Meet 38 yrs old Jacksonville Florida single father of 3, Antonio Benton. A Mississippi native and a 12 year US Navy veteran who is a licensed barber with 18 yrs of experience.
Antonio also does motivational speaking to under privileged kids and believes God allows us to go through things in life, so we can help the millions of others who might go through the same things in life. As a believer, he believes that our lives should be a testimony to the world.
He is an author. And finishing up his first book called,”I am a King” and should be published around the first week of March 2019.
Antonio is inspired by fashion and a fitness model. He loves spending time with his children, shooting pool, and eating. (Ha ha ha)
Check out my exclusive interview with him below:
Hey Antonio! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Antonio Maxwell, I’m a Professional Barber, Author, Model & Motivational Speaker based in Jacksonville, Florida.
Talk me through an average day in the life of you?
A average day in my life. God wakes me around 6am and I spend time with him in prayer and some worship. My 2 yr old gets up no later then 7am. Make breakfast while getting kids clothes ready for school. Get kids out the door for school. Off to work at the barbershop. I leave work. Head out to pick up kids. Get home and start on homework while cooking and cleaning. Get kids baths and dinner. Then get kids down to bed by 8:30pm. Final and last clean up of the house. Now it’s my time . I get my gym time in at the house . I shower then start getting ready for the next day. Then relax time while listening to my praise and worship music . Take a glance at social media. Say my prayers and off to sleep.
What institution(s) did you attend and what did you study?
Fortis institute for barber school. Keiser University for medical technician.
How were you discovered and what inspired you to go into modelling?
The modeling thing is just something I wanted to try. My divorce inspired me to pursue modeling. Modeling is a very competitive industry. It’s a lot of compromising in modeling and I’m not cool with some of the shoots. I have limitations on the types of shoots I’m willing to do. Modeling was just an ideal and if it worked it worked, but I’m not going to pursue it hard.
You are set to release your first book titled “I am a King”, Why the title and what should our readers and your fans have to look forward to?
Yes, my book is titled “I am a King.” I choose that title because of my life’s journey. God created man to be Kings of the earth and he is the King of Kings. (Revelation 1 5;6) The only way to find your kingship is by going through trials, tribulations, hurts, pains, victories, and defeats. As you go through tough times in life those times helps us to mature into the person God has called you to be. The book is a testimony of how God allowed me to go through the tough times in life. I talk about how I allowed God’s word and his principles to help heal me after going through. And because of that today I’m whole as a man, a father and a friend. Everybody has a story! We go through things in life not for us , but to help the millions of other peoples who might go through the same things.
Where can our reader get your book?
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, firstname.lastname@example.org (Cashapp or Venmo)
You are a 12 yr U.S. Navy veteran and also a licensed barber with 18 years of experience. What will you say motivated/inspired you stay dedicated to what you do?
I actually joined the navy after leaving school on a football scholarship. Once joining the navy I knew it wasn’t for me. I joined for 4 years. We did 4 cruises in 4 years . I went and stayed 4 more years to get my shore duty. Then I got out and did four more in the the navy reserves. That was enough for me. I felt like the military kept me in a box. I’ve been a barber for 18 yrs. I started cutting while in the navy. I ended up changing my job to barber while in the navy. I got out of the navy and went to barber school. I tried barbering full time and it didn’t workout for my family, so I went back to school for Medical Assistant. Did that for 4 yrs while barbering on the side. I left that job for another job and it didn’t workout. At this time I was divorced so I was like let me do the barbering full time. Barbering has always been my passion and it makes good money. I love the fact I can work for myself, make good money, be flexible with my hours, and most importantly interact with people. I get the most joy out of life when I’m helping people grow.
You do alot of mentoring to under privileged kids, what does that entail and how as the experience been so far?
I love mentoring under privileged kids because I know how it feels to be that kid. It was amazing people God placed in my life to mentor, nourish, love and help take care of me. There is a After school program I just started going to. They take in kids whose parents don’t have child care for their children after school. They feed them and they do school work and activities with the kids. Like I said it’s a blessing to me because I can relate to the kids being in those situations as I have been in many times in my life. I also mentor teenage kids as well normally kids who aren’t in the best situations at their home. I feel like I was allowed to go through what I went through so i could help others in their journey called life.
Would you agree that the modelling industry in the United States is doing alot when it comes to encouraging new faces?
I believe that they are doing a lot to encourage new faces. Like I said before the industry is over saturated. It’s so competitive and it’s such a hard industry to get noticed. It takes a lot of sacrifices to make it. The industry is definitely for the young people might I add. I’m 38 yrs old, not so easy for me. Lol… My attitude was lets try it, if it works, it works, if not I move on to my next endeavor.
