INTERVIEW: Romeo Miller Talks Business, Films, and "Dancing With The Stars"
By Kam Williams
Nationwide (June 30, 2011) -- Born in New Orleans on August 19, 1989, Percy Romeo Miller, Jr., aka Romeo, is an entertainer, actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist. The son of businessman and music mogul Percy Miller, he has sold over 10 million records as a multi-platinum music artist.
Romeo has also been awarded A Grammy and an American Music Award, and was named one of the 5 Sexiest Men in the World in 2010. He’s the CEO of the multi-million dollar record company No Limit Forever, and became the youngest entertainer to top the Billboard charts at the age of 10. A humanitarian and philanthropist, Romeo has dedicated his life to giving back to the communities and helping at-risk youth with his foundation Urban Born.
His acting credits include his #1 television show Romeo! on Nickelodeon, The Defenders, The Cape, and he starred in the movie Honey with Jessica Alba. Romeo is not only a Hollywood superstar but he’s also majoring in Business and Film at the University of Southern California.
As a freshman, he helped the school’s basketball team made USC history by winning their first PAC 10 Championship. Romeo appreciates the importance of education, which is why he remains at USC while pursuing his entertainment and business career opportunities.
Here, he talks about recently co-starring in the romantic comedy “Jumping the Broom” and about capturing the hearts of young and old as a contestant on the hit ABC reality series “Dancing with the Stars” this past season.
Kam Williams: Hi Romeo, thanks for another interview.
Romeo: Thank you, Kam.
KW: What interested you in doing Dancing with the Stars, especially after your father fared so poorly on the program during the 2nd season?
R: I wanted to do this show to show our future generation not to be afraid to fail. More and more kids are dropping out of high school and letting their dreams slip away because of failure. I felt that this show was the perfect opportunity for me to step outside of my comfort zone and take an unknown journey with my fans. I did Dancing with the Stars for the kids and my charity “URBANBORN” [UrbanBorn.org]. And FYI, my dad taught me all of my dance moves. [LOL]
KW: Did you have to get in shape for the show, and how challenging did you find learning the choreography?
R: Coming straight from playing Division 1 Basketball at USC, I was in terrific shape. But after doing the show, I was in even better shape! My vertical jump went from 39 inches to 42 inches, and my cardio and footwork was better then ever. Being a perfectionist, I made the choreography a lot tougher because I wanted every dance to be perfect. I’m a very fast learner, but becoming a ballroom dancer was definitely the most difficult task in my life yet. I definitely respect dancers a whole lot more now.
KW: Tell me a little about the charity you played for.
R: People may not know that I’ve gone to regular school through my whole career. Education has always been the rock in my life, and I think that every kid should have the proper education and that experience. School for me has been like the real world in a bubble. Everything about school and education has built me to be the man that I am today, and I wanted to share that with our future. With UrbanBorn.org I do a lot of “Read to Achieve” events and I go to a lot of underprivileged schools to express the importance of education. The kids are the future and I just want to let them know that somebody cares.
KW: Speaking of school, how have you enjoyed USC?
R: College is some of the best times a kid can have. You’re able to make mistakes and learn from them without being babied by your parents. USC was the perfect school for me because I was able to be a regular student on campus. I visited a couple other schools before I made my decision to become a Trojan and it was mayhem! Plus us TROJANS have the best alumni, we stick together. [LOL] Fight on!
KW: Tell me a little about Jumping the Broom?
R: Jumping the Broom is magic in a movie. It’s kind of like watching a real life fairy-tale. This movie will make you laugh, cry, and love. All star cast, great acting, great movie!
KW: How would you describe your character, Sebastian?
R: Sebastian in one word. Hmmmmm… A cougar hunter? [Laughs] Actually, he’s the youngest in the movie but he’s the most mature and he’s trying to teach the other fellas how to find and how to treat a real woman. He definitely watched too much Hitch!
KW: What’s more fun, making movies or being a contestant on a reality show?
R: I would definitely have to say making movies! [Laughs some more] Although I loved the Dancing with the Stars journey, I must admit I have never been sooooo nervous in my life. When I’m making movies, I’m a lot more comfortable and relaxed. I feel reality is more fun for the viewers because you get to see the celebrity in a different light. But for me, learning a new dance in a few days to perform in front of 20 million people equals nervous breakdown. [Chuckles]
KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier asks: What message do you think people will take away from Jumping the Broom and what did you learn from appearing on Dancing with the Stars?
R: Jumping the Broom teaches that anything is possible with true love. From Dancing with the Stars, people will learn that in order to succeed you’ll sometimes have to fail and that, at the end of the day, all that matters is you doing your best. Life has no limits if you just try.
KW: Patricia also wants to know what message do you have for young people who believe in instantaneous success without hard work or sacrifice?
R: That’s a myth. Anybody who you see that’s successful has a story. You just may not know it. The key to success is hard work. And when it’s your time, you have to make the best of it.
KW: Dante Lee, author of "Black Business Secrets," asks: What's the biggest lesson in business that you have learned from your dad?
R: If you make $2 million, you really made $1 million. If you make $50 million, you really made $25 million.
KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you think the current chaos in the music industry creates more or less opportunity for artists just starting out?
R: Honestly, I feel that in this day and age of music it’s a lot better for new artists to become known and have more opportunity because everything’s digital. With Youtube, Myspace, Twitter etcetera, anyone with talent has an chance to show it to the world.
KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: Do you think that there are parallel moves in basketball and dancing?
R: Yes, definitely. From the footwork to the coaching, there are a lot of similarities. Being a dancer takes a lot of discipline and focus which is the same with b-ball.
