Missing Sports? The Bennett Brothers, Pele & Siggi Talk Shop
Two Super Bowl champions in the same room is about as close as we get to sports these days. Michael’s younger brother, Super Bowl Champ Martellus Bennett, and his accomplished wife Siggi Bennett join Michael and Pele on this week’s episode. The four talk about the NFL, sibling rivalry, parenting, retirement, their dreams, and living outside the box.
[00:33] Michael Bennett: All right. Today, I get the opportunity to introduce somebody — he’s a baby brother, but at the same time, it’s kind of hard to be the baby brother when you’re actually bigger than your bigger brother. He’s a Renaissance man, a published author of several books, animator, a Super Bowl champion, a Pro Bowler, a devoted husband and a dad, Martellus Bennett, and also his beautiful wife, Siggi. She is a great chef, even though she doesn’t have a chef line, her and Pele’s turkey burgers — they bowin’ right now.
[01:11] Pele Bennett: I learned from her.
[01:13] Michael Bennett: She’s a wonderful mother, an influencer, and a great sister-in-law and just overall a great person. So, fans, get tuned in to Martellus and Siggi Bennett on our show Mouthpeace today.
[01:26] Martellus Bennett: What up, people’s.
[01:26] Siggi Bennett: That was so nice, Michael.
[01:28] Martellus Bennett: I don’t think it was that good. He left out a bunch of great adjectives.
[01:32] Siggi Bennett: He said, “and his wife.” I was like, oh, he’s just gonna stop there? That’s all I get?
[01:40] Martellus Bennett: Gregarious, funtelligent, things like that.
[01:42] Michael Bennett: I don’t think funtelligent is a word.
[01:43] Martellus Bennett: It is. I made it up. It’s the only way you could define me. Fun and intelligent.
[01:48] Michael Bennett: So, being an animator and being an influencer and learning about the things that you want to do within your books and stuff, as a young black kid, what was your inspiration? I remember you writing your stories. One of our punishments as a kid, our mom used to make us write stories and read encyclopedias and different shit like that. And you used to just always write stories, you were always created as a kid. Like, what was your influence on getting to this moment right now?
[02:20] Martellus Bennett: Well, so it’s interesting because my creativity takes place in 1996 to 2005. So that’s the time period that I usually write in that I put kids in. And I think that’s mainly because that’s the area where my childhood took place. That’s the time where I was really coming into my own as a child. So the fantasized version of my childhood when I visit is what I write. So for me, it’s really about growing up. When I make things, Willy Wonka was the biggest influence on me ever in my life. People are like what’s your biggest influence, and it’s always been Willy Wonka. And that’s because watching Willy Wonka, he made chocolate. And everybody who was in the world wanted to fight for this chocolate. Everybody wanted his chocolate. People were lying about getting golden tickets. People were buying chocolate everywhere. And chocolate changed people’s lives. But I looked at his chocolate as more as a magnificent creation that this guy was creating. And then when I meet Willy Wonka, who is this eccentric, weird guy that lives in this place and has Oompa Loompas, which there’s a whole other story about the Oompa Loompas. And I, too, would love to have Oompa Loompas personally that sang songs every time someone did some shit wrong in the house. But the idea of the chocolate factory, and people wanting to go there and see how he made this and wanted to taste it made me want to make chocolate. And I do make chocolate, it’s just that I had to figure out what my chocolate was. And my chocolate is books.
[04:06] Michael Bennett: Siggi, as a wife, as you’re supporting your husband as he moves from the NFL to doing something else how has it been watching him transition from the NFL?
[04:26] Siggi Bennett: Honestly, I feel like our transition wasn’t a transition. It was just natural. It was like the easiest thing ever because it was what he was supposed to be doing all along. He’s the only person I’ve ever met that says like, football was my side job. But what I really like to do is, you know, this long list of the never-ending resumé of all the things that he does. But the transition was so easy because I’d never see him so happy and at peace and actually doing the things that fulfill him in life daily and not have to have the added stress of going to his day job. So it’s easy to support it because the happiness in him is so apparent now. I remember so many days of him going to play football and there was no joy there. There were days when there were, but there were more days when it was like a drag or, you know, it’s just something he had to go do. Despite loving the game, there was so many politics or injuries, things like that that took away from it. But now he just gets to do what he loves all the time.