What will you say are your 5 Dos and Don’t when it comes to being an entrepreneur?
I have to admit I hadn’t been it long but I can answer that question a little bit. Have only people in your circle you really know and trust. Treat everyone with respect. You are investing money into whatever you are doing so be ready to loose some money at any time. Family is not always the best people to have working for you. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You have to Love and believe in your product more then anyone else . Allow people to make mistakes we’re all human. Take chances don’t be afraid to fail. And final trust God with your business.
What do you do to stay in shape, do you go to the gym?
Yes sir I go to the gym. I’ve been working out since I was 12 yrs old and never stopped. I have a gym membership, but I have a gym at my house. I love the convenience of having the gym right at my finger tips. You can get it in when you can. I have a busy life so I have to get it in at night when the babies are sleeping. I really hate working out, I do it only to maintain what I have.
Do you think we are taking our health and wellbeing seriously?
I surely don’t think people take their health and well-being seriously! I was just talking to someone about that issue. I believe the temptation out there of everything from food to drugs is so easy to get. Food is accessible everywhere. People often allow their feelings and desires to dominate their lives. Then they find themselves on a slippery slope to where they can’t put on the brakes. It’s so easy in this world to give up on things like a diet , a relationship, a eating plan, or even life. Our younger generation is in a world of trouble. They have this Superman mentality. They eat whatever they want and they can because their metabolism is fast. Then they drink these energy drinks like it’s water. They don’t care because they don’t see anything happening to them right now. And they don’t care about what might happen later because they feel invisible to the world. I see it all the time and my heart breaks for this younger generation. And we as adults don’t set the best examples for our kids at times .
What is it like doing business in the United States?
It has its pros and cons. When you are dealing with people. You have to understand that people are people no matter where you live. There is good people and bad. Businesses are all about money. Morals and values has been nonexistent in the US for a very long time. Bad is considered good and good can be interpreted as bad. I believe in you reap what you sow! That’s a Godly principal that will never go away. If you respect people in business people are going to respect your business.
Does the laws in the United States encourage Startups and small business owners?
I believe the laws encourage small business owner. It can be a very stressful process though. It’s all kinds of programs out here to help you get started. I feel like a lot of people aren’t motivated to step out and start their own businesses. I believe people aren’t doing it because of fear of failing, fear of not having the money to do it or fear of how much work it will take to get it started.
Tell me more about your love for everything fashion and your new collections?
Honestly I don’t have a love for fashion. I’m not caught up on all the new fashion going on on the world. I wear what I feel looks good on me. I’m been recently divorced. I realized that I didn’t have a identity outside of my wife and kids. I’m starting to brush back up on fashion skills or create some of my own. No new collections.
Been recently divorced and a single father of 3 children, How do you balance your professional and personal life?
Well after my divorce I vowed to focus my life on God and my kids. Having three small kids at one time can be very difficult. They’re very needy at all times. I believe God has equip me to be able to do it. I guess I can say I’m a night owl. I do a lot of my writing and advertising at night when kids are asleep. I work so hard because I never want my kids to ever have to experience what I had to as a kid. I really don’t have a personal life and I’m OK with that. That’s just the season I’m in right now in my life. The great thing about seasons is they change. I do desire to one day be married again . Pray for me! Ha ha ha
What do you consider the most common public stereotype about barbers?
The thing I think the most common stereotype about barbers is that we don’t make that much money. As a barber the sky is the limit when it comes to how money you could make. I just see a lot of barbers who don’t have balance between barbering and their personal life. The main reason is because the money doesn’t stop coming, you as the barber have to learn how to stop cutting, and go home. That’s a struggle for many barbers today. The money can be good, but it’s going to cost you something important. Making appointments is a very smart way to start.
What aspect surprised you the most once you started as a model?
What aspect surprised me the most as a model was how so many people are willing to do whatever it takes to make it in the industry. I mean like taking nude pics and other inappropriate pics to be seen. Like I said before I have limits that I will not cross. I have high standards because I have moral and I have children. I look at it like I wouldn’t want my children seeing inappropriate pics of their father. I would never want to portray that it’s OK to do. Children do what they see not what they hear.
Looking back to when you started, is there anything you would like to change?
I would never look back at anything I did and want to change anything about my life. I’m a firm believer that,” all things work together for the good to those who love God and who are called according to his purpose.” Roman 8:28
Which brands, clients, photographers, models, etc, have you worked with?
