For the month of February, we were able to sit down with former Football player and entrepreneur, Jamaal Lewis. Jamaal has an incredibly moving journey from playing pro-football to starting a new career in an ever-competitive city of dreams; Los Angeles. He shares with us the struggles, changes and success of focus and transformation. Currently Jamaal is not only an athletic clothing-line owner but a model, actor, body-double and food fanatic.
How did you get your start in athletics?
Things really started for me when I was in 6th grade. I was in the band and playing the tuba. I was picked on and a little overweight. I was not happy in that state but one summer I had an immense growth spurt that pushed me into football and by my 9th grade year I was eating and breathing football. Fast forward a few years, I ended up getting a full-ride to play at Arizona State and furthered my career.
What did you learn the most from playing football?
It’s important to give anything you want to be good at the full 200%. I already had discipline and structure from being raised in an Air Force family so I had to apply everything I had been taught growing up.
Were there some unexpected struggles and how did they affect you?
Yes. Once I had been playing football my ego started to build. I became the typical athlete who was ego driven, liked to party and didn’t care about much else. You name it, I did it. It took a huge toll on my career and personal life. It affected me as a brand and as an athlete, my potential work, and reflected negatively on my team. It also took a toll on my relationships. It pushed away a lot of the most important friends at that time.
What is something that many people don’t see behind the hard physical work?
The process is more than just the rigorous training and eating habits. A lot of it is how bad you want it and the character building process. There are a few things that really matter to me in life and I made sure those things were what my life centered around; such as staying grounded in prayer and my family.
What is your daily routine that keeps you focused?
My main things are to stay grounded in prayer, work hard, go to the gym, and eat clean. I use D’vash date nectar as a fast and clean ingredient for a lot of my meals. I love the Cayenne nectar on chicken and the date syrup on oatmeal.
Can you tell us more about your current career?
I am currently an actor, body double, model and clothing line owner.
I got started in modeling when I had left football. It was suggested to me to try modeling and after I saw the first paycheck I realized it was something I could pursue. I have a casual athletic clothing line called “Stay Blessed”. It’s more than just a clothing line but a way of life for me. “Stay Blessed” is something I live by. It’s about being grateful/blessed everyday and going through the process of self growth.
How hard was the transition to start a new career?
It was really hard to start over. It was like I went completely backwards. I moved from Arizona to California and basically restarted everything. I lost a lot of friends and was rebuilding my life from scratch in my 20’s. I had to reinvent myself and work harder than ever. I was reaching out to agencies, getting photos done, attending classes, and doing anything to get me to where I needed to be.
What are the most important things to you in your everyday life?Communication with family (especially my mom), praying and maintaining my fitness with workouts at the gym twice every day.
What are some of your favorite meals to make and any guilty pleasures?
I love making cayenne chicken with the cayenne nectar. I just season the chicken with salt & pepper and put on the cayenne nectar like a marinade. My guilty pleasure is Sunday splurge day.
From speaking with Jamaal, the road to success is not instant but takes constant work to maintain, grow, and making adjustments to continue to build. The key is to not stay in the same place, “Stay Blessed” and always be open to new opportunities. Not only is your discipline important but so is your outlook on life and maintaining your relationships. We need to count on others to help us along the way.