When Channing Tatum appeared in the feature film Magic Mike in 2012, drawers across America were drenched and the idea of a male adult entertainer was redefined. Not only did the film inspire a Broadway show and an all-male Vegas revue, but it also provided one young man from Baton Rouge, Louisiana the opportunity to live out his dreams in a way he could have never imagined.
Jeremy Denzel is a 24-year-old creative who recently celebrated his 1,000th show as a performer at the Las Vegas show, Magic Mike: Live. He's a Cancer, he's a dancer, and most importantly, he has a heart of gold. Since joining the show two years ago, Jeremy has appeared on Ellen, This Is Us and Atlanta; but you probably know him from his hilarious part in the popular Netflix film, Step Sisters.
xoNecole had the opportunity to sit down with this sexual piece of chocolate, who opened up about love, life, and navigating his career as a male entertainer.
What inspired you to start dancing?
My favorite dance movies were You Got Served, Stomp The Yard, and stuff like that. So I would be home alone in front of the TV, sweating with a hat on and dancing, trying to recreate the moves. It's crazy because the movie Step Up came out, and my boy Channing [Tatum] was in there. And he was a kid from the streets, which I can relate to. And he liked to dance, which I can also relate to. And in the movie, he transitions into this refined dancer by taking dance classes. He took dance lessons in the movie and then that turned him into a better dancer, a better person. So after seeing that, me and my friends, we decided to take our first dance class, and we signed up for classes in the seventh grade and that was the first dance class I've ever taken.
So, it's like now I work for him. It's like I took my first dance class, and now I work for the guy. It's crazy to see a full circle like that happen.
I saw in a previous interview you said that you actually met your girlfriend at a show, how did that go down?
I was dancing. She had a friend who was a fan of the show and they all came to the show. So we're like, all right, we know they're there in the house. So I was walking through -- and this is a certain part of the show where we will lapdance women -- and I'm just walking minding my own business.
And this woman out of nowhere grabs my arm and just stares in my eyes and says, "Don't neglect me" in the sexiest voice ever. And I'm like, "Okay."
She posted on her Instagram story, her cooking some gumbo and I was like, I don't know what this southside Chicago girl knows about cooking gumbo. So I sent her a message. And was like, you don't know how to cook gumbo. And it turns out she does know how to cook gumbo and we been going ever since so, I was wrong.
Does your career as a male entertainer affect your relationship?
I think we had a great start because she already knew what my life kind of entailed. And there is a level of comfortability and trust that you have to have with a partner going into something like this. And I thought like a million times, what if it's the other way around? I mean, I met her doing that, why would I have a problem with it now? And she has that approach to it and it's never been a problem.
She comes to the show a lot, she sees me showing other women love, but that's part of my job and she knows it makes everybody feel good. [It's] just [about] being able to separate my job from just us.
How long have you two been together?
Almost a year. Last year, we made it official at her sister's wedding. That was cool.
Wow, that's romantic AF. So are you just a romantic guy at heart or does that come with the job?
I have learned some things from the job now that I think about. Well, there is a skill to it and in the process of doing this show, I would say you adapt to the life. You've listened to women enough to get a good understanding of what they might like. And since our jobs are so tailored towards pleasing women, I guess my life is tailored towards what can I do that she would appreciate.
"You adapt to the life. You've listened to women enough to get a good understanding of what they might like. Our jobs are so tailored towards pleasing women."
What are some ways that you show your partner she’s special to you?
Well, I give her a lot of massages. Like I rub her feet a lot, I'm jealous how many foot rubs she gets. After some shows, I might get her some flowers or bring something home and let her know I thought about her. Just that constant reminder because people like when you at least try, or where you show that you think about them, especially when they're your significant other. Like just that constant reminder or learning their love languages and knowing what makes them feel good.
Speaking of, what’s your love language?