I have worked with Perry Ellis and Michael Kors brands. I have worked with Rockport brand as well. I have also worked with one of the top photographers in Jacksonville, FL by the name of Anthony Smith. He owns his own modeling agency.
What do you consider your biggest professional success so far?
My biggest professional success so far is writing a book. That’s big for me . I didn’t realize how big of a success it was until I started asking people around me how many of them know people who have written a book. The most common answer is,”no one.” I also noticed a lot people have the desire to write a book , but like I said before fear cripples them from doing it.
Who do you want to work with that you haven’t yet?
I would like to work with any producer in the acting world. I would love to try some acting. Now acting is something I tried as well. I signed up with a talent agency . I had a couple interviews, but I didn’t get of the parts. Which is OK because I feel like I’m going to try whatever I feel like I have a talent to do. If it works, it work, and if it doesn’t it just doesn’t. At least I tried it and I know it just wasn’t for me.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge in the modeling industry is being 38 yrs old and getting paying modeling gigs. I have 3 kids so I need to be getting paid for whatever I do. Unfortunately that’s not how it works. You have to build a strong portfolio first then you might be able to make some cash. Very competitive though!
Tell us two things people don’t know about you?
One thing people don’t know about me is I love helping people WIN! The second thing people don’t know about me is having a fit body is in my genes. All the men in my family are fit. All we have to do is stare at weights and we get buff. Lol….
Do you think its important to be active on social media and if so why?
I think it’s important to be active on social media because the majority of everyone is on there. That’s the greatest way to network. All it takes is the right person to see you doing your things and it’s a wrap. Also social media is the best way to build your platform with people who are doing the same things as you. Now let me say this I hate social media. I hate it because it give everyone a open mic to say whatever they want. That is like giving a loaded gun to a 5 year old. I also hate it because I believe that the majority of the people on it are faking it. I don’t entertain foolishness or ignorance. It’s very embarrassing to me to see our people making a fool of themselves.
You are a Mississippi native but now live in Jacksonville Florida, how as the city been working out for you?
I love Jacksonville! I really do! I’ve always lived on the southside of town. The southside is the best side of town to live. It’s a little more expensive, but I have children so it’s worth paying the money for their safety. Yes, I really love Jacksonville. It’s not to slow and not to fast. In other words it’s not slow motion like MS and it’s not fast like New York.
What are your must visit travel destinations?
I hadn’t been able to travel just yet, but the time is near for me to start. I was in the military for 12 yrs and I’ve been all over the country, but hadn’t been to a lot of places in the states. I have a bucket list though: Florida Keys, Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas, Seattle, and Washington, DC.
Name 5 things we should take seriously about our style choices?
For a man fit is OK but tight is not. Wearing anything that resembles a female is not cool. I feel like men shouldn’t wear long hair. Fitted clothing is in not baggy clothes. Beards are the new muscles! Ha ha ha The man bun is not cool!
How would you describe your style?
I really don’t have style. If I see it and I think I would look good on me I’m going to buy it. I feel like I make the clothes the clothes don’t make me. (I don’t mean that in a arrogant way when I say that either)
What style genre appeals to you the most?
Casual style, slim fit.
Name your five must have accessories/essentials?
Sorry I don’t have any.
What are your favourite fashion trends?
Scarfs, Jean jackets, Jordan’s ,
What is your favourite dish?
What songs are currently on your music playlist?
I’m a big praise and worship guy. Wreckless love by Cory Asbury. My heart sings by William McDowell. Here as in Heaven by Elevation worship.
Apart from writing, modelling, mentoring, what other projects are you currently working on?
Really getting my kids together. The divorce has really affected them. My mother in law is trying to turn my kids against me. So i’m really trying to affirm to them that daddy is always going to be there for them no matter what. And daddy loves them.
Seeing you’re doing your dreams, what advice can you give others to pursue their dreams?
The best advice I can give to someone is, ”Step out the boat on faith.” You have to trust God and nothing else. Everything else will fail, but his love for you will not. I reiterate don’t let fear stop you. God has given you gifts talents for a reason. Don’t die with them!! He gave them to you for you to help others and to help build the kingdom of God.
Any specific plans for the future?
Start writing another book. Start traveling and ministering to the world at the same time.
Any final words?
You need to Know that God has a plan and a purpose for your life. The people in your life are tied to that purpose. The sooner you find that purpose the better your life will start to be. Surrender your life unto God. You’ve done it your way for years and the end results has stayed the same. He will give you living water that you will not thirst again.
Where can we follow you online and on social media?
Facebook: Antonio Maxwell