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Photo courtesy of Sharp & Associates Public Relations

An Interview with LisaRaye McCoy-Misick:

First Lady of the Turks and Caicos Islands

by Kevin Revolinski

 

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When American actress and model LisaRaye McCoy married the Honorable Michael Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos in 2006, she became the First Lady of the islands. Not many make the jump from film star to first lady and so I had a chance to hear her thoughts on things when I attended the islands' International Film Festival in October 2006.

How did you and Premier Misick meet?

We met in Atlanta at the Trumpet Awards two years ago. He was receiving a global humanitarian award, and I didn't see that though. I was presenting and he saw me. I think it was my J. Lo dress, I'm not really sure. He had his assistant come and say "I'd like for you to meet Honorable Michael Misick." And I think I heard "minister" Michael Misick, and I thought, Oh God, bless him, no thank you. He gave me a card and said I'd like to invite you to my island. And I was in Jamaica and he came to Jamaica and we had our first date. And we flew over here for like 18 hours and I have been stuck on "Beauty By Nature" [the current island ad campaign slogan] ever since.

How did your part in the ad campaign come about?

We were going through the new campaign pics and slots, and what we wanted this campaign to represent, and how we wanted to showcase the island at its best. So I started going through all of the magazines and I started wondering about the different nationalities of people I would see in the ads and who they chose to be in the ads. And I thought about what I have brought to the country with my celebrity has been a profound awareness. And looking at the models I thought, She needs to be like this, and she needs to stand like this&ldots; Yeah, that's exactly what I would do. And I thought to myself, Voila! Why not use the First Lady in the campaign because she knows how to sell it. I am the walking billboard for T&C right now. The marriage of the Premier and the Hollywood actress has infused our lives together. Who better to [represent the island] than an ex-model, an actress, the First Lady, the wife, the mother&ldots; and that's how it came about.

How much time do you spend on the island now?

I am here more so now than I am in Los Angeles. I wanted to do a 50/50 thing, 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. It's not working that way. My show is no longer on the air, we have gone syndicated, so I don't have to be there as much anymore. I am in the process of looking for a whole new team.  I'm pretty busy down here. We're pretty busy learning a lot and strategically placing myself in places where I can be seen and not heard. So I can know exactly what my contribution might be.  And I can give the voice to the ones that it counts for and that's the kids. The kids are the next generation.

How are you adjusting to the lifestyle?

It's very much a different pace. I do stay frustrated quite a bit because we do business as Americans at a faster pace and everything is more laid back and it's island time. And I understand that, but again I have to lean back and they have to move up and we have to meet in the middle because we are doing international business and our number one moneymaker is tourism. You have to be able to bring everything up to par because what worked five years ago will never work now. So I am adjusting. I'm walking softly, asking a lot of questions, I'm trying to hang out but still remain private, still remain a mystery. I don't want them to see too much of me. After two weeks I have to leave. Go to Miami or something 'cuz I'm a city girl. So I stay true to my roots and stay true to learning about my new roots.

How is this going to affect your career?

It is affecting it. Of course I am not there now for the audition process. I'm not there for the meetings, "Can we meet tomorrow?" and I'm not there kind of thing. But I've done enough of a body of work to make me feel OK with where I am now to take a step back. My priorities have definitely changed. My sitcom was first priority, but it is not any longer. Now I am just utilizing my time to be the first lady of the people, of the youth, of the young generation. So I can be their voice and let them be heard. And give them a lot of things to do. Because that is what I have noticed: there are not a lot of things for them to do here. Their minds are idle and that I have a concern with. So as their first lady and being an actress, I find it perfect to bring the theatre here, to bring the arts here, to bring dance here, to bring music here.

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Check out my summary of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos.

Visit the Mad Traveler Blog for a look at the 2007 Turks and Caicos International Film Festival

 

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