‘LL: Most people don’t know that you’re Latina. How do you feel about that? Do you think your ethnicity has hurt or helped you in Hollywood?
Denise: I don’t think about it really, except perhaps when people bring it to my attention. My family is very mixed, we eat Greek leg of lamb, with rice and beans and platanos. We’ll have a gyro with pernil. For me it’s about the role. If there is a great role I am gonna for it no matter the ethnicity of the character. As long as they enjoy my work that’s all I care about. When I go home there is Spanish, English and Greek all in the same sentence. I’m close to my culture, I know that and that’s what’s important.
‘LL: You volunteered in relief efforts during Hurricane Sandy and have raised money for other charitable causes in the past. Is there a specific cause that’s near and dear to your heart?
Denise: I’ve always wanted to dedicate a good amount of time to an initiative for single mothers. I’ve also spent time in Uganda with Invisible Children. I spent 10 days there and met with a lot of the women affected by Kony and documented their stories and my husband photographed them, so we’re working on doing a project with those images and stories.
‘LL: In past interviews, you’ve had some pretty interesting advice for single ladies on finding love. What would you recommend to single men?
Denise: Single guys, whoa…guys please step it up (laughs). What I mean is how you treat a lady. Some guys have found comfort in cell phones and social media and what that’s done is killed courtship and what it means to court a lady. Pick up the phone and call, don’t text. It takes bravery…I get it, but let’s have a conversation. Put that extra effort in. If you can’t afford a great restaurant that’s fine, then try cooking a meal. Think about things that are exciting and will have you engaging, bring originality to the date. On my first date with my husband he taught me how to ride a bike.
‘LL: How would you define a caballero?
Denise: Well, mmm, a true gentleman understands courting a lady and understands there is a process in dating. I think a real gentleman remembers what things used to be like, from a time way before our generation or even my mom’s generation. Where a guy might take you out and pick a flower for you or leave you a note. Those little things that are thoughtful. [Also] a man who knows how to engage with a women for enjoyment as far as conversation and spending time together and isn’t rushing to get to the next base with you.
‘LL: Worst pick up line you’ve ever heard?
Denise: Oh my god, there so many bad ones. One was “Are you tired because you’ve been running through my mind all day.” The worst pick up line is anything you’ve ever heard before. Just be genuine. It’s not about what you say, but how genuine you are when you say it.
There you have it gents. Sage and well-intentioned advice. See more of Denise in the upcoming season of Single Ladies set to air on the Centric Network this March.
Photographer: DeWayne Rogers
Makeup: Porsche Cooper
Hair: Ursula Stephen
Stylist: Darryl Brown