We’ve been smitten with actor Malik Yoba since his days as no-nonsense detective J.C. on “New York Undercover.”
Since then, he’s enjoyed one star turn after another — showing us his range and his commitment to his craft. He followed his success in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married” and “Why Did I Get Married Too” with a starring role in the new SyFy hit series “Alphas”, in which he plays superhero Bill Harken, a man with incredible strength.
The show’s finale airs tonight at 10pm, and because it was an overnight success it has already been picked up for a second season.
Malik stopped by the ESSENCE.com office to fill us in on what he’s been up to in between teaching a course on acting at New York’s Long Island University and filming “Alphas.” Read on as he opens up about dating, maturing, and life as a career actor.
ESSENCE.COM: What turns you on in a woman?
MALIK YOBA: Great shoes. Great feet. Good symmetry. Intelligence. Humor. Culture. I think I’m a pretty complex, if not complicated, person so I think the closer to my reflection, the more excited I tend to get. Intelligence is a big thing. Curiosity. A woman who’s well-traveled who has a sense of purpose and direction. Someone who’s physically fit and serious about their well-being.
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ESSENCE.COM: Is it more difficult to meet women as a celebrity?
MALIK: We all have the same issues. When I was in my twenties I thought it was a lot different than it really is, but the reality is everyone has challenges. People in the public eye have particular challenges. I’m also no longer a single dude with no kids and no history. I’m 44 with kids and an ex wife — I come with a lot. You become much more discerning. I’m happy with getting older and getting more focused. I thought I was focused when I was young, but you’re only as focused as experience will allow you to be.
As your life expands your focus expands or contracts. It took me until my 40s to realize the five essential areas that are important to at least have a real dating chance. Obviously, beyond the physical compatibility, which is where we all start in junior high school, I think that intellectual compatibility and spiritual compatibility, emotional intelligence, and financial compatibility are important. Like how people think about money. Those things are really important. More than anything it’s about knowing who you are and where you are, and knowing what your capacity is. It takes relationships and dealing with people to figure these things out.
ESSENCE.COM: How do you spoil a woman you care for?
MALIK: It’s important to really listen. The perfect date isn’t necessarily my idea of what it is, it’s about having understood the needs and desires of that individual woman and cater to that. If I said a bubble bath or something like that it’d be B.S. I’ve done all that. Fantasies are not always what people think they are. One woman might say, for me, I just want to go on a yoga retreat and I just want to walk in Sedona or the red mountains, and another one might say I want to go hiking or I just want to see the snow.
ESSENCE.COM: So what would you want to do?
MALIK: I just like thoughtfulness. I like flowers. I like chocolates. I like someone who is not selfish. I think because sometimes you are a man or you are someone in the public eye, I think women can make a lot of assumptions. I’m kind of boring. I’m not proud of this but any woman that has ever dated me has been disappointed around holidays and birthdays because I grew up with a father that didn’t care to celebrate any of these things, so I don’t have the sensibility most people have. I like to have a good time, don’t get me wrong. My life is pretty exciting in general. I don’t have to say, oh I’m working really hard just to do this or to take this vacation. On a day-to-day basis I do cool stuff. I grew up in the city and the city has a lot to offer if you’ll go outside your comfort zone.
ESSENCE.COM: The first season of your show “Alphas” wraps soon, tell me about the show?
MALIK: Show’s wonderful. I got a hit show! Just waiting on my ESSENCE cover.