[05:39] Pele Bennett: I love that you said it like that because you were already doing that as you were playing football. Transitioning, like you said, is not a transition. So do you think that — not are you happier, but how does that look now that you guys are out? Has the relationship got closer? You know, like sometimes when people talk about retirement, people fall apart or they come closer. So what happened with you guys?
[05:57] Martellus Bennett: The best thing is like you can have afternoon sex. You could go for margaritas, right? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday afternoons aren’t yours when you play, right? They belong to someone else. So you can never leave work and be like “you know what? I will leave the office today. Baby, what are you doing? Meet me here and let’s have lunch, or let’s go to a museum this afternoon for lunch. You never get the option for 10 years of your life. That doesn’t exist. So for us it was like you get to start a dating again. The kids are at school, you go work out, like let’s have breakfast together. Or let’s go walk to the coffee shop for a little bit.
[06:44] Siggi Bennett: We’ve always been very close, we prefer to be with each other rather than most people. We’re always together in the house. I didn’t think that we would be together even more, but now we’re just a duo, we’re just always together.
[07:03] Pele Bennett: That kind of makes me think of marriage, like you didn’t know it could get better.
[07:10] I was like, we’re great. Like, we’re so close. And then I’m like, damn, we actually like to spend all of our time together. It’s hard for us traveling because we’re just so used to being — even with Jet, just like a unit, the three of us. So it’s even when we travel, it’s really kind of like hard on us. Like, we just love being together. You’re just really with your best friend. But like you were saying, a lot of couples sometimes they grow apart. Martellus would always joke, but it was the truth — a lot of guys don’t know their wives, or don’t like their wives. When you guys are spending so much time playing football, some of these couples don’t really, really know each other on the deepest level.
[07:57] Pele Bennett: I thought you were gonna come home and be good, but now I want you to go back to work.
[08:03] Michael Bennett: Some people only like the highs of life. They don’t like the trials and tribulations where things get tough. That’s when the real love comes out.
[08:11] Martellus Bennett: The worse comes out. For better is better. For worse is when divorce happens.
[08:19] Siggi Bennett: Maybe that’s why we have a stronger relationship. Because your NFL career wasn’t highs, highs, highs. Your NFL career was very rocky for us.
[08:30] Martellus Bennett: I think our relationship is so close because we went through a lot of life together. When we started traveling, we started traveling together. Like when we started going to museums, it wasn’t like I went to go visit museums — we grew together. A lot of times people grow separately, like this person may get these interests and they grow in this direction. This person grows in this direction.
[09:00] Pele Bennett: But it’s nurturing that. So say you do have like, you know, differences. I think what’s beautiful about that is allowing that person to go in that space, you know, not keeping them in a box. It’s like, OK, let me nurture that and let you do that. I think that also applies to the kids.
[09:13] Michael Bennett: I feel like as an athlete, people always try to keep the players in the box.
[09:28] Martellus Bennett: Martellus threw the box away.
[09:29] For example, like when you were first making music on YouTube when it first came out, people got mad at players, like, why are you doing that? But now every player has a YouTube channel.
[09:38] Martellus Bennett: I pioneered that. I was the first athlete to have a deal with YouTube and I was one of the first ones on Twitter. I was blogging for the Dallas Morning News before anybody was writing for anything. What happened was I feel like I focus too much on the box sometimes. I tried to prove that I was everything outside of the box, right? But the fact that I am an athlete and I am athletic. I am creative. It’s what makes me special. So the most interesting thing about boxes are you could buy a kid any toy, but the box is what they love. It could become anything. So your box could become anything. So once I realized like I’m in control of my box, no one could put me in my box. I could just transform my box to be wherever I wanted to be. And that was a powerful thing.
[10:31] Pele Bennett: But how do you get there?
[10:39] Martellus Bennett: I think it was through realizing the –like, a lot of times we try to separate. Like I’m a mom, a wife, I’m a, you know, a party girl. No, you’re a mom who likes to party. That single thing is you. You can be sexy and be a mom.
[11:01] Pele Bennett: My kids don’t say that to me. Like you’re a mom, why do you have a nose ring?
[11:07] Siggi Bennett: Jet hypes me up better than anybody.
[11:11] Martellus Bennett: The societal structures and constraints that are put in place start making people put themselves in boxes so that they can be understood. But to be truly understood is to be fully present in who you are.
