Actor Vaughn Hebron Loves A Woman With Depth & Intelligence

"If I can't have a real conversation with you and talk to you about some deep stuff, then it's just not going anywhere."


Vaughn Hebron may be one of the leads of BET's hit series, The Oval, but the Baltimore-bred actor is the perfect leading man off- and on-screen. Though he plays Bartholomew "Barry" Hallsen, a young father to daughter Callie and son of the esteemed White House butler, Hebron's chiseled physique and abs for days are a tempting distraction from any lines he might be reading.

The Lafayette College alumnus attended his alma mater on a partial scholarship for Division I football where he became an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. After graduation, he pursued a short career in pharmaceuticals, and in January 2017, he decided to give acting a shot by moving to Los Angeles. Who would've thought that two short years and a push of encouragement from his stepfather later, he would be booked as a series regular on one of the leading shows on BET?

xoNecole caught up with the actor about physical health as a factor in attractiveness, why he didn't date while he was in college, and his thoughts on the relationship between mother and son being a reflection of how a man will treat a woman. Take a look at our conversation below!

xoNecole: How do you believe Barry has evolved since we met him in the first season?

Vaughn Hebron: The Oval for Barry started like a regular day just going to help his father out at the White House—something that he's always done. He thought it was going to be a regular night and then he gets accused of rape, which is something he's never obviously encountered before, especially in a place that was so familiar to him. He managed to get off even though his life was almost ruined. Literally, within one day, his whole life just flipped and changed. As a young man, he was trying to better himself, get his own place, and out of his parents' spot just so he could grow into his manhood and be independent.

Pretty much until the end of the season, he's dealing with blow after blow of his reality being shattered, his baby being taken, and the people that he thought would be on his side really not showing the support he thought. That's what makes him lash out a lot and makes him do some reckless things. You start to see where a good guy—when faced with a lot of extreme adversity and hardship in such a short period—just cracks under all of that pressure.

Related to romance, in what ways do you feel you connect with Barry's story?

Well, I don't have baby-mama drama, thankfully. If I ever did, I'm hoping that she's not part of a crazy cult that's kidnapping kids and stuff. I surely hope not, but it's Hollywood so you never know (laughs). I think Sharon reminds him so much of his mother, and I understand trying to find your mother in your spouse and trying to find those good qualities that really love about your mother. At the same time, as Sharon talks about throughout the season, she never really had a close relationship with Barry's daughter. Barry and the way he lashed out at his mother is the same way he lashes out at Sharon a few times when he just can't trust any woman (laughs).

I have way better luck with women than Barry does. I do believe that he genuinely wanted the world with Sharon and wanted to be a good father. It's sad that extreme circumstances can really affect everything and everybody around you.

Speaking of mothers, I was always taught that you can tell a lot about how a man’s going to treat you based on how he treats his mother. How true do you find that to be?

I don't know if that's always true because mothers—as much as we love them and they're a God-sent blessing—they're not always perfect. Sometimes a mother can do something that really affects the relationship that she has with her son. I think the way that a man respects his mother and holds her in regard is what you can expect, yes. [However,] just because they don't have the best relationship doesn't mean that's gonna reflect in a relationship that a woman will have with a man.

My mother and I—of course, she's still my mother—but at this point, we kind of have more like a big sister-little brother relationship. We joke, laugh, and talk to each other like we really grew up together (laughs). It's so funny because that's my friend, and of course, I would never disrespect her or anything like that, but I will still have a real conversation and banter with her in a way some people might not ever go back and forth with their mother. That's just the relationship that we have with each other.

I think you have to gauge that and I don't always think it's a reflection. You know if he doesn't respect or at least know how to talk to his mother, then he might not know how to talk to you as a woman.

You’re the oldest of nine siblings. What has being this taught you about love and patience that can be translated into relationships?

What being the oldest has probably taught me the most is that everybody matures, grows, and comes into their maturation and who they are in their own time. What works for somebody or what standard that somebody has for themselves isn't going to be the same standard for everybody else. For me, by the time I graduated, I went straight into the workforce and I was pretty independent. I was also independent in college. For my brothers, it either took them a longer time to graduate or after they graduated, they moved back in with our parents. Everybody had a different standard of where their life was going to lead them and what they were going to do with themselves.

When it comes to relationships, it taught me that the standard you might've had for your ex, somebody you used to talk to or any other situation, you can't always bring that to this new person. You have to gauge where they are and see if where they are works for you or not, but you can't really compare them or try to hold somebody else to a standard where somebody else was at, especially if it didn't work for you. That kills me sometimes. A lot of times people will be like, 'I'm used to this. I'm used to a man doing this. I'm used to a man saying this," and I'll be like, "Well, are you still with that person?' (laughs). If it didn't work for you and if it didn't work out, why are you comparing this to something that didn't work?

"When it comes to relationships, it taught me that the standard you might've had for your ex, somebody you used to talk to or any other situation, you can't always bring that to this new person. You have to gauge where they are and see if where they are works for you or not, but you can't really compare them or try to hold somebody else to a standard where somebody else was at, especially if it didn't work for you."

