La La Anthony on Bringing Diversity to 90210 and Enjoying 'Hot Girl Summer' amid Split
Nothing is getting in the way of La La Anthony making the most of this summer.
The star and spokeswoman for the McDonald’s Black and Positively Golden campaign caught up with PEOPLE during Essence Festival on Saturday, opening up about her busy, happy life now.
“I just flew in from Vancouver where we’re shooting 90210,” the actress, 36, said during a small press conference. “It’s exciting because the entire original cast is back.” In the reboot that premieres August 7, Anthony plays Shay, the wife of Brian Austin Green‘s character.
“Myself and Vanessa Lachey are the only non-original cast members and I’m the only ethnic, African-American/Hispanic cast member added,” she said. “So I’m really proud of that and I’m really proud to celebrate diversity with the cast.”
In the wake of recent news surrounding Halle Bailey‘s casting as Ariel in the upcoming Little Mermaid live-action film, Anthony, who during the festival led the McDonald’s black entrepreneurship panel, said she doesn’t feel any pressure in bringing diversity to the beloved show.
“I just kind of felt like it was my duty to bring who we are to that show and also not be afraid to speak up, when it came to the writing. I know how we move, how we talk, how we think and I wasn’t gonna let anybody else be that for me or my character.”
The new gig comes in the midst of major changes in Anthony’s life, including the end of her current series Power (“I cried!”) and the recent news that she is moving forward with the legal process to end her marriage to husband of nine years Carmelo Anthony.
On July 3 a representative for the star gave PEOPLE an exclusive statement, sharing that “As La La and Carmelo have been living apart for quite some time, La La is proceeding with legal discussions as the next step in their relationship.”
Despite it all, Anthony says she’s in a great place.
“You can look at the glass half-empty or you can look at the glass half-full, you know,” said Anthony. “When you’re in this world, you don’t get to pick and choose what you go through. I just push through and stay positive and always remind myself that it could be worse, like, I’m living my dream and I’m really happy where I’m at in life right now.”
As for how she’s remaining positive these days, “I definitely pray,” she said, “that’s the most important thing.” And she’s also got a powerful support system to lean on.
“I have my core group, you know Kelly [Rowland] Ciara, Kim [Kardashian] and Serena [Williams], but my really, really core group is my family,” she said of her clan that includes her and Carmelo’s 12-year-old son Kiyan.
With the middle of the summer approaching, Anthony’s looking forward to breaking free and enjoying life as she now knows it.
“I’ve already sent all my friends a message. I’m like, ‘August I’m going to have some free time’, which I never have. I’m like, ‘I don’t know where we’re going, but we going somewhere, we’re going to do something. It’s a hot girl summer, it’s a City Girls summer!” she said with a laugh, referencing the Miami rap duo who coined the phrase about women living their best single life in the warmer months.
“We’re really going to take that to the next level,” she added. “It’ll be a girl’s trip for sure.”
And she’ll even have some extra cash to take on vacation. While in the Big Easy for Essence Festival the star revealed to her 8.9 million Instagram followers that she took a gamble and struck gold on the slot machine one night, turning $200 into $68,000. “Thank you NOLA!” she wrote. “I love you!”