[11:24] Pele Bennett: Like you were saying, no fear. Because you’ve to walk into that knowing that it could mess up. To know that I might fall, but I’ll keep going. And I think that’s scary when people are like how do I make this transition or change into something else? Because they don’t know how it’s gonna be perceived from others.
[11:41] Michael Bennett: As a wife, like they put wives in boxes, too. As a wife, you’re not supposed to do this, not supposed to do that. Especially when you’re a wife to an athlete. What are you doing to find your voice as an individual? What are you doing to find your passions? A lot of people who listen to the show might be in a place where they want to figure out how to go outside their box and create.
[12:01] Siggi Bennett: I think for me it’s an ongoing journey. Martellus and I are very opposite in that way. I always think he has a very clear vision of what his purpose in life is. And maybe he didn’t know exactly what it needed to be, but he knew he needed to be creative. He needs to make things. I’ve always been that person that’s like I like to dabble in this, I like to dabble in that. But it’s that fear for me of like, what if I fail? So for me, it’s always hard to, like, completely dive into something, put everything out there and not be well received or something like that. I think in the last — especially since retirement, what I hear a lot in feedback to myself is like a lot of people are like, wow, you really are like very authentically yourself. And I will say that, like, that’s something that having a partner who has always been authentically themselves has — that’s influenced me greatly. And it allows me to be whoever I want to be, whether that’s OK, we’re doing the gym, we’re going hard at the gym, I’m inspiring people to go to the gym. Or we want to do curly hair stuff, or we want to chef, we want to do all these things. But for me, it is an ongoing process of finding the things that I like, and being OK with maybe that didn’t work out quite the way that I planned it, but at least we got to try it.
[13:27] Michael Bennett: So you’re not scared of failure no more?
[13:29] Siggi Bennett: Well, I am. No, I’m not saying that. I’m pushing myself outside the box. I have to do it for myself. Like it can’t be for anybody else.
[13:39] Pele Bennett: So I’m going to highlight Siggi, because obviously, you know, we’ve been in the family together for a long time. So a lot of focus is on, you know, the guys because of what they do. But we do a lot. And I’m not only saying as like wives, I’m like saying within our family. I mean, Siggi, I’ve seen her from the beginning starting a family before she even had a kid. So I’m like, I’ve seen you also grow asa mom, as a woman to evolve and grow more into like a how — not a role, I don’t think it’s like really a role you play within your family because you wear so many hats. So you see her like juggle so many hats for her husband. For moving, for football, you got to have a hat for football. You got a hat for your child. You got to have a hat for yourself. How do you find that space for yourself, because you’ve got to wear so many hats? Not saying you guys don’t. Where do you find a space where you can finally have your own time?
[14:35] Siggi Bennett: I think I had to create it. I definitely felt like — some people don’t know that Martellus moved to L.A. for me. So it was like, yeah, that helps his business to be in Hollywood., but it was really because this is where I wanted to be. I feel like myself here. I felt like I was losing myself in the suburbs. I was living a white suburban lifestyle, stay-at-home moms, white suburbia.
[15:09] Martellus Bennett: She even had a station wagon, people. She had a labradoodle and a golden retriever.
[15:17] Siggi Bennett: Driving the soccer mom car with one kid. But I was losing myself because I wasn’t in a place that inspired me. I wasn’t in a place — it was cold all the time. I’m from California. It’s cold, it was rainy. You’re bombarded by snow constantly. I didn’t feel like there was people around me that had similar interests to me. Like, yeah, I had football friends, but if you take football away, how many of those people are you going to remain in close friendships with? I just didn’t feel like I was reaching my potential where we were. And some somebody else might look at me like, “you had three acres, a house. And, you know, you stay at home all day, you just take care of your baby.” It’s like for somebody else, that’s everything. For me, it wasn’t enough. And moving to L.A. has really allowed me to flourish even more, I think, because I’m in a place where I can be with people who like the same things that I like and just go do the things that I like to do. And part of that is self-care for me. That’s getting out, being in the sunshine, working out, you know, eating right, doing those kinds of things. I didn’t feel like I could do that in that space.
[16:45] Martellus Bennett: I will say this — moms don’t get enough credit. “Stay-at-home mom” comes off as a derogatory statement. When it really should be the CEO of the house. You’re runnin’ a damn business. There’s like so many different decisions that have to be made. Like you run your company, the house is a company. A well-functioning family is a Fortune 500 company. A family that does not function well, they’ve got a bad business manager running the house.
