Dennis McKinley may be the hot dog king, but at home, it's his princess, Pilar Jhena McKinley, that rules. The Real Housewives of Atlanta dad became a first-time father when daughter PJ was born back in March 2019 — and it's been quite the journey of self-discovery ever since for the entrepreneur.
In an email interview with The Daily Dish, Porsha Williams' fiancé opened up about his hopes for their little girl — and if she takes after her dad when it comes to his love of food.
The Daily Dish: Describe your best Father’s Day?
DM: My first [and] only. PJ was “brand new” and life was hitting us hard. Porsha ended up having to work out of town with PJ. However there was no way I was going to miss being with them on Father’s Day! So I flew down to Miami and when I saw PJ on Father's Day she lit up! That day I knew what it meant to be a dad, I’ll never forget how that made me feel! I know I will love, protect, and be there for my little PJ forever!
What is the best dad advice you ever got and from whom did you receive it?
DM: My grandfather told me one day when I had kids that I would understand... I asked him what that meant and today I know the answer. I think anyone that’s reading this knows exactly what I mean.
How would you describe your dad philosophy?
DM: I think every dad wants to be a good dad, right; nobody wants to be a bad father, so with PJ I’m learning that she’s independent (she doesn’t like to be picked up, she doesn’t want you to feed her, she plays by herself). So I’m excited to allow her to make her own decisions, to grow in her own individuality. Right, so my philosophy is this is my kid now, but one day she will be someone else’s leader! I’ll help her connect those dots over the next 20 years.
What have you learned most about yourself from being a dad?
DM: I’ve learned that I’m not as tough as I thought I was! LOL.
What’s the most important lesson you can teach your kids?
DM: Responsibility, accountability, [and] action.
Are you the easy parent or the disciplinary parent?
DM: Tough question, what day is it? Lol.
What’s the most important lesson your kids have taught you?
DM: Patience. Time waits for no man, however I’ve re-learned what investment means. PJ has crawled, walked and started talking in a year! It’s helped me to look in my own mirror when I set goals.
Have your kids inherited your love of cooking and for food?
DM: MOST DEF. I bought PJ a kitchen set, every cooking utensil and food. She knows how to get down already, as a matter of fact she just baked cookies last night.
What do you hope for your kids and future generations?
DM: I hope that my kid [and] all kids find their true passion in life and they have the ability to fulfill those passions without the limitations set by the capitalistic society in which we live in. I never want PJ to say, "Hey, I'm doing this because it makes money," etc. I want her [and] all kids to say, "I’m doing this because it makes me happy."
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