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TLC’s story of fame comes to life in biopic on VH1

  • In this undated photo provided by VH1, from left, Drew Sidora, Lil Mama and Keke Palmer play the characters of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas in the TLC biopic, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” which premieres on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, on VH1. (AP Photo/VH1, Blake Tyers)

    In this undated photo provided by VH1, from left, Drew Sidora, Lil Mama and Keke Palmer play the characters of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas in the TLC biopic, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” which premieres on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, on VH1. (AP Photo/VH1, Blake Tyers)

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 7, 1995, file photo, the band TLC, left to right, Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, pose for photographers outside New York's Radio City Music Hall before the start of the 12th Annual MTV Video Music Awards. TLC chronicles the Grammy-winning trio's rise to fame 'CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story' on VH1, which premieres on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013.   (AP Photo/Adam Nadel, File)

    FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 7, 1995, file photo, the band TLC, left to right, Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, pose for photographers outside New York's Radio City Music Hall before the start of the 12th Annual MTV Video Music Awards. TLC chronicles the Grammy-winning trio's rise to fame 'CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story' on VH1, which premieres on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Adam Nadel, File)

  • In this undated photo provided by VH1, Lil Mama, as Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, foreground, and Markia Ashley as Lisa's cousin, are seen in a scene in the TLC biopic, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” which premieres on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, on VH1. (AP Photo/VH1, Blake Tyers)

    In this undated photo provided by VH1, Lil Mama, as Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, foreground, and Markia Ashley as Lisa's cousin, are seen in a scene in the TLC biopic, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” which premieres on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, on VH1. (AP Photo/VH1, Blake Tyers)

  • In this undated photo provided by VH1, Lil Mama, as Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, foreground, and Markia Ashley as Lisa's cousin, are seen in a scene in the TLC biopic, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” which premieres on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, on VH1. (AP Photo/VH1, Blake Tyers)

    In this undated photo provided by VH1, Lil Mama, as Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, foreground, and Markia Ashley as Lisa's cousin, are seen in a scene in the TLC biopic, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” which premieres on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, on VH1. (AP Photo/VH1, Blake Tyers)

  • In this undated photo provided by VH1, from left, Drew Sidora, Lil Mama and Keke Palmer play the characters of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas in the TLC biopic, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” which premieres on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, on VH1. (AP Photo/VH1, Blake Tyers)
  • FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 7, 1995, file photo, the band TLC, left to right, Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, pose for photographers outside New York's Radio City Music Hall before the start of the 12th Annual MTV Video Music Awards. TLC chronicles the Grammy-winning trio's rise to fame 'CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story' on VH1, which premieres on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013.   (AP Photo/Adam Nadel, File)
  • In this undated photo provided by VH1, Lil Mama, as Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, foreground, and Markia Ashley as Lisa's cousin, are seen in a scene in the TLC biopic, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” which premieres on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, on VH1. (AP Photo/VH1, Blake Tyers)
  • In this undated photo provided by VH1, Lil Mama, as Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, foreground, and Markia Ashley as Lisa's cousin, are seen in a scene in the TLC biopic, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” which premieres on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, on VH1. (AP Photo/VH1, Blake Tyers)

For Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, there were several uncomfortable moments watching actresses portray them in a new TLC biopic.

But it was especially strange to watch Lil Mama, who played the role of the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes – the third member of the Grammy-winning R&B group who died in a car crash in Honduras in 2002.

“She totally came into character,” Chilli said of Lil Mama, who wore contacts to mimic Left Eye’s distinctively large, dark pupils. “It was kind of scary. The resemblance was just crazy at times. Naturally, she kind of had some of the similar characteristics like Lisa. It was kind of eerie at times for us.”

Alongside Lil Mama, Keke Palmer stars as Chilli and Drew Sidora as T-Boz in the film, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, which premieres tonight on VH1. The two-hour movie chronicles the trio’s rise to fame, their drama-filled love lives – famously including Left Eye burning down the house of lover and former NFL player Andre Rison – group spats and financial struggles, despite two multiplatinum albums.

“You never know how you look to someone else until you see for yourself,” T-Boz said. “It was weird. It was very weird seeing my haircut on Drew. . . . To see them do our dance moves really took us back.”

Chilli hopes their movie can show how resilient TLC has been despite all the ups and downs.

The two surviving members continue to move forward as a group, releasing their greatest hits album, 20 last week.

“We’re fighters. Even when we wanted to give up, we didn’t,” she said. “We want people to see how resilient TLC really is till this day.”

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