TruTV’s reality series Container Wars “Team Muscle” comprised of a duo spearheaded by Mo Marcellus. He’s tall. He’s aggressive. He commands respect because he will bid you up tens of thousands of dollars then drop that container on you if you don’t take him seriously.
While he personifies an exterior roughness he is truly just a gentle giant. Mo generously gave of his time to answer a few questions for OnlineStorageAuctions.com.
Mo Marcellus Interview
Q. What was home life like growing up as a second generation Panamanian?
A. I didn’t grow up Panamanian. I grew up very much American. I was adopted by the only dad I know, Enoch C. Robbins. He’s from Georgia and my mother Adrienne is from Chicago. I grew up in Orange County, so that pretty much makes me white. But even as a Panamanian, people will always see me as black. I grew up surfing, skateboarding, BMX riding, and playing many other sports. Life was easy.
Q. You have eight siblings?
We all have the same biological “Rolling Stones” type father, but different mothers. Sister Shawn and I have yet to meet. Sisters Carla and Charmaine are close to me; and I’m very close to my brother Antonio. Brother Chris Mills played in the NBA. Brother Ricardo (from Michoacán, Mexico) lives close by and he was a late find for us. Oops!
Although I met most of my siblings later in life, it’s as though we had all grown up together; except for Chris. Because he was in the NBA our interactions were limited. He did get us tickets to a few games, but he’s a little leery of cats claiming to be his brothers and sisters. We don’t talk much.
Q. Who was your inspiration in your youth?
A. My late grandmother Marilyn Kennedy was my best friend. If I were asked to give one defining moment with her, I couldn’t because every minute spent with my grandmother defined me. She loved me unconditionally. She allowed me to be who I am and was at that time.
My dad was in the military. That was very hard on me because I was emotional and sensitive. My grandmother would have an “all-out-verbal-slug-fest” to get him to back off. My grandmother taught me how to cook, develop my self-esteem, that it was okay for a man to be in touch with his emotions, and how to be self-actualized. She was the greatest!
Q. What was it like when you were a bouncer at a club?
A. Crazy! Crazy! Crazy! Aaaahhh! Life as a bouncer. I worked at a very well-known club in downtown Los Angeles. Let’s just say that there was never a dull moment. I was very fortunate to meet a ton of A-List celebrities.
I do recall a certain situation involving Brittany Spears in a pool with her top off. Her so-called friend allowed the guy she was with to take photos. I advised Brittany’s bodyguard that I didn’t think that taking photos was a good idea. Well, he didn’t take heed to my suggestion and those photos were published in US Magazine. SMDH (shaking my damn head). I was there and things did not happen the way the shady guy who took the pictures said that they would.
I also conversed with a few of the fire fighters from NYC right after 911. There are so many other crazy and great stories that I could tell you. I should write a separate book call My Crazy Life as a Bouncer. It would be juicy and very racy!
I was blessed to spend some time with the late actors Lee Thompson Young and Heath Ledger. I also met former NFL player Tiaina Baul “Junior” Seau Jr. I had the privileged to have in-depth conversations with all three of these celebrities. One of my most memorable moments was being able to talk at length with Jon Voight’s father, Pat Tillman. I still have the wristband that Mr. Tillman gave me.
Q. Is acting in your blood?
A. Now that I have had a taste of this acting thing, I really do enjoy it. I would like to continue to learn and hone my acting skills. The best part about the reality TV series Container Wars is that I get to be myself. I would like to do some feature films and maybe do some writing.
Q. What is “Tribe United?”
A. It’s my apparel sponsor on Container Wars which is owned by one of my best friends, Doyin Adewole. He had helped me start three different clothing lines, none of which ever left my house. Doyin’s new venture with “Tribe United” promotes the core beliefs that conscious clothing doesn’t have to be corny. The brand is fueled by grace, facilitated through passion, enhanced by creativity, and not afraid to “BE.”
Q. You own J.M.J. Custom Furniture. What does the acronym stand for and why did you get into the up-scaling furniture business?
A. J.M.J stands for – Julius, Mo, and Judy. I have two partners who are very good with refurbishing furniture. I decided to get into furniture when I bought storage units that had damaged pieces. I actually love working with and creating new furniture pieces.