KW: Children’s book author Irene Smalls asks: How does it feel to be part of a dynasty with your father as the head? Does he guide your career?
R: I truly feel like me and my dad should have been born in a different century. We belong in the 1600’s or something because our relationship has always been like one of a king and a prince. Every day, every step of my life, my father has been preparing me to one day take over his dynasty and we’re not just father and son but best friends. He guides me and I guide him.
KW: Irene’s follow-up is: What do you enjoy the most: dance, rap, basketball or your charity work? And what’s up next for you?
R: I love them all because they allow me to express myself in different ways. B-ball- physical. Dance/Rap: emotional. Charity- Love. And acting has a bit of everything bunched into one!
KW: Marcia Evans asks: Has your experience on Dancing with the Stars had a lasting influence on how you approach dancing, either privately or professionally? Will you be able to apply the discipline involved in preparation for Dancing with the Stars to other areas of life?
R: Of course. One of my secrets in life was my fear of dancing. I didn’t dance at my prom and any situation where I had to dance I tried to get out of it. Dancing with the Stars definitely opened my eyes to a whole new world. You can say I have dancing fever now. Ha!
KW: Marcia also asks: Have you shared your business experience as a mentor with any aspiring entrepreneurs?
R: Always. A lot of my friends from school always have amazing ideas and just like our past leaders, a business always starts somewhere. I actually just finished a book called Guaranteed Success For Teens which shares some insights on business.
KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?
R: There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: Those who are afraid to try themselves and those who are afraid that you will succeed. I always say “Do what you are afraid to do.” See, my dictionary must be messed up because the definition of “afraid” in my book is: “Go out and do it!” Oh well. [Laughs]
KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?
R: The last time I had a good laugh was when I saw the reaction of my new video “Scheduled Appointment” after world premiering the video on BET and MTV. I was at dinner with my brother and cousins and a light bulb popped above my head and I was like, “Since the ladies love this song sooooo much, should I put out an alternate version of the video?” My bro Valentino replied, “Oh yeah, you mean like a porno?” [LOL] Everybody busted out laughing. It’s already a very sexy video so he was like, “What more can you do?” [Chuckles]
KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
R: Reality TV. [Laughs] All the Housewives shows have snuck into my life, and the Kardashians, etcetera. Also, I love chatting with my fans on Twitter. The bad thing is, there is only one me and there is not enough time in the day to reply to all of them.
KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?
R: The last book I read was “Things Fall Apart.” It is a 1958 English language novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. I actually read this book back in high school but I reread it again as a much more mature person now and it really struck home this go-round. This is an amazing story and it’s one of the best books of all time for a reason. Everybody can relate to living in a shadow and wanting to be recognized for just being themselves.
KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What music have you been listening to lately?
R: My music goes from A to Z. I have a natural ear for all types of music. I love Taylor Swift though. Shocking? [LOL] But I also listen to T.I., Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Adele, Gucci Mane, My pops Master P and of course myself!
KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
R: Steak and potatoes, Mac n Cheese and any pasta. And my famous home baked Chocolate Chip Rookies and Ice cream aka cookies!
KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?
R: I‘m not too picky when it comes to designers. I’m a pretty simple dresser. But my favorite boxer shorts designer would have to be Calvin Klein.
KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
R: I see endless opportunities. I see no limits. I see the future.
KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
R: World Peace. I just want everyone to feel happiness and love. That’s the reason we have male and female, Adam and Eve, Romeo and Juliet…
KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?
R: Being 2 years-old and my mom and dad got me a mini basketball hoop for Christmas. I can still remember being on my dad’s neck and dunking the ball at the age of 2!
KW: The “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan’s question: Where in L.A. do you live?
R: I have three locations in LA. Beverly Hills in the city and Bel Air and Calabasas. I love it because I get the best of both worlds, peace and quiet, and the city atmosphere.
KW: The Laz Alonso question: How can your fans help you?
R: By cheering us on when nobody else does. Fans are there from the beginning and they know what you’re capable of before anybody else does. My fans give me life. I truly do this for them.
KW: The Zane Question: Do you have any regrets?
R: I have always learned valuable lessons, so I don’t regret any decisions I have made. As I get older I find that I only regret the things I didn’t do.
KW: What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
R: Losing my two first cousins at a young age and seeing death with my own eyes. I’ve learned that to live you must not be afraid to die. Everybody’s put on this earth for a reason and you must take advantage of your time here and try to help the world to your best being. Life doesn’t revolve around us, we revolve around life. And I think once you figure that out you’ll appreciate and live a much better life. You only live once, leave your print!
KW: The Flex Alexander question: How do you get through the tough times?
R: God and Family. My dad always sends me Joel Osteen videos and quotes of the day to keep me inspired.
KW: The Rudy Lewis question: Who’s at the top of your hero list?
R: My father and Martin Luther King Jr. These two men have shown me that if you dream big, anything is possible.
KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
R: Be prepared for the ups and downs, and remember that God will never give you anything you can’t handle. Always stay true to yourself and surround your self with positive people. It’s very simple: hard work pays off and patience is a virtue. Also get your education because no one can ever take that away from you.
KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?
R: I don’t really care about being remembered, I just want to help change lives. I want to be remembered through you, our future. Maybe I’d like ot be remembered for my smile. [Chuckles]
KW: Thanks again for the time, Romeo, and best of luck with both the show and the film, and give my best to your father.
R: Thank you, and it’s been my honor, Kam. I just want to tell TeamRomeo that life has NoLimits and feel free to hit me up on my TWITTER: @RomeoMiller and at my site www.RomeoForever.com
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