In 2014, Jeremy Meeks' mugshot went viral because, well, because he was sexy. Today, he has a thriving modeling career and is snagging acting roles left and right. And after famously dating an heiress to a fashion empire, he is happily single. The father of two's (yes, he's a Daddy and a Zaddy) gorgeous green eyes and eight-pack have popped up on-screen in a new project, Dutch. The star-studded release features a load of big names and has all the makings of a winner—a dirty drug ring plotline, a juicy urban fiction read for a script, and Lance Gross. "I read the book this film was based on when I was incarcerated. The Dutch trilogy was written by Teri Woods, back in 2003. It's just crazy how it's all come full circle now," he tells xoNecole.
It's safe to say a lot has changed since his humble beginnings as #PrisonBae (or Hot Felon, as some may call him), and to say he is blessed is an understatement. He knows it too. While we were all baking bread in quarantine, Jeremy was counting his blessings while heating up Instagram one thirst trap at time. xoNecole recently got the chance to chat with Jeremy about what's new with his career and his love life. Here's what he had to say:
xoNecole: You got to work alongside Lance Gross who played the lead character, Dutch, which the film is named after. We’re BIG fans of Lance here at xoNecole—how was it being on set together?
Jeremy Meeks: Lance Gross killed it. He is the perfect Dutch. I learned so much from him. You know he taught me a lot of things when it comes to acting and facial expressions. There was an entire incredible cast to learn from on set like Tyrin Turner. I actually wasn't able to be on set with Macy Gray. She's a legend too. That would have been dope. But there's James Hyde, O.T. Genesis, Michael Blackson...there are so many people in this.
Modeling or acting? What direction do you plan to take your career?
Modeling in some sense was just a stepping stone. It was a foot in the door. And then [I thought] how long can I model for? I was looking for longevity in the industry, and I didn't know what that was going to be. When I started acting, I knew instantly. I found a passion, and it feels really good. And so now I'm trying to sponge up every aspect of film that I can. I'm trying to learn how to write, direct and produce.
"Modeling in some sense was just a stepping stone. It was a foot in the door. When I started acting, I knew instantly. I found a passion, and it feels really good."
Was a career in entertainment something you thought you’d ever have?
Not really, I've heard it, numerous times growing up that I could, but in the lifestyle that I was living, that just didn't seem real. I used to see people on TV and think I could do that or hear rappers and think I could rap. I could do anything that anyone can do just as well if not possibly better. I just believe in myself, but I just never thought all of this was possible. Then when the mugshot went viral, I realized all this time I was supposed to be influential in some way. God waited until I was in the right spot mentally to take on this blessing.
It's been years since your mugshot went viral, but how do you navigate the “Prison Bae” thing? Do you respond when folks call you that?
I am so much more than that. but at the same time, I don't take it to heart. It's been a blessing, it's what got me here. So yeah, I respond, I embrace it. But I'm working hard to shed that nickname and just be Jeremy Meeks, a household name. I'm excited about the future. I know soon I'm gonna get that rom-com. [I feel like] that's my lane.
"God waited until I was in the right spot mentally to take on this blessing."
If you had your pick of Hollywood’s leading ladies, who would you want starring alongside you in a rom-com?
It would have to be someone like Meagan Good or Lauren London.
You had a very high-profile relationship spread all over the media in the past—anything you would do differently next time around? What’s your relationship like now with both mothers of your sons?
I would never change anything in my past because everything happens for a reason. My relationship is incredible with both of the mothers of my kids.
The last thing I read about you was that you were single, so how’s singleness treating you?
Incredible. I'm just at a point in my life where I'm very focused. I'm a relationship kind of guy, you know? I've always been. But at this point in my life, I don't want to get pulled in different directions. I just want to focus on my work, my kids, and their future to change that generational wealth gap. I want to create businesses and leave them. I just have a plan and [am] in a different headspace right now.
So you’re not dating, at all?
[I have] friends—very good friends. (Smirks) I'm kind of talking to someone, but we're just friends. We just appreciate each other's energies and each other's conversation.
