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Usually it’s a journalist’s job to put their subject at ease. Yet, upon first speaking with Denise Vasi, her sincere and heartfelt nature becomes contagious and leaves me in that state instead. From inquiring how I managed to keep a 917 cell number, to the shared sorrow over the closing of Junior’s Cheesecake – a cultural institution in her native Brooklyn that announced its closing the day of this interview – Vasi is centered and relatable, yet still exudes a certain fiery determination. Throughout our conversation she uses the phrase “shine a light” when referring to her approach and aims at various things in life. As we chat about everything from her show Single Ladies to why platanos still appear at family dinners (not to mention advice for all you single ‘LLEROs out there) it’s easy to see that her own light exudes warmth, inspiration and contentment that resonates with everyone around her.

‘LL: First off congrats, viewers have clearly connected with the show. Why do you think that is?
Denise: What I think is so special about Single Ladies is its relatability factor. It’s a show [about] women of different ethnicities, having careers, running around having personal relationships with others and themselves; sometimes agreeing, sometimes disagreeing but always being there for each other as friends. It’s super relatable, similar to Sex and the City. Women at home feel like “ohh, I’m a Raquel, but I wish I had a little more sass like Keisha, or I’m soo April.”

‘LL: Where would you like the direction of Raquel to go?
Denise: I’ve just enjoyed watching her grow this season and getting to play the growth. It was interesting because we had new writers and did not know what to expect. For me it was exciting as Raquel has evolved and changed and I got to know her and the character has changed as far as what she is looking for and how she is going to find her happiness. I really like where Raquel is right now because she is stronger than where she was last season. I’d like to see more of her and the character of Terrence because the audience is invested in it, so I’d like to see more of how it evolves.

‘LL: You seem to always been in demand, from modeling to acting. What’s on the horizon in terms of current or future projects?
Denise: I’d really like to do something action [related]. I’d love to be the bad ass girl who runs around and sets people straight (laughs). I’d like to play a little more Brooklyn, but to be honest, I am a person that takes it step-by-step, and counts my blessings as they come in.

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