I'm into physical touch and I love laughing. Laughing is my favorite thing to do. Come on. Someone I can have a laugh with about anything. If we can laugh all day and then I like being around you all day, that means you make me feel good. I don't think you can be pissed off and laugh. I think that's hard to do -- laugh with someone you don't like.
So what’s the first thing you notice about a woman when she walks in a room?
Body language, I think that's an important one. If we're talking about attraction, then body language, confidence, and their demeanor. I think it has to deal with body language and attitude for me because I think the sexiest thing you can be is confident, and that goes from whatever kind of body type you have, whatever kind of person you are, if you're confident, I think that goes a long way.
"I think the sexiest thing you can be is confident, and that goes from whatever kind of body type you have, whatever kind of person you are, if you're confident, I think that goes a long way."
What’s does the perfect date look like for you?
I would say out to eat may be a nice one or like going outside, going to see something, walk and talk. But it also depends on what kind of day you're trying to have.
Well, what about you? What day are you trying to have?
I would probably go to an escape room or something. You ever been to an escape room?
No, but I’ve heard of it! Why an escape room?
Okay, well you're locked inside of a room with people and you have to figure out how to get out of this room. I think you can tell a lot about a person once you put them in a room and lock them inside of it and then they have to find the way out. We did that on one of our first dates.
You can see whether this person is not great under pressure or whether they yell a lot at you. You get a good scope of the land. How will they react in other situations like this and how much longer can we do this? And it's fun, you laugh a lot.
How important is sex in a relationship to you?
It's very important, there's no other way to put it. Especially if you're trying to settle down with one person, right? You got to find ways to keep it interesting and I think when the love and comfortability are there, then I think that's the best it gets.
Can you have love without sex?
You can have love without sex, but sex helps.
"You can have love without sex, but sex helps."
What are your deal breakers in a relationship?
Bad hygiene. I think as a human being, everybody should have good hygiene. I mean, I think that's the least you can do for people around you, is just have good hygiene. I think that should be like one thing that shows that you respect people is that you smell good; that you respect yourself.
Do you see marriage or children in your future?
As a southern boy, It's kind of like my Cinderella Story. I one day want to have a family and get married. Just having a nice house on a piece of land, raising a family. Maybe having an animal or two, I don't know which animal yet, but get a few dogs, have a horse; but also be in a space where I'm still creating art or doing whatever I love at the same time.
You can keep up with this hunky entertainer by checking out his Instagram and Facebook pages and make sure to add going to Vegas to see Magic Mike: Live to your bucket list ASAP. You might even leave with a man as fine as Jeremy!
Featured image courtesy of Victor Anthony.
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
I tried sliding into my crush’s DMs like Vanessa Hudgens successfully did to her soon-to-be husband, Cole Tucker, after she met him during a Zoom meditation group call. For me, it was akin to a backfired romance in a Mara Brock Akil comedy series.
At the wiser age of 30, I stopped side-eyeing online dating and acquiesced to the possibility of finding love in the digital realm. My one rule: He has to take the lead. I wouldn’t strike up a single conversation once the confetti cues burst that we’re a match. That rule trotted out the door once I swiped on a presumably tall, brawn, and accomplished venture capitalist sporting a million-dollar smile.
The clock was ticking; our match would expire in mere hours if one of us didn’t take the gambit. Screw it. I made the first intro, and the suave VC responded. Turned out we had a close mutual friend, too.
He had an upcoming business trip but said he’d reach out once he returned. I never heard from the VC guy until one year later when I mistakenly ambled into what felt like a zombie ambush at an intimate Thanksgiving gathering our mutual friend held. Then and there, I vowed never again to take the lead at the precipice of dating!
At 36, however, I surreptitiously stumbled across a mutual acquaintance who left me breathless at one of my girlfriend’s husband’s 40th surprise birthday celebration.
Mobilized by swoon-worthy anecdotes from countless women who successfully found love because they weren’t too shy to slide into their dream man’s DMs, I heeded the enticing call to a fortuitous meme: “Ladies, this is your sign to shoot your shot.”
