By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. and Digital Editor
It’s not every day one gets famous from their mugshot and then maintains the limelight, but that was the case for actor and model Jeremy Meeks. He attributed his success to “God’s plan,” which brought him from prison to Hollywood.
“My whole life I heard I was supposed to be this, I was supposed to be that, ‘you’re supposed to be famous.’ But I never paid any mind to it,” said Meeks, who was famously nicknamed “Prison Bae,” when his mugshot went viral in 2014. “But then I was sitting in my prison, in federal prison, it hit me. Like, ‘Wow.’ Once I went viral, I was like, ‘I really was supposed to be famous this whole time. It’s just that God was waiting for me to be in a mental state to take on the blessing without blowing it up, just as fast as it came, which is what I’ve usually done my whole life- make horrible decisions.”
“So sitting down during that time was a blessing. That way I got out and I was mentally focused, and I was like, I’m changing my life, making hard decisions, sacrifices, because I knew it was so much bigger than me,” Meeks continued. “This blessing is so much bigger than me. It’s going to change my kids’ lives. It’s going to inspire kids that grew up in the same circumstances as me. I knew the weight of what was happening, as weird as it sounds. And it’s been a ride.”
The actor and model had to complete a 36 month prison sentence before he could enjoy freedom or the perks of newfound fame. Further, he worried about losing the 15 minutes of fame he gained while imprisoned. However, he came out and found himself modeling, traveling the world and acting with greats.
Meeks spent his time in prison reading books such as the True to the Game trilogy. Now Meeks has appeared in the second and third film adaptations, “True to the Game 2” and “True to the Game 3.”
“It’s crazy, I can honestly see the transition and progression in my acting. So from ‘True to the Game 2,’ which was my first film, to now, ‘True to the Game 3,’ I’ve had a couple films in between that, which gave me screen time practice.” Meeks explained. “Everybody stepped it up. Now imagine, stepping it up to another level, Darius McCrary and Erica People’s was crazy, and obviously Columbus Short is a hands down legend. So to then feed off all their energy- they helped me in so many ways. Every single one of them, they helped me in so many ways and became like my mentors in numerous ways. I can call all of them for help.”
Now that he’s been working on so many films, Meeks said he plans to be working on writing, producing and more in the industry. This is just the beginning of his journey.
As he continues to develop as an artist, Meeks said things are not always easy and he has worked to find ways to stay positive and faithful throughout challenges.
“In the middle of the pandemic, I was having bad mental health issues here and there, and so I found that the gym helped me,” Meeks said. “It became my sanctuary and so I stayed in the gym and still am, every day for like four hours a day. That’s kind of like my place to let go, take in and think about my day, then after my workout then I can start everything else. But I feel like everyone should take that time to get in a little work out. It makes you feel good.”
Meeks has advice to keep people optimistic, striving for success and realizing their full potential.
“Stay blessed. Stay motivated. Don’t listen to the voice. You can do anything. You guys are kings and queens,”
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