McKinley Freeman – A Jock with a Heart of GoldS. Riviera – VivaLaRiviera.com
Photo: James Lee Wall
Actor, model, and writer McKinley Freeman hails from the windy city Chicago. As a model he got into acting which now brings him to VH1’s hit summer TV show Hit the Floor. If you haven’t seen the show you’re in for a lot of hot sexy fun. Oh yeah and you get to see his assets… his butt people. Lol He’s not only a jock on TV but also in real life, he’s hot because he’s a model or wait… he’s a model because he’s hot, and he has a heart of gold being that he is a poet. Aww… And if you would like to chat with him he just might reply to your Twitter comment. He’s a nice down to earth guy that way. I had the pleasure of chatting with him myself and following is our convo.
Samara: How was it that you got into acting? Was that ever a dream of yours?
McKinley: I got in to acting accidentally. Haha. I was working for IBM and was kind of itching to do something creatively, which opened the door to getting into modeling. My agent at the time told me that All My Children was in town looking for a new guy to put on the show, and my immediate response was, “Haha. Never. What am I gonna do? Be an actor and move to L.A.?” So doing a few things with All My Children opened the door to acting, which I realized I was very passionate about. It was never a dream of mine as a kid, but I think the greatest takeaway is that we can still dream as adults and that we should never be afraid to pursue our dreams.
Samara: You’re from Chicago now living in LA, right? What do you think of LA weather?
McKinley: Yup! I honestly love the weather here, but I do miss the changes of the seasons (minus the winter), especially thunderstorms.
Samara: So how did you get involved with Hit the Floor?
McKinley: I got an audition for the show, for a different role mind you, and ended up being asked to read for Derek. It all happened pretty quickly, but it’s been an amazing journey and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Samara: Tell us about your character?
McKinley: My character is a pro basketball player that seems to have it all, yet is missing the vital things that make life worth living: love and family. It’s cool because I think the creator of the show, James LaRosa, did an amazing job of providing all of our characters with very human motivations (love, power, respect, understanding, etc.) and not just jock and cheerleader stereotypes.
Samara: It’s VH1, so how much sex and nudity do we get to see? Lol.
McKinley: I think the easier the question is when isn’t there sex and nudity? My mom and dad called me after the first episode of season 2 telling me that my relatives were calling them saying “We didn’t need to see that much of him.” Haha.
Samara: You’re in such good shape. Tell us about your workout regimen and your way of eating?
McKinley: I honestly do anything to challenge myself. My go-to is the stair machine. I have a love-hate relationship with it, but we’re working through it. Haha. Beyond that, I box, I do martial arts, and I do some Crossfit. I just mix it up so I don’t get bored.
Samara: Is it more about eating healthy or doing exercise to stay in good physical shape?
McKinley: It’s both. While I’ll never pass on cupcakes, I tend to eat pretty well, especially while we’re filming. I tend to stay away from carbs and foods with lots of sodium. Truthfully, both healthy eating and staying in shape are eternally tied together. Without one, the other becomes far less impactful, and it becomes more difficult to achieve your fitness goals.
Samara: What about mind and spirit? How do you stay healthy in those areas?
McKinley: I simply live. I wake up every morning and I say, ”God, thank you for letting me live another day… Now let’s get it done!” Haha. While I listen to a lot of music on the stair machine, I also like to listen to old speeches from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or old interviews with great minds like Steve Jobs, Gandhi, and others.
Samara: You published an e-book. Can you tell us about that?
McKinley: It was an effort inspired by my Twitter followers. I told them I’d write 10 original poems inspired by the first 10 words Tweeted to me. In a few minutes I had over 500 words. I took the first 20, divided them into 2 groups, and started writing. In the beginning it was just a cool social experiment, but it turned into something greater. That night, a woman I’d never met sent me message saying “Can you write a poem from my perspective? My fiancé died 2 months ago; I’ve got 3 kids. I miss him every day and sometimes I don’t know what to do.” In that moment, with my lights off and my computer closed, it was just me and my phone—I had a decision to make. I could ignore this message and go to bed, knowing only I would know that. Or I could get up, practice what I preach, and help someone. I got up, looked through her Instagram, and wrote the poem.
Samara: You’re also involved with Covenant House and The Boys and Girls Club of America. Can you tell us how you got involved with those?
McKinley: As I mentioned, I’m a firm believer in helping others. I think far too often we discount our value and the impact we can have on the others around us, simply by being exactly who we are. The previously mentioned charities do great things to help growing youth achieve their goals, and in the case of the Covenant House, they work to keep the homeless youth of L.A. off the streets.
Samara: Any other new projects you’re working on?
McKinley: Yes! I’m working on a film I wrote called “Remember”, which I’m very excited about. And my second book of poems “@McKinleyFreeman Vol. II” is coming out in the next few weeks. It’ll be available on iBooks, iTunes, AmazonKindle, and anywhere else you can buy eBooks.
Samara: How can your new fans find you in social media?
McKinley: First, let me say I love interacting with folks, so if you send me a message, don’t be surprised when I hit you back. Haha. I’m @McKinleyFreeman on both Instagram and Twitter.