You may like your dessert unwrapped and ready, but this candy has more layers than meets the eye. Just a few years ago Joshua Benoit was a serial entrepreneur building a business instead of a social media following, launching his first company at the age of 18 before dipping his toes into the world of real estate.
While he continues to run his home remodeling business and pad his portfolio with real estate investments, thanks to a viral photoshoot of his chiseled physique, the 31-year-old Haitian has since added modeling and singing to his repertoire. His behind-the-scenes videos have garnered millions of views and landed him features in ESSENCE and GQ, and more recently he played the leading man in Tory Lanez's "Do The Most" music video. And when he's not teasing us with his Naked Treats or giving us another reason to love chocolate cake, the Florida native is taking a deeper dive into music. Benoit first hit the scene with his sensual song "Legs in the Air", and his latest single "Wet" promises pleasure without the wait.
As he prepares us for more records to come, xoNecole decided to get a little up close and personal with this R&B heartthrob. Read on as we chat with the budding singer on transitioning from modeling to music, his 90-day rule in relationships, and what he's working on within himself to be the best man for her.
xoNecole: Were you intentional about having your first two records be sex songs?
Joshua Benoit: Yeah, definitely. I have more mainstream records but it's just feeding the fan base at this current moment because that's what they kind of want to see right now. I did the analytics and I have a large female audience, and the team and I were like we think this is the best approach to go with. For them to take me more seriously as an artist, you've got to reeducate them. You're not just a model. Let's come up with super sexy stuff in the beginning because that's what your audience wants to see, then we will drop more mainstream records.
xoNecole: Is sex an important part of relationships for you?
Benoit: Absolutely. The records are kind of in the same lane as within my vibe, you know what I'm saying? So it's not something left field that I don't practice what I preach or have been through in my life. So it's definitely describing me in a way.
xoNecole: What's something that your fans don't know about you?
Benoit: I don't think I've ever said this, but I've never actually smoked or drank in my life. I've always been a hustler. I think just growing up, my brother instilled in me the best way to do it is to just be on point. If you don't don't smoke [and] don't drink you can always be on point and always know your next move. So it's just me always wanting to be on point when I'm negotiating a deal or whatever the case may be.
xoNecole: What are some things that you picked up from your parents about love?
Benoit: I picked up on the way to treat a lady. The way my dad made sure that my mom was always taken care of. He was the breadwinner. He worked his ass off to provide for the household. He always sent her flowers and made sure that she was always having a good day. So I learned that from him.
Courtesy of Joshua Benoit
"I picked up on the way to treat a lady. The way my dad made sure that my mom was always taken care of. He was the breadwinner. He worked his ass off to provide for the household. He always sent her flowers and made sure that she was always having a good day. So I learned that from him."
xoNecole: Anything that you learned from them that you don't want to carry into your relationships?
Benoit: Yeah. I definitely want a relationship to be open and not say "This is the way it goes" and "it's my way" type of thing. I am the alpha male, but I see that my father did have some ways. That's why they were like it's not going to work anymore because it was too much of a structure and it wasn't, "Let me listen to my wife and see what she's saying." It was more like, "This is what we're going to do and that's it." And not taking her opinion into consideration, which that's something I never want to do.
xoNecole: Is that a cultural thing or just like an old school way of running the household? Because I think now our generation tends to have more of that balance.
Benoit: I think it's both. I think it's definitely a culture and old school way. But definitely with the Haitian culture, the men are very "it's my way." The Haitian women, all they have to do is cook and clean. They can't say much. That type of vibe. My dad wasn't all the way left, but it was more in the middle and more Americanized, but you still had that culture in that, "Hey, I'm the man of the house, it's my way, that's it."
xoNecole: Were there any specific qualities that you saw in your mother that you now look for in other women?
