Exclusive Interview: Shades of Blue Star Dayo Okeniyi Talks Season 1, Jennifer Lopez & Finding Love!
Dayo Okeniyi is the rookie cop on NBC’s hit show, Shades of Blue. He stars opposite Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta as the scary, do gooder, who just may bring the police squads shady operation down. Audiences haven’t quite figured out if they love him for his innocence, or they hate him for his honesty! But, one things for sure, after my exclusive interview with the rising star, I’m leaning towards loving him!
Dayo had his big break in the blockbuster film, The Hunger Games, where he played Thresh opposite Jennifer Lawrence, he’s been working ever since and this time he scored a successful television series. The proud Nigerian born actor is handsome, talented, sweet, educated and single and we’re here for it!
This week on Shades of Blue, audiences will begin to find out what his character is all about, so it’s only fair that we get to know what Dayo is all about first. He gave me the tea on his character on the show and his personal life!
Since we first got to know Dayo as the tribute, Thresh in the Hunger Games, we we’re curious to find out….
What cast member of Shades of Blue would win The Hunger Games?
“Ray Liotta. Nobody’s getting past him.”
Hilarious and believable!
Because Dayo’s character (Loman) is naive and innocent, he doesn’t seem to be willing to do anything necessary to have his fellow police officers back.
Would you classify your character AS WEAK?
“Definitely. He’s very young and he has a clear idea of what he thinks it is to be a cop. There’s two sides to him. The question is how does he deal with that throughout the course of the season. And we’ll find out.”
Jennifer Lopez plays a corrupt cop named Harlee, who begrudgingly becomes an FBI informant and chooses to rat out her own friends in order to stay out of jail and keep custody of her teenage daughter.
What would you do if you were in Harlee’s situation?
“That’s a tough one. It’s a very hard decision. Honestly it’s two sides to being a cop and you just have to decide. It’s very hard to be in law enforcement and I think that’s what the show shows. And as cop or even in the military there’s decisions that you make and two sides to every choice. “
In last weeks episode, Dayo’s character (Loman) accidentally bust his fellow officers in the middle of a heist, he calls for back-up and madness ensues. This week we find out what he will do when back up shows up. Will he lie to protect the corrupt cops, or will he submit to his honesty and watch them all go down?
What’s going to happen now that the backup has shown up and people are shot?
“I don’t know? You’ll have to watch and see. Hopefully in these new episodes, we’ll find out.”
Now, that we know a little bit about this season, we want to who Dayo really is.
What’s your families reaction to your character and you being on this show?
“They love it. You know especially my mother. She’s so happy that I’m a good guy and that I didn’t die in this one! And she can watch me on tv. I keep telling my parents, my job is an actor! I’m not a real cop, that’s just the character, but they always ask me questions. And my dad loves it too. He is always bragging about me.”
What about your your friends reaction to you working with JLo every week?
“They all want to visit set, and they think that they have a shot! But I’m like, the woman has a boyfriend and some kids. She’s good, she don’t need you! And they are like ‘Yo, D, you trying to get with her?’ And I’m like ‘NO!’ You’re out of line. They watch the show to see her.”
How did acting become your dream?
“Oh man, I mean it always was. I was very involved in theater growing up. I got bitten by the acting bug late. I was in school and I took some classes during my junior year. I used to love to watch Rogers and Hammerstein and my father showed me ‘To Kill a Mockingbird. ‘ Then I started doing plays and theater. I was a closeted actor for a long time and it wasn’t until my junior year of college that I decided to do anything or even go on auditions and try to act. But, I finished school so I would have something to fall back on. And then they called me back for one of my first auditions. And then I got The Hunger Games and a couple of other things and now I’m on Shades of Blue!”
That’s the ultimate American Dream, because you’re family wanted you to have an American education being that you’re from Nigeria.
“Yes. And with great success comes great responsibility. Growing up Nigerian, they are very prideful people. So, you better go out there and represent them well. Back home people are watching. They want to feel connected to what you are doing.”
Now, with all that success, good looks and education, some lucky lady needs to snag this one!
Are you single? Can you be our Man Crush Monday?
“I would be delighted to be a Man Crush Monday. I want to and I’m single.”
What do you want in a significant other?
“Oh man. Oh man. Someone who is aware of their place in the world. Somebody who knows what they want in life. A wife and a partner. Someone who is interesting and has a sense of humor. And someone who’s a magician in the kitchen. Nowadays it’s so hard to find someone like that. Especially someone who can cook!”
Is it okay if she looks like JLo?
Finish this sentence, If she can cook a mean (blank) I’ll put a ring on it?
“I like food too much!…. I’ll go Nigerian. If she can cook some Nigerian fried rice and chicken, I’ll put a ring on it!”
Adorable! We love Dayo! He’s a talent on the rise and he can definitely be your Man Crush Monday ladies! Grab a Nigerian cookbook and hit him up on twitter @DayoOkeniyi and don’t forget to watch him in action every Thursday night on Shades of Blue!