"I'm just at a point in my life where I'm very focused. I'm a relationship kind of guy, you know? I've always been. But at this point in my life, I don't want to get pulled in different directions."
Best love lesson learned?
To communicate. Communication is everything. If you communicate, no one can get hurt because everything's out in the open. I think that's the key to every relationship. I had trouble communicating in the past and now I just really try to work on things that I know I need to work on because everyone can always improve in some way. So I've been trying to work on my communication.
Best career lesson learned?
To really just take your time and not jump the gun. Do your homework on people and see what they've done and who they've worked with and in this business. Everyone will tell you what you want to hear. It's on you to do due diligence and make sure that all your T's are crossed and your I's are dotted.
At the end of the day, it's business and so you have to make sure everything's professional on your end.
Featured image by Cheryl Fox, courtesy of Jeremy Meeks
Jazmine A. Ortiz is a creative born and raised in Bushwick, Brooklyn and currently living in Staten Island, NY. She started in the entertainment industry in 2012 and now works as a Lifestyle Editor where she explores everything from mental health to vegan foodie trends. For more on what she's doing in the digital space follow her on Instagram at @liddle_bitt.
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
As I move through life and experience different highs and lows, one thing that has become increasingly clear is the importance of self-love and self-worth. Now, I’m not saying it’s always easy, but I do feel like if it’s in a good place, people experience life more fully. And when it comes to love, my friend Amanda Wicks and her husband, Will Ford, are the perfect example.
Amanda may not remember this, but years ago, on one of her many visits back to Atlanta (we both went to Clark Atlanta University), she sat across from me at a dinner table and declared she was done looking for love. She was happy with who she was, and while she still desired it, it was no longer something she was chasing. “If it happens, it happens,” she said. The statement was so bold it made me quickly reroute our usual dating story catch-ups and awkwardly move to a different topic.
Well, the next time we met up, she told me she had met someone and was moving to Houston to live with him. Imagine my surprise and concern. Later, I’d find out that this decision, like so many other elements of their relationship, flowed naturally and organically. Their whole partnership has been full of peace and vulnerability.
Fast forward to today’s conversation, they’re still living together, celebrating four years of marriage, and planning to create a family. And while this stage of their story sounds generally normal, the way they got there is nothing but. Check out the "How We Met" feature below to see how a couple who never spoke on the phone and lived in different states ended up in a loving marriage full of ease, art, and authenticity.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
Walk me through your ‘How We Met’ story.
Amanda: We met on Instagram (laughs). He followed me first, and I followed back because he does art, and I was intrigued by that. Honestly, we followed each other for a while before we connected. But I remember one day I saw a post where he had on a Martin t-shirt that I liked, and that sparked our conversation. He ended up telling me he made the shirt and actually mailed me one. So when I got it, I made a post wearing it, and that’s where the conversation started. Since that day we’ve communicated every day since.
Will: Yeah, I initially saw her on a short-hair Instagram page and followed her because I thought she was attractive. I actually showed her to my co-workers on one of our monthly outings as an example of my “type” – something I had never done. But one thing I will say is, I noticed she had on a Nina Simone shirt in one of her photos, that’s what got me. It showed she had more depth.
I guess that answers my next question. Did you have an initial attraction to each other?
Will: (Laughs) Yeah, I did.
Amanda: For me, no. I just wasn’t looking at him through that lens. I didn’t follow him because he was attractive. I don’t follow people online because of that. I actually remember a time when we were going back and forth, and I was like, “Aye, you kinda cute.” It was a specific moment. Once I started looking through his page more often, I started to view him that way, but it still was more of an acknowledgment. We really connected primarily because of our creative interests.
So, how did it go to the next level?
Amanda: I was in Nashville, and he was in Houston. But I’m somebody where if I feel like doing something, I’m going to do it. I had been meaning to go to Houston for a while to see a friend, so I felt like it was the perfect combination of a circumstance. We had been talking a lot, and I knew I liked him as a person and really wanted to meet him, but of course, I was aware of the idea that it could blossom into more. I remember I sent him a text saying, “Would you think I was crazy if I pulled up to Houston?”
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
What was your reply? Did you think she was crazy?
