If you're caught up on season five of How to Get Away with Murder, then you are familiar with Rome Flynn. He's the latest addition to Shondaland, a handsome addition, if we might add.
Starring as Gabriel Maddox, Flynn is currently a series regular on the ABC drama. In addition to #HTGAWM, he stars in The Haves and Have Nots and most recently appeared in A Madea Family Funeral. Flynn may be an attractive actor with an athletic build, but there's more to the Chicago native than his appearance.
With this month's #XOMan feature, we delve deep with Flynn to learn more about who he is outside of his career, fatherhood, his views on marriage, and why he's only willing to give love one more chance.
How did you become a part of the ‘HTGAWM’ family, and what has that overall experience been like for you?
Courtesy of Rome Flynn/Twitter
Originally, when I got the audition, I was in Atlanta. I was filming The Haves and Have Nots and my schedule was just crazy, and so when my team sent me the audition, I told them that I couldn't do it. I wasn't going to be able to find time to audition, because I was at work for 10-12 hours sometimes. I said no. But then after reading the audition and obviously being a fan of the show myself I knew I had to figure out how I could send a tape in.
"It's been a great experience so far. It's been a hell of a ride."
I'm very happy and excited about the ups and downs and whatever happens going forward, because I just feel like I'm very blessed and humbled to be able to work with the people that I'm working with. I'm a part of a platform that's incredible to be on.
Your character Gabriel is seeking truth, but we know the truth is not what’s best for him. Do you believe there are things in life you’re better off not knowing the answers to?
Personally, in life, I think yes. I believe that to be the case. I don't think we should know everything. But, in regard to Gabriel, I think he's just trying to figure out what happened to his father, and it has a lot to do with figuring out who he is.
I really try to keep [Gabriel] honest. Doing a show like this, you can get away from that. You can get away from the fact that he's Black. You can do a role like this and it become white-washed to a sense, because there's a stigma with people who are intelligent. Because you can't be smart and Black. That's the thing I try to be conscious of. I try to put a little bit of myself, because I want somebody to see the show and be like well, I actually like him. Maybe I can be a lawyer too.
In today’s society. There’s a lot of hidden truths. Do you find it difficult to trust people?
Courtesy of Rome Flynn/Facebook
Professionally, I have to trust my directors. I have to trust my editors. It's hard trusting people personally. I always try and approach the mindset of having good intuition about people. I tend to have a good sense about who a person is, even before you have a deep conversation with them, because there's tales and signs that we don't pay attention to on a daily basis.
I try to meet people and be open to whatever that person is and understanding of who they are. So, I don't have trust issues in that sense. But, yeah I definitely do feel like I protect the world that I live in though, as far as letting people in.
What are some telling factors for you when discerning a woman’s character that you’re interested in?
It's interesting because I feel like sometimes it changes for me. In my reality, it sometimes becomes hard to decipher intention a lot for women. If I'm talking to a woman, it depends on what I'm looking for. If I'm just looking to "hang out" with somebody, it's really not that difficult, because I feel like I always hold the cards.
At this point, I don't know what the dating life is like, because I'm so focused and driven on what I'm doing.
"It's so hard to find someone that matches my energy. What I'm seeking is bigger. It's big picture."
It's hard for me to connect with women, because, I don't buy into stuff online. I really do love my fans, and I think there's a lot of women out there who shower me with compliments, but I'll never buy into it. Because, once you buy into it, your values get skewed. That's not reality. They don't know you. They idolize certain aspects of you.
What important qualities do you view in a woman? Does being a father impact your views on women?
Courtesy of Rome Flynn/Facebook
I think ambition is something that I didn't know I wanted in a woman, until I saw it wasn't there. I just want someone to match my energy. I don't want a woman that I need to take care of. I want to take care of you, but I don't want to feel like I need to. That's the difference. A lot of women are OK with being taken care of. I want a woman who understands and values herself. A lot of women my age don't understand themselves.
Having a daughter has certainly made me analyze my relationships differently. I think that if I'm talking to a woman, I understand what I want from the jump. I never try to go into it seeking a situation where I lead anyone on. I'm always upfront, and my thing is that comes from holding all the cards.
What’s your sign?
So…do you always have to be in control?
I have to be in control, because I'm protecting a lot of things. I'm protecting my career. I'm protecting my daughter. My family. Not in a sense that I want to control you. In the industry, a lot of things are out of my control. The things that I can control, I'm very meticulous about.
What’s one of the first things you notice about a woman when she enters a room?
Walid Azami / District Magazine
Presence. There are millions of women in the world. You see a lot of women. You see beautiful women, and the beautiful aspect starts to look the same.
"The first thing I notice is a woman's presence."
What does an ideal date look like for you?
I'm a homebody. Honestly. I'm away sometimes a lot. I like to be at home. I'd rather watch a movie or something or have a glass of wine.
Some women want to be seen. I don't do public initially. I have to protect that. I don't want to be the guy that's out and seen with different women.
It’s funny because that goes against what most women want. And if you want a woman to treat you regular, how does that work? Because, you’re essentially asking me to bend the rules because of who you are?
Exactly. That's why you see a lot of celebrities with people that are successful in their field and dating people in their field or in the same realm as what they do. It's just easier to skip a lot of steps. It's easier to be understood. There are a lot of people lonely at the top, because it's this idea that nobody understands what they're going through, and people just want to have someone that sees them.
To a certain degree, you want to feel protected and it's really hard to trust people especially when you have stuff to do. I feel a little anxiety. It's not a bad thing, but it's like people went from wanting to take pictures with me to wanting to take pictures of me. You become not real to people.
If a woman is amazing and genuine, she’s not going to want to break through all those barriers. At some point, you have to have a good sense of judgement, no?
Walid Azami / District Magazine
I mean for sure. There's a balance that you need to have. Would it be a lot easier if I worked somewhere else and didn't have the success I had? Probably. Probably find love right away, but this takes sacrifice. It takes sacrifices to be great, and I feel like love is a part of that.
I've been in love twice with a woman, and I just said recently that I think I can go for one more. If it doesn't work this time, I'm actually cool off of it.
Is marriage important to you?
I don't know. Marriage is important to me, in the sense if I ever did get married – that's it. I would never get divorced. I have a lot of respect for marriage. It's just such a tall order to me. That would be a love that I haven't experienced.
The energy you put out there is what you receive. If you already putting it out there that it’s [marriage] not going to come, then it isn’t.
I'm open to it. That's the difference to me. I'm open to it. I never saw a healthy marriage growing up, so I don't know what that looks like. How am I supposed to know? I'm not saying it won't happen. I'm just saying I would be surprised if it happened. I've thought about it for sure.
"There's other things that are in front of me right now, but if someone came in and changed my course of thought, I'm all for it."
What can we expect from you in the future?
Rome Flynn in 'How to Get Away with Murder'
I've given it to God already. I want to keep breaking barriers. One of the most prolific things that I learned from working with Viola Davis and Tyler Perry is that creative control is important. A lot of people don't realize how much creative control Viola Davis has and obviously Tyler Perry has all the creative control. That's something I'm searching for, because I feel like film, TV, arts in general reflects the world around you.
A lot of people base their knowledge on stuff that they see. It's one thing to say we want more Black people in major roles, but I want more Black people in roles that aren't stereotypes. I want the film to just be amazing because this person is perfect for it. I feel like there's room for it. Those are things I would love at some point to be a part of. Those are things I'm interested in, because representation is important.
Featured image via Rome Flynn/Twitter