Single Ladies is, yes, a show about single ladies, but the men of the show are definitely an important reason to watch. There are plenty of love interests that will come and go throughout the season, but the one man who will remain in the ladies’ lives is Val‘s boutique employee Omar, played by Travis Winfrey.
We sat down with Winfrey this week and it’s safe to say we have a little crush on him now. Winfrey talked about how his real first love is music and that he’s in New York to work on an EP for his band, Peachtree Industrial, while he has the summer off. But of course we wanted to know the Single Ladies dirt, so he got into the good stuff about what happens at the end of long days on the set, and why he hates working with Stacey Dash.
Single Ladies had 2.8 million viewers for the premiere, that’s crazy.
I know, I was just talking about that. That was expected and unexpected. It was hard to gauge it when you’re actually working on a project but when we read the script, every guy working on the project was like, this is going to be a hit.
To play Omar, have you created a back story for him, or is he fully fleshed out in the script?
Normally I would try and create a back story but I went the opposite for Omar. Because I’m straight and playing a gay guy, I wanted to leave it totally blank, no stereotypes filtered into it, none of the typical ways an actor or a gay person is portrayed. I wanted to make a very realistic, down-to-earth, wholesome character who just so happens to be gay.
You’ve had some lines, like the one about your online dating profile that mentions you’re “hung like a horse,” that have some shock value. Is it easy to deliver lines like that?
Being an actor, you have the initial worry of “People are going to really think I’m like this!” But it’s what we do. I personally don’t have an online dating profile but it’s funny that he’s cool, like, “Yeah, I lied about it,” and that’s how people are. Everything else, I’m just as shocked as you are. There were a couple times where I’ve had a dialogue with the writer to say, you know, my grandma’s going to be watching this. And it gets worse, trust me.
Can you tell me if we’ll see Omar’s love life at all this season?
Omar is at the point right now where it’s gonna take a lot to lock him down. It has to be a special guy…But it gets hot toward the end, I’ll tell you that. Omar’s sexuality…He’s the kind of person who doesn’t follow what everybody thinks, so you’ll never know what he’ll do. Omar will surprise you.
You mentioned you’re new to acting, so what’s it like working with veteran actors like Stacey Dash and LisaRaye?
It was fantastic. The acting thing is brand new to me, I started in music first. Working with Stacey Dash, I loved it, she’s been in the business for a while…It’s hard to work with Stacey because she’s so damn beautiful. I can’t even read when I’m around her. I hate working with her, now that I think about it. She makes me look bad because she’s so beautiful. I get so stupid around her.
For people that don’t know, can you talk about your music a little more?
We’re a small band called Peachtree Industrial, and we’re based out of Atlanta. I went through the whole boy-band factory a while ago, but we just did this for fun, and then we started getting offers from people and then VH1 came to us, somebody heard one of my songs, so we’re working on the EP now. You can catch one of our rehearsal sessions on YouTube to hear some of the songs we’re working on now.
Any chance we’ll hear you on Single Ladies?
I’m talking to them now about it. Music is my first love. It is probably one of the most golden opportunities to get with a network that’s in the birth of their scripted series. They’re open to the artistic side of it. What better place to be than a music network if you’re a musician and an actor?
I just found that out! Yes, I follow him. It’s weird. It’s very strange. The whole experience is weird. I never wanted to be an actor, but I’m so grateful. I haven’t even seen the show, I can’t watch it, so I’m just soaking it all in. I just now started Twitter and I’m really not good at it.
Do you have a favorite celebrity you’ve worked with or any stories from having them cameo on the show?
I got to work with Queen Latifah. Common was great, Terrell Owens was great, Pilar Sanders did a fantastic job…
People loved her last line to April this week, “You should have kept your legs closed then like you’re keeping your mouth closed now”…
That was one of the lines [writer] Stacy A. Littlejohn threw out there and was like, say this, it’s gonna kill. And she was right. On set we were like “Whoa.” We knew it was gonna be a hit.
Working with D.B. Woodside and Anthony Montgomery, too…those are my homeboys. And of course Tilky Jones, me and Tilky go way back to the boy band factory. (Jones was in the band Take 5.) A lot of people on set go further back than we ever imagined. But Queen Latifah topped the cake. I get to work with Queen Latifah.
What do you say to people who would say Single Ladies is a scripted version of Real Housewives of Atlanta, or even Basketball Wives?
Nope. The thing about Real Housewives, and nothing against them personally, but I think that Single Ladies is where they are striving to be. To become like those ladies, confident, already established. It has the same kind of drama but we take it more lightheartedly, you know? It’s still a comedy. They mean it when they’re yelling at each other on the Housewives, that’s some real meanness. It’s very important to separate the reality from the scripted stuff. You see how much cleaner and crisper it is when it’s prepared drama and not just “throw a glass of water on her” drama. I get embarrassed that people really behave like that.
So the rumors of there being real drama on the set?
There’s always going to be drama on the set, and I did see those rumors, but no. You would have seen some black eyes on the last few episodes if that happened. They’re professionals. We sometimes work 15- or 16-hour days and of course somebody’s gonna be like “Leave me alone,” but any other drama got blown up in the Twitterverse.