Ricky Whittle has been turning heads on this season of VH1’s Single Ladies! FanBolt had the pleasure of sitting down with the star here in Atlanta to discuss his work on the series and also his move from the United Kingdom to the United States. From his work on Hollyoaks to Strictly Come Dancing (the British version of Dancing with the Stars), Whittle is no stranger to fans overseas. However, he knew if he really wanted to move his career forward – Hollywood was the place to be.
“My friends said I was crazy, but L.A. is the hub of the industry. It’s the epicenter of the business,” Whittle said. “If I wanted to get above the plateau that I had reached in the UK, I had to make that move.”
Being a Royal Air Force kid, traveling was always in Whittle’s blood. He had no trouble landing work as soon as he arrived here in the States. He booked Austenland opposite Keri Russell, Jennifer Coolidge and Jane Seymour almost immediately, and then VH1’s Single Ladies soon followed.
Whittle called Atlanta home from January through June of this year as he worked on the VH1 series, but that wasn’t the initial plan. When he landed the role of Charles, it was only going to be for a couple episodes.
“I was originally only supposed to be in about 2 episodes of ‘Single Ladies’, but they liked my chemistry with Raquel who is played by Denise Vasi,” Whittle revealed. “So they wrote me in for a much larger arc to see me through till the end of the season.”
When talking to Whittle about his Single Ladies character, it’s clear that he loves his role, and he’s even a fan of the series.
“Charles is an eat, pray, love guy. He’s a good guy. He falls very quickly for Raquel. He’s a very spiritual character. He’s into his yoga and tantra. I’ve got some very steamy tantric sex scenes.” Whittle revealed.
“I don’t read all the scripts. As an actor it’s a choice I make,” Whittle disclosed. “So number one, I don’t know what other characters are talking about – just like in real life. And number two, I get to watch it like a fan every Monday night.”
So what has been the most challenging part of working on Single Ladies for Whittle? The accent.
“The accent has been challenging,” Whittle responded. “I’m more of a mimic. My accent tends to drift to where ever I am. Even since I’ve been in America, when I go back to England, people are like ‘whoa what’s with the accent?'”
But the accent wasn’t the only challenge he faced. Coming from the set of Austenland to Single Ladies, there was a major shift in work tones.
“I came from a film where the producer said ‘Go play’. She was very free and you could just roll with it and improvise,” Whittle answered. “I was working opposite Jennifer Coolidge, and she’s a comedic genius. She never sticks to the script, so you’ve got to be on your toes.”
“So coming from that to Single Ladies, I had to stick to the script,” Whittle continued. “They’re very rigid with that, and there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s just a different way of working. Going from that freedom to being that disciplined, it was a nice challenge. It keeps you versatile.”
Another challenge for Whittle was the amazing food that Atlanta has to offer.
“The best food I’ve had was actually in catering at Single Ladies. It’s insane. I can’t live in Atlanta. In fact, even if I’m offered, I’m not sure I could come back for another six months, because I’ll just be fat,” Whittle joked. “The food is amazing here. You guys can cook! And the girls are fantastic and friendly. If I come back next season, I’ll be fat and married with a few kids!”
“As I have various nude scenes, I need to be in good shape, so they watch my diet as well. They’re very quick to smack my hand when I reach for the chocolate brownies or the cookies which I’m obsessed with,” Whittle continued. “I have a very sweet tooth. I’m terrible. I don’t eat fruit, vegetables, fish, or eggs. I literally live off junk food. I love all sorts of meat – burgers, pizzas, curries…”
The next question was obvious. How does Whittle keep in amazing shape with such an indulging diet? The answer is a lot simpler than you may think. While Whittle does contribute part of it to just having good jeans and a fast metabolism, he does have a few pieces of advice.
“Because Charles is very into yoga and tantra. I wanted him to be very lean. So this is actually the lightest I’ve ever been since puberty,” Whittle confessed. “I hit the treadmill an hour a day, and I reduce carbs. It’s a trick my friend taught me. I’ll cut carbs for ten days, and after about four days, your body goes into this shock where there’s no carbs to burn. The first thing your body looks for is the fat cells, and it starts to burn away all your fat and brings out your muscle tone. So as long as you keep eating protein, it won’t attack your muscles.”
After chatting with Whittle about Single Ladies, we couldn’t help but think to ourselves how the casting for the role was perfect. Whittle clearly knows a thing or two about women, so we asked him to share some advice for other guys who may need a little guidance in that department.
“I recommend all men watch this show. It’s not a female show. Sure the main cast is female, but guys can learn a lot. I’ve learned so much from this show about how women work and how women think.” Whittle revealed.
“Men think they know what women think and what women need, and a lot goes unsaid. But if you just communicate, then there are no gray areas. It is that white and black,” Whittle continued. “If you’re that direct and honest with a woman, you can pretty much expect it back.”
It’s so simple, but it’s also some of the best relationship advice we’ve ever heard from a male! Though if our favorite TV characters took that advice – we wouldn’t have the juicy episodes to look forward to every week!
Whittle can’t tell us if he’ll be back for Single Ladies season 3 yet or not based on the arc they have set up in the season finale, but we have our fingers crossed! Sound off in our comment section below about your thoughts on Single Ladies and where you want to see Whittle’s character go next season!
Interview By: Emma Loggins
Photo credit is photographer: Jai Crocker