Soon, Denise Vasi will be trending on Twitter. The actress is the newest single lady on VH1’s hit scripted show "Single Ladies", and she’s trying to brace herself for fans to love her, or hate her or at the very least stick around a few episodes to take her in.
She’s not replacing Stacey Dash’s character altogether—on the show she plays Raquel, a wealthy Southern Belle—but Dash, of course, is no more. Still, fans of the show—and critics, too —will usually describe Vasi as the actress who’s replacing Dash.
Brooklyn-bred actress is hoping that once you get a load of her, and all the drama and comedy and storylines that come with being a single woman in Atlanta, you’ll allow her to stand on her own.
EBONY.com hangs out with Vasi on set in the dining room of her fictional apartment (it comes with a stunning Atlanta skyline, to boot) and she dishes all.
EBONY: Where were you when you got the phone call that this was your new gig?
Denise Vasi: I was going to Beverly Hills Hot Springs to get a body scrub and milk bath! I literally had just gotten my towels and stuff and checked in, and my phone rang and it was my manager. It was the next day after the screen test, and it was Friday, so there was the weekend coming on and the anxiety of waiting. I was like, ‘should I go in?! It’s time for my scrub. Should I answer?’ They had made a decision right away. It was so nice not to have to deal with the anxiety over the weekend.
EBONY: Did you watch the first season of the show?
DV: I watched the pilot. I was filming a soap opera, and it’s every day and we’re shooting over 100 pages a day. So I wasn’t able to watch the full season. I’d heard a lot about the show and I had fans that watch my soap opera that watch "Single Ladies" and … (they) actually gave me the idea to call my manager months prior to the character of Raquel being written and saying, ‘by the way my fans on Twitter told me that there’s an actress leaving a show and there’s going to be a void, let’s stay on top of it, let’s take a meeting, let’s introduce ourselves.’
EBONY: That’s very proactive of you.
DV: I have great fans! They helped me get my next gig. Right before coming out here to start working, I took a three-week vacation and I had VH1 send me the full season and I watched them and in its entirety, one after the other, like, ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen next?!’
EBONY: What stood out to you?
DV: What I was really excited about was, obviously, the fashion. I’m a big fashionista; I come with a fashion background, so I was very into the clothes, and the gossipy women lifestyle that just seems so true and relatable.
EBONY: It’s a new character, but you’re still replacing Stacey Dash. Any trepidation with that?
DV: No. Stacey Dash played Val and Stacey did a wonderful job and made Val her own, and no one can take that away from her. I think that that was a wise decision for the writers not to attempt that. But at the same time, Stacey Littlejohn, our head writer, wrote that character and wrote her so well, as she does with the others and she wrote a Raquel that’s completely different and I’m a different actress playing a different character. I don’t feel like I’m filling anyone’s shoes. I don’t feel like I’m replacing anybody. Raquel is going to go through something big in the first episode that’s going to make her question everything in her life, and we’ve all been there. We’ve all, like, had that moment of, ‘Why am I doing this? Am I doing this for me? Do I really want to do this? Who am I trying to please? Am I making myself happy? She’s humble and sweet and the believer in love, but she’s a giver and she’s concerned about worldly things, so she’s not stuck in this high society Atlanta, although that’s what she was brought up in.
EBONY: What’s it been like working with LisaRaye?
DV: Oh, it’s hysterical. We find ourselves doing very similar things. She was great. She called me before I moved out to Atlanta and warned me that ‘this is not Hotlanta! Bring a coat, bring a scarf.’ We’re having a bunch of fun.
EBONY: What’s something important we should know about you?
DV: I’m a hugger.
EBONY: You’re affectionate. That’s good …
DV: And I eat a lot.
EBONY: Oh my God. They’re going to hate you. You’re so tiny.
DV: No, I’m telling you, if you eat constantly that’s the way to do it. Everyone on set makes fun of me. I’ll be like, ‘is it lunch time? Can we have some snacks