thanksgiving, Christmas, whatever the holiday season is, you go to somebody’s house, they’re watching a football game; that’s part of the vibe."
"So what we’re doing is, you know, just bringing the apparel, bringing the accessories to the home, cups, plates, just to make it feel really cool in the home, and you can support your favorite team, obviously.” I am surprised by this, considering the current political discourse surrounding the NFL, specifically. Also because La La is probably the most famous basketball wife there is. So I have to ask, with all of the controversy, why is it necessary for La La to link up proverbial arms with the NFL. “Football is very American, and regardless of how you feel about the kneeling, the not kneeling, you can still support your team or your player. Regardless of what’s going on, we have our favorite player and we’re going to support them, or we have a family member in the NFL or a friend, we’re going to support them. You can still do that in light of everything that’s going on. Me and my son went to a Seahawks game recently [because] Ciara is my best friend and her husband is Russell Wilson, who is our favorite player and on our favorite team, so, you know, like, if we were to do it at our house, [we would be] bringing all Seahawks stuff into the house.” Well that’s that. Of course La La has close personal ties to the sport and in the world of professional sports in general. She seems to have a unique perspective on empathy for the players, for the institution they work for.
I decide to parlay into a lighter topic and ask about how she tackles the holidays. “I’m not even good at cooking! I don’t do anything like that. I’m Puerto Rican, so our house is filled with Puerto Rican food that my mom and my aunts and everybody makes, and I’m just a spectator sitting on the side, and they’re yelling at me; how I don’t come in the kitchen, I don’t help, I don’t do anything...” she says with a shrug. Look, know your strengths, people. If you’ve been in front of a television set for any part of the last 15 years, you know La La has ample talents. “My skill is the TV, figuring out what movie we’re going to watch, what games we’re going to watch, the music, making sure the vibe is going, Spanish music, hip-hop, R&B, just really getting the vibe set. I’m good at that.”
OK, cool. So now that I know La La isn’t going to cook (me either!!! See, I knew we were BFFs), I ask her if she is going to eat. “I definitely think life is about a balancing, you should indulge. Holidays are for that, it’s for friends, it’s for good food, it’s for family, it’s for desserts, it’s for treats. So my thing is, work a little harder leading up to the holidays so when you get there you can have fun. I mean, you don’t want to be that person that’s like, ‘Oh, I’m dieting, I can’t have any sweets,’ or whatever. Everything in moderation. You can have one cookie, not 10. You can have one piece of cake, not 20, just in moderation.” [Ed note: I’m totally that person, but for the sake of bonding with La La, I pretend I’m not.] So, cool. We’re very into indulging occasionally and working out. Wait a minute though, La La is a fitness person? I quickly scan my mental memories of La La’s latest Instagram photos and come up empty for any in a gym. I’m shocked she works out and keeps it a secret from me, her bestie. I tell her this. “I work out probably every day, every other day at a gym called the Dogpound. It’s in Tribeca, by my house, and I’m also a huge fan of cryotherapy which I do often.” Ah, yes, the Dogpound. I am familiar. Cryotherapy — I’ve tried that too, but I’m not really a fan. Anyway, this isn’t about me, right? So I am curious about why I’ve never seen a cute montage of La La at the gym, why I can't recite her workout routine, why I don’t know if she prefers Propel or SmartWater! She says, “No, no, I’m not the kind of person that even likes working out. I just know that it’s essential to health, to life, and there’s no way around it. I am not that girl that’s excited to go to the gym, but the Dogpound has become like family to me, so they make the environment so fun that you feel good when you’re there, but I’m never motivated to work out, I just force myself.” OMG!!! SAMEEEE. Like same, La La, for real. I hate the gym, and yet I am always there. Except not at the Dogpound, because it’s literally $500 an hour.
OK, so now that I know the truth about how La La handles working out, I gotta know more. I gotta know about her Christmas morning, Thanksgiving night and everything in between. It’s the final hurdle in our pre-dinner speed date, and I think it’s going great. Since she really did the most on Halloween, I assume that there are similar levels of slayage that happen on the other holidays. “Honestly, a lot of times my Thanksgiving and Christmas looks in the house is sweats, watching TV, no hair, no makeup, which is great because when you do that all the time it’s nice to not have to worry about that and just, like, chill. I love a onesie. I love a onesie,” she says with emphasis. Wait, you guys are going to die, but I literally love onesies. I know that you didn’t ask, but this is the final nail in our match made in heaven coffin. So, what’s left to do now but join my best friend at her friendsgiving table. Trust me, guys. She didn’t cook, but the night was lovely.
(Photo: Luiz C. Ribeiro/AP Images for NFL)