Michael B. Jordan, on the cusp of a Hollywood takeover, has made a career of playing the underdog—and could certainly be considered one himself, too. From his attention grabbing performance in HBO’s gritty drama The Wire, to Friday Night Lights, Michael B. Jordan is forever setting a new Male Standard. To find out more about his journey to success, and his recent collaborations with AXE Summer of Temptation, the Rocky franchise, and his upcoming turn as Apollo Creed’s grandson, stay tuned. You’ll discover how to combat rejection, and how Michael transformed from being a shy, everyday guy into the man is he today. If you see yourself becoming Hollywood’s next main man, then keep reading. Michael B. Jordan is a guy who keeps on giving.
How did you get involved with AXE?
I’d never worn AXE, so they sent me some products and I used them for a couple weeks; I was like, “Wow, this is awesome!” The brand has definitely evolved over the years and I got a chance to check it out and thought, “Honestly, this is something I enjoy wearing.” I started to get compliments. Then I expressed my interest in working with them, particularly about my love of directing, and they gave me an opportunity to co-direct their new commercial. We teamed up and I’ve been working with them and supporting them ever since.
Where did your passion for directing come from?
Directing is something I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ve never found that one project I was extremely passionate about. I strongly believed that as a director, you should be motivated by the project. It takes a lot of time and commitment from everyone involved. When speaking with AXE, I found co-directing this project to be a perfect fit because it was a safe environment, where I can learn, and still get a chance to direct and star in the spot. It was a no-brainer once I met the team and learned about the products.
What’s The AXE Temptation Lab?
The AXE Temptation Lab is the concept behind the new commercial brought to life; we spent a lot of time considering what temptation is, and what temps what or who. Then we tied all the ideas together, to create this cool community that exists on Tumblr. We all approved the ideas, and signed off on the final version for the TV spot, which was exciting, but it doesn’t end there. We wanted to create a place that wasn’t cheesy, and that really explained what temptation is. I think we were able to do that online, by exploring all these different forms of temptation, and how they are all connected.
What are your temptations in life?
Basketball for sure. I’m very competitive, I love sports. I love to go fast, so driving, motorcycles, cars, I’m tempted by all of that. Pushing the speed limit every once in a while is tempting. Food is another temptation. I’ve got a fat kid trapped inside of me. I’ve been working out a lot, but I love eating, so I have to balance my temptations sometimes.
What dating advice do you have?
Be comfortable in your own skin. Women definitely pick up on confidence. I love people watching; when you’re in the mall somewhere and sometimes I see people and make up my own story in my head of why they’re together, what’s their relationship. I find that confidence goes a long way in who ends up with who. If you love somebody and you’re confident and you have a sense of humor, then a girl will definitely give you a shot.
Do you think confidence can be developed?
I think confidence is developed, but it doesn’t mean you have to live a certain type of way to gain confidence. I also think confidence is something that’s in the eye of the beholder. Once you make the decision to be comfortable with yourself and you don’t really care what anybody else thinks, you exude a confidence that people gravitate towards. But for many people, we aren’t born a certain way or with a certain attitude; it’s a learning curve, and you have to work out what is right for you.
What helps you build confidence?
Working out builds confidence, because it’s tough, but there’s a reward. There’s going to be days when you don’t feel like doing it, but you get up and you do it anyways and it’s going to pay off in the end. Just knowing that all of your work and sacrifice that you put it right now, it’s gonna pay dividends down the road. That motivates me to keep jamming and work hard. If I get an album, an artist, or a mix tape, I’ll exhaust it. I’ll play it all the time. I’m always constantly working on my business, or working on my craft. Whether it’s developing films, or a couples comic books that I have right now, I like to keep busy, and focused.
How do you deal with rejection?
I’ve been in this industry for 15 years and let me tell you, it gets easier; at a young age, you’re not emotionally equipped to really handle rejection; it can be very personal. You’re like, “Oh my God! Why didn’t they want me!?” You get in there and you put your all into it, and then to hear the constant “No’s,” you’ve gotta have tough skin. There’s tons of auditions that I never got, but in the grand scheme of things, you can’t dwell on the past. Once you go in the room, you leave everything in there and you know you did the best job that you could, and when you crawl out of that room, you’ve got to wipe it clean and forget about it.
What was it like to get that “Yes!” from Marvel?
I’m 100 percent into Marvel. It was a big part of my childhood growing up, so to be a part of a franchise like Fantastic Four and to play the human torch, who was one of my favorites, is mind blowing. As a kid, you never really thought it would be possible, but now people in studios are more open to color blind casting and hope for the best person, regardless of race. It makes you feel like we’re progressing and things are moving forward in the right direction. It gives me a lot of hope for the future of our industry.
I saw a picture of you in Floyd Mayweather’s camp. How did that come about? Is that prep for your upcoming movie “Creed”?
I was with friends in Vegas for a fashion convention, supporting the Basic Math clothing line, when we decided to hit the gym. Floyd Mayweather happened to be working out and I stopped in and got to talk to him for a few seconds. He was training for a fight, and it was mind blowing to see his work ethic. How hard he worked, without breaks; you really have a newfound respect for what they do and what they put their body. Things clicked into place after that. I’ve still got another seven pounds to lose; lifting weights, eating right, calisthenics, jumping ropes, training like a boxer, working on elongating muscles, trying to get as lean and long as possible.
What is your Male Standard?
“What do you want your dash to be?” I’m born ’87 dash question mark. That little dash in the middle is how you’re going to be remembered. That’s your time here on this earth. What are you going to do with that dash? I always try to do something meaningful with that to push forward. That’s one I like to live by. Another thing is if you’re not going all in, then you can’t expect to get the things that people that go all in get. It just doesn’t make sense. You’ve got to put it in, because other people are. How can you expect greatness if you don’t give greatness?
Thanks so much for taking the time out, Michael B. Jordan. This is the stuff of Champs!
Give Into Temptation with AXE
From 8/5 to 9/23, every Tuesday will be #TemptationTuesday — a day where giving in to temptation can really pay off. On those days, AXE will tweet questions to find out what tempts you. Follow @AXE on twitter and tweet them your answer for a chance to win something irresistible. What can you win? That depends on your tweet. Let’s say cheeseburgers are your thing. We might ship a meaty surprise to your mailbox, or send you a gift card from the best grill in town. We won’t know until you tweet us. One thing we do know is that each unique prize comes with AXE Dark and Gold Temptation products, and has a value up to $200. That’s a lot of cheeseburgers.
Click here for official rules. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. AXE Gold Temptation Contest is sponsored by Conopco, Inc., d/b/a Unilever. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 & older. Begins 9:00 a.m. ET on 8/5/14 & ends 8:00 p.m. ET on 9/24/14.