Spotlight on Leticia LaBelle

Leticia LaBelle

Actress Leticia LaBelle says if there’s one thing you can’t fake in Hollywood, it’s street cred. Born in Orange County but raised in the I.E. (Inland Empire), LaBelle says she never wanted to be anything but authentic.

“We were living in the Corona Hills and my parents wanted me to go to school there but I wanted to go to the rough school in Riverside… I wanted to prove to myself that I can hold my own, and being the baby in the family I had a lot to prove,” she laughs. She says it was the type of school where if you got picked on and didn’t fight back, you’d be tormented for four years. “Right when I got there, a chick picked a fight and I said, ‘Alright let’s do this!’ I never had another fight again, and I had a great high school experience.”

LaBelle says she loved growing up in the I.E. in a tight-knit Mexican-American family.

The acting bug came at the age of 5, courtesy of a devotion to “General Hospital” that continues into present. “I just knew that was what I was gonna do,” she says. “I moved to San Diego first and took classes. I was so scared of L.A. and if I didn’t have the confidence, I knew the town would eat me alive.” So she honed her craft, facing off against an average of ten people in each audition rather than the thousands who may show up in L.A.

“L.A. is beautiful, when you get on the Hollywood Freeway and see the sign it’s like magic... But it has a darker side, and you have to be prepared for it.” She prepared herself with three years of commericals and films, and among her career highlights is a four part mini-series that drops September 19 titled Lost Memories. She says even as she focuses on making it, she’s already working volunteerism into her resume with homeless outreach. “People just want someone to talk to, to hear their story,” she says. “So if I have an extra  pairs of shoes and take them and just listen I consider that a good day. Everyone has an amazing story to tell. You don’t need to wait till you "make it" to do good in this world.” Interview by Heidi Siegmund Cuda

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