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From The Hood To Hollywood: Meet The Trainer Behind Michael B. Jordan’s Famous Physique

#xoMan

Fast. Big. Strong.


All words you or anybody else for that matter could use to describe celebrity trainer and body transformation specialist Corey Calliet.

But for this New Orleans native, the aforementioned words are all accurate descriptions for the whirlwind of a year he's had that finally seems to be coming to an end.

And if we're being completely honest, it's not hard to see why.

After moving to LA in 2014, Corey was catapulted into the spotlight after CREED, when actor Michael B. Jordan became physical evidence to his fitness training prowess. And this year alone, thanks to two record-breaking box office hits, namely Black Panther and CREED II, the young 30-something has been highly sought after by celebrities and professional athletes (John Boyega, A$AP Rocky to name a few) alike and is arguably more visible and busier than ever. Which is something that becomes evident during our brief conversation via phone during a small window on his jam packed schedule.

"I wasn't expecting everything to blow up so quick," he says. "You know I had a little buzz going, but because I've been able to capitalize on those moments, I see myself being able to finish out the year strong."

And it's that confidence, coupled with determination derived from humble beginnings that makes Corey stand out amongst the saturated market of fitness gurus and exercise experts. It's not lost on him that your environment can have an effect on you before you can affect it, which is why it was pertinent for him to fully believe in his dreams and his skill set and forge a new path in a new city in order to create a new life. Citing what he calls the journey from "the hood to Hollywood" as the fuel that pushes him to be more successful than he ever thought possible, he lets me know that it's not just personal success he's after.

"Coming from where I come from and going through all I've gone through have all prepared me. So I use my journey to inspire people to be greater than they ever thought they could be. I don't do this for me, I do this for everyone else."

So it's no wonder why fans and followers are always tagging him in their gym selfies, weight loss progress pics, or interacting with him under his motivational posts on IG. Corey has been able to masterfully finesse putting the "personal" back in personal training. He knows and understands that it's the people who are of utter importance at the end of the day. It's the lives he touches by helping them shift both internal paradigms and external pounds that serve as the major motivation that helps him to push forward. And it's the ability to relate to others and inspire them despite the spotlight that makes training all worthwhile.

"I don't care how big or famous I get, I want to always be able to talk to the people," he shares. "The people are the ones that make you, they're the ones who go with you on your journey."

But don't let the Nike sweats fool you. There's a lot more to Corey than just deadlifts and dumbbells.

Up next for Calliet is a territory that seeks to work a muscle you can't define or discover in the weight room: acting.

Catching a mere glimpse into this particular skill set during his cameos in CREED II this past November, Corey will be flexing his muscles on screen more in the upcoming year he tells me, as he makes mention of the first official movie script he's just received. The focus, he says in the new year, is to show people just how they too, are able to pivot into a different industry and still be able to flourish. It's to show them that it's okay to go full speed in the direction of their dreams in order to lay hold of a future you once thought was unattainable.

And while previous seasons have served as the primer for the ones to come, they also serve as the launching pad for his next. And through his success, it will hopefully propel the lives of others through their occasional rainy season and into their prosperous season much like Corey himself. And while people may experience a myriad of gains and losses, his hope is through his own tough moments, people will find the inspiration needed to push onward and upward into their future.

"Everything I've gone through was to help somebody else get to where they're going. And if I had to go through the roughest of times to get to the better times, that's just proof that my life was a full transformation. My whole life is proof of that."

Transformation.

Defined as a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.

But for Corey Calliet, this 14-letter word is more than just another entry in the dictionary.

It's a way of living and it's something he plans on continuing to carry out in the lives of others, one fitness challenge, one bicep curl, one encouraging word at a time.

To keep up with Corey, follow him on Instagram.

Featured image by Ron Adar / Shutterstock.com

Last year, Meagan Good experienced two major transformations in her life. She returned to the small screen starring in the Amazon Prime series Harlem, which has been renewed for a second season and she announced her divorce from her longtime partner DeVon Franklin.

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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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