Liris Crosse is truly one of a kind. Those plump lips. Those cat eyes. That Coke bottle figure. Her physique has graced innumerable mens magazines, teen rags and been a digital fantasy for many-a-young man. The still-budding starlet has co-starred in videos by Jay-Z, Diddy, The Lox, Onyx, Lloyd Banks, 50 Cent and others like Jennifer Lopez and rockers Luscious Jackson. She might show off her body, but she's not one of Nelly's tip-drills. Liris has furthered her career by leveraging her striking looks to springboard in to other endeavors. Shes been featured in a number of movies, like John Singletons Baby Boy and Malcolm Lees The Best Man, and has started to expand her acting resume. One of her earliest gigs had her acting with neophyte acting Nas in a short film. The Baltimore transplant has recently relocated from Los Angeles to New York City for a different set of opportunity and a change of pace.
Similarly, AllHipHop is refreshed by a change of pace in the form of a conversation with one Liris Crosse.
AllHipHop.com: So, tell me about Ms. Liris Crosse. Who are you?
Liris Crosse: Well, I would say I'm a vet in this game! I'm a model/actress/personality who has made her mark in this industry for Black women and full-figured women most importantly! I'm a hustler baby!
AllHipHop.com: Why do you call yourself the Black Barbie? I say this in my most militant voice. That is a Euro-centric standard of beauty, my sister, yet you are almost the opposite of that.
Liris Crosse: Well, that name actually came about when this young girl saw me one day when I was all dolled up from a shoot. She said, "You are so pretty, you look like what a real Black Barbie doll would look like, curves and all." I thanked her and was so flattered that what she said stuck with me the rest of the day. I said I have to start using that as my nickname!
AllHipHop.com: Lil' Kim tries to call herself the Black Barbie. Would you fight her for the title?
Liris Crosse: Well, I love and respect Lil Kim, but I have been calling myself that before she spit that Black Barbie lyric in "The Jump Off". She can be the Black Barbie of rap and I'll be the Black Barbie of modeling!
AllHipHop.com: What do you think of the modeling game these days? A lot of fuss is being made about the skinny models. That they are dying of starvation and generally it seems like people are adjusting the standard.
Liris Crosse: Well, the modeling game is slowly accepting more full-figured models. The urban market has accepted shapely models much more, and I think that comes from the fact that African Americans accept and love their curves. Most American women are a size 12 and above, so they need to be catered to. I just want to see more magazines and runways with full-figured and skinny models side by side. Variety is the spice of life! Some things have changed but we still have a long way to go!
AllHipHop.com: Is Tyra Banks opening doors or making a mockery of the modeling industry?
Liris Crosse: Tyra has always been a trailblazer and one of my role models. She is putting more models on the map by creating opportunities for girls who may have never been discovered otherwise. Her shows have shown what it takes to be a great model and how to watch out for the pitfalls as well. Tyra has touched so many young women through her charity work too. She's showing the world how you can transfer from a model to a mogul!
AllHipHop.com: Tell me the weirdest situation that you faced as a model?
Liris Crosse: I guess being told I could be a great model one day if I binged and purged myself to a size four. He said I'd look fabulous and get a lot of work! I laughed and said you're whats wrong with the fashion industry now.
AllHipHop.com: Do you have a particular regiment to maintain your figure and your good looks?
Liris Crosse: Well, I try to eat well. When I splurge, I try to do it in moderation. Low-carbs give me the best results. I try to do cardio - aerobics class, treadmill, Stairmaster, elliptical machine - and light weights 3-4 times a week. I also like to dance at home to my playlist or when I happen to step out. I also love the steam room and getting facials once a month. Ladies, moisturize, moisturize the skin and don't be a slave to the scale.
AllHipHop.com: You have been in videos by Jay-Z, G-Unit and in Baby Boy with Tyrese, among other projects. Do you stay in touch with these people?
Liris Crosse: I keep in touch with some people I work with. Sometimes for networking but most of the time you go do a job, and you go home. Sorry to disappoint you! Tyrese goes to my church though, so I see him all the time.
AllHipHop.com: How did you manage to get in the Def Jam Icon video game? What made them pick you?
Liris Crosse: Well, it was really a blessing from God out of nowhere actually. Adair Curtis from Def Jam contacted me for it. He just said he had me in mind to be one of the videogame characters, and he made an offer to my agent and me. We shot 2 weeks later in L.A. He said he picked me because it made sense from a Hip-Hop lifestyle perspective. He also wanted to make sure they portrayed a realistic range of women. I'm so flattered that I was one of the few ladies chosen.
