[Editor’s note: Three years since Lifestyle Asia published this article, the Mead Kings are still going strong. The couple, in fact, celebrated their 15th anniversary last February. A few days ago, they hosted a live in Angelina’s YouTube, where they answered questions from viewers for this year’s Pride Month. Both their love and their story remain enviable, and they are a beacon of hope and a life to model after for those of us who don’t fit a mold and continue to be marginalized for it. Love, as they and the whole community continue to say, should win. Always.]
It has been more than a year since the couple said goodbye to Ian King and welcomed Angelina Mead King into their lives. The world was shocked when news broke that the businessman and car enthusiast had chosen to live as a woman. Joey, however, was not, since Angie had been honest with her from day one. There were many things said about them but the Mead Kings were charting their own course and moving on. They were looking to a bright future, and pursuing their respective careers together.
“We both made a commitment,” Joey shares. “We have been tested. We have been challenged. The sacrifices came in different forms. What comes with change is sacrifice, which grows into a spiritual strength that becomes a powerful grounding for us to both grow individually, but yet stay rooted to each other.” It was admittedly a trying time in their life.
As the media frenzy waned, the Mead Kings began to establish a normalcy they once had. They went back to morning routines. For Angie, it means breakfast and exercise before work. She shares, “I try to stay healthy by eating healthy, avoiding fried foods. I stopped smoking cigarettes in (February of 2017) because I wanted to take my racing career seriously. I stopped drinking everyday as well. After my coming out, there was a lot of celebration and I needed to stop. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m out. It’s done and I need to focus on being healthy.” Nights of drinking and eating McDonald’s at three in the morning became waking up at 6AM and doing cardio work to boost stamina.
Joey spends her mornings meditating before joining Angie for breakfast. They converge in the dining hall. “I start our day right with a probiotic-infused breakfast of yogurt, fruit and flaxseed mixes.” She continues with a laugh, “I want to look my best. At this stage of my life, it’s all about making sure everything works. I invest in me. I work out. I do my best to eat well and I try to remember to take all my supplements. I do have bad hair days, but I have my go-to model tricks to cover up any blemishes or spruce up non-cooperating hair moments.”
When Angie leaves for work to manage Car Porn Racing or Victoria Court, the family business left to her by her late father, hospitality tycoon Archie King, Joey finds time to play with their pets before errands or business related things in her work in fashion and the entertainment industry. If they miss each other for lunch, the two come together for dinner. “Always walk after a meal,” Joey recalls her father-in-law saying, and they do just that after supper. When it’s time to retire, they watch Netflix or the latest cute animal video on YouTube (Joey’s great joy). “We just chill and talk till it’s bed time,” says the once-Channel V VJ.
Love at First Dance Move
Angie and Joey first met at a party in Rockwell for Uno, a magazine ran by Angie’s brother Atticus at the time. Joey caught the young King’s eye. He asked his friend Tim Yap for an introduction. Tim asked, “Are you sure?” Angie was surprised to hear that Joey had a reputation for being a bit cold, an armor that developed during her years in the harsh fashion industry but he had his eyes set on her. Tim made the proper introduction. “She definitely gave me a hard time,” Angie recalls. “Joey asked me, ‘Do you always wear this?’” He was in a white-striped suit and a fedora hat. “I explained it was my brother’s event and he wanted me to look nice,” Angie continued. The rest of the conversation was quite difficult, as Joey seemed uninterested. When they said their goodbyes, they left for other parties.
A little past three in the morning, Angie bumped into Tim Yap again at Embassy and asked where Joey was. Tim brought him to Joey, greeting her with a “Hey, what’s up? Do you want to dance?” Joey responded with, “Yes, you can dance over there,” and pointed to a spot a short distance away. “Me being me,” Angie recalls, “I danced there even if was alone. I had no problem. I knew how to have fun, and I guess that’s what attracted her. I had great dance moves and she saw I was able to be myself even though I got turned down.” Joey eventually agreed to a date.
