Meeting Terrell Tilford, you get the sense that he’s never in a bad mood. Throughout our interview on the Atlanta set of Single Ladies, he was constantly joking around and having a good time, as was everyone on the set of the show while I was there. Tilford, who plays Sean Clark, an old flame of Keisha’s, made it pretty obvious that this is a cast that really enjoys and respects one another. Though he’s new to the show, the veteran actor has worked with his leading lady, LisaRaye McCoy, in the past which made it that much easier for him to settle in.
Did you get your start on soap operas?
Well I came from theater first first and foremost. I’ve been doing a lot of daytime over the years, but last year I was on a series for Lifetime called The Protector with Ally Walker, Tisha Campbell, Miguel Ferrer. I bounced around. I just shot a pilot up in Vancouver with Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas called This American Housewife. Yeah, so I’ve been bouncing back and forth between daytime and prime time, the stage…a little bit of all of it. We’re gypsies, so you know, where the job is.
what do you consider your home base?
Probably Los Angeles because that’s probably where I’m at the majority of the time. But, 40% of the time is in New York as well so, you know, my motto is: Have script, will travel.
what drew you to Single Ladies and this character?
With every show, especially coming into a show that’s already established, it’s about finding the rhythm and the pace and really establishing that rapport with the different actors and establishing the different relationships and really sort of finding where my character fits in. You know, because my character has a history that was already established before I got here. So, it’s a matter sort of owning that and them bringing that history to the relationship…with Lisa Raye, who plays Keisha. Just sort of bringing that in and sort of selling that we were once an item before as well and having not been. Before the show we got together quite a bit, just so that we could bring some depth to what’s on the page.
What’s it like being a man on a show with so many strong women?
[Laughs] That’s called a man’s dream. And on the other hand I think it’s the women’s payback for all the male-dominated shows. I think it’s great. I think it’s awesome because I’m not normally in that circumstance. Usually it’s the other way around where it’s a male-dominated show. So, I like the fact that the women are running things and we as the guys have to just navigate it and find our way within their lives. It presents its own challenge. It’s just a matter of keeping your tail between your legs a little bit and doing what they say. Otherwise, they beat you.
I’m sorry to hear that.
It’s okay. It hurts just a little bit. [Laughs]
Is there solidarity with all the other guys on the show?
Pretty much. We have to do it in secret and we kind of like just give each other the eye because if the women catch on to it, once again, they beat us, they tie us up. They lock us up. We cry quietly in our trailers.
Sounds terrible, I’m sorry. So let me ask you this, if you had to choose between one of the women on the show, would you gravitate toward Raquel, Keisha, or April?
There’s only one way I can answer that. I’m going to gravitate towards Keisha.
Is it intimidating working with someone like LisaRaye who has such a strong presence? Maybe intimidating is the wrong word, but she’s just got such a strong, empowered vibe.
No it’s not intimidating as much as…it’s different and it’s great. We’ve worked together before. We worked opposite each other on All of Us when she was doing that series. I played a boyfriend of hers at the time who was trying to wedge his way back into her life as well. The thing that I like about her is she’s such a strong woman and has a big personality. You know, Lisa Raye is a lot of business and she has a great soft side to her when she let’s that go as well. It’s really beautiful to see. So, it’s a matter of me finding the wavelength to work in between it as well because you got to be strong up against her otherwise she’ll eat you alive. That’s not a bad thing. I love it about her. She’s a tough chick. I like that aspect.
So what’s one thing you want viewers of this show to know about you, the real you?
Hmm…You know, I pretty much like to leave it to people to sort of, you know, whatever gets revealed is sort of for them to decipher for themselves. Whatever I try and tell them might actually be a lie.