'Love Is Blind''s Raven Ross Speaks Her Truth About Everything That Led To The Split With SK & More
A few months after the announcement of their split in November 2022, Love Is Blind alum Raven Ross is finally speaking her piece about the events that led to her final breakup with Sikiru "SK" Alagbada. In less than a week after Netflix premiered the Love Is Blind: After the Altar episodes that showcased Raven and SK's re-engagement, Raven was a special guest on the podcast The Viall Files. The episode gave her the space to be open and vulnerable about what happened since the Netflix hit show wrapped and also provided a timeline for SK's infidelity that ultimately led to the demise of their second chance at love.
The Viall Files, hosted by another reality dating show alum, Nick Viall of The Bachelor fame, was a lengthy interview where the two connected on finding love on reality TV, being cheated on, and moving forward. In the episode, aptly titled, "Raven Ross Tells All," Raven was able to demystify the image of SK that Love Is Blind portrayed and the man that she fell in love with and breakdown his web of lies, the manipulation she endured throughout the relationship, and what it felt like to live it all so publicly.
Here's what you missed.
If it wasn't heartbreaking enough to relive what must have been a high point of their relationship in the recently dropped After the Altar episodes where (spoiler alert) Raven and SK get engaged for a second time in the series (in an elaborate set-up orchestrated by SK, at that), the viewers/listeners of the episode are introduced to footage of Raven happily summarizing the beauty of her relationship with SK from a previous episode of The Viall Files.
In the clip played for the audience, she can be heard saying that the cornerstones of what makes them work as a couple are "trust" and "communication." "There is so much love there," she said in the clip. "He's literally my best friend."
Watching Raven's face as she listens to herself during happier times was just...rough, for lack of a better word. She kept it together though and said in reference to the clip, "It just really brings me back to like, I really felt like that. And I felt like, you know, we had filmed so long ago, it was nice to kind of like finally talk about our story because like you said it was so different, especially than everyone else's."
She continued, "We had some different circumstances that made our relationship different, culturally, the school thing, having to move. That was all against us and we still made something really, really cool work. And, like, I was just so proud of us and super in love. So to watch that, I'm like dang..."
The conversation between Nick and Raven then immediately segues into when Raven first caught wind of the cheating allegations on social media. Raven noted that it came at different times "with different women but it started with one girl who he actually met in San Francisco." Later, she would confirm that this was the woman SK met on Hinge while in San Francisco. Of note, by this time (unbeknownst to us viewers), Raven and SK were indeed engaged again (since August 2022 apparently).
She added about SK's cheating and seeing the video on TikTok posted by the woman, "When I found out about it, I found out with everyone else, on TikTok."
Raven set the scene, detailing that her first finding about it occurred right before Thanksgiving. SK was at school, and she was in Dallas. Her phone went "crazy" with people hitting her up asking if she had seen what the girl was alleging. Raven said during that time she watched the video she realized some of the messages and pictures the woman shared on her TikTok were the same ones SK also sent her while he was in Austin.
"Copy and paste," she said. "It was literally verbatim. The same selfie. The same words."
(L to R) SK Alagbada and Raven Ross in 'Love Is Blind.'
Raven explained to the hosts that she rationalized the betrayal at the time by viewing it as mostly words (aside from SK's eventual admittance to her that he saw the woman one time but it wasn't a date). She referred to that fact as his "saving grace" in her decision to move past it and stick beside him. “I’m sure this is the time when people are gonna say, ‘Girl you should have known,’ and yeah, I should have known. But everyone goes through this,” Raven told the hosts.
“It’s not like this was a thing in our relationship…I had never really had a feeling. There were little things along the way that I had kind of pushed down, but it’s not like I had girls DMing me all the time, ‘Oh I was with your man.’ And I truly trusted him so much. I mean, by this point when I’m finding this all out we already have an apartment together. Like, we already, like, do everything together. We already were, like, making plans to move to L.A. together."
"So it's, you know, I'm like, he wouldn't be doing all of this if he wasn't into it," she concluded.
The timeframe of when the messages and the Hinge-date-not-date with the woman happened in March 2022, which she reasoned with herself was so far from where they were in their relationship in November. "We were in a far different place by the time it was November," Raven said of their growth, adding that the conversation with SK at that time was, "'I'm gonna ride for you.'"
Raven explained she was good with that mindset until a few days later when the next bomb dropped that Raven described as "more damaging" because SK shared "quite a long past" with the woman. "The second one was far worse," she revealed.
