Since the arrival of Reality Television there have not been many traditional shows that have been able to compete with the radical nature of programs like, Love and Hip Hop New York, Basketball Wives and The Housewives series, and also provide professional theatrical performances from trained actors and actresses. It is just unheard of these days.
But wait…there is one. It not only has a relatable and vivacious story line, but it provides drama, steamy love and suspense! The popular VH-1 show “Hit the Floor” has had everyone talking since its premiere, now fans of the show are ready for the second season, which premiers on May 26th with the original cast.
Or maybe, they are ready to see that handsome, sexy, athletic Devil’s basketball player Derek Roman, played by McKinley Freeman, because just looking at him, will make one “Hit the Floor”; A hard question to answer for some women that cannot get enough of his prominent sophisticated and masculine nature and his candidly aggressive endurance for trying to take someone else’s girl.
He is the newest heartthrob to hit the VH-1 television circuit; very noticeable on screen because he has real ball player swag. His acting appearance on the show makes one ask themselves, “Did he play for the NBA?” McKinley’s performance is just effortless. He did not play for the NBA but he did play Division One college basketball.
In addition to these great attributes, this actor graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Illinois. He was recruited by IBM until a chance audition landed him a role on ABC’s All My Children.
McKinley is such an intriguing individual; one had to learn more about his character off the court. Please read below for the exclusive Examiner Interview.
Examiner: When did your passion for acting begin?
McKinley: I played the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz in the third grade. That was my first acting debut. I have a passion to connect with people so acting allows me to connect with people by storytelling. My role on “Hit the Floor” is a character that is hollering at someone else’s girl, but on paper it is someone else and I have to make people feel compassion for the character.
Examiner: When did you first begin to act?
McKinley: I was living in Atlanta, and I was modeling at the time. My agent called me and said that All My Children was in town casting, and I should check it out. I was like, I never really acted before, but I did go and check it out. Shortly thereafter when I was in Europe, I received the call that I had the part.
Examiner: What is your life view on acting?
McKinley: “I realized that acting was a hustle when my role on All My Children went a different direction. The journey had come to an end, but because of this bump in the road, I challenged myself to become a better actor. There are many people that have the same desire, so you have to be the best at what you do. I had to commit myself to being a professional at this from the beginning to the end.
Examiner: Can you think of an experience in acting that made you better as a person?
McKinley: I had casted for a role to be Alfre Woodard’s son on Desperate Housewives. I tested for the pilots and didn’t get them. It made me a better person because it made me look at it as a learning experience. I viewed it positively, if I made it down to the final three and 10,000 people were casted that have years and years of acting experience, then I must be pretty good. It’s all about perspective, it’s a choice.
Examiner: How does it feel to be received as a heartthrob?
McKinley: I appreciate the support. But the only people that are calling me a heartthrob are my mother and my grandmother. I am just like everyone else. I am not the best to take compliments. When I hear this, I am thinking, ‘who in the hell are they talking about’.
Examiner: What can we expect from the new season of Hit the Floor?
McKinley: You can expect more drama, more intimacy. There is a great story line. There are great writers at Viacom. This summer is going to be a lot of fun.
Examiner: How has this role helped you as an actor?
McKinley: Having the opportunity to act for 6 months allows me to work my creative muscle and expand my imagination. I have a great acting coach Diana Cassell. I love getting to the set and just playing my role. It is our responsibility as actors to make the roles come true.
Examiner: What advice can you give to other aspiring actors and actresses?
McKinley: Don’t be afraid to be unrealistic. Why not choose to do something different. Make a daily commitment. Set your course on that and refuse no for an answer. Be open to suggestions and growth. No matter how many “no’s” you hear, just believe that it is going to happen.
Examiner: Do you have any advice on relationships that you would like to give the readers?
McKinley: Be true to yourself. If you are not ready don’t get into it. Be honest with yourself. In any relationship that I have been in, I have always been faithful…I have never cheated. I have two sister s and I do not want to be a hypocrite. You have to have a set of morals and beliefs.
Examiner: How is it living in L.A?
McKinley: It’s home. I love the weather and the opportunity. But there are also a lot of distractions.
Examiner: Do you have anything else going on right now?
McKinley: I have a social media Q &A called “What do you think Wednesday’s? Here I ask relationship questions. I came up with this concept while in the shower, because I do my best thinking in the shower. I have been getting great feedback from many women on how it has helped them in their relationships. I have also self-published a book of poems. I am going to have a contest where I have a reader help me write a poem, and then I am going to do a giveaway with the poems I published in my second book.
Please follow McKinley Freeman on Twitter @mckinleyfreeman and on Instagram @mckinleyfreeman