He may be best known as the umbrella-carrying personal assistant to Sean "Diddy" Combs, but Fonzworth Bentley is now making a name for himself by teaching young men with bad manners how to become gentlemen. Gayle talks with Fonzworth about his MTV reality show, From G's to Gents, and why he thinks good manners are so important.
Fonzworth, whose real name is Derek Watkins, grew up in Atlanta and attended Morehouse College. He says his parents raised him to be a gentleman, and on From G's to Gents, he's trying to help young men develop many of the skills he says are second nature to him. "My philosophy is, 'It doesn't matter how stylish you are—if you are rude, nobody wants to be around you,'" he says. "Conversely, if you are mannerable and confident but you don't know how to dress appropriately for the occasion, you won't gain entry."
Actor Jamie Foxx is producing the reality show, and Fonzworth says Jamie handpicked him to host because of his reputation and his book Advance Your Swagger: How to Use Manners, Confidence and Style to Get Ahead. Fonzworth shares his advice for gentleman wannabes:
Make eye contact when you meet someone.
Say please and thank you.
Give confident handshakes.
Write thank you notes.
Through a series of challenges, the men on the show are eliminated until the winner receives $100,000. While cash is the prize, Fonzworth says the journey the men go on is equally important. "When someone starts to truly identify and understand their self-worth, it's an emotional thing, and there are a lot of tears coming up," he says. Another goal of the show is to influence today's youth because Fonzworth says more and more children are growing up without manners. "We are living in the golden age of disrespect," he says.
Printed from Oprah.com on Thursday, March 13, 2014