[17:22] Michael Bennett: And a great CEO thinks about the employees before they think about themselves.
[17:28] Martellus Bennett: I dunno. The dollar comes first. You put the business before you put yourself, and mothers do that. But at the same time, the motherfucking men have a really fucking hard job as well. Every time you take a dollar out, we have to stress about putting the dollar back in. That’s a stressful lifestyle.
[18:08] Siggi Bennett: This is the same person who I’m like, “it costs this much, we can’t do it.” He’s like, “just get it.”
[18:15] Michael Bennett: Growing up and seeing the stories that you did, and now seeing like Dear Black Boy, Brown Girl, all these different things that are coming out like, is it hard — because sometimes I feel like the NFL is such a white fan base, right? So you write stories like Dear Black Boy, sometimes they can’t resonate with the stories. Like when we were in Miami for the Super Bowl, they just looked so uncomfortable when you were reading the story. One thing that always catches my eye, there was a lady who was like, shouldn’t this story be for everybody? You were like, no, this story’s for black boys. There’s other stories that are for other people, but this particular story is for that person. I thought that was a good way of answering the question because she said it kind of rude.
[19:05] Martellus Bennett: She was trying to bring up a point like, “oh, why are you not talking to my kids?” The whole thing is art is a conversation. And every conversation is not for every single person. And I think artists make mistakes when they think they can speak to the entire world at once. So for me, I’m like, I want to have this conversation with black boys. So, Dear Black Boy, this is for you. There is no doubt about it. Like, 74 percent of black boys up to the fourth grade aren’t up to grade reading level. We think about seven percent of the books represent kids of color, that’s all people of color. There’s more books about animals than there are kids of color. So if you think about not having black boys up to reading levels, part of it is not being able see yourself in books from a young age. That’s why the book is so brown. Right. Like the book is as brown as it could possibly be. If there was a shade of brown in the world, it’s in that book. I get that all time, like, this book is racist. Well is Harry Potter racist? All these other stories that have nothing but white people in there, are those book racist? No. They’re not. But once you start having a story where it’s just solely focused on people of color, this world where white people don’t exist, they feel like they can’t be in a world, but they want to be in that world.
[20:30] Siggi Bennett: The thing about racism, though, I feel like white people get caught up in is the difference is when you’re empowering a culture, that’s different than saying my culture is the best and yours is inferior. Nothing you do is ever going to be good enough. Black power is not the same as like white supremacy. It’s not the same at all.
[22:12] Michael Bennett: Your mom is white and your dad is black. So you you grew up in interracial household.
[22:23] Siggi Bennett: Kind of. My dad raised me for the majority of my life.
[22:29] Michael Bennett: How did that play on your role or identity or your outlook on life? Did it make you see like different sides of understanding both cultures?
[22:40] Siggi Bennett: My racial identity has always been an area of difficulty. Because I think to me, how I grew up informed the way that I see myself. I don’t feel like I present to the world as a black woman. I don’t think that when other people look at me, they see a black woman. In literally how I look. I think most people think that Martellus is married to a white woman. But like my black friends or my mixed friends are like, no. I see a black woman. But to me, that was growing up in Oakland, California, which is very culturally diverse. But like growing up in black neighborhoods with black friends raised by a black father. And here’s this very pale-skinned little girl that doesn’t quite belong. So it was always that sense of like, I don’t quite fit in in that arena either. Like, I’m constantly having to prove myself. That’s how I grew up. I felt like I was constantly having to prove that I was black. I was the president of the Black Student Union in high school.
[23:54] Pele Bennett: Do you think that also reflects now that you have a daughter? We were joking about it because we were re together and she’s like she’s chocolate —
[24:06] Siggi Bennett: What did Blake say to you about me? When you were like your daughter asked you — you said that I was mixed, and she was like, “what? No, auntie Siggi is white.”
[24:18] Pele Bennett: She just sees skin color. How does that reflect from how you grew up into now having a daughter? How does that reflect your experience for her, like how she’s going to grow up?
