HEAT | Terrence Jenkins
Terrence Jenkins can no longer be questioned for post–106 & Park viability. At this point, it’s time to admit he’s on his way to building an empire—one as impressive as another hardworking guy who started out hosting a national TV show.
“Sometimes I’m in the hallway with Ryan Seacrest, looking at a guy who’s done so much,” the 32-year-old New York native says. “It motivates me; it makes me want to keep achieving even greater things.”
Jenkins has nimbly navigated the industry, elevating himself by consistently making great moves. This summer he’s back as Michael in Think Like a Man Too. While his original performance surprised filmgoers (who didn’t expect him to stand out among the all-star cast), he certainly showed scene-stealing ability among female critics during shirtless screen time. Still, it’s his undeniable talent, determination and professionalism that have him returning to theaters, celebrating a recently renewed contract hosting E! News and starring in a national TV ad campaign for Jeep’s 2014 Cherokee.
Regardless of the job, Jenkins says he always tries to come prepared.
“I do a lot of homework,” he admits. “I love entertainment, and for me it’s not about work. That’s my research, but I also find a lot of joy in these things. I feel very blessed to be able to do what I’ve been doing; I don’t feel that I’ve ever had to work a day in my life.”
Now a household name whose sweat equity clearly paid dividends, he still sees his work as far from finished and humbly gives his mother credit for the foundation that made his path a possibility. Stories, advice and lessons learned from her are told in his first book, the 2013 memoir The Wealth of My Mother’s Wisdom.
“It’s about staying hungry and staying humble,” he shares. “When I was younger, I used to watch people like Dick Clark and Will Smith, and I always knew I wanted to host and be in movies. Everything I’ve done in my career was preparing, getting to that place.”
—Michael B. Jordan
SURGE | Naturi Naughton
It takes a pretty (yes, looks included) talented woman to be able to go from an R&B girl group to playing Lil’ Kim and a Playboy bunny while nabbing roles in the movie Fame and TV series The Client List as well as on Broadway in between.
Enter Naturi Naughton and check each of those off of her list.
She’s been there, done it and is now gearing up for her first leading television role as Tasha opposite Omari Hardwick in 50 Cent’s new Starz series, Power.
“The show runner and 50 Cent told me that they saw my fearlessness and ability to take risks as an actress when I tested for this role,” the 29-year-old says. “I gave it everything and wasn’t afraid. I had no choice and no options to do otherwise.”
Though Naughton’s resume may rival many that are considered to be at the top of their game, the East Orange, New Jersey, native hasn’t always felt it, personally.
“Even with albums, tours and roles here and there, I’ve had moments where I felt like I wasn’t getting enough,” the former singer of the platinum-selling group 3LW admits.
“It’s not easy being an actress in Hollywood, let alone a black actress. I didn’t come from built-in business connects or a well-known family. I made my own way. I’ve had so many ‘not pretty enough’ and ‘not good enough’ days. I’m blessed to have made it through and am looking forward to what I know will be amazing days ahead.”
Power isn’t just the name of her most recent moment of reckoning, but it also seems to be Naughton’s holy grail.
“This role is helping me grow up a bit,” she says. “I get to grow with the character in my personal life and explore the natural vulnerability of a woman, simultaneously.”
In the meantime, she hasn’t completely forsaken her first love—music.
“I’m waiting on the right moment to bring new music and I’m happy with the process,” she shares. “I feel like one of the luckiest girls in the world. My dreams have exceeded so many of my expectations. It makes me feel like I’m here for a reason. I’ve had to work for the roles I’ve gotten. Again, all I can call it is a blessing.”
—Satchel B. Jester