He strolled into the decorated backyard, late, while the rest of us were enthralled by illusory magic tricks performed by a bookish magician; the real enigma was, who is this man who’s left me utterly captivated?
I tried to excavate more intel from my girlfriend, but she was incredibly tipsy from one too many of her husband’s themed cocktails to divulge. From the time I sashayed to the bar to standing across the extended dinner table for 30 – where we locked eyes and grinned at one another – until the end of the night, where I lolled in line for photo booth fun, I noticed Mystery Crush staring back at me.
“You have tree shrub on your butt,” a handsome guy with a stocky athletic build, who’d later introduce himself as B. warned me with a heavy southern drawl, as he and Mystery Crush chuckled. I blushed in embarrassment and swept the debris off my derriere.
Bright, professional lights flashed. I shook off the flub and angled every curve on my body, accentuated by my slinky black, backless dress.
“Let’s take a pic together,” B. smiled. I peered over my shoulder, watching Mystery Crush gazing back. Why couldn’t he be as vocal and proactive as B.? I agonized.
Later, as celebratory glasses clinked, B. boldly asked for my number, in hopes of snagging a copy of our photo and getting to know each other over lunch.
“I haven’t dated anyone in almost two-and-a-half years,” I hesitated, conjuring up any truthful excuse after B. casually revealed he was close friends with Mystery Crush.
Still, my racing heart couldn’t leave the party without officially meeting Mystery Crush. I had to know if his voice, intellect, and character matched his sultry vibe.
Channeling my inner badass Beyoncé, I meandered to him and introduced myself as I firmly shook his smooth cocoa hand. Aside from us exchanging names, no in-depth camaraderie followed.
That should’ve been a clue to relinquish any lingering feelings, but as a single woman who often comes across a smattering of gentlemen who rarely generate a mutual, palpable connection–coupled with a recent missed romantic opportunity in Mexico, I felt compelled to take the leap.
Hey. It was really great meeting you. You seemed afraid to talk to me, but I was really wishing you weren’t…
I hadn’t expected him to respond, however, within a couple of days, he DM’d me with his number. I replied with mine, squealing in excitement. Maybe taking the initiative favorably worked after all?
“Don’t call him. Wait for him to call you.” My sage hair stylist instructed me as she ran her fingers through my curly coils. “Of course not. I believe in attracting, not chasing.” I grinned.
Seven days passed since I first slid into Mystery Crush’s DMs. My optimism waned as calls from family, friends, and aggressively pesky scammers filled my phone log, but none from him, leaving me temporarily deflated. I resurfaced feeling empowered for confidently seeking after what I wanted–not from a place of desperation, but from a well of self-certainty and wholeness.
I’m a type A, go-getter accustomed to proactively risking it all for the unknown and receiving unrequited outcomes. It works wonders for my career; my love life… not so much.
A month prior, I’d just returned from an invigorating solo trip to Cabo, where I met two, late-30-something eligible men while I was enjoying an al fresco brunch buffet, overlooking the Sea of Cortez. One included a charming Black resident doctor who lived near me in LA. He struck up an amusing yet fruitless conversation while we picked over steamy mini waffles and dispensed fresh pressed juice. His geeky friend, however, mustered the courage to ask for my number.
As I was boarding my flight home later that day, a white middle-aged couple, who recognized me and my flowy white linen maxi dress from brunch, probed if the cute doctor connected with me after he expressed he was smitten.
“I told him he should’ve asked you, but he said he didn’t think you were interested,” the wife lamented. “That’s too bad, because I was waiting for him to ask me.”
The doctor’s misinterpretation of my interest and lack of initiation fueled my otherwise reserved proclivity to slide into Mystery Crush’s DMs.
I’m still a traditional millennial woman who appreciates the chivalrous elements of courting, and I’m perfectly content in waiting for my future love to spark the dating communication.
That’s how I’ll know he’s divinely meant for me.
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Featured image by Delmaine Donson/Getty Images