Model Jessica White has been turning heads since she was sixteen. After landing a highly coveted contract with IMG, she went on to show that beauty, brains and hard work combined — equal a mega successful modeling career. When she’s not gracing magazine covers or making men weak with her Sports Illustrated spreads, she’s traveling the world as a Maybelline spokeswoman.  

Both Jessica and her career are hot, hot, hot, so it’s no surprise that the media’s always buzzing about who she is or isn’t dating. Jessica recently revealed she’s been celibate for over a year now, which came as a shock to many of her fans. We wanted to know more about how she arrived at such a big decision, so we caught up with Jessica for an intimate chat about the power of sex, falling in love, and the importance of spirituality.

Ladies, you’re really going to like what Jessica has to say. Read on!

ESSENCE.COM: What made you decide to be celibate?
JESSICA WHITE: I made a vow to God last year, after so many letdowns and the relationship with my ex, and I knew I really didn’t want to continue making the same mistakes anymore. So I started questioning myself and thought about what I could do to improve me. I reached a place of spirituality where I felt I really needed to concentrate on my relationship with God and preserve myself.

Women nowadays, we connect physically too soon without actually getting to know the person. If you don’t actually give this person your body and then they let you down, there really isn’t a great disappointment; not like it would be if you have already connected physically. I started going on that journey, and I thought to myself, you know what, the next man that I give my body to will be the man that God brought into my life.

I never said that I’m going to wait until marriage. I said it would be a man that I actually know is going to put a ring on my finger. It’s just about me connecting with God and God confirming that this is the man he has created for me. I’m a realist about it. People took that out of context. I said the next man that I sleep with hopefully will be my husband. That’s what I said and I meant that.

Actually, I’m in love with somebody now and I don’t connect with them physically. Who knows if it’s going to go to marriage? We have to get over the physical aspect, you know? A lot of people fall in love because you’re sharing your body with someone. And sometimes you get it twisted and you think that that’s real love.

ESSENCE: Describe your future husband.
JESSICA: Um… a hardworking man, obviously. Someone who can stand next to me, being a strong woman, and not disappear. Someone who won’t be emasculated by the fact that I work. Someone that understands that I love my job and I love what I do. Someone that pushes me into greatness. Someone that brings out the best in me. Someone that makes me laugh. Someone I feel safe with. I don’t feel safe around a lot of people. Be honest. Even if you screw up, or you mess up, tell me the truth. You know men mess up. Women create this big illusion in their head that the man they’re going to be with is going to be perfect. Nobody’s going to be perfect and people are going to let you down. The only thing that you can hope for is someone that’s going to be honest with you.

ESSENCE: Do you think dating is easier or harder when you’re celebrity?
JESSICA: Even the famous guys — they just want to date you because it’s a good look for them. You have to question everybody’s motives. That’s why not connecting with someone physically is the best option because you’re not adding more unnecessary baggage to your life. There’s a part in a woman’s soul, God has given it to every woman, and it’s the part where you know whether he’s telling the truth or not. Women see red flags. You just have to be more in tune with it. A great man deserves your body, not just anybody deserves it. And that’s my motto. It’s about breaking the cycle. And I felt like I wanted to break the cycle before I start having kids. I don’t want my daughters to grow up the way that I grew up. I want them to actually see mommy in a fulfilled relationship that’s amazing for her.

ESSENCE: Do you see yourself keeping your new relationship super private?
JESSICA: When I was younger I made a lot of unwise decisions and I talked about different things that I shouldn’t have. This guy I actually really, really, really care about. I think he’s the first man that I’ve actually ever been able to be myself around. In every other relationship they didn’t know who I was and they didn’t like certain things. And there’s a lot of things he doesn’t like about me, but you know what? He isn’t trying to change me. And that’s the difference. It’s really just about finding someone who accepts you for who you are and that’s all you can really ask for in the end. I don’t really know where the relationship is going to go, but I can tell you he is my best bud and I hope that we stay tight like we are now. He puts a smile on my face, and we bounce back through everything. It isn’t perfect, trust me, not by a long shot, but we argue, and we fuss, and we fight. We hate each other and we love each other, and what’s great is coming back knowing that you’d rather fight it out and work it out.

ESSENCE: Is this secret love someone you’re rumored to be dating?
JESSICA: Nope this one is for me and me only! One day maybe you’ll see me with the person, who knows? It just depends. But right now I’d rather keep it a secret. The less people know about it the better. I don’t even talk to my friends about it as much as they’d like me to. You don’t let friends get too involved. You can’t exploit your relationship.  But I do believe love can be a business. It can be a business where your and partner achieve success together but you don’t exploit your relationship to do it.