When Joey returned from a stint in Japan a day after Valentine’s, the two had their first date. They ended up at Thai restaurant People’s Palace and sat by the bar. One bottle of wine became two, and they hit it off. “By then, we had connected so much. We were surprised we had so many similarities. It was very interesting because the night ended up being an amazing one. We started at People’s Palace then went to two or three other different venues and bars. We ended up in Cuisine to go dancing, and just laughed the night away,” shares Angie about their first date.
Joey flew to Singapore for yet another gig, leaving Angie in Manila, unsure of when they would see each other again. Angie decided to make a big move and booked the next flight out to Singapore. From then on, they were together almost every day. They wed civilly in Beverly Hills on July 27, 2011, after a proposal from Joey. The newlyweds flew home, had a small celebration party for their friends in Manila, then began the rest of their lives together.
Notes from Modern Family
Joey and Angie Mead King’s household is far from traditional. Joey shares, “Family is your modern day tribe consisting of men and women from different generations, who share concern and love. It symbolizes so much more than any other relationship you may experience in life. It’s a supportive bond. Even just to say the word “family” effuses a sense of internal warmth.”
For them, it is a wife and wife, standing by each other in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for as long as they both shall live. “Find a partner to bring out the best in you. It’s such a big factor on how I progressed,” Angie says about Joey’s decision to stay with her even after her choice to live as a transwoman.
She continues, “I never thought I’d be able to come out, live my life, and still have the love and support of my family. Families today are becoming less traditional, and it’s amazing that we live in a time when things like what I did is possible. Things like coming out, being yourself and not being ridiculed by your own family are now possible. Instead, you are being supported, loved and nurtured.”
Angie is grateful for a solid family unit, “Family is everything for me. If I didn’t have a good solid family, I don’t think I would have been able to be who I wanted to be. Family is there to accept and understand, and help figure yourself out. At the end of the day, they’re there whether or not things are good or bad. That, to me, is family. I’m very lucky because even though my mother left me when I was very young, I had different stepmoms coming in to help nurture me. So I was never really without a mom. I will always make it a point to visit my step mom or brother even though I’m busy or after I get back from a trip. We’re very tight knit, especially after my father passed away.”
The other members of the Mead King household are Joey’s furry ones, her eight cats and five canine friends. As a young girl, she adopted four cats and was heartbroken when her stepfather sent them all away without telling her. It was due to his allergies. She lived like a nomad during her modeling days, which never gave her the opportunity to own a pet. After marrying Angie, she was finally able to provide a space for the animals in her life. “I see no difference in full-bred and not full-bred animals. I love and respect my furries. I feel pain in my heart when I see cats and dogs on the street with no home, and don’t get me started when I see irresponsible pet owners. Animals are pure love.”
“Home for me was a suitcase for so many years,” recalls Joey about her modeling days, traveling the world for various projects. Today, she and Angie find it difficult to stay in one location for a long period of time. Her modeling and hosting gigs abroad and Angie’s car shops in the United States and racing stints have them sitting in airplanes more than they wish. “This is an example of the sacrifices,” Joey says. “Being away from our animals is difficult for me. I also miss out on some fun projects to work on, but I do enjoy traveling. I started my modeling career being a gypsy but as long as I’m with Angie, I’m ok.” Joey pauses thoughtfully and adds says, “I can make any place a home. Home to me is where I feel safe and content. It’s more of an emotion.”
Their lives are far from perfect, but the two trooper on in matching mustangs and four-inch stilettos. “The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that life is very short to do things you don’t want to do, so make sure you spend your waking moments doing the things you love doing, because at the end of the day, this is your life and you only have one life to live. Make sure it’s the right life you’re living,” Angie says. Joey smiles. She says with a grateful tone, “How boring is life to be perfect? There is so much more to learn and experience with a non-perfect life.”