What Self-Care Looks Like For BuzzFeed Writer Jamé Jackson
For xoNecole's Finding Balance series, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.
No matter if life gives you lemons or straight up lemonade, the choice of what happens is up to you.
This was the case for Jamé Jackson, a style & beauty writer for BuzzFeed's As/Is columns and founder and EIC of TheBlondeMisfit. Our xoNecole fam might also recognize her byline from an article or two. The writer extraordinaire who decided that she wanted to go into journalism, found that there were more closed doors than open, especially for a Black girl from Washington, D.C. with no formalized journalism experience.
As a result, she forged her own path, creating content that specifically targeted Black women and the conversations surrounding Black culture in fashion and beauty. When she's not sharing her silly antidotes, beauty splurges, and thrift finds on social media, she's working on ensuring that Black girls are never an afterthought, especially when we define culture, honey.
In this installment of Finding Balance, we chatted with Jamé to find out how she balances working at one of the most prominent tech companies in the world, her health, and in love and relationships.
What is an average day or week like for you?
An average day for me can vary. Working in the beauty and fashion industry, I could be in the city at a media breakfast, meeting a client or a person of interest for a story, or even at showcases that discuss next season's goodies. Sometimes the only thing I'm doing all day is transcribing interviews or reaching out for exclusive quotes, and other days, I'm just writing, writing, writing. I could be preparing for a panel, a shoot, or just chillin', haha. The only thing consistent throughout my week is that I force myself not to overextend my work and responsibilities outside of my work hours. So, I will say, "I can only do something after work 3x a week," so that I have time to go home and actually rest. It's difficult when you're a busybody like me, but it's been so necessary to my emotional and spiritual health.
What do you find to be the most hectic part of your week? How do you push through?
Thankfully, I have really strived to find balance in my life in 2018, and work isn't hectic for me because I absolutely love what I do and the content I get to write for BuzzFeed/As/Is. The most hectic part probably is finding that moment where I turn myself 'off', and decompress after a long day, or finding a healthy schedule to get everything done. I have fabulous work moms (hey Essence and Patrice!) who make sure I take time to rest, and more importantly, that I'm not apologetic for needing time to myself. I'm someone who will literally write "Go grocery shopping," in my calendar so I won't forget. I push through by honoring myself when I see that I'm putting too much on myself, but also forgiving myself when I forget something or just don't have the energy to do it. Nothing is worth trippin' about in the bigger scheme [of things].
I also have amazing accountability partners who work on different teams in BuzzFeed, people who are always pushing me to take a moment and celebrate my wins. There are women like Julee Wilson at Essence, or Dana Oliver at Yahoo, who pour into me all the time. Badass babes like Gia Peppers or Sheriden Chanel who literally keep me filled up with prayer and purpose on a daily basis. There's women like Renae Bluitt from In Her Shoes, Africa Miranda who is a poppin' beauty entrepreneur, or even Necole Kane, who are all amazing examples of women who model what I hope to deposit in this world, but they always remind me that I can't take on the entire world all in a day (even though I try).
"I push through by
honoring myself when I see that I'm putting too much on myself, but also
forgiving myself when I forget something or just don't have the energy to do
it. Nothing is worth trippin' about in the bigger scheme [of things]."
How do you practice self-care? What is your self-care routine?
Self-care to me can be sleeping, watching movies, getting outside on a weekend for some fresh air, or even just binge-watching YouTube videos and podcasts. A huge part of self-care for me has been learning how to stop answering emails, or not feeling like I have to immediately respond. I don't check emails or social media before 10 AM or after 10 PM, unless it is an emergency, in which case, someone can text me. Giving myself that time in the morning to ease into my day before I start consuming everything happening in the world has REALLY allowed me to feel more at ease while at work.
Of course, as a beauty girl, I love things like getting my hair and nails done, doing an at-home spa day for myself, or just giving myself a few more minutes in the morning to do my makeup. I get weekly massages and practice yoga, both of which have helped me release tension in my body. I know it seems very superficial to some, but if it makes you feel better, I'd argue that's part of self-care.
