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Exclusive: Meagan Good Talks Spirituality, Dealing With Rejection, And Being 'Free' At 40

"I’m thankful to now hit 40 and be like ‘girl you free.’"

Meagan Good

Over the weekend, xoNecole teamed up with Toyota USA for our Made For Me: ATL event. The two-day event took place on March 19th and 20th in honor of Women’s History Month. Attendees participated in workshops and wellness experiences that focused on the mind, body, and spirit. Special guests included astrologist Dani Simone, Christian psychologist Dr. Alduan Tartt, financial consultant, and yoga teacher Dr. Nicole Garner Scott, entertainment host Gia Peppers, and Meagan Good, who was the keynote speaker.

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Meagan is a veteran actress who is often admired for her beauty, style, and down-to-earth personality. But what stands out about the Harlem star is her spirituality and her connection with God. The 40-year-old actress took to the stage alongside Gia and opened up to the xoNecole audience exclusively about her faith, how she deals with rejection and how she really feels about the recent social media attention she’s been receiving since announcing her divorce from DeVon Franklin.

Meagan Good On How She Deals with Rejection:

“It was very concise, specifics like, it’s just not you and I had to learn very young that it had nothing to do with me. I had to learn very young that nine times out of ten I’m going to get a no, but that one yes is the one that was divinely meant for me and have peace of mind about that and to learn along the way what I uniquely bring, nobody else brings and what someone else uniquely brings, no one else brings.

"So, having that peace of mind there will be alignment and the right things will come to me at the right season and then celebrating my sisters when things come to them even if it’s something that I wanted. Just celebrating them because it was theirs. It wasn’t mine. And I think rejection is God’s protection. Every time that I didn’t get something that I wanted I got something that was better suited for me. And I ended up in a space where I was like, ‘oh this is why I was meant to be here. Got it.’"

On Rejecting Something That No Longer Serves You:

“That was probably a harder thing for me to learn because I’m so sensitive and I hate to hurt people’s feelings. I hate to disappoint people. I hate to be the one that told them no. I’m like ‘well, what’s going to happen to them?’ And, ‘are they going to be okay?’ A lot of that honestly is like a savior mentality. You don’t realize it because you think you just [have] a good heart but sometimes if you have too much of a bleeding heart, you’re not serving that person. You’re actually hurting that person. You’re not helping that person and you’re always putting yourself out of alignment if that’s not what God called you to do and so I had to learn.”

On How She Finds Comfort In the Discomfort of Rejection:

“You just have to trust God. I think throughout my life and my personal experience being a woman, being a Black woman, being an actress, being in ministry, all of those things I’ve experienced tremendous amounts of rejection. Feeling misunderstood, feeling judged, feeling attacked all those things and the thing that sustained me is just trusting God. Even if someone else doesn't get me or doesn’t love me or doesn’t like me. I know that God gets me. I know that He knows my heart. I know that He knows exactly who I am. I know that He doesn’t reject me and if He doesn't reject me, well then, what are we talking about? What other people have to say, and not to say that those things don’t still hurt your feelings or that you’re not still affected, but you have to have the baseline and the bottom line which is the only person you’re sent here to approve you is God. And if God approves you and He’s for you, then it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say.”

"You just have to trust God. I think throughout my life and my personal experience being a woman, being a Black woman, being an actress, being in ministry, all of those things I’ve experienced tremendous amounts of rejection. Feeling misunderstood, feeling judged, feeling attacked all those things and the thing that sustained me is just trusting God. Even if someone else doesn't get me or doesn’t love me or doesn’t like me. I know that God gets me."

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Meagan Good On the Social Media Attention She's Received Since Announcing Her Divorce:

“In this particular season, it warms my heart a bit because I try not to look too much to either side because–I forget what the statistic is but you see something negative it affects you twenty times more than something positive. And so, I’m careful to not let the positive or the negative determine anything about how I feel. But I will say that it has been very heartwarming to see so many people rooting for me and wishing the best for me and wanting to see me live my best life and loving on me and pouring into me. That, I appreciate.”

On How She Deals with Public Opinion:

“Well, y'all know I’m 40 so I’m in a different space. I don’t care as much as I used to. I used to care so much and– it’s nice because it’s freeing. I wrote this poem and it’s on my Instagram page and it was just like what I was feeling. But it was like, I, for years, felt like I was at the edge of a cliff, and people were poking and prodding me and all I was trying to do was just not fall. And then one day, I jumped. When I jumped, I started flying. So, I’m in a season now where it’s like, yes, I’m sensitive to certain things, but at the end of the day, at the core of me and anybody who knows anything about me knows no matter what, I’m going to do what I’m going to do. It doesn’t matter if I’m going out to the firing squad or not. I’m always going to be myself and I’m always going to be authentic, but I used to be a lot more sensitive about it and I think now at this junction, especially in this past year, I just don’t care.

“When I create something as a director, as a producer, something that I participate in, I’m hoping that it influences somebody in a positive way. I’m hoping that it inspires somebody. I hope that it says to someone, you are enough as you are and you are beautiful and you are perfectly imperfect and I hope that those messages are coming through especially for something that I’m creating like as a producer, as a director. But there will always be times when people don’t receive it or don’t like it or don’t think it was great or whatever it is and I think everything else along the way has prepared me for those things. Whatever it is, all those things have prepared me for this moment and I’m thankful. I’m thankful to now hit 40 and be like ‘girl you free.’"

On How She Practices Self-Confidence:

“Everybody that is here, there is nobody in the world like you. There’s nobody in the world that is like you and the world needs what you can give that nobody else can give the way that you can give it. And I think stepping into our identity, stepping into our power, choosing our self-love–and I’m not saying it’s always easy. I have days where I feel insecure, feel not good enough, especially in the season where I’m like ‘oh, man I’m struggling.’ But I know how loved I am by God and that’s the base that I build everything on. And that helps me grow to love myself and then I remind myself there is nobody in the world like you. Somebody else might be better, well-spoken than you are, somebody else might be a better actress, more talented or more beautiful or people look up to or whatever it is, but nobody is me and I am enough and I choose to see that about myself.

"I have days where I feel insecure, feel not good enough, especially in the season where I’m like ‘oh, man I’m struggling.’ But I know how loved I am by God and that’s the base that I build everything on. And that helps me grow to love myself and then I remind myself there is nobody in the world like you. Nobody is me and I am enough and I choose to see that about myself."

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“I choose to work towards the reality of that identity that already is every single day and I’m not saying it’s easy but I’m saying the things that for me that I do is [having a] relationship with God, whatever that means for you. Meditation, just getting in tune. I used to hate meditating because I’m like, ‘but I’m about to fall asleep right now,’ but the more that I have [meditated] over the years and just getting in tune--just even waking up and just breathing and meditating to get oxygen to my brain has made a difference in my endorphins and my peace of mind when I start the day. Then for me, [it] is reading my word, reminding myself who God says I am, not who I think I am because I feel unworthy in the moment or because of whatever I may feel whatever is going on in life but who God says I am, period.

“That’s the only thing that matters and then living my day with just loving on myself and choosing myself at times and then choosing others when I feel spirit-led. At the end of the day, we are worthy and we are perfectly imperfect, and we are God’s children, and He did put us here for a specific reason and we have a potential to live up to in this life. We’re not here for a long time, but we’re here for a moment and in that moment, we all have purpose in our lives and we all have a specific reason why God created us and gave us the parents He gave us, grew up in the town that we lived in, had the desires that we have in our heart which I believe are always connected to our purpose.

"We gotta accomplish that in this life and so I let those things be the guiding light and just my center and my core and my base.”

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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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