To be fair, I wasnít terribly familiar with the absolutely beautiful Denise Vasi all that long ago. The VH-1 series ďSingle LadiesĒ may not be my cup to tea, but the show has become a pretty big success for the actress. However, after getting a chance to talk to Denise, I may find myself tuning into the series just to see her and hear her gorgeous voice. When I had the chance to chat with her for the Hottie Stop we talked a little bit about her hit series. As a lover of music however, we ended up talking about music and some of her favorites including Alanis Morissette and Rihanna. The actress also talks about living in Los Angeles away from all her friends in New York, and we talk a little about how ďdog friendlyĒ this town really is. If I hadnít been a fan of Ms. Vasi before, I certainly am now!
Well, congratulations on having a third season of ďSingle LadiesĒ being picked up.
So, you come from soap operas and modeling, what attracted you to this show and working on something like this?
Well, Queen Latifah was obviously one of the things that got me on board with this. Sheís definitely someone who I grew up watching and listening to. Seeing how she continued to evolve in her career from where she started and even her style and now to her producing, it definitely attracted me to work on this, but the show is just so much fun. Everything about the show, visually, itís done really well. The style is a big attraction for a female audience, thereís a lot of eye candy for everyone. Itís really well done and to go back to social media for a second, the way that I found out about the show was actually from the fans.
At some point after their first season, which I wasnít involved in, one of the other actresses left and fans started tweeting me about the show. Most of the fans were the same people that watched ďAll My ChildrenĒ and all they would fight about was to see more from ďAll My ChildrenĒ or see actors that they enjoyed be in something else and I had gotten so many of them that I called my manager and told him to see what was out there. We called VH1 up and they werenít sure about what they wanted to do and my manager thought itíd be a good idea for me to go in and meet the producers. I went in and met the casting director for VH1 and we had a great meeting about style and life and dogs and of course, L.A. A couple of months later, the producers for Single Ladies wanted to create another character and they remembered me, so the whole auditioning process started and obviously I got it at the end of a very long process.
Itís all a part of being a part of something very big. Itís pop culture right now. It was a part of being with VH1 with their departure from reality television and going on to scripted television. Itís a good show and itís incredible to be a part of history for that channel. Everything looks great. Another thing, and a lot of people donít know this, but while there are three main women in front of the camera, there are three very important women behind the camera. So, going into audition, it was great to be in this office with a bunch of other powerful, very successful women. It was just a big plus.
Thatís very impressiveÖ
Well, you know, in this business, and any form of art for that matter, a lot of it has to do with making your own opportunities. Thereís no format in this line of work. Itís not like you go to school for four years and the minute I come out, I get a job. Thereís a struggle in finding where you fit in as an actor. You have to create your own opportunities and when you find it, you have to make that leap and take the risk and go after it.
Is acting something you always wanted to do? How did you fall into it?
You know, as a little girl I was always wanted to be the center of attention. I wanted to play dress up with my mom and enjoyed telling stories. I talk a lot. It used to drive my mom crazy. I was and still am the life of the party and I enjoy to keep the jokes coming, but I especially love dancing.
Nice. What are some of the musical styles that you listen to?
I listen to almost everything. Really and truly. Obviously, because of where I am and my demographic, I listen to a lot of Beyonce and Rihanna. Iím from Brooklyn, so I listen to a lot of Jay-Z. Iím really into hip hop. Taylor Swift. Iím all over the place. I actually use music a lot in my work to get into an emotional place or to pick up my energy. When youíre on set for seventeen hour days back to back to back, you need to find a way to channel your energy, so I use music a lot that way. When I was screen testing for ďSingle Ladies,Ē I was sitting with two other girls and instead of just waiting to be seen, I literally had my iPod plugged in and I was dancing around for a good hour until they called me in to audition.
What are some of your favorite songs for that?
Thereís some Alanis Morissette. I love her. Sheís the only person Iíve cried for when I saw her in concert. I remember when it happened and thinking, ďWow. Iím one of those people.Ē You see videos of people crying when The Beatles or Michael Jackson performed and you think thatíll never happen to you, but I saw her performing and the personal connection that I felt with her while she was singing was just amazing.
What is your favorite song Alanis song?
Thatís a hard one. Letís see... I love Straightjacket. Itís off the record Flavors of Entanglement. When that album came out, it was during a very pivotal point in my life. Damien Rice, a lot of his stuff is good too.
As soon as you mentioned Rihanna, all I could think was, ďWow. I love her.Ē
Oh, I love her. Her Rated R album carried me through my move to L.A. You know, change is very difficult, no matter what. The transition of leaving, even though Iíve been on my own for forever, but Iím hardly ever more than twenty minutes away from my family in Brooklyn, just going a thousand miles away, it seems so crazy, especially considering how I was brought up. Weíre Hispanic and Greek and so dinners together and being with each other is very important, but I remember telling my parents that I was going and they just didnít understand it. It was a very difficult day for me. I was coming to Los Angeles and even though I knew a lot of people, associates, friends, it was still such a hard ordeal keeping grounded. Even to this day, I worry about losing any connections, but somehow, that Rated R album just helped me deal with that time getting used to being away from them.
Well, how are you liking Los Angeles? Are you adjusting?
Iím good now. I guess thatís part of what it takes to be a model or an actor; a chameleon. You have to get used to your environment and be a part of it. Iím also a Pisces, so Iím keen to figure things out in my own way and it took me about a year. From other people, from what I hear, thatís pretty fast. It was coming to terms with the change and realizing that everything at home, the stuff that really mattered, would always be there and would always stay the same. Anytime I need to go back, I can just get on a plane and go back. Another thing, though, L.A. has some really incredible things. Itís not New York, but theyíre apples and oranges. You know, tonight is a Friday night and Iím going to go out dancing with my girlfriends, but tomorrow, Iím gonna wake up early, do some yoga, have a great lunch outside; the weather is beautiful. Maybe Iíll go for a hike with my dog since itís such a great environment. I have a very big dog. I have three dogs.
There are some really great dog parks in L.A. too.
Thatís amazing. Itís such a dog friendly place, too. There are so many places that you can bring them, too.
You work with so many talented, beautiful women. Who do you find beautiful?
Oh, thatís a tough question, there are so many out there. Right now, I really love Jessica Chastain.
Iím sure all of our readers are going to agree with you on that.
Sheís so beautiful and talented. It almost seems like she came out of nowhere and just knocked us all out.
I remember first seeing her in Tree of Life and I was stunned by her.
Yeah. She has such a natural, old fashioned, beautiful Hollywood look to her. Her red hair and everything. Sheís just amazing.
Even in bad movies, sheís amazing.
She sure is.