Q. How did you get cast on the show?
A. I responded to an email from an auctioneer friend. I thought, “What the heck, this could be fun.” I then received a call from the casting director. She asked me if I had a partner. I called Ty, being that he wasn’t employed at the time.
The initial audition did not go so well. Ty was in slow motion and always short on words. When we got the call back, I was happy but a little nervous. The casting director told us that they wanted to see more of Ty interacting, not just blinking and cosigning to what I was saying.
He was able to manage more than two or three sentences at a time and we were in! As you can see, he has since gone back to being in slow motion and this guy wants top billing – Sheesh!
Q. How did you meet Ty?
A. I met Ty just over 13 years ago and of all places, at church. I was dating his baby’s mother at the time. Oops! Awkward! He should have told me what I was getting into. You know the bro code!
Q. How did you and your co-star beauty queen Deana Molle’ become such good friends for she calls you her TV-Husband?
A. I have such a charming personality. (Wink! Wink!) Really, I think it is because I remind her a great deal of her dad. I am easy to get along with and quite lovable.
John – The great oppressor! He is always messing up my bids.
Matt – Matthole. Need I say more?
Jason – My hillbilly brotha-from-anotha-motha.
Deana – My TV wifey. We are at each other like an old married couple.
Ty – Slow motion.
Uzi – Shrewd business man. Great at what he is into.
Slomi – My ninja!
Eyal – The third Israeli.
Penny – Good peoples, family gal, Hell-a swag, aka P-Diddy is a Boss at auctions.
Q. Why do you call yourself “The Furniture King?”
A. I love furniture! I eat, sleep, and shat furniture. I study furniture. There is so much to know and learn about it. Furniture can tell you a great deal about a person. Have you ever had a favorite easy chair? Well there you go!
A. I study my craft and try to learn as much as possible. Ty is Pinky. I am the Brain.
Q. Who drives you nuts on the show and why?
A. Believe it or not, Ty drives me nuts more than any other cast member. Ty is my partner, but spends more time BSing with Deana and not paying attention.
Mo enjoys interacting with his fans through social networks. Please “Like” his Facebook fan page Mo Marcellus: http://www.facebook.com/MoMarcellusfanpage. You may “Follow” him on his Twitter account: @Momarcellus. You may also “Follow” him on Instagram: @momarcellus.
Q. How is married life?
A. Married life is hard work. If you expect to get anything out of it, you must invest a great deal into it.
Q: What’s it like being a father?
A. I have three wonderful children: Melissa (23), Kaila (10), and Jeremy (7). I love being a dad. There is no greater joy than to mold and shape young minds. I have always been my kid’s hero, but now that I am on TV, I am their Superhero.
Q. You were recently in a serious car accident. How has that affected your life?
I broke my leg and hip. I am still in the recovery phase, but have exceeded all recovery expectations. I am walking with limited help from crutches after only six weeks. There are so many details that I must leave out due to legal reasons, but stay tuned for the book. It has been very life changing and yet, very inspiring.
Q. How did you develop such profound faith?
A. My faith in God stems from having seen all of the things that have happened in my life. I know there is a God.
Q. What regrets do you have in life?
A. I have no regrets. Everything that has happened in my life has brought me to this point.
Q. What’s your best attribute?
A. My best attribute must be answered by my peers and the people that know me. I will never be my own barometer.
Q. What’s your worst attribute?
A. I am loyal to a fault.
A. Sky diving. The World Series of Poker. Travel the world. See my grandchildren.
Q. What mottos do you live by?
A. In the immortal words of Langston Hughes: “I play it cool. I dig all jive. That’s the reason. I stay alive.” My motto – “As I live and learn. Is dig and be dug in return.”
A. I want people to remember not me, but that Christ was so evident in me.
You can tell a lot about an individual on how they handle adversity. After his accident, Mo posted this passage for his family and friends:
“If you need me I’ll be there. If you hurt, I can help mend. If you cry, I’ll be a shoulder with tissue. If you are broke, we can piece up. If you are sad and lonely, my arms are open. If you are angry and flustered, I am your sound board. I am here. I am your friend. Anytime you need me.”
Container Wars airs on TruTv. Check your local listing for showtimes.
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