"By the time the second girl came out on TikTok, he was already back home. So we were together at this point, physically at our apartment in Dallas. And again, we were just sitting in our kitchen and both of our phones start going crazy." They watched the video together and Raven recalled to Nick, the host, that that was followed by silence, noting that SK "does that thing where he’s got to ghost for a little bit and get the lies together.”
Raven detailed going into her closet to cry on the floor since it's her safe space where she allows herself to break if she has to. While the second woman dropped her video and then a second one not too soon after, Raven confessed that she felt like her "life was crumbling before her eyes."
Not only was a couple's trip between SK and the girl to Europe was exposed, but a couple's trip to Cabo was also exposed some time later. The latter of which dealt a heavier blow to Raven because it showed her a different reality than the one she was led to believe by SK.
Apparently, the weekend before the Cabo trip, Raven and SK took a trip to her hometown of New Orleans for her birthday trip where they spent time with her mom and family. Raven noted that as a big deal for her and told SK during that time that it was a grand gesture on her part to show him her readiness to do things "right outside of Love Is Blind." In her eyes, the relationship was deepening, but his true actions of going on a couple's trip with another woman a week later showed another story.
“My heart just sank and I made him tell me when….That point was the first time when I started using the words, ‘We’re about to be done. You’re pushing way past my limit because this is a bold-faced lie and you knew we were together at that point. You can't... you can’t argue it.'"
When asked why wasn't she already past her limit at that point, Raven addressed the question head-on and confessed that it was hard for her to separate the truth that was unfolding in real-time via TikToks and SK's admissions, from the man that she fell in love with in the pods, the trust that she had for him and the life that they were actively building together. In her mind, they had a lease to an apartment together, and he had re-proposed to her by this time after all.
She listed things like his intelligence and his kindness toward her and the fact that he was her best friend. "You keep telling yourself, 'Well, that's the person that I'm with,'" she explained before later adding, "I'm not giving myself excuses, but I think a lot of women go through this. People [go through this]."
Raven also went on to say that when everything was unfolding, she also felt "confused." In her eyes, her actions and her intentions aligned with the things she said she saw for them and the fact that she wanted the relationship. She said she was "all in" but sometimes his actions suggested that he wasn't on the same page. In retrospect, she told Nick that the reason she felt confused in those moments was that SK "wasn't really there with me." Raven would also reveal later in the episode that SK eventually told her that she was not his "type."
She continued, "We've talked about it after the fact but he really wasn't putting in 100% and I was."
Listen to "Raven Ross Tells All" in full for even more details below:
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Featured image by Sara Mally/Netflix
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'Queen Charlotte' Star Arsema Thomas Worked At The United Nations Before Landing Her Breakout Role
Actress Arsema Thomas (Arséma Adeoluwayemi Hamera) may be new to the acting scene, but the star's standout performance in Netflix's limited series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is already leaving a lasting impression among many.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, a prequel to Bridgerton, follows the young queen's life as her marriage to King George of England sparks an epic love affair and a societal shift.
In the drama, Thomas portrays the role of a young Lady Agatha Danbury, a close friend and confidant of Queen Charlotte, and it also depicts Lady Danbury's journey.
The series showcases the struggles Lady Agatha Danbury experienced in her lifetime. The list includes being forced to partake in a loveless marriage to a former African king Herman Danbury, becoming a widow, and possibly losing her estate and title following her husband's death.
Since Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story debuted on Netflix earlier this month, it has dominated the streaming service's top ten charts and piqued fans' interest in the show's stars, including Thomas.
Although many may not know a lot about the Atlanta native, who goes by she/they pronouns, and how she became one of the breakout stars in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, still, with the recent promotional tour Thomas has been doing for the show, she has shared some shocking details about her life.
Thomas' revelations within the past several months include details about her educational pursuits, previous work experience, her African culture, the steps she took to prepare for her role as Lady Agatha Danbury, and many more.
Arsema On Her African Heritage
Thomas, who is Nigerian and Ethiopian, is the daughter of diplomats.
The 28-year-old's parents, consisting of an Ethiopian mother and a Nigerian father, worked in the government to improve Africa's economic development.
Due to her parents' professions, the actress moved around a lot and lived in various countries like Kenya, Benin, Comoros, Uganda, and India, which exposed her to social issues. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Thomas opened up about having conversations about politics and government at a young age.
