We’re one week away from the premiere of CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, and our celebratory silk pajamas are being steamed and pressed as we type. VH1 visited the Atlanta set this spring, and were blown away by the style, the moves, and the talent among this young cast.
As Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Lil Mama breaks through in a big way with her very first acting role. Born Naitia Jessica Kirkland, the 24-year-old brings an intense authenticity to the group’s most mysterious member that should impress anyone who still thinks she’s only concerned with lip gloss. Learn how she got into character and what she believes to be the legacy of TLC, in our exclusive interview below.
VH1: This is your first acting role. What do you want people to think of you when they see this movie?
I want people to think, “She really became Lisa.” It’s not about me; it’s bigger than me and that’s something I knew before this film, and God has been really good to me. I truly believe that this project was aligned perfectly, from the characters, to the director, to VH1, being known for putting out films like the Jackson Five movie. And everything that has happened is totally perfect and I just want people to feel that I sit perfectly in that.
What was the audition process like?
Whatever you want in life you have to fight for it. You can’t just expect it to just come jump in your lap, especially when you haven’t shown people what you’ve done before–like you’ve never acted before. People are gonna look at you and say, “OK she sings or she raps, or she plays the violin, but can she act?” That’s the main question when dealing with directors and producers. They want to know, can you act? And I guess I proved myself.
You obviously had that desire and passion to go along with it.
Yeah, I did. I felt that if anybody was gonna play Left Eye, it was gonna be me because I wanted her to be well represented.
Did people say that you reminded them of her when you were growing up?
Not really. Not with her. M.C. Lyte, maybe Missy [Elliott] at times, [but] never Left Eye. It’s crazy, right?
Were you a fan of Lisa and TLC before you started filming?
I was. I was really young when they came out, but as they moved into the FanMail stuff, that’s when I really started catching up with them–like “No Scrubs” and things like that. [I'm a] big fan of “Scrubs.” I’ve always liked the futuristic style, so to learn that a lot of that stuff was her idea, and that she thinks on that level, I was excited to see that we had a lot in common.
Do you feel like you became her?
Oh yeah, most definitely. Not only through hair, makeup, and wardrobe, but also through character. Studying her persona and her demeanor is really a beautiful thing. It’s just amazing to be able to catch the essence of her character.