Summer 2016 has truly been memorable. In just the span of a few months we have watched tragic police brutality, witnessed a business mogul become a presidential candidate, and flash-backed to our childhoods thanks to Niantic and the release of Pokemon Go! Most of these events were either troublesome or depressing, compelling many to find some outlet or reprieve from all the swarming negativity. Thankfully Signal 23 TV was able to provide us with some respite when it released the hottest web series to date, About Him.
The series centers around a young gay man, “Damien,” (Brandon Karson) exploring his sexuality the final summer before he heads off to college. Damien has a number of love interests; and although each of them are hot it has been scenes with “Best Friend,” better known as “Justin” that has really stolen hearts and made jaws drop! Rico Pruitt, the actor, and magic behind the character sat down with HeyMikeyATL for an exclusive interview where he discussed being Justin, behind the scenes of About Him, his future on the show, and his own love life.
The world was first introduced to Rico as “Justin” in the tenth episode, Best Friends, as a new quirky, but cool additional love interest for Damien. Rico landed the role when he did the Signal 23 TV audition call “About Justin” eye candy challenge and some friends who knew his involvement with a prior project alerted him to it. “It’s really funny…at first I wasn’t gonna do it, but I ended doing it anyway and ended up sending my audition tape after everyone else did. I sent it to the email and waited two days and when I didn’t get a response I called him…he asked me to do a FaceTime interview and we’re here!”Rico was a true professional in the episode; and one would never know that About Him is only his second major acting role. The first being Living 4 The Weekend.
Rico is cool, fun, and most of all about business! As Justin, however, his character initially comes off as kind of immature. He knows what he wants one minute, but then changes his mind the next one.”…Justin is a young kid graduating from high school. He’s kind of like the player that picked on the nerds in high school. I think he picked on them because he secretly liked them or deep down he wanted to be himself but couldn’t…but eventually he came around [he laughs]…I can totally relate to Justin, at that age that he is was at I really didn’t have that guidance…He’s got a lot he has to figure out for himself…”
Rico finds himself humbled to be apart of the phenomenon that is About Him, feeling the show’s popularity and success all centers from the professional of the cast and more importantly the director, Henderson Maddox. “I feel like Henderson Maddox is really creative, he’s really, really brilliant! He’s a really a great guy! Coming into the cast and meeting all these people– this is my first time really doing something like this, opposed to me doing ‘Living 4 The Weekend’ before I did ‘About Him’…but ‘About Him’ is on a whole different level no shade on anything I’ve ever done before . Henderson puts me in a different mindset, he brings out something I couldn’t see in myself…”
As Justin, Rico has had to perform some rather risque love scenes, the most infamous involved a little full frontal nudity near a dumpster! The scene was so graphic it could not go onto YouTube and instead was shown exclusively on Signal 23 TV’s site. “I knew you were gonna ask me about that [he laughs]…I’m steal dealing with that now– the backlash from my family and all the haters and people commenting on stuff…I really don’t like negativity…basically anything I do I’m gonna own it , and I’m getting to do something that I love and sometimes I’m going to have to make sacrifices. If that means I have to show my penis in the act then that’s just what it is going to have to take…” We were surprised about the backlash he got from people outside his family. As you know we currently have #EggplantFridays where a number of men, many of whom are celebrities, have shown themselves in rather revealing ways. Also, in just the last month the world has become more acquainted with the lower extremities of Draymond Green, 50 Cent, Orlando Bloom, Justin Bieber, and Peter Gunz!
Rico’s character has struck such a cord with fans that Justin will be getting his own spin off series, About Justin! The series will chronicle Justin’s own journey life and exploration of his sexuality and even feature appearances from a popular reality star “We actually start filming Monday [August 8th] for it [About Justin] and I’m really excited…I can’t reveal too much about it, but I can tell you that Mama Dee from ‘Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta’ will be playing my mother in it!” This is huge news and only reiterates just how wildly popular About Him is. “It’s really turning out to be a great year man!”
The young star admits that he is gay and has only been out for two years now, but feels comfortable and at peace with who he is and where he is going. He dismisses rumors that he slept with anyone to get on the show, or that he and Brandon ever messed around off camera. “My first time meeting him [Brandon] was on set and it’s been nothing but professional…we’re acting, we’re actors!” Rico goes onto reveal he is off the market and currently in a serious relationship. “I am in a relationship my boyfriend is a full time college student, and I’m happy…”
Rico Pruitt is truly a rising star and on top his game. It is rare to see someone so young and so focused, while simultaneously getting to do what they love. He continues to view About Him as a blessing and is looking forward to touring and the fans getting to see the season finale. “I promise you it’s going to be wild and unforgettable!” He hopes his desire and will to be the best makes things better for someone else who may be struggling with their sexuality. “Man this is the only life you get and I feel you owe it to yourself and the world to be the best and most authentic version of you that you can be!”
Be sure you catch About Him on Signal 23 TV and About Justin coming soon! Click here to see the tour dates, meet the cast, and purchase tickets to see the season finale in a city near you!