Terrence J has had one busy summer!
Fresh off of MTV’s Safe Word and covering the 2017 VMAs red carpet, the southern gentleman is already back to work for the network, hosting Season 6 of reality dating competition series, Are You the One?
The show features 22 singles looking for love while competing to find their “perfect match.”
In this exclusive interview with Ebony, the actor breaks down Season 6, talks reality TV romance and shares the best love advice he’s ever received.
Are You the One, Season 6, premieres tonight, September 20th at 10pm on MTV. Check out a sneak-peek following our Q&A.
Ebony: What made you want to host a dating competition series like Are You the One?
Terrence: I have an overall deal with MTV/ VH1, so I’ve been doing a lot of different shows over both networks. As for this show in particular, I kind of got hooked on it. This is something I haven’t done in my career and I thought, ’you know what? I want to do something like this,’ and it was a lot of fun.
How did you enjoy hosting a reality-competition series compared to the more celebrity driven hosting gigs you’ve become known for?
I’ve been on TV now since ’05, ’06, so you try to find things that are interesting and things that you’ve never done. Like you said, I’ve done mostly celebrity-driven interviews and shows. I wanted something that really connects to people.
Also, I think the older you get, you have to do some things that will keep you fresh, and these are wild 22-year-old’s. It was good to spend my summer with them.
Did you watch Are You the One during its previous seasons?
That was the problem! I was flipping through the channels and caught one episode and said, ‘Ok, now I have to see what happens.’ Then before you know it, I’m on episode 20.
As a viewer, what did you think of the show before signing on as host?
I initially thought ‘how can this be real? How can you know that all these cameras are around and you’re crying, talking about your heart is broken and you’re in love,’ you know what I’m saying?
But when you’re there and you experience it, you understand how it’s set up and then you get it. If you’re dating in New York or Los Angeles, you meet somebody on a Friday and it might be a whole week before you even see them again. These kids are talking all day long, getting to know each other, getting emotional, and they really go on a wild ride.
Back in your single days, is a show like this something you would’ve considered trying out for?
Uuhhhhhhhh, probably not [laughs]. I’m shy when it comes to that stuff. But it’s definitely something that’s a lot of fun because there are so many options.
Did any of the contestants come off to you as if they’re just looking for fame and not love?
I think even the ones that thought they were just looking for a break or looking to be popular got caught up in it. I mean, you’re there for a long time. No cell phone, no TV, nothing, just talking. Before you know it, you really start falling for people.
If things don’t go right, it doesn’t matter what you thought you were going to do. You can’t help but make some connections, and we get to watch it all play out.
Do you feel it’s possible to find true love on reality TV?
Absolutely. You can go on 10 dates with a person and still not get to know them. But spend a full 48 hours with someone, just talking? You’re bound to feel something.
What’s the greatest piece of love advice you’ve gotten?
To not follow any love advice. Follow your heart.
We know you’ve been busy hosting various shows and red carpets, but how much are you focused on Terrance J, the actor?
I start on a new scripted series that I’ll be announcing next week, and I’ll be moving down to Atlanta as well. I’m actually working on my scenes right now, I haven’t acted in a year, so I’m excited to be back on camera in that capacity.
This last year, it has been really important for me to focus on being a producer and really taking control of my career and creating opportunities for others. I’m definitely happy to be acting again, but I love being behind the scenes as well.
Check out his clip from Are You the One below.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.