Lisa Wu: From ‘Real Housewives’ to Makeup and Movies01.07.13
Seasons ago we said our goodbyes to one of our favorite characters on The Real Housewives of Atlanta – Ms. Lisa Wu. But for reality TV fans who continue to love her effervescent personality, guess what. Lisa Wu is back. And in our opinion, bigger than before. We’re talking makeup, movies, and of course mommy duty 24-7. Cotton Candy chatted with the A-T-L diva to find out what she’s been working on lately. And to our surprise, it’s far more immense than any housewife drama. It’s Hollywood magic. Read on and find out more about Wu’s supporting role with Will Ferrell and new business venture that will make any woman’s lips pucker ready.
Cotton Candy: So Lisa, you’re new lip gloss line is called Chameleon by Lisa Wu. How is this lip gloss line different than others on the market right now?
Lisa Wu: It’s different because of the consistency really. And the product is a great product. A lot of lip glosses are sticky. You put it on, it’s kind of sticky. This product glides on and it’s not sticky. It kind of feels like a lipstick but it’s not. Of course it has sheen to it, but it’s not sticky like the other glosses. So it feels really good on your lips.
CC: You’re known for starting and creating fashion businesses. Why a beauty line?
LW: Well, I have this thing about my lips. I have this thing about having to have lipstick or chapstick on my lips. And then I tried Lip Addyct, and it was great. And Carols (my publicist) was representing someone over at [Lip Addyct]. And they said, “You know, we want to work with Lisa Wu.” Plus I love their products. I was excited about doing that. And like I said, I have a lip gloss fetish. Sometimes I even think I’m a makeup artist. (Giggles.) But that’s not my career. (Laughs) So, it was a perfect fit.
CC: Does the name of the line Chameleon have any significance or particular meaning?
LW: It does. For anyone who has followed my career, they know that I’m a mom first, a business woman, a friend. And like many women, I have to change hats daily. So Chameleon represents being able to transition and do whatever you need to do at that moment. And you know how we [women] are. We change lip colors, and it makes us feel different. When you are on the red carpet and you want to be seen then you add a pop by putting on red. If you want to be a bit more subdued, you’re going to put on the nude. So, the name [Chameleon] just reflects the different personalities and the different hats we have to wear.
CC: What do you describe as true beauty?
LW: Actually it has nothing to do with your appearance. It’s a lot about your heart and who you are as a person. You can meet beautiful women, and still they can be bitter, envious and negative. And then you look at her and think, “Oh my gosh. She’s so ugly.” So true beauty is within.
CC: You have several movie roles coming up. We have a list. Must Be the Music, First Impression, and Envy or Greed. That’s a lot.
LW: Oh and you forgot one! It’s called The Internship. And I did a scene with Will Ferrell. I had a lot of fun with that. The movie features Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, and Owen Wilson.
CC: Which movie was your favorite to shoot?
LW: You know, I don’t have a favorite because I’m an actress, and I love that I’m able to transition, to play different people. So can’t say there’s a favorite, but I have to say that working with Will Ferrell was an absolute delight. He is very, very humble and just a really sweet guy. And the other films are great as well.
CC: How do you decide whether or not you will take an acting role?
LW: For me it has to be a character that has layers. I don’t like just one dimensional characters. I like to be able to show my range. Of course it starts with the story, so the story has to be great. And it has to be definitely something that I want to attribute my talent to, and say “Oh, I would like to tell this story.” But with the character — it has to have a lot of different layers.
Of course I won’t do nudity. Nothing that requires nudity. I’m a mother. I have older children, and I respect myself too much to do nudity. It’d be different if it appears to be nudity, like you have on a half bra and they are taping you from the back, or something like that. But I’m not interested in doing [nudity]. It’s not really showing my ability. (Laughs) And believe it or not, I’m shy. (Giggles.) So, I’m not showing the goods to anyone. (Laugh)
CC: How do you prepare for a role?
LW: It’s different for [each role.] For Must Be the Music, the director [Charles S. Dutton] wanted me to come from a place that people haven’t seen on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Not the bubbly, energetic Lisa. I wore wigs, and the way I looked at people was very piercing and very calculating. So he wanted me to become this totally different person who was from Philly. I even had a dialect coach to teach me to talk like I was from the North. So, it really just depends on what the role requires. Each role is different, so I’ll prepare for it differently. For some roles, I have to prep physically and begin in the gym. And for a lot of these other roles, it really about dialect, character background, and understanding her world.
CC: How long have you been interested in acting?
LW: I was actually an actress before [The Real Housewives of Atlanta.] The RHOA producers in the first season wouldn’t allow me to say that. At the time, in the first season, they wanted real people. They didn’t want Hollywood types. It didn’t happen until after the second season. And then they were like, “Oh, now you can act.” And I was like, “Wow. They came out of the blue with this.” But I actually started out acting. Back in 2000 I wrote a stage play that Tyler Perry directed. So I’ve been into acting and television for almost 20 years.
CC: Which do you like better? Reality TV or acting in movies?
LW: Absolutely movies. The difference with reality television is that people think they have the right to know everything about your life because you put it on display. Whereas with a movie character, they really don’t know what’s going on in your personal life. So, I do like having my privacy back. I’ve been approached by several people to do different reality shows. If I do return back to reality television, I’ll be a producer on the show. I’ll basically be controlling the content and making sure that my brand is represented the right way.
CC: Do you ever watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta anymore?
LW: You know, I haven’t been watching it, not consistently. When people talk about it a lot, I may catch one episode. This season I’ve seen one [episode.] Of course Nene [Leakes] is a riot. She’s always going to be a riot and comical. Just the expressions that she makes brings back a lot of memories. I like Kandi [Burruss]. But Phadrea [Parks] says a lot of stuff that’s really funny to me. (Giggles) So I think she’s kind of funny. And I like Cynthia [Bailey]. I can kind of relate to girls from being on the show. Not relate to them personally, but from being on the original cast I can relate to all of them. I guess they’re having fun. (Laughs)
CC: What do you watch on TV these days?
LW: Vampire Diaries. I love Dexter. I know that people might think I’m crazy. (Giggles) I like the show Scandal. I think that’s wonderful. It’s a great show.
CC: You sound like a busy woman. How do you relax and unwind?
LW: Actually, doing all of things allows me to unwind because I’m pursuing my passion. I’m really doing things that I love to do, so it’s not really considered work for me. Other than that, I’m at home with my kids and enjoying my family. I don’t do much other than that.
CC: Do you see yourself doing anymore reality TV?
LW: There’s a show in development that I’m actually shopping now. So if you do see me in front of the camera [on a reality show] it’s because I’m one of the producers. And I would do it to help the brand and my son. My older son is a writer, rapper, producer. So to get him started, I wouldn’t mind going back on, but like I said I would be producing.
Written by: Nicole D. Smith