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Austenland's Ricky Whittle pursues passion, encourages others to do the same

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We have all heard the saying "To thine own self be true." For many that might not resonate, but for Ricky Whittle there could not be a truer saying that explains the success he has been able to have.

Many in the United States have gotten to know him from his role as Charles on VH1's hit show SINGLE LADIES, but the U.K.-born model and actor had already made a name for himself on shows like Dream Team and Hollyoaks and now he is ready to conquer the world. On Feb. 11th fans of Whittle will be able to see him in the DVD release of his latest offering Austenland.

"It's always a pleasure and an honor to be doing something that you love," Whittle told me during our conversation. When I mentioned his growing fan base through SINGLE LADIES he told me he saw it as an amazing opportunity. "For starters it's fantastic. For them (the fans) to appreciate it is a job well done for me. " He says that his start in the states is "a great start" for him in expanding his based. "It's onward and upward from here."

The internet has been a large part of how the word has spread about this talented actor. Whittle says it's taken some getting used to, but he is adapting to how people are getting their information about him. "The world is ever changing," he says. "It really is becoming a technological place. It can be scary, but I am enjoying the opportunity to have that instant connection with my fans. That part is fantastic. I definitely like to reach out."

As much as Ricky Whittle loves what he does, acting and modeling weren't his first choices for a career, but it quickly became the only thing he wanted to do. "I didn't know until I stepped on the set of the show the Dream Team that this is what I wanted to do. I fell into acting. I wanted to be a soccer player, but being on that show changed everything. I learned from the director, cameraman, everyone I could. I am still learning. One of the best lessons came from Terence Maynard. He told me 'Don't act it just feel it. Don't try to act it because that is when it is going to look fake' That is by far the best advice I got, and I never looked back. Now I honestly can't see myself doing anything else. I'm like Peter Pan. I get to play make believe for a living."

Though he has been fortunate, Whittle realizes that the business is not all glitz and glamour. "Some just see an easy way in or a quick buck," he says. "It's a very competitive and aggressive industry. You have to be patient and understanding. You're not going to get the chance to be seen in a lot of jobs. You have to never give up and believe in yourself, following your heart's desire."

Outside of promoting his current project online, the star also uses social media to encourage those connected with him. On Twitter he is known for such motivational messages as "It’s your life. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for living it your way.", "Never let the things you want..Make you forget the things you already have." and "You'll never leave where you are until you decide where you'd rather be."

His belief for all of is that the key to finding success is being the best form of who you can be. "You shouldn't try to imitate anyone else," he says. "Just be you. Don't be disheartened. If you're not being true to yourself you might miss out on your opportunity. Stay faithful to yourself and what you want. What's meant to be will be."

Stay in contact with Ricky Whittle on his website at www.rickywhittle.com and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mrrickywhittle.

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