How do you find balance with:
This is one of the things I have always struggled with, mostly because I can get so laser-focused that I'll forget to come up for air, sometimes. However, I have learned that as you continue to grow and pursue your passions and purpose, the ones who are meant to be with you will be there, and they won't make you feel bad when you have to do what you have to do. I have friends who I talk to almost every day, and I have others who I'll talk to every few weeks. I think social media has helped too, because I'll see them online and can interact with them there even if I can't see them during the actual week. I don't expect my friends to come to every panel or support every story, but I do expect for my friends to pour into me as I do for them.
I have had to become very "business"-like with my friendships, because the reality is, not everyone will root for your success. If it doesn't serve me or add to my bottom line for health and prosperity, I gotta cut them loose. When I stopped attaching my worth to friends' circles and instead started thanking God for sending me only the right ones, that's when my attitude around life and friends really changed.
"When I stopped attaching
my worth to friends' circles and instead started thanking God for sending me
only the right ones, that's when my attitude around life and friends really
Like friendships, I believe love and relationships that are meant to be will work. While I love the idea of marriage and kids one day, right now I am so selfish with my time and energy. If I end up sharing that with someone else, they won't subtract anything from me, they'll only add. And they won't make me feel bad for being a focused woman with her eye on the prize.
With relationships, it's all about balance but also about intention. When I began setting better intentions for myself, by asking the Universe and God for authentic people in my life, that's when He was able to honor them. The biggest relationship I have is the one with God, followed by my relationship with myself. When I improved my relationship with God, I saw my personal relationship with myself improve. Now, I have so many women in my life who pour into me and aspire me to be bigger, and better, versions of myself. And then I'm able to give it back.
Exercise? Does it happen?
I don't exercise as much as I'd like to, but I do yoga. I've become a huge yoga lover over the past few months, and have really seen how it benefits me emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. The days I don't go to the studio, I'll go the gym and workout, or go running in my neighborhood. While everyone's physical needs are different, I definitely think a balance of exercise will help creatives who may need a physical outlet to the stress that's natural with the job.
Many of the major life changes I've had to make were direct results of a deteriorating health. I remember one time being in the doctor's office, and after getting my blood results back, one of my blood levels were so low, the doctor said, "I don't even know how you are able to have enough energy to get yourself out of bed in the morning." This was the same doctor who said that I'd never be able to have children because my estrogen levels were non-existent. At that moment, I had to pick myself up, and begin making lifestyle changes that would not only allow me to have the life that I always wanted, but the life that I never knew I was missing out on. Especially as Black women, it's vital that we take our health seriously and I'm blessed that I've been a living testament of changing your life around, even if I still have a long way to go. I'm also a huge advocate for support groups and therapy.
Do you ever detox? What does that look like for you?
I don't do physical detoxes (although I'm never opposed to one!) but I do my own versions of detoxes, like a few times a year, going a month without meat or without coffee. I also do spiritual detoxes, where I'll pull myself back from social media. It's hard when you work in the influencer space and people literally depend on your photos and imagery, but I can't serve others if I don't serve myself.
"I can't serve others if I don't serve myself."
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
I always have to remind myself that faith and fear are polar opposites, and if I am feeling fearful, then I'm not practicing faith. I always think of the scripture that says not to be anxious for anything, and that the latter half of that scripture says to make my requests known unto God through prayer. When I get 'stuck', or start questioning myself, I pray. At the end of the day, God is the single most important thing in my life, and I live to honor Him by the work that I do. I have a ton of screenshots in my phone of DM's, emails, and texts, from people who have thanked me for the work that I do or even just given me that "Yaaass, Black Queen!" stamp of approval. Funny enough, when I feel down, I do a shoutout on my Insta stories for people to tell me about good things that happened to them that day, and reading those responses lets me know God is still up and movin'! It's the moments of encouragement and positive words that help re-ground me into my purpose on this Earth, which is to uplift and empower Black women.
What does success mean to you?
When I first moved to New York, success meant being in every room with the big dogs. Now, success is experiencing the fullness of peace, and not feeling the need to push for things when I know I am already equipped with everything I need to succeed.
What is something you think others forget when it comes to finding balance?
Balance isn't really formulaic, which is why I think I have an issue with how people try to be very prescriptive on finding balance. Everyone will find balance with their different variances of percentages, so it's not always a 50/50 thing. Sometimes it will sway left, sometimes it will sway right. The most important part is that you always find yourself coming back to center, no matter what.
Follow Jamé on Instagram @theblondemisfit. Also be sure to check out some of the other amazing ladies we've featured in our Finding Balance series by clicking here.
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