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Getting Intimate With 'Games People Play' Star Sarunas J. Jackson

The hearthrob gives us the one-on-one our hearts desire.

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There are indeed no games to be played when it comes to Sarunas J. Jackson, the star of BET's newest original series. There are no facades, no smoke screens, no gimmicks. What you see is most definitely what you get with this 6'8'' Philly native.

He's refreshingly transparent, not shy to speak his mind, but at the heart of it all--he's just a downright honest guy. Whether you want him to be or not. Which is something he feels people have come to know and love. "They should know that I'm going to be unapologetically me at all times," he tells xoNecole on a quiet midweek afternoon. "I'm not going to switch up for nobody. And that seems to be something that people appreciate when they meet me."

But even if you haven't met Sarunas, you've probably seen his face on the critically-acclaimed series Insecure or on the recent Freeform favorite Good Trouble. And now in his new role on BET's Games People Play, fans and followers alike will definitely appreciate the additional screen time for this undeniably sexy yet sheisty character.

We got the chance to catch up with him where we talked about his new role, why it's important to fall in love with the process, and why good communication is king.

xoNecole: Describe your character Marques King.

Sarunas J. Jackson: He's a young man who's kind of launched into this professional high-life but he's a bit immature in how he handles things. He's a father, he's a professional athlete, he's just trying to figure out how to balance through this life of having so much access or power in a sense. I feel like it's easy to judge a character like this, especially when nobody has really been in that position of making hundreds or millions of dollars. He's trying to see as the episodes go by if he can repair some of the damage he's caused and created.

What do you want fans to take away from this show?

First and foremost, with this type of content you want to entertain. You want to entertain the people that are watching this show, that are hanging out with us every week. But I'd want them to understand the complexities that come with a character like Marques King. It's easy to judge a guy like him, but nobody knows when you're in that journey, there are things that come along with that.

I'm not saying the behavior is right or is acceptable. But I think when you look at the show and the people in these positions, it doesn't excuse their behavior, but I hope it helps people to better understand the complexities of what they have to deal with.

You mentioned the rashness of people being quick to judge something they don’t directly understand. I’m sure you’ve seen or maybe experienced a lot of the judgement that comes with being a millenial. So I want to know, what’s something you feel personally that our generation misses or gets right?

It's always funny when I hear critiques about this generation. Because if you look at each generation, they're generally better than the one before it because they learned from their mistakes. Nowadays though, you have people who have a lot of opinions and not enough qualifications. But when it comes to things like holistic healing and manifesting and visualizing things, I feel like our generation implements that more. I think we are the most aware, the most accepting of all types of people, very high on self-care. We're all trying to get our mind, body, and spirit right. I feel like we care about that a lot more now than ever.

I think with all generations though, some people are aspiring to do something but they want the results but not the process. Some people aren't ready to run that marathon, they want to sprint to the finish line. These days, with instant gratification and social media and all that, they want everything to happen fast. People don't want to put that work in. They don't want to put the hours in, you get what you give. If we could mix the old generation's work ethic with our working smarter, then we could make amazing strides.

Courtesy of Aaron/@underground_nyc

"I think we are the most aware, the most accepting of all types of people, very high on self-care. We're all trying to get our mind, body, and spirit right. I feel like we care about that a lot more now than ever."

Let’s switch gears a bit and talk relationships. How do you go about dating nowadays? Are DMs acceptable? Dating apps?

There's no certain way I guess, but DMs are kind of the norm these days. Majority of the time I don't [slide in DMs]. But whoever I'm involved with, I like to keep it private. I'm very private about it but that's just a preference of mine. Just because I might be able to handle public opinion more than my counterpart might be [able] to.

Has fatherhood affected how you approach dating?

Not necessarily, it's always taken into consideration but the type of person I am, there was a certain journey I started before I even had a daughter, which made me ready for fatherhood. If anything, it (fatherhood) puts everything I was working on in myself into practice. But the thing is, I feel like I'm in an interesting position where before I even know who you are, you might know who I am so you're going to know I have a daughter.

