A Real Power Couple…
This quarter at Vertikal Life, we are asking the question, “Who are the real power couples?” Society’s defines a Power Couples as two people who are each influential or successful in their own right.
Many popular magazines like Forbes, publish a yearly list of, The Most Powerful Couples in the World.” These power pairs have become forces in their industries, be it politics, media, tech or music, they prove that when it comes to cultivating power, sometimes it takes two.
We believe that the real power couples are living an abundant life based on manageable careers, shared home life, sharing in children activity, and community support through giving back. Their belief systems are more than just what is the priority. It’s really about alignment, where roles and even work days are about being flexible and shared responsibilities, creating a happy, energized life full of abundance. How do they handle the ups and downs of life and maintain the positive energy within their relationships?
Well, we asked a few of our favorite couples to talk to us about how they handle a career, home life, children, and empowering their community. Our first interview is with Michael and Gillian White both actors, with a blended family and making it all work.
Michael & Gillian just launched, “Luvstrong,” #LuvStrong seeks to encourage unity in love, creating healthier relationships for stronger couples, stronger families, and stronger communities. Unbreakable.
What do you and your spouse do for a living?
Gillian: I am an actress in commercials, tv and film and a writer. My husband is an actor known internationally for his action films and comedic TV shows. He is also one of the top martial artists, a director, producer, screenwriter and has his own production company, Jaigantic Entertainment.
Michael: To balance work and home life, we spend a lot of time together talking, laughing, traveling and training together at the gym. We have an awesome hot tub in our backyard and at night we will go out in it to relax together…it’s our time to catch up, share our day and make plans.
What do you like to do as a family on weekends or vacations?
Gillian: As a family, we like to spend time at home. Our lives can be so busy, that we’ll just enjoy our home….we may go out and catch a movie and eat at our fave family restaurant. If we go on a family vacation, we try to get connected into something really cool that not everyone is accessible to For example Last summer we went to South Africa with the kids and my mother. We took a helicopter ride to a private wildlife sanctuary and got to actually go inside the cages with hyenas, pet baby jaguars and get our hands licked by cheetahs. The kids loved it!
Tell me briefly about your children?
Gillian: We have a blended family. Three daughters at home and Michael has two much older sons, Devin, who is in college and Jai, who recently got married. Our daughters, are Alaia, Niahla, and Morgan. Alaia, 17, is a senior in high school who is on the dance team and has aspirations to become a photographer for National Geographic and is also the school yearbook photographer. Niahla, 10, is almost a black belt in karate, a pianist, a member of her school’s Glee Club and wants to be a pediatrician or veterinarian. She also is a straight-A student, extremely mature and responsible. Morgan, 9, is a tennis player, involved in gymnastics, a pianist and loves to write stories. She is playful, full of imagination and spends a lot of time creating stories as well as illustrations.
What is important for your children to know?
Michael: It is important for our children to know how much we love them, are there for them and are the type of parents they can talk to and be open with….that we will support them and give as much guidance as we can no matter what direction they chose in life…but at the same time know they must work hard and earn rewards…that there are no handouts in life.
Are you both active with your children’s school activities?
Gillian: I am more hands-on in our children’s activities than my husband simply because his work has him traveling a lot and working on various films and shows, many which film in other states and countries. I am at every lesson, class, and activity and if he can make it, he is also there.
How do you handle problems that arise from children’s school or other children?
Gillian: When there are problems or issues at school or dealing with other children, we discuss it with our children, discuss it amongst ourselves and then if needed, make our presence known at the school by dealing with an authority figure such as the teacher, dean or principal. Luckily, our girls don’t have many issues or problems at school. One year, however, our eldest daughter was dealing with a bullying issue that we quickly dealt with by going up to school, speaking to the dean and making sure it came to an end.
How important are family traditions to both?
Michael: We honestly aren’t that big in family traditions…our life can be very spontaneous so we don’t stick to many of the same things other than making sure we spend Thanksgiving and Christmas Day having dinner and spending time playing games afterward with our family and relatives. We do always celebrate someone’s victory or milestone.
What was the most important thing you learned from parents?
Gillian: The most important thing I learned from my mother was always being capable of handling things on my own. She was a single mom, so she knew how to fix things around the house, cook, bake, change her oil in her car and still be an awesome loving mother. From my Dad, I learned not to judge others and to always be helpful and kind to those that need a hand. answer*
The main beliefs that our family stands on are to be open, honest and to always communicate. It helps build stronger relationships.
What do your children think is the coolest thing about their family?
Michael: Our children probably think the coolest thing about our family is the awesome trips we get to take based on our line of work. They’ve been to Thailand, Africa, Puerto Rico and New York to name a few. They honestly could care less about seeing us on TV or in films. Our eldest daughter has even said it weirds her out to see us on TV, lol.
What do you feel is your responsibility to your community?
Gillian: My husband and I feel it is our responsibility to our community to show them a shining example of a positive, happy, healthy drama free black marriage. From social media to reality television, there are so many negative images of negative, failing, unhealthy relationships and marriages within the black community. We will continue to fight those images by letting others know that true and genuine Black Love exists. It is so important and we are happy that our daughters get to see it in their household daily.
How important is it for you to pass on empowering messages to people in your public and private life?
It is extremely important to pass I empowering messages in our public and private life. Michael and I both do it. When you have a platform to speak on issues or to lend a voice to problems in the community, you must use it. People will listen and hopefully, you can affect them and make a difference in someone’s life.
How do they handle traditional role reversal with family time or work time?
Gillian: The reason why our lives work so well is because we both step up and take on the roles we do the best. I cook really well and my husband does not, so I do all the cooking. If something needs to be sewed or stitched, my husband does it because I don’t know how to sew! He is the protector and provider…I am the nurturer, caregiver and more organized. If something needs to be assembled, we do it together…a lot of things we do together. We are a great team.
What do you do when you have a disagreement?
Michael: We honestly rarely have disagreements. No one believes that but it’s true. The few disagreements we have had, we squash right away by communicating and discussing the problem…and the disagreements we have had are really silly and 100% because of mishearing, misunderstanding or miscommunication.
What is important that you both remember in your relationship?
The most important thing we both always remember is we are best friends…take away the intimacy, marriage, and kids….we were best friends first. That is our foundation. That is why we have so much fun together, always enjoy being with one another and suffer when we have to be apart. No one likes being away from their best friend. We also always remember to communicate and be honest with one another no matter what the situation is.
What inspires you about your spouse?
Gillian: What inspires me most about my husband is his morals and character. He is just an awesome individual. His honesty and how he never follows the crowd. He has his own mind and has never been one to think like everyone else, do what everyone else is doing, try to fit in or kiss anyone’s ass to get ahead in life. Michael: What inspires me the most about my wife is that she is just a great person. Doing the right thing just comes naturally to her because she has done the work to become a truly balanced individual. She never blinds herself of the truth in route to achieving her desires and lets those truths navigate her path. She is an extraordinary woman and has been my biggest motivation to become the best version of myself because I had to become the man who deserves to be with her.
Vertikal Life would like to thank you Michael and Gillian for this insightful look into your family dynamics and being a real power couple.
Where you can find Michael & Gillian White