[24:28] Siggi Bennett: Yeah. I mean, she’s at such a difficult age with race. Like it’s explaining race to her is very confusing right now, because like you said, they just look at skin color. She doesn’t understand like that at a point in history, and still quite a bit today, like people are judged based on the color that they are. And so she’s like, “mommy’s peach.” And Marty is always like, “no, mommy is black.”
[24:55] Martellus Bennett: Race was created by man. Color’s just the way that people are. So race was established by mea to identify and separate the people. But when you walk through the world, you don’t get mad at a flower that’s red or a flower that’s blue. A yellow rose is just as valuable as a red rose. It’s just about the different color. Teaching a kid about color and then teaching a kid about race, race comes with social constructs. It doesn’t make sense, right? Because people made it up. Like this is what we’re gonna do. So it doesn’t really make sense because. I get that mommy’s peach, daddy’s milk chocolate. If you think about color, white people are the minority. The majority of the world is brown. The world is brown. So the idea that the world is white is ridiculous. Jet is super-proud brown, black girl. She’s as black as they come. It’s interesting because the way I work and the things that create, all my characters are characters of color. So for most kids, like for her, her first thing is like any world I build, she sees tons of brown kids. So when she watches shows, she doesn’t see brown kids in it, the first thing she says is like, Dad, there’s no one that looks like me in this show.
[26:59] Pele Bennett: But just think about what you were saying, Jet is so smart that she notices that. But then there’s so many children that don’t know. And that’s the issue.
[27:08] Martellus Bennett: Yeah. Jet notices it because of the things I create.
[27:24] Siggi Bennett: I think what’s really cool about our children, the four of us, we are like raising them in a family that’s so socially conscious. And like you, we’re all into activism. And it’s just like our kids have no choice but to celebrate their blackness, or their Samoan culture, or any of that.
[27:52] Pele Bennett: There are probably stories that we still don’t know about each other that we had to face. Race, colorism. And I think it’s so important because we’re an interracial couple, but people don’t ever think that. When they see us, they usually just assume like, oh, they’re black, I’m all for it. But I would always say that it’s like my responsibility also, even though I’m of Samoan descent, is to a teach them of Polynesian culture, but it’s also my responsibility to teach them of African American and African culture.
[28:17] Martellus Bennett: It was really great yesterday — and this is why representation is important — yesterday when you were talking to Jet about what you are. You said, “I’m Moana.” Now she understands your culture because she watched a movie. So that’s why kids being able to see these different worlds, then they get it.
[28:44] Michael Bennett: Then they don’t get themself in a box, they get to understand somebody else’s culture. I think that’s important too because I feel like also within our sense of who we are, I think we’ve all been to different places. We’ve been to college, so we understand other people’s culture while building our own kids’ identity to be proud of who they are. We also gave them the understanding that other people are different. And I think that’s important that parents do that, because sometimes I people can go overboard and, you know, become on the left side really fast.
[29:12] Martellus Bennett: Yeah. It’s about balance. It’s about being proud of what you are, but being proud what other people are, too. Other people are interested in their cultures, their food, their rituals, those things like that, those are interesting things. And you could learn something from those people. I had never been to a Shinto shrine, but when I’m in Japan, I’m in every Shinto shrine. I prayed to the God of baldness, and he didn’t answer my prayers. I’m bald right now. Thank you, Japan. The idea is that most people never get outside their bubble. To them, the world is small. I got a friend who is making a straws, right? Like paper straws. Try to eliminate stuff in the ocean. But he was in the Midwest. I said people in the Midwest probably never even touched the ocean. Did he think they care about what’s going on in the ocean? The rainforest is on fire. People over here, they’ve never seen the rainforest. They have no idea how the rainforest affects the world. They don’t care because they don’t see it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not your responsibility because you should be educated enough to know what it is. They don’t care about dolphins being tied up in their six-packs. They’ve never seen a dolphin ever. They never saw the beauty of the ocean.
[30:27] Siggi Bennett: I mean, that relates back to racism as well. When it’s like, oh, all you gotta do is pick yourself up by the bootstraps. What is white privilege? But do you guys know history? Like you guys actually don’t care about real black history, like, do you know, the 13th Amendment?
[30:43] Michael Bennett: I also think a lot of black people don’t know their own history. I was reading this one book, Free at Last, this big book and just have different stories of people who were in the war. And a lot of the soldiers who are in the union. The first thing that they said that they wanted to do was create education, get the opportunity to have education. If people understood what they went through to get the freedoms that they have now, they wouldn’t let those things pass by. To not understand the magnitude of what people have been through. I think a lot of times African-American kids don’t get to know their own history because the school system don’t teach it. They don’t teach the journey. They only teach the traumas of it. They don’t teach the wins.
