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Nick Cannon On Self-Care, Success & Why He Will Never Get Married Again


Many women aren't lucky enough to say they spent a half-hour with their childhood celebrity crush to dish about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, but I'm proud to say that I am. The first time I saw Drumline, I knew it was destiny. My nine-year-old heart was so captured by the film's lead character, that I bought the DVD with my own money and begged for the soundtrack for my 10th birthday.

Nick Cannon was the first man to make me "feel things" in a womanly way. I had other crushes, but Bow Wow's Harlem Shake had nothing on the way Nick hit those drums. What I didn't know about Nick during my hormonally charged adolescent years, was that his road to success wasn't a walk in the park.

Raised by a teenage mother, Nick discovered his affinity for entertainment at an early age. He was able to use his wit and tenacity to launch his stand-up comedy career, which would eventually help him escape the gang-ridden streets of his hometown in California.

Now, the 37-year-old has become the youngest executive at Teen Nick, is the creator of the longest running hip hop show in history, just opened a new restaurant in Miami, and somehow still finds time to be a great father and a student at Howard University. Nick's hit show, Wild N' Out, recently kicked off Season 12 of the show with a multi-city tour and the young mogul says this is the only the beginning.

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Despite being diagnosed with lupus in 2012 and juggling a chaotic personal and professional life, Nick is on a mission to impact the world in more ways than one.

xoNecole got a chance to sit down with the multi-hyphenate to discuss everything from fatherhood, to how you can score a date with Nick Cannon.

xoNecole: With such a chaotic schedule, is it important for you to make time for self-care?

Nick Cannon: As someone who's dealt with health issues in a very severe manner, I know the importance of taking care of yourself, putting yourself first, and understanding self-preservation. If you ain't the best you, everything else just falls to the wayside.

xoNecole: What does self-care look like for you?

Nick: A lot of meditation. Everything from yoga to martial arts to gym activity daily. Paying close attention to what I put into my body, specifically water. I try and get a gallon a day, aiming for two gallons every day, of water, and that's kind of the foundation. Proper hydration and water intake, and then making sure I'm in the best shape I can be in.

xoNecole: How do you make time to be a dad?

Nick: I think you should never have to "make time" for fatherhood. Fatherhood is the purpose of life. My goal in life is to figure out how I can be the best father I can possibly be. From there, you take those values and apply them to the rest of your lifestyle.

Nick Cannon/Instagram

xoNecole: How has your life changed since becoming a father of three?

Nick: It becomes your number one focus, it's applied into every decision that you make. Whether it's personal, business, you move as a true man. Whereas before I operated in a very selfish way, and thought more like a boy or someone who was really just looking out for themselves, but when you become a father you gotta make decisions as a leader.

xoNecole: What advice do you have for single fathers out there?

Nick: I hate giving advice, I'm not a believer in taking advice from others because everyone's path is and journey is different. If I could say what I would do, I definitely rely on a lot of prayer and meditation.

xoNecole: It seems like you've pretty much mastered co-parenting.

Nick: I don't like the term "co-parent," I don't know where that came from. It's almost like a step down, or having to compromise what your duties are. When really it's just parenting. I think everybody parents in a different way. I attempt to just be the best father or the best parent I can be, I'm not trying to be the best co-parent.

"I don't like the term 'co-parent'... It's almost like a step down, or having to compromise what your duties are."

When you're on the same page with your family, because you never stop being family, you put your children first and it's all based and rooted in unconditional love. It usually, for me, it goes extremely well when you take yourself out of it and focus of the kids.

xoNecole: Has your fame had an affect on your dating life?

Nick: Fame is fake, temporary. I don't think that's part of my life. Those two things don't really exist to me: fame or a dating life. I don't really think I have a dating life. Obviously, I entertain people and have friends. But I'm not thinking of it like, "Who am I going to date now?" I don't even know what that means in 2018. With my busy schedule, I make time when need be.

Being a father is my number one priority and after that it's work, so if I find time to spend with somebody else, that's usually a third tier approach.

xoNecole: So, can I put it on the record that Nick Cannon is a single man?

Nick: Absolutely, you can say that for life. Put that on my tombstone.

xoNecole: For life? So you don't see another marriage happening in your future?

Nick: Nah, never that.

xoNecole: Why?

Nick: I feel like that's something that I've done before, I've experienced it, it's a beautiful thing. But it's not really something I'm looking to do again. I lived it, I enjoyed it. But my views have changed quite a bit since then. I definitely will fall [in love] again, but I don't need some paperwork from the government to solidify my love.

"I definitely will fall in love again, but I don't need some paperwork from the government to solidify my love."

I understand why people do it. Weddings are beautiful, amazing, but I've experienced that. And going forward, my ideas have evolved just a little bit than just a traditional wedding and marriage. Most people probably wouldn't agree with how I think. As a kid, I was definitely fascinated with the idea of being married and having a fantasy wedding, I married my dream girl. I definitely got what I wanted as a youngin, but now that I'm older, I can see past that. I want to focus on being the best father I can be.

xoNecole: What are the traits you look for a woman?

Nick: Honesty, sincerity, nurturing qualities. Obviously wisdom, I think women are the wisest creatures. Honesty is my first thing, and that's because I have horrible trust issues. I think in any friendship, any relationship, honesty is what a solid foundation is built on.

xoNecole: How would a woman score a date with Nick Cannon?

Nick: They gotta ask me. If someone wants my attention, they gotta show me they want it. I'll make it simple: I like who likes me. I'm not really gonna put myself out on a limb because I'm too insecure for that.

I'm an energy dude. As funny as it sounds, energy is drawn towards each other. I'm always involved with the people I'm supposed to be involved with because their energy attracts me and my energy attracts them, so we kind of end up meeting halfway when it's right, you never have to force it. If you have to force it, it's not supposed to be. I rather just allow the universe to bring it together and have a serendipitous experience.

Click here for more information on Wild N' Out Tour dates and how to score a ticket. And be sure to keep up with Nick on Instagram.

Featured image by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

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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