La La Anthony on Her Heart Condition, Co-Parenting With Carmelo, and Finally Putting Herself First

Of course, some situations will still rattle people working on being their most unfazed selves, especially when it comes to parenting. For Anthony, one of those situations happened when Kiyan contracted COVID-19. “When your child has it and is pretty sick, it’s scary,” she says. “He’s quarantining, but I’m his mom. I’m going in there to make sure he’s okay no matter what, but you know, the fevers, the chills, the vomiting, all that stuff—that kind of scared me and really put things in perspective about the seriousness of it.”

When we speak, Anthony had just come back from vacationing in Mexico with Ciara and Vanessa Bryant. She says she hadn’t worried once about work while away and is no longer as hesitant to do things for herself, including going on a spiritual retreat a few days after our conversation to get recentered.

“I’m still trying to find that balance of a mom, you know, an actor, producer, time for myself, you know, this new chapter I’m entering in my life in general,” she says. “So it’s finding that balance, but also encouraging people, especially women, to not feel guilty about it. Because at the end of the day, you just get so burnt out that you’re not good for anyone. You’re yelling at your kids, you’re arguing with your man or your woman, you’re just not good for anybody.”

Part of finding that balance means focusing on the co-parenting relationship she’s built with Carmelo. “I can’t say how many times what an amazing partner I have in that sense,” she says. As she explains, they’ve both prioritized Kiyan’s needs over their own relationship issues. “Boys and girls need their dads, but boys need their dads. It’s important,” she says, before offering this advice to others who are coparenting: “I would just remind people that sometimes we get caught up in emotions and feelings and make it about us. Just always remember, it’s about your child who didn’t ask to be here, didn’t ask to be in this situation.”

Work is also still bringing Anthony joy, though she’s now more cognizant of what’s happening with her body and mind as she forges ahead. She’s currently producing a movie with Issa Rae, costarring in a forthcoming movie on Netflix, and working on various projects with 50 Cent, including bringing the Cyntoia Brown story to screen with Brown’s permission and participation. Every project she works on speaks to her and allows her to work with people she admires and feel respected while doing so—a far cry from being told in auditions that she didn’t look “Latina enough” to be cast in specific roles, a slight she’s also aiming to change. “We still have a long way to go because a lot of times when it comes to the Hispanic roles, there’s always a certain look,” she says. “They say, ‘You don’t look Spanish.’ What does that look like? I’m really trying to break those barriers as well.”

Amid everything happening in her life, Anthony didn’t need to publicly reveal that she’d had an emergency heart procedure, but she sees her work as bigger than what she does in Hollywood. It’s about encouraging everyone, but specifically Black women and Latinx women, to listen to our bodies, to take care of ourselves, and to seek medical treatment, whenever possible, when we need it. “Life is short. We’ve learned that from the pandemic. We learned that from being in quarantine,” she says. “You want to be able to live it to the fullest, and you don’t want something that can easily be corrected to be a reason why you’re not able to enjoy life or be there for your family or your friends. Use me as an example of why not to wait.”

Travis Matthews. Wardrobe styling by Maeve Reilly. Makeup by Sheika Daley. Hair by Myss Monique. On La La: Top and Pant: Chanel. Jacket: Lapointe. Earrings: Jennifer Fisher. Necklaces: Nickho Rey. Shoes: Jimmy Choo.