[31:51] Martellus Bennett: The wins they want are the ones that are undeniable wins. The undeniable moments that they try to teach because there’s no way you can sleep it under the rug. With these other things that people don’t really get to see on that scale, they don’t promote those stories and tell those stories. But those small stories are big stories in other people’s lives.
[32:12] Michael Bennett: It’s funny because then you got people who say like, oh, the Emancipation Proclamation — if the Emancipation Proclamation meant something to society, then there wouldn’t have been Jim Crow. Fighting for civil rights and fighting for freedom is almost two different things. Freedom is just what every human is born with, but I think that’s the importance of people knowing the history, because what if the people who had the Emancipation Proclamation that give me freedom, but we had to go through that. But we just stop. So I think it’s important that if they understand the history, they will never stop fighting or never stop creating. You’re still creating things because you know that there isn’t a voice like that.
[33:05] Martellus Bennett: I feel a responsibility. I feel like I can’t get tired. I feel like I can’t fail, too. I feel like in a way I have to be able to tell these stories because not only — and I have to tell the stories that I need to tell. It’s weird because I have stories that need to be heard because I’m the only one I could take people to the places I could take them. I’m a world builder. I build worlds. I’m not a storyteller, right. I build worlds for people to visit. And when you can visit worlds, fictitious worlds, you come back realizing your world doesn’t have to be the way that it is. And when you realize that your world doesn’t have to be the way it is, It empowers you to realize that you can change your world.
[33:44] Pele Bennett: But I think it also takes it back to reality because we know we are a bookworm family and we love to read. And Peyton is 13. So she is getting to the age where she can read more advanced young adult books. And so these stories that I’m — now I’ve changed it to where I’ll read it first and then I have her read it. I want to make sure she can comprehend and have that communication and conversation with me. But I think it’s also where you get into a book, which I always say is like a vacation, but then when you come out, you are still in your own reality. As a parent, I think that’s so important where she goes into a book, but when she comes back out, we still have to teach her what shit is happening right now. You know? There’s so much reality that you can’t stay in the book though, because it is a bubble and you got to come out. So how do you deal with both?
[34:29] Martellus Bennett: So here’s the issue, though, right? This is the both. You’re dealing with your reality here where your circumstances are. Well, all the books and stories that people give kids of color are right back into their reality. We got He Got Game, Boyz in the Hood, See You Tomorrow. So we feed our realities and then we read a book that’s about our reality.
[35:00] Pele Bennett: Because we have girls, we have to look for those type of books and those stories. And I feel like the books that leads me to the older generation because there’s so much wisdom. It’s different from what you’re seeing now where they’re reading it. But this is actually happening. You know, in real life to people right now, you know, all the different stories. So I think like teaching and giving the girls and creating a library for them. So we started a few years ago creating a library that’s for them, represents them. So they have a section in the house where all those books are about empowering women of color, teaching the history of African-American people, you know, like taking all the way back to like the roots so that they can learn.
[35:38] Martellus Bennett: You could empower women of color in a world that you build. You could build characters who are just as powerful as real people in the world that could empower you as a kid. You could watch Batman. It’s called a Batman effect. So when kids go out and play as themselves, they don’t feel fearless, heroic. But when they put a Batman mask on, those same kids jump off of something. So now when you give kids characters that look like them, those kids become more courageous in ways, too. Because now if I could be Harry Potter, Harry Potter inspired such a huge community of people to fight for what they believe in, make friends, those type of things. Same thing with Star Wars. Those movie have changed people’s lives. How many people in the hood you know who found out that their daddy was a neighbor? “Luke, I am your father.” We’ve been battling the whole time. We are angry. Turns out he my dad!
[36:50] Michael Bennett: It’s like the KKK effect. The dude is the governor in the daytime, but at night, he’s a white extremist. He put the hat on.
