Name: La La Anthony
Neighborhood: Hell’s Kitchen
Occupation: Actress, producer, and television personality; Her new show, La La’s Full Court Life, premieres August 22 at 9 p.m. on VH1, and you can catch her Off Broadway in Love, Loss, and What I Wore starting October 5.
Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
I’m gonna stay safe, I’m gonna say Carmen Surillo, my mother. She was born in the Marcy Projects, but she’s of Puerto Rican descent. She grew up in the Marcy Projects and made good with her life.
What's the best meal you've eaten in New York?
You know, I’m a stickler for Sofrito, which is Spanish food, and whenever I just want to eat my heart out, I go there. I love other places, but that is one where I just don’t care about diet or anything; I just want to eat. Unlike my mom and everyone else, I can’t cook very well, so I have to go to the restaurant to get the authentic Spanish food.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I’m a juggler, trying to figure out how I can get some extra hours in the day.
What was your first job in New York?
When I moved to be the host of TRL. Right about 2001, 2002.
What's the last thing you saw on Broadway?
I’ve seen the Lion King about 500 times. My son never gets tired of it. I can go onstage and perform the entire Lion King by myself, because I’ve seen it so many times. So, yeah, the Lion King was the last thing I saw.
Do you give money to panhandlers?
I do, not all the time, but I do. I just feel like we’re blessed with so many great things in life, why not help someone else in need.
What's your drink?
I don’t drink! [Laughs.] I don’t drink at all. The last time I actually had a drink or got a little tipsy — maybe even drunk — was my wedding. I’m just not a drinker! And it’s not like I’m a saint and I'm like, "Oh, I don’t drink." I just have yet to find an alcoholic beverage that I actually like. I'm not a fan of alcohol. If I find something I like, I’m in big-time trouble. So my drink — and it's so lame, when I go out with friends and they roll their eyes at me — I always order a Shirley Temple, like I'm 5 years old.
How often do you prepare your own meals?
Not often. Me and the kitchen, we're just not friends. I'm good at breakfast, I'll give myself credit for that, but I'm not a great cook. Melo [Ed note: Carmelo Anthony, her husband] actually loves to cook and is way better in the kitchen than I am. So when it comes to cooking at home, I leave it up to Melo
What's your favorite medication?
I would have to say it's sleep because I don't get a lot of sleep. I have a 4-year-old and right there my sleep is just completely gone, and on top of that I'm working, I'm traveling, I'm all over the place, so I'm always looking for pockets of time to rest for a second.
What's hanging above your sofa?
A black-and-white photo of me.
How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
For a great cut, anything over $150, $200 is too much for me.
I try to be in bed by midnight. It doesn't always work that way because Melo stays up all night and watches TV, and it's hard to sleep with the TV on but yeah, in a perfect world I'd be in bed and asleep by midnight.
Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
I love both, but I loved when I was there every day hosting TRL. That was an amazing time: We had that place flooded with kids who wanted to see what artist or celebrity was there that day and now when I go through Times Square I get a little sad, because I miss those days.
What do you think of Donald Trump?
I think Donald Trump is a savvy businessman, and say what you want about him, the empire he created is incredible. So hats off to him for that. I might not agree with all his views, but I think he’s a smart man and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due.
What do you hate most about living in New York?
The driving. Coming from L.A., you’re used to just getting in your car then parking in the parking lot, and whatever it is. Then in New York, you get in your car, you gotta be focused. You gotta be like, "Okay, I'm about to drive, let me get me get myself together." There is no, like, playing around in the car because you will get sideswiped and just kicked to the curb in two seconds. You gotta, like, give yourself a pep talk before you drive in the city.
Who is your mortal enemy?
It's chocolate: Nestlé Crunch. I’m addicted to it and I can’t get away from it. Whenever I'm dieting or trying to eat well or whatever, that damn Nestlé Crunch comes creeping around the corner somehow.
When's the last time you drove a car?
How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
I can say the economy in general — and obviously for us it's a real big deal with the NBA lockout and not knowing what’s gonna happen with the season — does affect you. You're more conscious about money and what you're spending on and what you're saving, and I think that’s kind of the theme for all of America right now.
Times, Post, or Daily News?
I like reading them all. They all bring something different to the table. You go to each one of them for something different and I enjoy them all. They're all at my doorstep every morning and I skim through all of them.
Where do you go to be alone?
I find a lot of my alone time when my son's not with me on the airplane. Like tonight, when I take the red eye to New York, that's five hours where I'm alone. I can process anything that I need to, I can write stuff down. No phone, no BlackBerry, and it just gives you time to sleep and sort out anything that you need to without the distractions of the world.
What makes someone a New Yorker?
You have that feeling where you can accomplish anything and survive anything. If you have a tenacious spirit, you're a New Yorker. Nobody can mess with New Yorkers. We're tough.