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Exclusive: What It's Like To Date Celebrity Trainer Corey Calliet

"I feel like a woman could bring substance into my life. She could be my foundation. She could recharge me when I need it and we recharge each other."

#xoMan

At first glance, Corey Calliet may come off as a bit intimidating. With a beautiful smile complementing his chiseled frame, the modern-day Adonis, who ironically trained Michael B. Jordan for his role as Adonis in the Creed series, has a well-deserved reputation for building the bodies of some of your favorite Hollywood celebrities.

But the vision the self-proclaimed body architect has for his career doesn't end in the gym or on the red carpet. In addition to training some of the top stars in Hollywood, he has his own apparel company (Levelz), is a featured trainer on Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian, and has more recently caught the acting bug.

Despite having an impressive resume, it's the trainer's rags-to-riches story that has us begging for more. Growing up between New Orleans and Baton Rouge was no easy feat for Calliet. After losing his mother at the age of four, he was shuffled between his sister and grandmother before finally settling with his aunt and uncle in a crowded home. Enticed by the street life, Calliet learned the art of the hustle that eventually carried him into a successful career.

But he didn't leave home without picking up a few relationship gems from the women who raised him. "We saw love where no matter what you were going through, you weren't going to give up. No matter how bad the situation was, no matter how hurtful, they never quit."

While he may rock sweatshirts that say he's "emotionally unavailable", we can't help but to sneak a peek into this Cancer's emotional side, and dare we say that we like it. As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover, so we're taking a dive between the sheets of this open book to find out his thoughts on love, why he's not looking for an independent woman, and his biggest fear in a relationship.

Necole: Your life sounds very busy. How do you keep the fire going when you are in a relationship?

Corey Calliet: It takes a very special woman, and I'm single right now, so I haven't mastered it. Every time I get into something serious, I get better, and it's hard because you can't give the love that you want because we know that love is patient, love is kind, love is all of these things. I can't give that to a person all the time. So, it's hard and to be honest with you, I haven't found that woman that can understand what I got going on.

You get up and train early every day. If you were with someone, how does she fit into your mornings? 

When I'm with a woman, she comes first.

When I wake up, I have to make sure she's okay. Is there anything I can do before I get my day started? Anything I could do to make you comfortable? If she's hungry, I need to get breakfast. I need to make sure that everything is taken care of with her first because she's laying next to me, and this is my girlfriend now, this is not some random situation. This is somebody I take care of, somebody I want to be with. So I make sure she has the things that she needs and then I carry on to take care of what I need to take care of myself.

What are some important qualities that you look for in a woman? 

Maybe this is wrong, but I don't need the most independent type woman. We have a generation of women that are coming up and saying, "I don't need you for nothing." I need a woman that's caring, that's nurturing. I need a woman that loves God. She doesn't have to be super successful, just be passionate about what you do. Love what you do. Love yourself. I need a woman, not to just love me, but to like me because if you notice, a lot of people love each other, but they don't like each other. I want a woman that will love my daughter as if she has hers. I want a woman that's strong. A woman that could have my back.

I feel like a woman could bring substance into my life. She could be my foundation. She could recharge me when I need it and we recharge each other.

My thing is, I didn't have a mom. So, I don't know what that's like. So, I don't look for a mother in every woman, but I look for her to have motherly qualities, especially if we plan on having kids. I'm already successful. I probably could help make her life even better. Just support her and build her up.

Sometimes, people want the person they're going to end up with to make a certain amount or at least be financially well-off, and some people don't care. Where are you on that?

I'm not going to say I don't care, but bring something to the table. I'm going to give the analogy of, if I bring a plate, the spoon, the fork, at least just bring the glass. That's it. Just bring the drink. I got everything else.

Looking back on your most recent relationship, if you could name one thing you would have done differently, what would it be? 

I would have paid attention a little more. A lot of times we assume and do stuff that we shouldn't do because we didn't pay attention. I would have paid attention, and she would've been able to understand me because I wouldn't have got it wrong all the time. If I paid more attention, I would have known that I was going down the wrong road, and I would have seen the signs.

If I had a meeting with one of your exes, and I said tell me one thing I should know about Corey, what would she say? 

He's emotional. [laughs]. 100%. She'd say, don't let that hard rock fool you. Don't let his tone fool you. Love him, and tell him that. Let him hear it, and he will give you everything you want. Nobody has been able to do that.

What is your love language?

My first love language is words of affirmation. I want you to be able to look me in my eyes and tell me how much you love me, and how much you care about me. I want to hear it.

To be honest, sometimes the words, "I love you," "I care for you," "I need you," and "I want you" – hearing those words are better than sex.

When you are personally going through something, and your partner has to stand in the fire with you, how would you like for her to support you?

I remember I used to date someone and she'd always say, "I don't have as much as you have. I don't have this. I don't have that." And I told her, "Take away all the accolades in the world and just give me you."

What happens is when I'm going through a place, I don't need nothing that you come with, I need YOU because those things will not last forever. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, be there. Be my person that says, "You know what? No matter what, I got you. It's okay. We're going to get through this."

Do you have a fear of abandonment?  

Yeah, to being rejected and shut out. That hurts. That was one of the issues in my past relationship before I moved to LA. She would shut me out at the drop of a dime. She would just cut me off. She lived almost 40 steps away from me, and she would just drop me. Don't answer the phone. Don't answer the door. Don't answer my texts. Don't do nothing. Just cut me out, and I believe that that takes a special type of mean person to just cut a person out completely, and then drag them back in when they feel like it. Like tell me, "I need time. I need space, but I'm letting you know I need this. I will be back, but I just need this."

Don't just cut me off. That's one of my reasons of being afraid of letting people in too close, but I can't help but to let them in 'cause that type of person I am.

So if there's a disagreement, who apologizes first? 

Me. I'm going to apologize first unless you beat me to it. I have the gift of seeing things both ways. I take a step back and understand where you are coming from and why you may not have understood my point, and I will apologize for my actions and my wrongs. I will apologize even if I'm right just to get you to open up, and tell me why you handled things like you did, and what was going on.

Is sex an important part of the relationship?

Sex is very important, but don't overthink it. Sex shouldn't become something we have to do like a time schedule. Sex is about two people wanting each other. When I get married, sex is important, but I'm not going to put a strain on it, like, do we have to have sex every single day? Hell, no.

Your daughter is getting to that age (13) where boys are going to be interested soon. How are you preparing her for that? You got to get your shotgun ready?

I talk to my daughter all of the time. I think the best situation is being able to have an open relationship with the child. Me and Cammy have real conversations like she's almost my age, which is the great thing because we have such a close bond since she was a little girl, and having that open relationship and being able to talk, I think that's how I'm able to prepare her for what's going on. I don't hide nothing from her. I'll let her know what's going on because I need to let her know now so that she can be prepared for it in the future.

When you're dating someone, what's the prerequisite for who gets to meet your daughter? 

Most of the time that she's with me, she meets who I have in my life, but Cammy has this thing where she says, "I'm not getting attached to anybody." She experienced something with my last big relationship with my ex-girlfriend. When we stopped talking, my ex cut her off too, and my girlfriend was like a stepmom to her. She told me she'll never get close to no one again.

For more of Corey, follow him on Instagram.

Featured image via Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

Originally published on March 4, 2019

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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