[37:00] Martellus Bennett: That takes me back to the question that she asked me earlier about the box. I went through a phase that I called the de-masking phase. There’s a period of time where each room I went into I would have a different mass to be around these people. There were so many Martellus-es, it was a fucking identity crises. We can never be whole because we have to give people certain parts of us. So I started de-masking myself every time I made a different version of myself so I could just be the same person all the time. And I went through that phase in New York. I always say in Texas, you could be a horse, but in New York you get to be a unicorn. Like the possibilities are greater. I will always love New York for that period of time, because that’s when we went through that de-masking phase phase.
[37:56] Michael Bennett: Siggi, how do you see Martellus in the next five years growing? And Martellus, how do you see Siggi in the next five years growing?
[38:11] Siggi Bennett: I told him the other night I would like for him to be in the circles — he says winning an Oscar doesn’t matter. It’s happening. But I would like to see that in the next five years. But even if it’s not like winning the Oscar, it’s to me it’s more for I hope for him to be recognized in his industry by his peers. And it’s not just like the underground person that like if you know, you know. I hope for him to reach that level where he’s highly respected by his peers in the next five years. For him, he’s always like, “I don’t think that matters to me anymore.” For me, it’s more about putting out the amazing work, it’s not about the, you know, getting the gratitude for it. But I know that that, like, would mean something to him. I want Tim Burton to be like, yo, that last book you wrote!
[39:20] Martellus Bennett: I was telling her at one point I thought I wanted to build a billion-dollar company. And then I realized that’s not what I wanted. I just want to be able to make my art at a high level and be able to live off my art. I don’t want to have thousands and thousands of employees. I just want to tell the best stories. And for me, I realized, like, Dear Black Boy, like as far as writing goes, structurally it’s beautiful. Like, I like the book, but I hate the project. And the reason why I hate the project and I hate reading it, you know, and especially when I had to read it several times, because for me, I wanted to entertain kids and take them to different worlds. Dear Black Boy, I feel like it’s almost like a bridge telling them that they could go to the other world. Reading is not fun. Laughter is what I want to hear in response. I want to build these moments where the family goes to the movies, or they’re reading something together and they laugh together. Not where you got to have this harsh reality conversation. This conversation. I want to build stuff where you’d like, oh, it’s coming out like we gotta go see that. That’s gonna be funny.
[40:20] Martellus Bennett: It was important. I feel like it’s important body work of mine, and I love the work, but the experiences I want to create for kids to have around my work is mostly laughter and fun. I like literary nonsense. That’s basically what I write. That’s my genre and literary nonsense. But in the next five years, for Siggi, she’s going to build a network. It provides almost like a concierge of coolness. So basically where not only is she doing her own cooking shows or whatever, but she brings on other cooks and stuff that she likes, other fashion styles that she likes. So basically a tastemaker platform. So people could come get the best of the best of the best type of thing. But she also gets to dabble in. Like this is the makeup I love, but she doesn’t have to do all the content. It’s like Yelp for coolness.
[41:42] Pele Bennett: That is what people need right now. We’re talking about football world, you always need that because you never know where to go in your city.
[42:23] Siggi Bennett: On the teams we’ve been on, the Giants was the only team that literally gave wives like a welcome packet of like this is who to call for dry cleaning. This is for landscaping services. This is who some of the wives have compiled for hairstylists.
[42:39] Martellus Bennett: So I think that the next five years for Siggi, she’ll be the person that you go to to find the best influencers. Because right now influencers are so like watered down. But who are the top ones that really know their shit? And just so that way, people could go get the best influence and not just any influence.
[43:12] Michael Bennett: For people who are pondering on retirement from something, or leaving something or trying to do something new. As a couple, what information would you give them to journey out and just do it and be free from whatever job they want to walk away from. You guys have walked away from something, something that you’ve really dedicated 20 years to.
[43:38] Martellus Bennett: One is to continue education. And when I say continue education, that’s an education of what you love. Right. So if you’re interested in wood shop, keep taking wood shop classes, because the more you learn, the more you feel you can actually build a business out of it. So find what it is that you love and put time into it. Because like once you put enough time into it, you know, there is something that you can achieve. And then when you make that decision, it can’t be about money. Yeah, right. It’s not really about money. You got to think about what’s the price of happiness. Right. It’s more important to be happy because you got to be more successful as a happy person than you are ever going to be as a miserable motherfucker building someone else’s dream. A lot people don’t water themselves. They don’t put time to becoming what they want to become. They put it on hold. Plan your dream out while you’re doing whatever, start making a plan. And then the other thing is plans are important. Not that you have to stick to it. Plans change all the time. But having a plan gives you a direction towards your dream. Without a plan, most people don’t know where to go. Right. How do I get to my dream? And that is the hardest thing. If you get in your car, you don’t have directions? Damn, you can get discouraged about going anywhere. You won’t go if you got to fucking pull out a map or some shit. You want the direction. So why don’t people try to plan out the directions to their dreams?