Benoit: Yeah, everything. Being a sweetheart. My mom always stayed home because the way my dad moved around, but like cooking, cleaning, having that love towards my brother and I and making sure that we're always OK and then, you know, she was our support system when my dad was trying to punish us. Like, "Hey, they are boys. This is what they're going to go through." So I want to say just having that support system and just giving that sweet love instead of tough love, I got from my mom. There was never a conversation, but it was just always action. And she always had our back no matter what.
xoNecole: Has your perspective on love and relationships changed over the years?
Benoit: I just think as long as we can coexist, you're a God-fearing woman, someone that I could build the empire with, that's willing to put the work and effort and see my values and I'll listen to hers, we can build together. I think, and I don't honestly think that there's a special person out there for any individual. I think you meet the one and you guys coexist and make it work together. That's just my theory, and I've always believed in that. When you can find someone and you deal with the pros and cons of the individual, the pros outweigh the cons. If there are no deal breakers, then you make it work.
Courtesy of Joshua Benoit
"I don't honestly think that there's a special person out there for any individual. I think you meet the one and you guys coexist and make it work together. That's just my theory, and I've always believed in that. When you can find someone and you deal with the pros and cons of the individual, the pros outweigh the cons. If there are no deal breakers, then you make it work."
xoNecole: At what point in the journey of a relationship would a woman know that a man's ready to actually be in a relationship versus just the talking or dating stage?
Benoit: If the moment's right, she'll know, for me, in about 90 days.
xoNecole: What's happening within those 90 days that are leading up to that decision?
Benoit: We're just getting to know each other, you know, being around each other. I'm going to see her values, how she values her parents, if her parents are still alive. Just her interaction around my friends, my family, things like that. I'm going to be able to see if this particular person has the characteristics to be like I think I can take this woman seriously and, you know, a longevity type of thing.
xoNecole: So at what point would you know if she's the one, would that happen within the 90 days or is that later down the line?
Benoit: That is definitely later down the line, but the 90 days would tell me that I'm able to move forward with this particular individual. I think the guys when they know, they know. But I think it still takes a little bit more than 90 days. You know, a lot of stuff can change.
xoNecole: Let's say you're going through something, what would be the best way for your partner to support you?
Benoit: I'm a loner so I want to be left alone. And I understand that the opposite person's always going to be like, "Hey, is everything OK?" Whatever the case may be, that's what a spouse is supposed to do. But me I'm like, if I'm a loner, if I can be alone, I cope with things better that way.
xoNecole: Are you communicating with her?
Benoit: Yeah, absolutely. Any person that's been with me in the past, she knows that this is the type of person I am, and I definitely communicate that with her even before something happens. Like if I'm going through something you can ask, because honestly that's what women are going to do, but at the end of the day, just let me, you know, deal with it myself. I'll come back around. If I feel like talking about it, we will, if not, just leave it alone.
Courtesy of Joshua Benoit
xoNecole: So if I had a meeting with one of your exes, what would they say about you?
Benoit: Loving, but [he] doesn't express emotions very well. Loving, caring and I'll do anything for someone that I love. That's just who I am. So they'll say he's very loving and caring, but he needs to work on showing emotions. Not communication, but showing more emotions.
xoNecole: How much does feeling safe within your relationship impact you expressing those emotions?
Benoit: I naturally just don't share, that's just me. I need to work on that. If you were to talk to one of my exes, they would say that I know you love me, care, you do everything for me, but it just seems like you don't love me at the same time because I'm actually unemotional, if that makes sense. And I don't think it has anything to do with the time or me being vulnerable. It's an underlying issue that I need to address, but I don't think it has anything to do with the relationship. This has just always been me, you know?
xoNecole: Last question, what does being a black man mean to you?
Benoit: Society looks at us like anger and that we're troublemakers. For me it's like we're business owners, we're doctors. Being a Black individual in America the way America looks at us, and being able to overcome adversity and being able to do a few things and succeed at things that we have done in the past. It's just...I can't even describe it. It's an amazing feeling to have that respect level even though sometimes we don't get it. But Black men especially, we're kings and it means the world for me to actually be a Black individual in this world right now.
Follow Joshua on social media @joshuadbenoit.
Featured image courtesy of Joshua Benoit