VH1’s new scripted series Hit The Floor takes us into the world of fictitious pro-basketball team Los Angeles Devils and their dancers, the Devils Girls. Asha (Taylour Paige) is a newbie to the squad, and as she tries to navigate through the vicious dancing world (boyfriend in tow), McKinley Freeman’s character Derek Roman doesn’t mind being her very attractive teacher.
“He’s super talented but isn’t quite committed as the other people around him,” the former college ballplayer says of Roman’s naughty nature. “But because he is so talented, he gets away with it.”
Vixen caught up with the fitness guru-slash-actor as he dishes on his new role, following his dreams and workout advice for women.
VIBE Vixen: What can viewers expect from this new show?
McKinley Freeman: A lot of twists and turns. Every episode has a really big dance number, and the acting’s really good. People really bought into what we’re trying to do as a team.
Explain more about your character.
Derek Roman is one of the star players. He likes to party, have a good time and live life.
From watching the trailer, he looks like trouble. Will we love or hate his character?
With any good character, you’ll ultimately do both. That’s the cool thing about how it was written. It’s like life–some people will dig it and some people don’t. It can change each week.
How does your character relate to you when you played ball in college?
At no point in my college career, whether I was playing a lot or not playing at all, did my confidence ever waiver. No matter what happened I knew who I was and what I brought to the table. Derek’s confidence might be in the wrong things but he’s confident nonetheless.
You played ball, got your Master’s degree in marketing, and you act. What advice can you give to someone about following their dreams?
Don’t take a no from someone that doesn’t have the power to give you a yes. Stay on task. Don’t get distracted or discouraged. I’ve always been more afraid of not trying than failing because failure is apart of the process. Life is going to have ups and downs, so they might as well be the ups and downs of the life you want to make and the life that you want to live. You get to a point where you have to motivate and rely on yourself because one day someone can’t be there.
Has playing this character made you miss your dreams of playing ball?
Absolutely. Any hooper that played in college, you still have dreams of the time where you scored 30 [points] in the game. There are times when we shoot at an arena that I’d go hours before my call time and shoot around. It’s the best job I’ve had as an actor. When I was doing all those drills as a kid, I didn’t know I was doing that for the benefit to be a character on a new show that was coming out. It’s funny how if you allow life to do its thing and remain focused, you ultimately will be prepared for what’s to come. It’s kind of poetic how it happened.
Who’s more of a ladies’ man, Derek or you?
I get along with everybody [Laughs]. I’m single and I don’t have any kids. I guess we’ll all find out at the same time.
Single with no kids? You’re a catch.
It depends on who’s doing the catching. I’ll say that I am who I am, and I’m confident in that. It might work with somebody or it might not work with somebody else, and I’m cool with both of them.
VV: You’re in great shape. What’s the best workout technique for a woman to do to get the best results?
MF: Do cardio, even if it’s just walking. Pay attention to the time of day you eat. If you’re going to have carbs, have them earlier in the day because they’ll give you energy in the day. If you’re going to have carbs at night, it should be in the form of a vegatable. I’m a fan of desserts so I won’t say pass on that but find a good balance.
Lastly, what’s the most ridiculous dieting scheme that women do?
Not eating. Sometimes you’re juicing for fasting but you still have to eat.