Will: In my mind, I was like, I don’t know. (Laughs) I wanted her to, though, so I wasn’t going to say yeah. It was a little wild, but I encouraged it.
Okay, so tell me about the date.
Amanda: I don’t know if you’d call it our first “date,” but the first time we met, we went to a skating rink. I was a little nervous about meeting him in person. Like, what if we don’t have chemistry – that was in the back of my head a little. But I brought my friend with me as a buffer, and thank God I did because he was so quiet the whole night. I literally can’t think of one thing he said the entire time. But the saving grace was that we had built a rapport. We reconnected the following night and were together until 5 a.m. – just sitting there talking. We ended up spending the whole weekend together.
Will: I’m socially awkward if I don’t know you. Also, before the date, I didn’t know what she sounded like or anything because, that’s another thing, we hadn’t talked on the phone. (They both really don’t like phone calls, so everything was through texts at this point.) I guess I could say I was kinda nervous, too. I had never met someone through social media, and then here I was, meeting her in person at a skating rink. I hadn’t skated in years, I was hoping I didn’t fall. But we had just been talking so much that I was open to it.
What made you want to take that risk?
Will: She has a level of authenticity that I’ve never seen in any other woman before, and once I saw her, it solidified that. I knew I wanted her around.
Amanda: I don’t think it was anything specific. It’s not hard for me to connect with people. But there were no red flags. We align across the board. That was different. We really connect on how we see the world.
"She has a level of authenticity that I’ve never seen in any other woman before, and once I saw her, it solidified that. I knew I wanted her around."
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
Out of curiosity, what are your love languages?
Amanda: I connect with all of them. I think it just depends on what I’ve been lacking. I appreciate words of affirmation because I’m so big on actions that I like those bold statements of love, and of course, I appreciate quality time. The older I get, the more I appreciate physical touch, but that’s not something I need. With receiving gifts, I like thoughtfulness, and I like giving thoughtful gifts, too. But acts of service is for sure my biggest one. I love when someone considers me and makes my life easier. That speaks to me most.
"I love when someone considers me and makes my life easier. That speaks to me most."
Will: I think it all depends on how I’m feeling, too. But probably also acts of service. I like how Amanda will buy me deodorant when I run out (laughs). She just does so much all the time to show that I’m thought of.
At what point in your connection did y’all have the “what are we” conversation?
Will: I don’t think we ever had that convo. We never defined anything, we just kinda went with how it was going. However, I knew I wanted it to be more serious when I went to visit her. She had been coming to Houston once a month, and I went to Florida (she was there for work) to see her. I realized I felt comfortable coming into her space, too. That gave me that last little bit of whatever I needed.
Amanda: Yeah, I can’t say I had a defined moment like that. But again, as we had more and more interactions, there were just no red flags. The more we thought about it, the more we realized no matter where we went relationship-wise, we were adamant about being a part of each other’s lives. We never had the “talking to other people” conversation or anything. But we did both understand we weren’t going anywhere. Eventually, it graduated to convos around building a life together, but even that was over six months in. I just liked him as a person.
Have there been any negative revelations that your partnership and marriage have taught you about yourself?
Amanda: I’ve always felt that partnership is supposed to make the other person’s life easier. For me, it was a struggle to let someone help me in all the ways I didn’t really know I needed help. As I started having less capacity, I had to realize that it doesn't work anymore. It was hard for me to acknowledge and ask for help. I think that’s something I am still coming to terms with, even with other relationships in my life.
Will: I think I’m learning and still learning how to get out of my head. I’m the kind of person who always has to visualize stuff before it happens. And this relationship is the first thing that I don’t do that with. Of course, we plan stuff, but I know it’s gonna be good regardless. It allows me to stay in the moment. If I can do that with this, which is the most important thing to me, why can’t I do that with other things?
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
What challenges have you faced together?
Will: For me, the preconceived challenge was living together. I’ve never lived with a woman before. Even in my previous relationship, it was long-distance. I’m also the type of person that likes my space, but as soon as she got here, that was out the window. It was so smooth it made me feel stupid for questioning it.
