November is a time of maintaining your strength and opening your heart. This is the month to stand in your empowerment, trust the guiding force of your heart and the intuition it brings, and get inspired by where you are headed right now. The month begins in the midst of Eclipse Season, with the final eclipse of the year occurring in Taurus on November 8th. This Total Full Moon Lunar Eclipse also happens to be the Blood Moon of the year, signifying an empowering, transformational, and somewhat intense time for the collective. Changes and transformations are inevitable this month, but what you do with what is occurring will be the biggest game changer of it all.
Scorpio Season always brings a little more intensity and revelation, however, without this time the world would know no depth. Scorpio takes us to places we need to be and uncovers the mysteries we have been pondering. On November 16th, the energy begins to move into Sagittarius as Venus enters this fire sign. With Venus in Sagittarius until December 9th, love goes on an adventure and is a little harder to grasp for the time being. Venus in Sagittarius loves its freedom and shows us the importance of having fun, living with an open mind and heart, and trusting your intuition first and foremost.
The Sun moves into Sagittarius on November 22nd, and with Sagittarius Season here, this is the time to have a little more fun with life after a heavy emotional time in Scorpio Season and to explore your world. Sagittarius Season is when travel is heavy, the vibes are inspiring, and when perspective is everything. There is a New Moon in Sagittarius the very next day after Sag Season begins, and the more you can focus on the positive opportunities and paths that are opening for you right now, the more that can come. This New Moon is a time of gathering your strength, remaining optimistic, and walking into new doors.
As November comes to a close, Jupiter in Pisces moves out of retrograde and goes direct on the same day of the New Moon, on November 23rd. Jupiter is the planet of blessings and good fortune, and in direct motion, it’s able to bring that. You can expect some positive experiences at the end of the month, and karma coming around to bless the world again. Jupiter in Pisces is all about creativity, compassion, and your belief systems, and by the end of the month, there is more freedom to explore, engage, and live free. November overall is a month to release doubts and trust the process.
Aries Horoscope for November 2022AriesKyra Jay for xoNecole
November is all about overcoming fears, Aries. With Scorpio Season underway, and the Sun currently moving through your 8th house of transformation, there is a lot to process this month. You are uncovering new truths and are also seeing what’s been holding you back in the process. The revelations that are appearing in your life are changing the path ahead for you, and it’s about letting go of what’s leaving you feeling trapped rather than as free as you should feel.
On November 22nd, the Sun moves out of Scorpio and into fellow fire sign, Sagittarius. When the Sun is in the same element as yours, you feel more aligned with what is occurring and there are fewer hiccups on your path toward success. The Sun moves into the adventure zone of your chart, and with a New Moon in this area on the 23rd, you will be leaving this month feeling inspired, hopeful, and with some new plans set in motion.
Taurus Horoscope for November 2022TaurusKyra Jay for xoNecole
Your guidance for the month is to expect the best for yourself, Taurus. Don’t let fears or insecurities get the best of your mind this month, and remember to take the time to decompress and allow things to come to fruition the way they are meant to. There have been a lot of things happening regarding your love life this year, and this month things are coming to a head here. The more you can focus on what you want rather than what you don’t, the closer you will be to where your heart is.
The Full Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse happening this month on November 8th is occurring in your sign, and you are moving through a major release in your life. This month is all about releasing what doesn’t feel like you anymore and knowing that you are supported in this process. Stand by the decisions you are making for yourself and your growth right now and know that sometimes it’s about you looking out for yourself and putting your goals first.
Gemini Horoscope for November 2022GeminiKyra Jay for xoNecole
This is a beautiful month for you, Gemini. Some happy and fortunate outcomes are coming through for you in November, and it’s about time you are given this grace. This is a month to believe in your dreams and your ideas and to move forward with the plans you have set up for yourself this year. Have confidence in what is happening for you, take care of your responsibilities, stretch your wings and fly!
Moving further into the month, the Sun moves into your opposite sign Sagittarius, and enters your 7th house of love. The end of November and into December is one of the most important times of the year for your love life and your relationships, and you are seeing progress and commitment in this area of your life right now. The New Moon on November 23 is a good time to set your intentions for your future in love and what you want to see come about in your relationships. You are love, you are loved, Gemini.
Cancer Horoscope for November 2022CancerKyra Jay for xoNecole
November is a time of exploring your options, Cancer. With the Sun currently in a fellow water sign, Scorpio, you are flowing through this time with curiosity and faith. This is a month of taking a look at where you’ve been, where you are now, and the path you want to create for yourself moving forward. Remember though, the past often looks better in hindsight, and there are so many gifts and treasures to appreciate right here and now that you don’t want to lose sight of.
