Keri Hilson knows a thing or two about being pretty. She made the pretty girl anthem, “Pretty Girl Rock,” before the “pretty girl” trend took over social media and recently starred in TV One’s “Don’t Waste Your Pretty” — the film adaptation of Demetria Lucas’ book, which follows Keri’s character as she gears up to find love again.
Keri, who keeps a relatively low profile, admits she was attracted to the leading role because she knew it was something she “could do.” She also stars in the upcoming Lifetime TV film LUST and Envy from The Seven Deadly Sins anthology from author Victoria Christopher Murray.
“Being an actress is challenging enough; being a lead actress is that much more challenging but I knew that it wasn’t so far fetched that I could get my feet wet with being comfortable in a lead position,” Keri admitted during a candid Zoom chat. “I wanted to be sure that before I take on very intricate personalities and isms, let me sink my teeth into what it’s like to be in every scene up that day and study 40 pages of lines.”
HelloBeautiful spoke with the songstress about when she feels the most beautiful and what it means to waste – and amplify – your pretty.
On what she learned about her inner beauty throughout filming:
“I think I learned that I should take a little more time for love. I should put myself in positions a little more often but I won’t do online dating. I’ve never felt moved and it’s just not for me. As a celebrity, I never felt the need to go that route and I don’t think it’s very wise. I’m like Mykah Jones in that I love myself, I love my singleness and I love my alone time. Even if I were with someone, I still need me time a lot to the point where I could probably live in two separate houses with my own husband. I’ve done two separate countries for over a decade. I want to put myself in a position to find that partner and maybe accelerate the process in-between because I’ll go years in between relationships.”
On mental health maintenance and practicing self-care:
“My morning routine: waking up extra early. At the beginning of my day, I would take 30 minutes of silence before I recite my lines or before I’m studying. I would literally just zen out, I would light my candles every single night and on the hour drive I would spend 5-10 minutes doing affirmations. It would go like, “Today is going to be beautiful. I am going to radiate on film,” and I would literally be claiming the day and at the end of the night, it would be a moment of gratitude. You’ll find ways to keep your sanity while you’re filming.
On what it means to waste your pretty:
“I think it means something different for every woman. I’m gonna be honest, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way when I began filming because it can be taken many different ways and it can be a little offensive. With just that title alone, I was just like, “Are we really stuck on this?,” and then they told me it was based on a book. You could think of it as, “Pretty is all you have to offer a man so don’t waste your pretty years being single.” Upon talking to the producers and the director, how it was interpreted was very different from what I had initially thought.
They were saying to share what’s beautiful about yourself with those you’re around. Don’t lock up and become bitter or hardened by failure, heartbreak, and all those things. That’s what the story’s really about. If the word ‘pretty’ could’ve been exchanged for ‘beautiful,’ then it takes away the exterior and brings it here. We’re not talking about before wrinkles come and the grey hairs set, but it’s about allowing yourself to give beauty and receive the beautiful parts of life.”
On the most beautiful qualities that any woman can possess:
“What makes a woman beautiful is her willingness to give; generosity is beautiful. Creativity and confidence makes a woman beautiful. Standards make a woman beautiful; understanding and self-awareness makes a woman beautiful. Virtue, integrity, loyalty, honesty and owning your truth – that makes a woman beautiful. It has little to do with your exterior and that’s just upkeep. All the time, we’ll see a woman become the qualities that she embodies. She might have looked average or below average – or however people scale other people’s beauty – but she’s an essence all of a sudden.
We’ve gone backwards as a society with that understanding. A divine feminine woman becomes beautiful because of the qualities that she exudes outwards from inward. That’s the beauty that I look for in my friendships and my relationships. He doesn’t have to be fine; he just has to have these qualities that make him manly and attractive to me. I love a beautiful soul.”
On when she feels the most beautiful:
“I’m gonna keep it all the way real with you. I feel the most beautiful when I am washing and two-strand twisting my own natural hair. This is obviously without any makeup but when I’m out, I might put them up while leaving them twisted and put them back into a ponytail or a top knot. I honestly feel the most beautiful when I’m dressed down. All of this, I don’t feel like it makes me different from anyone else but I know when it’s all striped down, I’m not trying to keep up with some essence of beauty. I like me the way God made me. I know all this is a facade and it’s an occupational hazard.”
On social media’s definition of beauty and imposter syndrome:
“I think it has a lot of bearing but only because we gave it that. We lended the importance of followers, commentary, validation and we gave it that power. It could’ve just been a vessel for marketing or a bunch of business billboards but it became that. I think it has too much bearing on our confidence than it should, but that’s up to every individual to snatch it back. There was a moment where I had to take two years off of Instagram when it was still poppin’ and that was in like 2016 through 2018. I deleted the app from my phone, I thought it would just be a few months and I was like, ‘I feel clearer, better, more self-aware and more confident.’ When I did return, I had that new perspective that you can’t tell me who I am. In my opinion, the criticism and the praise can be equally dangerous.”
“Don’t Waste Your Pretty” will re-air Saturday, March 6th on TVOne at 10 PM ET.