[45:17] Siggi Bennett: I think a lot of people are scared. The money part of it is what scares people. How do I quit my day job to go after my dreams if I can’t support myself? You know, if your dream isn’t necessarily gonna make you big bucks right away, you know, and a lot of people hold themselves back because they’re like, well, I still have to support myself financially. So I think this can be your side gig. But people aren’t willing to put in the hours for that. It’s like if you work a 9-to-5, you gotta come home and work on your dream until 3 in the morning and then get up again at 8 o’clock in the morning. You got to put the work in.
[46:01] Martellus Bennett: Yeah. Because like when I was playing in a league, my animation and my app company was in London. So there would be days when I’d have to wake up at 5 a.m. to talk to them before I went to practice. But most guys wouldn’t do that. So I’m learning, I’m building like that. In the off-season when everybody else was traveling, I interned at Nickelodeon. I go to Cartoon Network. I go to DreamWorks, I go to Pixar. I’ll go. And I’m just learning all these different things. I’d job shadow somebody. I’m learning the lingo, the jargon. Also, people network wrong. You have to network for net worth. You don’t just network to know people. Right. Networking for net worth is a totally different strategic plan. If I’m interested in politics, going to the BET Awards makes no fucking sense for me, right? Go to the governor’s ball or the inauguration or anything in politics does. If I go to the presidential debate, I will run it to people who are interested in the same thing I am, which gives me a closer step to my dreams of possibly meeting somebody that could help me along the way. You gotta build those communities around your dream.
[47:10] Siggi Bennett: I think it’s cool to see people really giving it their all, going after it. I was leaving Martellus’ office one day in Burbank He works down the street from the Disney offices. And I drove past Disney and there’s two guys outside with big signs. At first I was like, oh, maybe they’re just homeless. And then you read the sign. A sign was like, “Will Intern.” And they’re like 40, 45. Who knows what job they actually have during the day or whatever. But actually being willing to put yourself out there is the hardest part.
[47:45] Martellus Bennett: And discipline. I think my definition of discipline is allowing yourself to get what you want.
[47:54] Michael Bennett: That’s snap snap. That Maya Angelou shit.
[48:00] Siggi Bennett: Discipline is one of the highest forms of self-love.
[48:03] Martellus Bennett: Masturbation is, too.
[48:18] Martellus Bennett: Thank you guys for being on the show today. It was a lovely conversation. I’m glad we got to dig deeper into your personalities and your passions rather than talking about sports.
[48:31] Siggi Bennett: How often do we actually talk about sports as a family? Not often.
[48:36] Pele Bennett: No, but I think that’s a beautiful thing, is that the more time we spend together, we’re still learning about each other.
[48:49] Martellus Bennett: I appreciate it. I think this will be the number one podcast show in the world.
[48:53] Michael Bennett: Check this out, Mouthpeace with Pele and Michael Bennett, the hottest show on air right now. Next week, we’ll talk to my former teammate from the Seahawks, Super Bowl champion, Pro Bowler Cliff Avril and his wife Tia Avril about parenting and how to just be married in America.
[49:16] Michael Bennett: Please subscribe to us or like us on anything that you’re listening to. Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, whatever you’re listening to get away from your family, whoever you don’t want to be around. And make sure you rate us or give us a comment. Even though we don’t give a fuck about your comments, give us a comment. Mouthpeace is a production of Lemonada Media, which you can find online on all social platforms @LemonadaMedia. You can follow me on social media, @MosesBread72. I love bread, and biblically, I always thought I was Moses.
[49:46] Pele Bennett: And you can follow me on Instagram at @pelepels. Mouthpeace with Michael and Pele Bennett is executive produced by us, the Bennetts. Our Lemonada Media executive producer is Eli Kramer, and our producer is Genevieve Garrity. Our assistant producer is Claire Jones and our audio is edited by Brian Castillo. Thank you to our ad sales and distribution partners at Westwood One, and to all of our sponsors for making this show possible.