The Lunar Eclipse this month on November 8th is highlighting your friendship zone, and you are seeing some changes regarding your community, friendships, and social circle. Clarity is coming in, and you are seeing transformations regarding your foundations here so that you feel the true support and connection you are looking for. Anything that comes up for you this month is about acceptance, growth, and letting go; and this month overall is all about finding your balance between what’s been and what is.
Leo Horoscope for November 2022LeoKyra Jay for xoNecole
Your heart is experiencing some new beginnings this month, Leo. November is a fresh start for you, and your relationships are seeing the blessings of this new beginning. Your heart has been opening to something new, and this is an exciting month for you. Through the journey of self, you have been on this year, you have rediscovered some important insight within that has positively changed the relationships in your life and your view on them. November is your time of seeing something new and positive take place.
With a Lunar Eclipse in your career and reputation zone on the 8th, and a New Moon in your house of romance on the 23rd, you are balancing what you are putting out there, and the love that is coming in. The revelations that are occurring this month are enhancing your life for the better, and your intuition is especially strong right now. Happiness and love are your priority in November, and there are plenty of experiences for you to enjoy this month, Leo.
Virgo Horoscope for November 2022VirgoKyra Jay for xoNecole
November is a month of seeing positive culminations and growth in love, Virgo. You have trusted the process, listened to your heart and opened your mind to a new experience than before. The thing about karma is that it works in your favor when you allow it to be, and this is a month of seeing the tables turn for you for the better. You are sharing the love and receiving it, and the contentment and joy you are feeling in November are worth everything you have been through this year, Virgo.
We have a Lunar Eclipse in fellow earth sign Taurus on November 8th, and this eclipse for you is a time of seeing things in a new light, following through on an adventure, and of spiritual growth. New doors are opening for you this month, and you are on a path of love. Communication is also a prominent factor in your life right now with the Sun in your 3rd house of the mind until the 22nd, and November overall for you is a time of opening your heart and enjoying how far you have come.
Libra Horoscope for November 2022LibraKyra Jay for xoNecole
November is a month of awakening for you, Libra. There are some major changes and transformations that you are moving through, but they are ultimately creating a much-needed breakthrough in your life. Your guidance for the month is to know that it’s not always about what’s happening, but rather about how you are handling it. Remember to show up for yourself and to trust that you do know what you need and what you don’t. The more you can let go and flow with change, the more you can succeed right now.
The last eclipse of the year is occurring on November 8th and is moving through your house of rebirth. Something is transforming in your life on the deepest levels, and your heart is guiding you to safety. Know that what falls away from your life this month will be replaced by something better, and that it’s important to speak up for yourself and how you are feeling this month.
Scorpio Horoscope for November 2022ScorpioKyra Jay for xoNecole
This month is all about choosing wisely, Scorpio. You begin the month amid Scorpio Season, and you are making some final decisions on where you want to be for the rest of the year and beyond. You have been moving through a lot of different experiences that have made it harder to choose for yourself and feel confident in your inner knowing. This month is all about giving yourself the power to choose and remembering that no decision is a decision, and get moving on your dreams.
With the Sun in your 1st house of self until November 22nd and a Lunar Eclipse in your 7th house of relationships on November 8th, you are finding your balance between what you need, and what others are asking from you. Notice what takes you away from your center and what keeps you there, and align with what your true values are in life. Things get really interesting once Jupiter moves out of retrograde and goes direct in your house of romance on November 23rd, and you are leaving the month entering a time of positivity and inspiration.
Sagittarius Horoscope for November 2022SagittariusKyra Jay for xoNecole
November is a breakthrough month for you, Sagittarius. You are noticing the mental restrictions that have been in your life recently and are putting the worries and fears to rest once and for all. This is a month to take action on what has been inspiring you, and about being your biggest advocate and supporter. Know that once you decide on something the whole universe conspires to make it happen for you, and with this perspective, you can tap into your inner courage and confidence more.
The second half of the month is all about you and all about shining in your truth and glory. Venus, the planet of love, moves into Sagittarius on November 16th, Sagittarius Season officially begins on November 22nd, and there is a New Moon in Sag the next day on November 23rd. You are seeing previous blocks in your life being lifted, and your path ahead is feeling a lot more abundant and stable than it has been. This is your month to put yourself first, pave new paths, and be bold.
