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.
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
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