Amanda: I’m grateful to say we don’t necessarily have challenges between each other together. But we have been struggling with infertility and health issues. Our biggest challenge thus far is trying to get pregnant. Even articulating that makes me realize I’m grateful it hasn’t caused a rift between us. I think we have been able to face it in a healthy way. But that’s an example of how having someone else there can be helpful. I was so functional as a full-blown individual doing everything by myself.
So, in my head, I don’t need anyone, but having someone there who is happy to support me has taught me it’s okay to welcome that. It’s made us stronger because it’s taught us how we both function under duress – it’s good to know it’s not terrible (laughs).
"Our biggest challenge thus far is trying to get pregnant. Even articulating that makes me realize I’m grateful it hasn’t caused a rift between us. I think we have been able to face it in a healthy way."
What are some of the shared values that are important to your relationship?
Will: How we see life, what we’re here for, and how you’re supposed to treat people. It sounds really simple, but it’s not as common as you think.
Amanda: We value being really good people – without strings. We both don’t value money, but we value stability. So we don’t have to endure the “why are you not hustling” arguments. We were both stable people individually, and we came together. Also, we both value meaningful connections, alone time, reflection, and family. That guides us in what we do and how we build a life.
Finally, what is your favorite thing about each other?
Amanda: I’ll say one of my favorite things about him is that he’s brilliant. I view myself as a smart person, but in my head, he can do what I’m doing ten times faster. There are times I want to push myself to do stuff, and I’ll just ask him because I know he can do it. It’s incredible.
Will: My favorite thing about her is how people see her. Being a witness to how important she is to other people’s lives is amazing. Standing to the side and seeing how she affects them is really special.
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Feature image courtesy of Amanda Hicks and Will Ford
I’m not a fan of casual sex. One reason is because I used to participate in it with several guy friends, and it can come with challenges and complications that you can seriously underestimate…until it’s too late. Another reason is that I know what casual means, and I have no desire, these days, to participate in random, apathetic, and careless activities.
And still, another reason is that it can sometimes make you very sexually self-consumed in a way that can make you a very impatient person when it comes time to bring true and authentic intimacy into a sexual dynamic — because let’s be honest: casual sex is way different than sex that you experience with someone who you’re in something serious with (or at least it should be).
When you’re sharing all of yourself with another person, you’ve got to be willing to not just “grade them on their performance;” you should be willing to allow them to learn you…as you commit to doing the same.
And that’s why I decided to ask 15 different women to share with me, what they did, as they transitioned from casual to something deeper, and figured out along the way that there was some “sex-related tweaking” that needed to be done. As they strived to keep their relationship flourishing, here’s how they helped their partners to thrive in the bedroom department.
1. Angelia. 43. Married for 12 Years.
“Now that I’ve got some time under my belt, it’s important for women to know the difference between your man not being good in bed and you comparing him to people from your past — most women confuse the two. For the first couple of years, I didn’t realize that was my issue: I was comparing. It wasn’t intentional, but it was happening. I realized that it wasn’t that my man didn’t know how to please me so much as his approach was different from what I was used to with other guys. That part, was my stuff to deal with.
"Once I purged it, I was able to be clear with my husband about what my likes and dislikes are and then give him the space and respect to allow him to ‘customize’ his approach. Bottom line, great sex is about consistent communication. Be honest, with yourself and your partner. The more open you are, the better the sex will be — or become.”
2. Dinah. 32. Dating.
“A big problem that I used to have was thinking that if a man was good in bed, it meant that he could figure out what I needed without me having to say much of anything at all. That’s until I was talking about it with some of my girlfriends, and one of them said, ‘Girl, we’re not “one size fits all.” Every time a man gets with someone else, he has to learn something new. You’ve got to speak up. Closed mouths don’t get fed.’ I took what she said to heart and learned to speak up when there’s something I don’t like or something that I really like.
"For a while, I was uncomfortable because I’m kind of shy. But guys seem to like knowing what we want in bed — what I’m saying is, they like to hear it. So long as you’re not barking orders, they feel like it’s a form of dirty talk. Now that I know that, I’m very vocal; especially during foreplay.”