AllHipHop.com: Rumor has it, you and Toccara (Americas Next Top Model / BET personality) are very close friends. How'd you guys get so close?
Liris Crosse: Well, when Toccara signed with my agency Wilhelmina Models, they kept saying that she reminded them of me. She heard about who I was and the work I had done in the full-figured market. Then I guess she just kept hearing about me from different people. We ended up finally meeting at a celebrity date auction and we have been like sisters ever since! We go thru similar situations in this industry, so we both understand each other and support each other. Theres no jealousy and we both want each other to do the damn thing! We have a Lil joke when we go out and take pics, Tee says she's got the top and I got the bottom! (laughs) So she poses to the front and I pose from the back. (laughs)
AllHipHop.com: What did you think about the whole rise of the so-called video vixen?
Liris Crosse: I think its been a great thing from the perspective of women getting props for their image in videos and being able to capitalize on it from a financial standpoint. Its just sad that Black women who do videos are hit with a video hoe stigma, but the White women who do music videos are called actresses and models. All the videos appearances aren't great, but there are quite a few women who do it sexy but classy like me.
AllHipHop.com: How many stalkers do you have?
Liris Crosse: Lets just say Myspace created a whole other type of monster with the stalkers. But I love them all; I just call them enthusiastic supporters.
AllHipHop.com: So, would you date a romantic, thoughtful, loving, drop-dead ugly guy?
Liris Crosse: (Pauses) I'll say I'd give him a shot. But there would have to be something about him that attracts me to him. I haven't dated all pretty boys, and most women don't want a guy who would be more in the mirror than her. If he's romantic, thoughtful and has that swagger, we're working with something...
AllHipHop.com: What's the most outrageous thing a guy did to try and impress you?
Liris Crosse: I would say a guy tried to show me all his tax returns to prove he had paper. (laughs)
AllHipHop.com: Put somebody, anybody on blast right now!
Liris Crosse: Theres a certain promoter in NY, who goes by a Playboy moniker! Where's the rest of my money from hosting that party, I'm still waiting! He's made it harder for the other promoters since then.
AllHipHop.com: I'm in the music industry and its a lot like working at a fast food restaurant. Im really sick of the food. Can you give me some stuff I need to be listening to?
Liris Crosse: Amy Winehouse, Carl Thomas' first album, Van Hunt, The Best of No Doubt, all of Jill Scott's and India Arie's albums, Amel Larriuex, John Legend, Anita Baker, Chico DeBarge's first album and Frankie Beverly & Maze. Thats whats in my car right now! I'm really sick of the fast food too.
AllHipHop.com: Ok, so, lets play word association. I say a word and you respond with the first thing that comes to you mind.
Liris Crosse: Is her name which is my web address: www.liriscrosse.com.
Liris Crosse: Trying to keep the faith that most men aren't. (laughs heartily)
Liris Crosse: I'm long overdue to write one for my MySpace page.
Liris Crosse: Goodbye soon!
Liris Crosse: Makes me stronger.
Liris Crosse: Change.
AllHipHop.com: Ok, enough of that. Do you do anything in your community or anything?
Liris Crosse: A lot of girls try to be models, but they seem to be misguided by the glamour and glitz. I actually am planning to do a workshop this summer in my hometown of Baltimore for young girls and women who want to get into the modeling industry. I couldve used that same knowledge when I was coming up. I also do quite a bit of things like feeding the homeless, giving clothes to charity and speaking to youth on an inspirational tip. I'm also planning a big party this summer in Baltimore, which I plan on making an annual event where proceeds will go to a charity for young women. I also have been trying to do my part in "Going Green" with recycling and conserving energy, every little bit counts.
AllHipHop.com: Do you have any regrets in you career?
Liris Crosse: No I don't, I used to regret stuff, but I learned that God takes you through things to make you and break you into the person you're meant to be. Plus it builds your character and the story of who you are. Trials and tribulations also make you more appreciative when you reach higher heights in your career. I started to learn that sometimes certain jobs I wasn't meant to get, what God has is for me and only me. So if someone else got it, it may hurt but it was meant for them. I try to take the lessons I've had to learn and tell other young women so they don't have to go through it.
AllHipHop.com: What's in the future for Liris Crosse?
Liris Crosse: Well, I was featured as Dimepiece in the April issue of The Source Magazine on newsstands. I also will be on the cover of DJ Kay Slay's new magazine called Straight Stuntin' soon. I have my sexy DVD dropping in July as well which will be available on my site www.LirisCrosse.com. I have a few other things in the works as well, which I will kept you guys in loop about soon!