Speed-Dating pics by Scott Shepard Photography
Is honesty really the best policy when you’re dating? And what if you only have “seven minutes in heaven” (or hell) to get the scoop on your potential mate? Producer/actress Mekita Faiye‘s film Speed-Dating explores the highs and lows of the popular social interaction with equal doses of reality and humor.
Speed-Dating features an interesting mix of characters led by Mekita as Danielle and Wesley Jonathan (Roll Bounce, What I Like About You) as “Too Cool,” along with Chico Benymon (Half & Half), comedian Chris Elliott, Leonard Robinson (Nick Cannon’s Wild N Out), Holly Robinson-Peete, Vanessa Simmons, Esther Baxter and Chingy.
Despite a busy week of promotions for the official DVD release (Feb. 8), we managed to grab a few minutes with Mekita Faiye to find out her thoughts on making the speed dating system work.
Should you answer very personal questions in a few minutes time? How should you present yourself for the first impression? Read on as we find out what Mekita learned about fast love and real talk during the film making process!
What are some key things you learned in making this film, tips people should keep in mind when they take up speed dating?
Mekita Faiye: First of all, I would say be yourself. Someone can totally see through you if you’re putting on. Dress nice. Act like you put some thought into your wardrobe, but don’t be over the top where someone on the other side of you can clearly see that you picked that purple top out of your closet. You don’t want to look like you tried too hard.
Be witty. Everyone wants to laugh and usually speed dating is fun after a hard day at work. Be witty and break the ice. You don’t want it to be awkward. Definitely have some lines up your sleeve.
Be complimentary. Maybe you notice a necklace that they are wearing or earrings. Be interesting. If the young lady asks what you do, find something interesting to say about yourself. We don’t want to hear the same old humdrum that we heard from plenty of other guys.
Use your time wisely. I would definitely stay away from the small talk. I think preparation is key; you have to be ready to put your best foot forward in a very true and sincere way.
What is someone starts to talk to you about more intimate things? Would you recommend that you even answer sexually loaded questions?
MF: I think it depends on the person. I think that women have to be true to themselves. I have some friends who are kind of reserved, and if they don’t feel comfortable, then I think you should go wherever your comfort level lies. Then I have some girlfriends who are wild, probably just as crazy and wild and carefree as the guys.
If that’s your personality, I think feel free to be who you are and yes go with it. Push the envelope if that’s who you really are.
You have situations where people may ask what you do for a living, trying to get at what your income level is. Do you think it’s appropriate to answer questions like that?
MF: As that point, from my perspective, I would say anything that comes out of my mouth. If a guy asks me that in under a two minute setting, then I know that his head is in the wrong place. If that’s all he cares about is a job that I have, and [whether]I’m bringing home a paycheck every two weeks, then I know it’s not going to go any further. Anything goes, and I’m liable to say anything because it doesn’t even matter at that point.
Tell us about some of the characters in Speed-Dating. What do they do right or wrong that makes the movie interesting?
MF: What I hear from a lot of people is that our storyline resonates with them only if it’s funny, but we have some real moments. We have real moments which consist of guys, their maturation and their journey from boys to men. We also have strong women in the background being patient but at the same time knowing what they want. They stick by their guns, and both of them go through that process together and everyone wins.
I think people really appreciate that side of it where you can find a good man, and you may have to work with him a bit. Specifically, the character Too Cool (Wesley Jonathan) is dealing with abandonment issues from his mom. Because of these issues and that baggage he isn’t ready to settle down, but once he meets [my character] Danielle, she helps him understand that you can love people, and don’t be afraid to love people because they won’t leave you.
If they are your true friends, they won’t lose that love if it’s real so don’t be afraid. Once she helps him understand that, he grows. I think that it’s an amazing part of the story.
With the Dog [Chico Benymon] character, the name speaks for itself. He only cares about one thing and the other thing is scheming any kind of scheme he can come up with. When he meets a God fearing woman, he realizes that this woman is worth him growing up. It’s not only about the men growing up.
Danielle is very immature, and she basically scammed Too Bad. She almost lost her true love. She had to grow up and understand that what she did was wrong. Everyone finds love in this movie.
You’re a producer and an actress. How do you find time for love, romance, relationships and family when you are working so hard?
MF: I was a madwoman! I think I had a couple of outer body experiences trying to do both at the same time, but it ended up alright. I’m going to be honest; it’s not pretty right now. It took two years for me to produce that movie from beginning to street date… hard work every day, all day, seven days a week, many hours every day.
For a long time I didn’t have a personal life, but I had a goal that I believed in. I worked hard and I was determined that this movie was going to be a success. I had to make a sacrifice and I think that it’s important for people to understand that the Will Smiths of the world, not that I’m trying to put myself in that category, but people like that who are at the top, they sacrifice.
I know that it’s important to find balance. I’m working towards that. That’s a goal I haven’t reached yet! [laughs]It’s important, but it’s hard. I’m just happy that the DVD is out this week. It’s a milestone, and I can take a little breather after that and hopefully I can work on the other side of that, which is finding balance.
I’m actually back in school – I never thought that I would go back to school but I had a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was accepted into the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC, they only accept 25 students a year. This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and I think that it’s going to take my producing career to a whole new level. I just started in August and it’s a two-year program – I’ll be receiving a MFA. I just recently had an interview with Disney / Fox Searchlight so I’m really excited about what the future holds for me.
Is it safe to say that you’re never too old to stop learning once you graduate college, even if you know what your career path is? Can you still find new avenues to start fresh in your career?
MF: Yeah definitely! I don’t think anyone should be afraid to reinvent themselves. I don’t think that you can ever get too old to reinvent yourself and stay relevant. Nowadays the world is moving so fast, society is moving so fast, the economy is so bad, so you have to stay relevant and I’m not scared of that.
Have you had situations where men prejudged based upon your looks or career, or said something like they felt intimidated by you?
MF: I can sit here and say that I don’t think I come off as an intimidating person, because I couldn’t hurt a fly, and that I’m very easygoing and I like to have fun. The flip side of that is I think that I probably have been told that I am a little intimidating.
In general, I don’t foresee that as a problem, because if a guy is intimidated by me, I think that it’s more about his own insecurities, as opposed to the energy that I’m putting out. It hasn’t been a really huge problem and in the future I don’t think it’ll be a huge problem to find a guy that can meet me at my level.
Where are we going to see you pop up again now that your DVD is out?
MF: God’s been doing a good job with me, and I have complete faith that it’s only going to get better from here. I would just say look out for me, because I’m coming!