Rowan Daly

That's definitely true. If it didn’t work back then and you keep trying to make that work, chances are that it may not work. Let’s just hang that up.

Yeah, everybody moves in a different way. Everybody has their own beat that they dance to. All you have to do is see if it works for you or if it doesn't. Trying to compare and hold somebody else to a standard that they don't even think about, I find it to be less effective most of the time.

You mentioned that straight out of college, you started working. How would you compare dating in college to dating while you’re working out in the real world?

Honestly, I didn't really date like that in college. I was on the football team, then I pledged and became a Que so dating wasn't really in the cards for me in college because I had other priorities. I would say if I did get close to somebody in college, we did little things like go to the movies, go out to eat here or there or we would hang out on campus. Everything was carefree and I don't think we were really looking towards the future with things back in college.

I've always dated older women, too, to be honest with you so when I graduated and started working, the women I dated after that just seemed to know where they were going or they knew what they were trying to work toward. It was one of those things where if I wasn't helping them, or if I wasn't on the same page, it probably wasn't gonna work out. They weren't really just trying to chill out and be casual with things. They were like, 'Look, if we ain't building toward a relationship or something more than just us hanging out, it's not for me.'

Dating after college became something like seriously dating, building, and progressing and not just a relationship where it's like, "This is my girlfriend and we do girlfriend-boyfriend stuff." We make each other better and we're working toward something long-term. The standards and the expectations went up.

What are the top lessons that the entertainment industry has taught you about dating?

The No. 1 lesson that I've learned out here is people have different priorities and you have to know what those priorities are before you take them seriously. What I mean by that is coming from Baltimore—the East Coast—everybody seems to be on the same wave. You graduate college, you go get a job, you become successful in that job, you find a woman, you make her your wife, and then y'all live happily ever after with your big house, some equity, some investments, and some kids. That's what everybody was on where I was from.

Over here, people have different priorities because people don't move to L.A. to get married. They move to L.A. to become movie stars, actresses, the next biggest model, or the next big R&B singer. Everyone has different priorities when it comes to being out here, so you have to know that before getting involved with somebody. Even if they say they're open to a relationship, if their actions show that you are not a priority and their job, clout, or image is a bigger priority, that's something that you have to make sure you understand so you don't end up getting hurt. You can't just assume that because somebody says they want a relationship—or they're acting like they want a relationship —means that they really want a relationship.

You’re also recognized for being really smart. You graduated with degrees in Economics and Business and a minor in Africana Studies. How important is it to you that a woman has brains?

It's very important to me because I love intelligence. I love a woman who's witty and smart, and because I'm a person that loves intelligence, I like going back and forth with people and having good conversations, debates and exchanges of thought. That's intimate to me. It can be very intimate, actually. That's one of the things that I cherish and appreciate when I talk to someone. If I can't have a real conversation with you and talk to you about some deep stuff, then it's just not going anywhere.

To add to that, one of the biggest things that I also appreciate is when somebody can teach me something and can add onto the knowledge I have and get me to think about things in a different way. If she's not intelligent, always learning or growing herself, or developing personally, she wouldn't be able to do that for me if she's not working on herself individually. I think that goes for anybody. If you're not bettering yourself and if you're not constantly feeding your mind and soul—pouring into yourself—how can you pour into somebody else? Intelligence and wit is something I value a lot when it comes to women.


Rowan Daly

"If she's not intelligent, always learning or growing herself, or developing personally, she wouldn't be able to do that for me if she's not working on herself individually. I think that goes for anybody. If you're not bettering yourself and if you're not constantly feeding your mind and soul—pouring into yourself—how can you pour into somebody else? Intelligence and wit is something I value a lot when it comes to women."

You’re not just brains. You’re also brawn! On your IG, we see the arms, abs and in 'GQ South Africa', you talked about fitness and working out.

A little bit, a little bit (laughs).

No, you do it. Don’t flex! How does working out and physical fitness play a role when you’re looking for a woman?

It plays a big role and it's probably gonna be the first thing I see. The physical appearance is probably the first thing I'm attracted to—it is what it is. I'm not saying she has to look like Beyonce or J.Lo, but I definitely need a woman who takes care of herself physically. If I'm putting so much time and energy into my body—and I'm not saying you have to do what I do— and you're not making sure you're not on top of your own body, physical fitness, and mental health, then there's gonna be an issue.

When it comes to diet, it plays a role in a lot of things—your mental health, how tired you are, your sexual health. Fitness is a universal thing, so I have to make sure you're on it because I'm going to be on it. Luckily I'm in an industry where they take their physical health and appearance pretty seriously, and it's L.A.. More often than not, I meet women who are already working out and taking care of themselves, so that's been a good thing.

You put in your Instagram bio that you are an “intellectual bad boy”. If you could put your perfect woman in three words, what would it be?

Wow, I really said that? (Laughs.) Intelligent, committed, and priceless. Oh yeah, that's a good one.

For more of Vaughn Hebron, follow him on Instagram or catch him on Tyler Perry's The Oval on BET.

*Some answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Featured photo courtesy of Rowan Daly

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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