So, for me, I don't have to change anything when it comes to dating. Whoever's trying to pursue me is either going to have to change their ways or not change at all. Just know that when it comes to me, me and my daughter are a package deal.

What are your top three must-haves when it comes to your next relationship?

Communication, number one. Respect, number two. Honesty, number three. And I'm going to give you four--sex. There has to be good sex, that's just how I am. In reality, sex is important to everybody but people like to fake the funk be like 'it's not all about sex.' And it's not, which is why it's number four but it's up there. But if the sex isn't good, let's be real, people are going to tap out.

Courtesy of Aaron/@underground_nyc

"There has to be good sex, that's just how I am. In reality, sex is important to everybody but people like to fake the funk be like 'it's not all about sex.' And it's not. But if the sex isn't good, let's be real, people are going to tap out."

Speaking of sex, I know you’re a big R&B fan. What’s your go-to song or album to put your woman in the mood?

I pick and choose from a lot of different artists. I like to give shine to artists I feel deserve more respect. I like talent, you know? And I know what pops off today and that's cool but real artists that have the talent--I like that. Lucky Daye, Victoria Monet, Pink Sweat$, Kyle Dion. H.E.R., she's probably my favorite artists. 6lack, Daniel Caesar, PJ Morton. That's the playlist I'm going to put on and if I do, that means I'm focused and I'm trying to do real work. And I also want you to listen to this good music while you get this good work.

What do you do to make your woman feel special?

Honestly, to me it's nothing special but, I know how to express myself and put my thoughts into words very clearly. I can communicate very clearly and I've found that that's something that separates myself from a lot of the other men that the women I'm involved with have dealt with. Even when I do things like this and in other interviews, I'm just very candid and clear. And I've seen a lot women comment on that but to me that should be the norm. But I think because I am very clear on my thoughts and speaking on my feelings and being very open, I think that has been the thing. They know how I feel, that they can come to me, and that they can feel comfortable speaking to me--because I'm gonna listen and we can have conversations about all types of things.

So because of that, I think it transcends into a lot of different things. Whether it turns them on or makes them respect me more or whether it makes them feel more secure; it goes into all areas. There's no need for guessing games, we're too grown for that. That's childish, I'm a grown man. You won't have to guess 'cause I'm going to tell you what it is from the beginning. What you see is what you get so there won't be any surprises down the line.

"There's no need for guessing games, we're too grown for that. That's childish, I'm a grown man. What you see is what you get so there won't be any surprises down the line."

Describe for me your ideal date.

I feel like there are two ways to answer this so I have two answers for you. On a simpler level, because I am very simple--I LOVE going to the movies. But not everybody loves that. I hate going to the movies with somebody that doesn't really care or doesn't want to have open dialogue about what we just saw. So I just won't go with those people. I'd love to just go eat and catch a movie.

But on the fun side, I'd want it to be something different. I like going to intimate concerts--not necessarily sold out at Madison Square Garden or Staples Center. But a more intimate setting where you can appreciate the artists and there's more of a connection. I love [arcade bars], you know those bars with arcades--those are cool. I love going somewhere we can relax, have a drink, have good conversation and joke around. I like to laugh a lot, so things like that are good.

What are some major life lessons you’ve learned so far?

Communication, good communication, makes life easy. Whether it be with your friends, family or loved ones, closed mouths don't get fed. A lot of times I think communication is scary for people, maybe because of how some of us were raised. And also I've really learned that it's a marathon not a sprint--whether you're trying to find love or you have this set plan for your life or career. There's no certain age, your time is your time. And once people accept that philosophy, they'll go about things more differently in a way that's hopefully beneficial for them.

For more of Sarunas, follow him on Instagram. Check him out in BET's Games People Play on Tuesdays at 9.

Featured image courtesy of Aaron (@underground_nyc)

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Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

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A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

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