I know you’re thinking, “Where have I seen this cutie before?” Well you may not know his name but you’ll recognize him as the arm candy of Basketball Wives creator Shaunie O’Neal. Marlon Yates, Jr. is a 23-year-old model from Los Angeles, CA who’s gearing up to make hearts melt with his venture into acting. After being derailed from a NFL career, Yates turned his attention to a career in the fashion industry and now he’s ready to set the record straight about everything from his now high profile relationship to his personal desires, goals and expectations. And ladies, he’s not too bad on the eyes. Check out our Edge Eye Candy. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Edge: Tell us a little but about who Marlon is.
Marlon: I’m from LA born and raised. My family is from the South. I played football all my life until I got to my 2nd year of college. I committed to a few different schools but it was academics that set me back. So I left and fell into the Hollywood life. I signed with LA Models, I went to New York, signed with Fusion models, stayed out there for about a year, did my thing out there. I recently got a commercial agent and now I’m moving to the acting side.
Edge: Describe yourself as a man.
Marlon: Ambitious, hungry and a hustla.
Edge: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in this business?
Marlon: Loyalty. I learned that quick. Make people feel appreciated, people love to feel appreciated.
Edge: Describe yourself as lover.
Marlon: I just started “loving” recently so let me see…I love to give more than I receive. I like to see my significant other smile. I’m very sensitive to certain things that I really give a (expletive) about. I like to brush things off if it’s not that big of a deal. I let the little things go.
Edge: What does a woman have to do to gain your heart?
Marlon: Love me. I gotta feel it. Be ride or die with me. Just ride with me. Through thick, thin, top, bottom.
Edge: What do you do to make sure the woman in your life knows she is special?
Marlon: Wake up every morning, if she’s there, I kiss her, tell her how much I love her, tell her how beautiful she is the small things that count in most women’s’ eyes. See, young girls they have a whole different mindset. But women know it’s the small things like asking her how she’s doing or how she’s feeling all that. Small things count. Most young girls are looking elsewhere. They’re looking at the pockets.
Edge: What was it about Shaunie that made you fall for her?
Marlon: First it was appearance. I was like “damn”. Once I said “damn”, I had to step to her. But I didn’t step to her the first time I saw her, it was another occasion. It was simple. She was a simple woman. I like a simple woman; I don’t get caught up in the crazy world.
Edge: What’s the thing you admire most about Shaunie?
Marlon: She’s a hustla. She’s a mother, the way she looks at her kids. She’s a businesswoman. That’s what I’m saying, she’s a hustla. Sometimes I look at her like Oprah. “You can be Oprah one day”; I tell her that all the time.
Edge: What’s the one thing people would be surprised to know about your relationship with Shaunie?
Marlon: That I’m a younger and she’s older. It’s a huge surprise because of the age gap. From who she used to deal with to who she’s dealing with now. I wake up sometimes like “damn, she chose me?” because y’all are always choosing …she chose me so there’s something about the boy.
Edge: What’s the biggest misconception about you and your relationship?
Marlon: I hear “are you with her for the money?” or “I know you’re with her for the money”.
Edge: And what do you say to that?
Marlon: You’re a hater. You would love to be in my position. I can’t (expletive) with Oprah just because she’s paid. I have to be attracted to her. I can’t lay down with her every single night. I can’t. Some dudes can but I can’t. I tell a dude telling me that “you a hater”. A few of my boys told me, “You want to trade places”…that’s why I just keep to myself.
Edge: How has your life changed?
Marlon: Drastically. I’m scared to even talk to people on the phone. Scared to text message an old friend. Facebook. Some neighborhoods I used to go to. People think “oh, he’s with her, he probably got at least a million”. I think about it, dudes are always plotting. Being with her I have to represent myself differently. So I can’t hang out with my boys in the hood and do dumb s***. I’m a different man. But I’ve always been like that even before her but now it’s really like that.
Edge: What do you think about marriage?
Marlon: I never thought about it. Now, sometimes I do. I just know when you tie that knot, you tie that knot. I never thought about marriage but the way I feel now I could say, “yeah I’d marry her” but I wouldn’t push the issue. Even with another chick, if I felt the way I feel now, I’d be like “let’s get married…tonight”.
Edge: What’s the sexiest thing a man can do for his lady on Valentine’s Day?
Marlon: Surprise her. Hotel room, probably. Lingerie, dinner, smooth music. Dim the lights. I don’t know. I’m a simple guy.
Edge: What’s a perfect date?
Marlon: Something not too uppity. Where you can be yourself, you can laugh, be loud. And…not a lot of questions. I hate questions.
Edge: What do you think of Basketball Wives?
Marlon: I think the show is very entertaining. I watch it. I watch it by myself sometimes. I was with her when she filmed it, I give her my two cents, “dead that situation, you don’t want to look crazy” or sometimes I get the alcohol in my system and it’s like “f*** it, slap her a** if you got to” but the sober mind is like “don’t do that”.
Edge: Any shots you want to send towards the haters?
Marlon: I would love to bash people but it’s just not in me. I can’t even hate on anyone…not even those people who hate on me.
#follow him on Twitter @MarlonYatesJr
Photography: Ashley B. Nguyen
Christopher E. McMullen