Capricorn Horoscope for November 2022CapricornKyra Jay for xoNecole
Abundance is yours in November, Capricorn. Patience has been a key theme in your life this year, and this month you are seeing the fortune that comes from this place of confidence. This is the month to nurture yourself, others, and your dreams, and to open up to a blessing. You deserve to feel lavish, to treat yourself, and to enjoy your life in its entirety. There is a sense of feeling extremely grateful for where you are in life right now, and November is a magical time for you.
The Full Moon Lunar Eclipse happening in fellow earth sign Taurus is happening in a romantic, happy, and creative zone of your chart, and this further signifies the exciting month that is ahead of you. The love that is coming full circle for you is everything you have been hoping for, and you have your people around you to enjoy it all. By the end of the month, the Sun moves into your 12th house of endings, and you are closing out a chapter in your life and preparing for a new one.
Aquarius Horoscope for November 2022AquariusKyra Jay for xoNecole
November is a month of seeing growth and progress financially, Aquarius. You have been setting all the right intentions, putting the work in, and focusing on your growth and you are moving through a time of success. Even with the added responsibilities that are on your plate right now, you have everything you need to succeed and you are inspiring those around you to believe in themselves and their dreams as well. Find your balance between work and love, and trust that you can have it all.
Your career zone will be highlighted until November 22nd, when the Sun will enter your 11th house of friendship. Over the past year, you have been making headway in your working life and professional goals, and by the end of the month, you are ready to have some more fun and connect with some new people. There are positive opportunities for connection and new doors opening for you, and November 23rd is a good day to set your intentions and believe in your creative approach. November overall for you is about claiming your blessings, Aquarius.
Pisces Horoscope for November 2022PiscesKyra Jay for xoNecole
This is a month where you can take a deep breath, and shine, Pisces. Past challenges and blockages in your life are falling away from your experience, and you have more freedom to move forward right now. There is a lot of activity in your life in November, but you have been looking forward to this type of movement and excitement. This is the month to remember that time is of the essence, to consider where you are heading right now, and to take action on your goals.
One of the most important transits of the month is occurring in your sign on November 23rd, and that is Jupiter moving direct in Pisces, after being in retrograde since July. With Jupiter moving forward in your sign until December 20th, you are entering the luckiest time of the year for yourself, and this time is all about showing up and showing out. If there is anything you are looking to create, manifest, or bring forward, this month is the time to do so, Pisces.
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Featured image by Kyra Jay for xoNecole
Tayler Barakat is a Mystic who has studied Astrology for over a decade. She does intuitive astrology and tarot readings for people all over the world, and her work focuses on healing and empowering individuals. Follow her on Instagram @taylerbarakat_ and check out her website www.listentothevirgo.com.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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xoMan: Mack Wilds Reflects On When He Knew His Wife Was 'The One' & The Importance Of Being A Supportive Husband
Tristan Mack Wilds is one of those rare artists we’ve watched since childhood and continue to follow today. He was hands-down one of my favorite characters on the beloved fifth season of HBO’s The Wire and continues to grace our screen on projects like Peacocks’ Praise This and the upcoming season of AppleTV+’s Swagger.
Whether he’s giving us the perfect R&B vibe to add to “the playlist” or showing off his acting chops, it’s safe to say he has a place in many millennial women’s hearts. But it’s not just his artistry that makes him xoMan-worthy. Recently, he appeared on The Tamron Hall Show with his family and spoke beautifully about marriage and fatherhood. With a quick listen to the interview and a social media scroll, it’s clear to anyone that he loves his queen out loud, and we had to get into it.
Now, I’ll be honest. One of the first elements that drew me into their story is that they met on the set of The Wire. As a major fan of the series, the timing appealed to me; he was pretty young when the show aired, so I was curious about their journey to marriage. Wilds responded by telling xoNecole, “I think in any successful relationship, you go through ups and downs. It’s just like life or career choices. Before you can consider yourself a solidified success, God is gonna put you through tumultuous downs and super-high beautiful ups so that you can feel the emotions and ride it out until you guys understand each other’s flow.”
He went on to say that while he was filming 90210, she was in college, and they were in a long-distance relationship. Later, they split up but continued to figure each other out as they went on their separate life journeys. It took time, but eventually, they understood each other and self enough to have a child. Through this journey to marriage, they continued to discover more about life and their faults but always remained present for each other. However, he knew since the day he put his jacket on her shoulders on the set of The Wire that she was the one.
"Before you can consider yourself a solidified success, God is gonna put you through tumultuous downs and super-high beautiful ups so that you can feel the emotions and ride it out until you guys understand each other’s flow.”