3. Wrenna. 28. Engaged for 11 Months.
“My man is not the size that I’m typically used to. When we first started dating, I thought it was going to be a deal-breaker. Then I realized that you can be sexually pleased by a man who isn’t packin’. It’s all about learning about which positions work best based on his size. That’s what we’ve learned to master. Even if you put a pillow underneath you, he can ‘hit those spots’ when you’re in the missionary position that a pillow wasn’t needed for with bigger men. Being endowed doesn’t make a man good in bed anyway; working with you to get things where you need them to be does. My man rises to that occasion, in every way, every time.”
Shellie here: She’s right on the size thing. Check out “BDE: Please Let The 'It Needs To Be Huge' Myth Go” if you’re looking for even more confirmation.
4. Emily. 30. Married for Six Years.
“If your man isn’t the greatest at foreplay, do what I did and turn everything into a guessing game: guess where I like to be kissed, guess what my favorite spot is, guess what activity turns me on the most — then don’t tell me, show me. And if you’re right, I’ll reward you with a sex-related surprise. If you’re wrong, I get extra time ‘on the clock’ in those same spots. Men don’t have a problem with what they don’t know; men don’t want to feel emasculated or humiliated for not knowing it.”
5. Gemma. 25. In a Relationship for a Year.
“To each their own, but I don’t like guys who bring porn into the bedroom. Even if they learn how to talk from it, I’m annoyed because it’s not about seducing me; it’s about how nasty their words can get. I hate phrases like ‘good girl’ — it creeps me out. My boyfriend used to talk that way until I shared with him that I prefer questions instead of statements in bed: ‘How can I please you tonight?’ or ‘Baby, how does this feel?’. It took some getting used to [for him] at first. Now he likes it a lot because the questions get me there, and my answers get him there.”
6. Paula. 38. Engaged for Four Months.
“My man is GREAT in bed. I couldn’t ask for more. Our problem is that he couldn’t always ‘read the room’ when it comes to when I’m in the mood or not. He’s a morning guy and I prefer sex at night; not late at night either…sometime between 7-9. He used to think that because he can always ‘get me there’ that whenever he was down, I would be. Or he would come to bed after my window and then be frustrated when I didn’t want to wake up at five.
"Basically, we had to get our bodies on a bit of a sex schedule. We try to average having sex no less than twice a week, and yes, we both need to compromise. BUT if he wants to get me at my best, that 7-9 window is when it’s gonna happen. Once I figured that out, we’ve been pretty smooth sailing. We bust headboards, then. He gets a quickie or some amazing head otherwise. I think we’re both good with that.”
7. Tanisha. 41. Engaged for 18 Months.
“TELL MEN WHERE YOUR SPOTS ARE. Because even the most attentive man, someone who knows to not only focus on our breasts and vagina, is not always going to know what your specific zones are. Something that I discovered about myself is, as I got older, my spots changed. I used to love to have my breasts sucked — until I had kids. I used to hate having my feet touched — until a few years ago. It’s not fair to expect a man to automatically know what you’re still figuring it out. If you’ve got a good lover, he aims to please. Let him know how to ‘warm you up’ — and if those places switch up, who cares? We evolve sexually, just like we do everywhere else.”
8. Fredricka. 25. In an Exclusive Sex Situation.
“I stayed single until I could find a man who could eat the box properly. Why do these guys think that just being down there is doing something? The man I’m with now? When I saw that it had some real potential, I flat-out asked him if he was okay with me showing him how I liked to get head. He told me that so long as we could be each other’s instructors, he was down for anything. He had to humble himself, and so did I. Do people even talk about how much humility and sexual satisfaction go hand in hand? Yeah, interview me when you’re ready to break that down to everyone.”
9. Orpah. 34. In a Relationship for Three Years.
“My problem used to be, not that my boyfriend was a ‘minute man’; it was actually that he could go a really long time the first round and then be tapped out for the second one. So, what we had to do was find ways to shorten the first time, so that he’d have enough energy for 2-3 more. I think guys don’t realize that even if they can last a while, it can still take us the first round to warm up a bit. So, now what we’ll sometimes do is foreplay, sex for a few minutes, he goes down on me, and then we’ll have more sex. The goal is to keep him excited without him actually cumming. It works like a charm.”