"Dinner table conversations were about politics, about African governance. I realized that in a lot of the countries I lived in, the effects of colonialism and imperialism were so blatantly obvious. That became the driving force for what I thought I should be doing as an adult," she said.
Later Thomas would ultimately reveal that her parents' work had inspired her to become a "doctor or something" because she wanted to make them proud.
Arsema Attended Carnegie Mellon University and Yale University
Prior to pursuing acting, Thomas revealed to Shondaland that she was a college graduate.
In 2016, she received her bachelor's degree in biophysics from Carnegie Mellon University. Following her graduation, Thomas interned at a mobile health clinic and a refugee camp in Kenya for over a year.
Around the same time, the star would continue her education by getting her master's in epidemiology and health policy at Yale University. Thomas disclosed that despite the educational success that she has achieved, acting became her main priority when she realized that this is something she could envision herself doing "100 percent of the time." This decision led Thomas to relocate to Paris, South Africa, and then to London to study drama.
"I packed up everything and moved to Paris because I wanted to do acting 100 percent of the time," she stated. "It was always something I had wanted to do, [but] I didn't think I would be able to. I thought it was going to be a hobby or a thing that I'd have to suppress in myself for the rest of my life."
Thomas would land her first role in 2021 as a guest star on the television series One Touch. Shortly after, she would participate in the 2022 film Redeeming Love as the character Rebecca. The rest would be history because, around that time, Thomas would receive the life-changing role of Lady Agatha Danbury in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
Arsema On How She Prepared for Her Role In Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
When the opportunity for Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story came along, Thomas took various steps to transform into Lady Agatha Danbury.
The actress, who has admitted to never seeing Bridgerton in the past, told Cosmopolitan UK's Up Close series that because she wasn't familiar with the fictionalized character, she decided to find things that she thought Lady Agatha Danbury would resonate with.
It includes reading books about women by well-known female authors who have made history in their own right, creating a Spotify playlist with music that Lady Agatha Danbury could listen to, and having waist beads made for her character.
"There was a lot of stuff I needed to get into this role because the character is fictional. So I read a ton of books about women or by women, that I thought that Agatha Danbury would resonate. So I read 'Ain't I A Woman' by Bell Hooks. I read Angela Davis' autobiography. I read Assata Shakur's autobiography, 'Tar Baby' by Toni Morrison, 'Eyes Are Watching God,' and 'Vaga Bonds' by Eloghosha Osunde. I made an extensive Spotify playlist, and I got waist beads made for Agatha," she explained.
Further in the interview, Thomas mentioned that she had waist beads made for Lady Danbury and wore them throughout the filming process because it helped ground her as she portrayed the character whom she described as entirely different from who she is as a person.
"It was a Nigerian woman threading these beads, and I asked her to thread beads specifically for this character, and I wore it throughout the entirety of filming," she said. "Because it was just kind of was a physical grounding point to this woman that is really, really actually far from who I am as an individual."
Thomas shared that talking to her grandmother, who had a similar background to Lady Danbury, such as having an arranged marriage at a young age, also helped her prepped for the role.
"I also talked to my grandmother a lot. I didn't realize how similar she was to this character. Because she was also married off when she was quite young," she revealed. "It was really interesting to kind of talk to someone in my life who I've known, who’s gone through something that is essentially the stripping away of their freedom, and someone who doesn't have any resentment or harbored anger towards the situation."
Arsema Worked At The United Nations
Thomas' work experience is an interesting one. Despite interning at three different health organizations, she previously worked at United Nations Population Fund, according to her Linkedin profile.
United Nations Population Fund's site states that the organization is part of the United Nation's "sexual and reproductive health agency." The gathered information on Thomas' profile says that she was an associate for the company from 2017 to 2018.
Some of Thomas' responsibilities included conducting "policy analyses" for United Nations Population Fund's sustainability and "supporting the regional desk specialist" in the program's division.
Arsema Speaks Five Languages
On top of Thomas' overwhelmingly impressive resume, the actress also speaks five languages.
According to the African publication Bella Naija, Thomas speaks English, Amharic, Yoruba, French, and Spanish. Although Thomas hasn't publicly talked about what inspired her to become multilingual, many can assume it is because of the various locations she has lived in throughout her life and her interest in learning.
Thomas may be a rising star now, but with the facts provided above, the actress has displayed through her work ethic and drive that she can soon become a household name.
Thomas' latest work Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, is now streaming on Netflix.
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