That one is Christina Wilds, an author, mother, and entrepreneur in her own right, and while the two are very busy, they still make time for themselves, romance, and date nights. He just finished Snowfall (which he loved), and the couple has been super tapped intoQueen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. When he speaks about their lifestyle and fatherhood, it sounds very healthy and fulfilling. “Being a two-time girl dad has taught me to be a lot softer, not only with women but with people and myself. I'm trying every day to make a more concerted effort to be softer with my team, my wife, my family, and myself,” he explains. “Sometimes unbeknownst or intentionally, we can come off [as] abrasive. I don’t think abrasiveness solves problems, and I’m a problem-solver. I like to get things done.”
Mack Wilds Photo by Benjamin O’Dea
But the fast-paced entertainment industry has a way of not showcasing marriage and monogamy in the most positive light. There’s this narrative out there that men don’t want to pursue marriage. So I asked if he could share some advice for the fellas on commitment and settling down. Wilds says, “Well, this is not just for men, it’s for women too – especially with the summer coming in. Phones are gonna start going silent, this is the time (laughs). But I think the biggest advice I’d say for knowing when it’s time to settle down is to figure out yourself. I think a lot of people settle down too fast or slow, and it’s all due to experiences you’ve had in your prior relationships. First, figure out what you like, love, the things you like to do, and how you like to be touched. Know yourself so when you come in, you're able to give someone an instruction manual.” I thought that alone was a gem, but it didn’t take him long to drop more.
A piece of advice my father gave me years ago is to: know your friends. There are loved ones you can talk to about what you discovered in therapy, and there are friends you can talk to about the best place to grab a drink, but they’re not always the same people – and that’s okay. Apparently, this applies to marriage too. I’ve heard many individuals say that when they get into relationships, they notice they stop hanging out with their single friends. I have mixed views about this, but I was curious about Wilds' thoughts, especially since if you listen to the actor’s podcast Guys’ Next Door, you know his friends have very varied perspectives.
He responds with a chuckle saying, “There is some validity to that, but I don’t think it’s so black and white. You hang with people of similar situations, people who have been through what you’ve been through. You want to have someone that you can speak to and have different conversations. Whether it’s about children, being in a relationship, etc. You want to speak to someone who's been through it so it doesn’t fall on deaf ears. So whether my friends are single, there’s always gonna be a shift to the people that I ask for certain advice. It’s all about being around individuals that can provide the things you need. It just so happens that a lot of my single friends happen to be in this business.”
He seems to have a nice balance of it all, which must get difficult as busy as he is. But when he speaks of his recent role on Praise This, it sounds more exciting than trying. He describes it as genuinely fun. “It was amazing, we were always joking, and the music was plentiful. Everyone was cracking jokes and singing. I was glad that I could put an update to an idea of what a pastor or religion could or should be.”
Mack WildsPhoto by Benjamin O’Dea
Now he’s gearing up for the return of Swagger on Apple TV + where he plays the complicated character Alonzo. “Alonzo has come up behind the scenes. He finds his way behind the puppets to pull the strings. He makes things happen. He’s not the easiest or nicest guy. He’s the anti-hero we all need,” he says about his character.
I can appreciate the way Mack Wilds shines in his craft, but I also respect how he uses his platform to show a career in the spotlight and Black love. Both are possible.
“No one in the world doesn’t like feeling [invalidated], especially by their partner. I want to make sure my wife understands that not only am I her biggest fan, but I’m supporting her in any way I can. It’s less about my career and more about her feeling [supported] in everything that she does and that we do,” he shares.
"I want to make sure my wife understands that not only am I her biggest fan, but I’m supporting her in any way I can. It’s less about my career and more about her feeling [supported] in everything that she does and that we do."
He closed with the best piece of general and relationship advice he’s ever been given, saying, “For regular advice, invest your money. Remember it’s about assets over liabilities,” he adds a shoutout to Nipsey Hussle, Earn Your Leisure, and homies who inspired him.
He continues saying, “For relationship advice, I’d say, when it feels like you’re about to have an argument with your partner. Be quiet longer than you think you should be. Let [him] or her get their thoughts out and then respond. I promise you will have a way better conversation if you take time and don’t worry about jumping over each other. Take time, let your partner talk, repeat how you heard it, and then respond.”
You can catch Tristan “Mack” Wilds in the season 2 premiere of Swagger on June 23rd on AppleTV+.
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Feature image by Benjamin O’Dea