10. Marina. 29. Engaged for Two Months.
“Did y’all see that nasty ass post of Kevin Gates spitting into that girl’s mouth on stage? I literally almost threw up. My man used to think that spit was a thing. I mean, it was for some of his other sex partners, so he assumed that I would like it, too. I. DO. NOT. What we had to do was have some hard discussions about what he was ‘programmed’ to think was sexy vs. what actually is sexually appealing — at least for me. It took some ego finessing because men tend to be like, ‘I’ve never had complaints before…’ and you have to find a way to convey that it doesn’t matter if you’re not happy. There can be a fine line there. Speak to him the way you would want him to speak to you.”
Shellie here: If you didn’t see what she’s talking about, just to be thorough, it’s here. Enter at your own risk, though. I could barely stomach watching it once, my damn self. UGH.
11. Lee. 30. Dating.
“I consider myself to be a tour guide. I have no problem moving a man’s hands to where I want them to be, using my mouth to explain to him where I want his mouth to go, or putting my own body in a position to get what I need from him. Too many women are afraid to hurt a man’s feelings in bed by showing some aggression. Hmph, let me tell you something: if there’s one place where a man loves that sh-t, it’s in the bedroom. I will forever die on that hill.”
12. Revelynn. 41. In a Serious Relationship for a Year.
“Want to know if a man has been used to making love or not? Pay attention to how often he looks into your eyes. If he avoids them, he’s been having sex but not really connecting with you. And while I like doggy style as much as the next gal, we spent some time in missionary, cowgirl — any sex position where he had to look me in the eyes. When men look at you, it makes them more vulnerable, and that makes the sex more intense…and that ends up making them better lovers. I am a witness.”
13. Karollynn. 32. Married for Five Years.
“With my husband, the sex itself has never been the issue. I was always fulfilled in that department. Our challenge was the ambiance. Girl, a man can have sex in a mechanic’s garage or a club bathroom, if you’re down. What I had to get my man to learn was, if you want to really get me in the mood — fold those clothes that are on the bed, light some scented candles, have some of my favorite food delivered if you don’t feel like cooking either.
"The reason why we as women show up as a different woman in hotel rooms is because we can relax there. At home, there is always something that needs to be done, so men need to learn how to make it feel less like a ‘home office’ and more like a place of escape. That’s the cheat code.”
14. Oren. 50. Married for 28 Years.
“I always feel badly for younger women who think that good sex means hopping from partner to partner; it’s like they assume that being the same person is toiling work. For me, it’s not. The more time I’ve been with my husband, the better the sex has become because our marriage has given us all the time in the world to learn each other — and sometimes relearn each other. My advice would be to not be in a rush to ‘be great in bed.’ Care about ‘becoming one’ with your partner. If you do that, the sexual satisfaction will come.”
15. Laylah. 46. “Rebounding” Her Divorce.
“Wanna hear something crazy? My husband and I divorced because I was so sexually unhappy — years of it. I loved him, but I’m sorry, I didn’t sign up for years of being ‘bedroom miserable’, and he seemed to be committed to not hearing me, so I ended things. It might sound superficial but when your partner isn’t meeting your needs in one department, it spills over…trust me. We spent a year apart and then started speaking and casually dating again. During that time, we talked about sex a lot.
"Then we took some sex classes together. We went to sex shops. We had sexcations. He started to act like a student of sex, and that changed everything. Because there is love and history between us, now that the sex is on track, we’re in the process of reconciling. I finally have everything I need. Ladies, get everything you need.”
You know, there is an author by the name of Abhijit Naskar who once said, “Without attachment, a naked body is merely a lifeless sex toy.” When it comes to what all of these women just shared, there is clearly some truth to that because what they all said, in their own way, is truly connecting with your partner is the key to the best kind of sex possible.
So, if your man is already a top-tier lover — mazel tov!
If not, purpose in your mind to solidify a stronger attachment with him by being honest, present, and real. Then watch what happens when you do — as your lover and…well beyond.
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Featured image by Blue Images/Getty Images