It’s Where He Is Going to Be
“Fans re-quote me now and again,” Ricky Whittle says. “I know where I’m going to be. It’s not where I want to be, it’s where I’m going to be, and this is just a step until I get there. I have no doubt that I’ll ever get there.” This sense of certainty has long been an integral part of the charismatic British actor’s personality. “It’s this kind of strange confidence that I’ve always had in life,” the 37-year-old American Gods star matter-of-factly says, expressing his absolute confidence in himself.
Born into an English military family, Whittle spent most of his childhood moving from place to place as his father, who was in the Royal Air Force, was assigned to a new outpost every three years. However, Whittle was not bothered by the constant change in scenery – but instead he flourished. “It made me really outgoing, and I found it very easy, and I still do to this day, to assimilate to different cultures, to different people,” he shares. “I can relate to everyone because I spent my life around so many nationalities and faiths and beliefs. It made me very open to everything, which I feel very blessed for.”
An athletic child, Whittle grew up dreaming of being a professional soccer player, but his propensity for injury let him choose to study criminology and law at Southampton Solent University. In order to pay for his books, he became a model for Reebok, and eventually he stumbled into his first acting gig in the British television series, Dream Team, without any acting training or experience, or any interest in pursuing acting as a career. “As a kid, you do school plays and you take drama in school in the U.K., and I was good at it, but it was not something I’d do as a career. I wanted to be a soccer player, and then my attention turned to law. [Acting] was nothing I even thought about at all, and then once I got into it, I couldn’t see myself doing anything different,” he recalls.
In the U.K., Whittle gained public fame as a soap actor, particularly for his years-long tenure on Hollyoaks, where he played a police officer, but he soon realized that there was little space to grow professionally in the British entertainment industry. “In the U.K., there’s only so far you can go,” he elaborates. “When it comes to actual craft and developing your skills and wanting to succeed in film, Los Angeles is the hub. I knew that if I ever wanted to make it in film, I had to be in Los Angeles, I had to be in the heart of it so that’s why I took that leap. I think that’s where my childhood came in again, where I was okay leaving my comfort zone.”
Now, on the other side of the pond, Whittle is once again turning heads and gathering praise for his works: The CW’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi show The 100 (he portrayed the role of Lincoln), and needless to say, the chillingly beautiful STARZ series American Gods where he’s taken the lead as Shadow Moon. (Whittle is quick to credit and thank both his colleagues and his mentors, including actor Terence Maynard, who he credits as the man who kick-started his career.) “At the end of the day, it’s more of a feeling, it’s where I’m content, and I’m almost there. I want to show my versatility. I want to be in movies. I want to shoot fantastic films with great people. As an actor, you want to work on great projects with great people,” he affirms, adding that he is looking to do “some action, some romantic comedies. All of my characters are very stoic and strong and serious, always so serious, and I’m really a goofball. It’s about branching out and finding the right project – it’s about being comfortable in life.”
Writer: Monica Dias
Photographer & Videographer: Sandra Selva
Photographer Assistant: Mariano Roson
Fashion Editor: Lassalle (@stylebylassalle & @stevenlassalle_ - www.stevenlassalle.com)
Fashion Editor Assistants: Star Campbell (@starcampbellstylist) & Marcus Butler (@marcusbstyle) & Gala Lee (@galaleestyle)
Men’s Grooming: Michelle Harvey (for Opus Beauty - using Oribe & Hourglass Cosmetics)
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Smashbox Venice (@smashboxvenice - www.smashbox.com/book-appointment)