El Segundo High School

Backstage at ‘American Idol’ with Top 4 contestant La’Porsha Renae

The thing about La’Porsha Renae is that she commands a room from the moment she enters with a huge smile and a personality that is infectious. What struck me about Renae from the first moment was her presence; from how she just owned the huge, unique necklace she wore to her amazing hair, and overall look that is just absolutely stunning.

She truly cares about her fans.

“The best part of being on American Idol is being able to reach so many people from such a big platform. That’s the best part.”

The thought of possibly being the last winner of “American Idol” has her wanting it more as they competition nears its end.

“It feels like I want it to happen even more now. You know, the closer we get- starting off we were like ‘Oh, if I make top ten, I’m good- but, the closer we get, now that it’s top four, I think all of us really, really would like that title.’”

Her biggest competition this season?

“I would say all of them.” Then she paused, and thought, which she often does before answering a question. “No, I could’ve went two ways with that, but I’ll choose the second way. So, I would say myself because I feel like when you start trying to compete with the other people, you mess yourself up because all four of us have different fan bases and different audiences because we have different ways of interpreting songs and different ways of singing.” The way she spoke drew me in and made me really think.

One of my favorite parts of my interview with Renae was talking about her upcoming home visit. She said that she can’t wait for the home visit because the food in the south is so much better than in Los Angeles.

Her advice to current high school teens is do what you want to do, even if it’s not going to college.

“I would want to say to you all to stay in school! But, I will also say- and parents, don’t beat me up for this- if college is not your thing, don’t do it because a lot of people feel like they have to go to college to be successful. I knew college wasn’t going to be for me because I didn’t want to be a lawyer, or a doctor, or a teacher; I wanted to sing, and in the industry a lot of times experience is the best teacher.”

“You can still educate yourself on the business aspect of it and everything, but just finish high school, and don’t be afraid to change your mind. You’re not gonna’ know what you wanna’ do most of the time when you first graduate, so just live, be happy, don’t let people stress you out because the have a certain stigma of who or what you should be- just be yourself, and follow your heart.”

Renae had an energy that just drew people in. She was hilarious, and immediately made me feel that I was in the presence of someone really very special, but at the same time like I was talking to a friend.