For years, Laz Alonso has captivated audiences with his classic Hollywood looks and versatile acting techniques. We’ve watched him grow through various roles in Avatar, Jumping the Broom and recently cancelled television series Deception. Combined with his gracious persona off-screen, Laz has quickly become one of our favorite actors in Hollywood. This week, Vixen caught up with the stylish star in New York City to chat about his upcoming projects, television versus film and why student loans are worth the aggravation.-Nicole Brown
VIBE Vixen: Your hair is longer! We’ve never seen you with curly hair.
Laz Alonso: (Laughs) I’m in between projects right now. I have a film coming out in September and usually when I’m in between projects, I just kind of chill out, max out. I let my hair grow out. I might let a beard grow out. So, if you see me with a beard or long hair, that means I’m not working right now.
Do you prefer it to the cleaner look?
I like the clean shaven look because with the beard, I’m always itching. So I like to keep some part of me nice and cleanly shaved. That could be read so many different ways, but we’re not going to go there (laughs). But, usually I can let my hair grow out and I can deal with that.
You just wrapped your second television series, Deception. Which do you prefer: TV or film?
I love both. I love the consistency of TV, playing the same character week in and week out and letting it evolve and every week something different happening. But, with film, when you immerse yourself in a character for three months and live the reality of that character, both are really gratifying. In a nutshell, they both use different muscles. On TV, you have to tell the beginning, middle and end very quickly. In a film, you have an hour and a half or two hours to tell a story. It just exercises different techniques and different skills and I enjoy them both equally.
You’ve worked with a bevy of beautiful leading women. Do you have a favorite?
I don’t have a favorite. For me, I’ve been able to check off my wish list with a good number of women that I’ve wanted to work with- Loretta Devine, Angela Bassett, Paula Patton, Meagan Good, but there’s still more. I haven’t been able to work with Halle [Berry] yet. Haven’t worked with Cicely Tyson. I would love the opportunity to work with her- she’s an icon.
What are you working on now?
I’m going to start promoting Battle of the Year. That comes out in September with Chris Brown and Josh Holloway. And I’m writing a lot of my own stuff right now. I’m really focused on pitching projects this year and doing more entrepreneurial stuff.
Are you screenwriting?
More producing- I don’t think I have the patience to sit at a keyboard and write. As far as ideas are concerned, I am an idea machine and that goes back to my marketing days before I was acting. I think I can come up with some shows that people would like.
How much has your marketing degree played into your acting career?
It does a lot. In any business, you’re always marketing yourself first and foremost. So, I’m glad I studied marketing because it really taught me to depersonalize this business. A lot of times as an actor, you’re representing yourself and you are the product. You get very emotional if you don’t get a part or if you don’t get something. When you understand it from a business perspective, it makes things make sense a little more. It also has helped me manage my money and my finances properly. Understanding different markets and different trends and things like that. A lot of those things help my career directly and indirectly.
Are you still paying off school loans?
I can say that last year I paid off my last student loan.
Wow! What can you say to someone who’s struggling to pay those bills?
Oh, man. You will get to that point. You’re going to look back and be so happy those days are behind you. But, at the same time, I’m really grateful that those loans helped me get through school. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it through. In the end, it all paid off.
You always look great on the red carpet. Do you have a stylist?
It depends. For the most part, I dress myself unless I’m going to a big red carpet event. There’s a stylist in LA by the name of April Roomet. She’s really dope because she has a really good balance between being fashion forward and being classic. If I’m in NY, there’s a guy by the name of PJ who does styling for E! Entertainment and he hooks me up with my nice Valentino shoes and tuxes. It depends on where I’m going to be and what I’m doing. But for the most part, on my everyday, I dress myself.
What are three items every man should have in their closet?
Every man needs a nice belt. You need a nice clean pair of shoes that you can step out on the town with. And a nice watch. For men, we can get away with a lot of stuff that you women unfortunately can’t get away with. We can throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and if you add a watch, belt and nice pair of shoes, you look like you’re semi dressed up. Throw on a sport coat and you’re good to go.
What do you love to see on a woman?
Women are really stepping up their heel game. It’s always nice to see a woman with some really nice beautiful shoes. It just makes their legs and everything else look so much hotter.
What is your stance on the natural hair movement?
I don’t hate on natural. I don’t hate on weave. I think everybody has their own unique style. As long as you rock it confidently, then that’s going to bring out the sexy in you. Some women, they don’t have no business wearing weave. If you’re not going to keep it up, then you shouldn’t get a weave. That’s the thing about weave. It’s high maintenance. Whatever makes you feel comfortable and sexy, that’s what’s going to look good on you. It’s the attitude you rock with it that makes it hot.
Photo Credit: Sharifa Daniels