Whether he's gyrating to Ginuwine on gym equipment or wreaking havoc on the STARZ hit show Power, Nigerian-bred and New Jersey-born actor Rotimi certainly knows how to make a scene.
But it isn't just his undeniable sex appeal or his killer acting skills that made us want to know more about him. Rotimi is a man that knows what he wants and how to connect with those around him. His latest EP, Jeep Music Vol. 1, describes his previous relationship and captured almost every human emotion that comes with finding, having, and losing love.
xoNecole got the chance to talk exclusively with TV's number 1 villain about why it's important to be transparent, shooting your shot, and why he likes nasty women.
You grew up in a Nigerian household and they are traditionally known for their strong emphasis on all things academia. However, your parents willingly supported you in your decision to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. What role did that play in how you approach music and acting?
My parents told me very early on: "If you're going to do it, be excellent at it." So, I had that mentality my entire life. Their support gave me confidence when I was a kid. They supplied me with all the tools I needed to live my dream. Most Nigerian families don't do that, it's all about school and being a doctor. They saw my gift at an early age and they wanted to help me cultivate it. It put a crazy work ethic in me.
That work ethic has definitely paid off, especially in your acting. You're arguably one of the most controversial/hated characters on Power and on TV in general right now. How does it feel?
I love it, I embrace it! If Courtney [Kemp Agboh], who's the creator of the show, was going to make me the bad guy, then I had to be the best one on TV. I love it because when there is controversy, it gets talked about. I wanted to be one of the most talked about people on one of the best shows on TV.
Do you find it hard to get people to separate Dre the character from Rotimi the artist?
No, that's why I had to make my music undeniable. Good music makes people feel good, regardless of who it's coming from. I had to really sacrifice a lot of rest, a lot of going out, a lot of personal time to make a project that I was really proud of. What happens now is that since a lot of people are starting to see my personality on social media, with Power, and with my tour— they see that I'm multi-faceted.
So, the conversation a lot of the times now goes, "Hey we HATE Dre but we love Rotimi" and that's a cool dynamic. It's a respect of my talent because they're supposed to hate Dre and if you didn't, that means I'm not doing my job (laughs).
What are you most excited about for your character?
I'm super excited for him; I think his rise was kind of like a surprise. The fact that everybody is now embracing him and looking for his storyline, it's amazing. It's a testament to hard work and having mentors like Omari [Hardwick] and Joseph [Sikora]; they just made me perform at my best. People walk around the street mad at the character but then they tell me they love my acting. That's the number one thing.
How do you balance dating with everything you have going on?
You have to have someone who really understands your lifestyle. I've been fortunate to meet a lot of good women that understand my life and are very secure in themselves. You have to compartmentalize it and I'm really big on people who knew me before I was doing what I'm doing. It's flattering to see all the new people that are coming around in my life now, but majority of the time it's for what I am and not who I am. It's hard, it's a continuous compromise.
Your parents have been together for over 30 years. How has their relationship affected your perception of what love is supposed to look like?
They were best friends; she had his back and vice versa. Seeing that and seeing that it's possible to be happy with just one person, it was a beautiful thing to witness as a kid and as an adult now. They got through it all.
How does that shape your expectations when it comes to maintaining long-lasting relationships?
It showed me what I deserve. It showed me that settling for anything less doesn't last. You have to find your partner and that all goes back to great communication and being transparent. It sets the bar for what I look for and the elements of love.
When you think of you and your partner 30 years from now, do you think it's possible? What do you want it to feel like?
It's possible, you kind of just have to tune out social media, distractions. You have to really be transparent, everything is so accessible now. You have to be more transparent than ever.
I want it to feel like I married my best friend, someone who literally knows everything about me.
There's no secrets, there's no worry, or doubt.
Before you get into a relationship, what qualities do you look for?
I love understanding women. I love intellectual women. If your mind is fly, then everything just follows. Obviously, she has to be beautiful too. She has to be transparent, she has to be honest. She has to have great understanding and she has to be nasty, if we're keeping it one-hundred (laughs). It's the thrill of life (laughs). And very spiritual, I love spiritual women but you can't really say that after nasty can you (laughs)?
Are you currently in a relationship?
No, I'm not. I'm a single bachelor (laughs).
There's been a lot of talk here lately about women shooting their shot with men when it comes to dating and relationships. Do you prefer a woman to shoot her shot at you or do you like to do the pursuing?
I think I like a little bit of both. If a woman shoots her shot with me and she's confident and is different than a fan shooting her shot, then I think that's intriguing. I like it if it's done correctly.
How do you cater to your woman to make her feel special?
The number one thing is to listen, to be understanding, and not to judge. You have to create a place of comfort for her. And you have to be freaky (laughs). You have to be all sorts of things. But making sure you have good communication is a very important thing as well. And that goes with anything in life. You can work through a lot of things if the communication is where it needs to be.
You've had the chance to work around industry heavy-weights like Kelsey Grammar, Jamie Foxx, 50 Cent, and more. I'm sure you get tons of impactful advice all the time. What's something someone has said to you that's stuck with you through all these years, that's helped you navigate your career or personal life?
The first time Jamie heard my record or saw me on Boss, he basically just told me to trust my intuition, to trust my instincts in everything I do. I've never taken an acting class or anything and I feel like being instinctive makes for the best type of work. Even in real life now, I'm the type of person to say what I feel and just be who I am. That never left me.
First Thing He Notices About A Woman:Her walk. I love a sexy walk.
His Biggest Musical Influences: Bob Marley, Stlaknte. I love their story-telling and Lauryn Hill.
His Perfect Date Night: Going to the spa, then maybe to the beach. Having sex on the beach and then following it with a nice little movie. And eating on the beach, a little dinner.
On His Dream Role: My own Marvel trilogy. Like something similar to Blade too. Something like a mix of Nightcrawler, with a little bit of Magnito, and Cyclops all in one. And I could fly. You know, I'm a different kind of cat (laughs).
On Being 'Mr. Sexy Nigerian Butterscotch': Indeed he is, he sure is! (laughs) My team was the one that pushed me to start showing my personality and engaging more with the fans. In my truest form, I'm a clown. I wanted something to contrast against the sex symbol of the music and the villain of the show. For me just being myself, I figured out that's what's going to help me win. Once I realized that, I'm always going to stay true to me because people really connect with that.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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