Photography: Maya Iman Lighting Technician: Caleb James
All American: Homecoming chronicles the journeys of tennis hopeful Simone Hicks (Geffri Maya), and elite baseball player Damon Sims (Peyton Alex Smith) as they navigate life at the prestigious HBCU Bringston University. Even up against the show’s leads, no one shines perhaps quite as bright as Rhoyle Ivy King, who plays one of Simone’s best friends, Nathaniel Hardin. Half of season 2 is now in the rearview mirror, so King took the time to catch with LA Confidential about Nathaniel’s journey, the importance of choosing love and how he prioritizes mental health.
You’ve talked about how Nathaniel is the character you needed to see while growing up. How did you feel when you first learned you were being upped to series regular in season 2 of All American: Homecoming?
Tears! I was just so honored. I was so grateful that my showrunner and producers saw something in me and gave me this opportunity.
All American: Homecoming just reached its season 2 midpoint. What else can we look forward to from Nathaniel’s journey this season?
She goes through the trials and tribulations that all young adults go through to discover themselves. I think it's something that we can all relate to. For myself a lot of those discoveries are still helping me navigate who I am now.
How does Nathaniel’s fashion inform her character— Do you get to collaborate at all with the wardrobe team?
Yes, absolutely. More than anything, her looks have been a little more bland recently. Very ornamental to Nico. There's something about this relationship that is affecting not only her wardrobe but her personality.
Do you have a favorite Nathaniel look from season 1?
For season one it would definitely be the cheetah skirt look in episode 9.
What about season 2 so far— are there any standout fashion moments you really loved?
I really loved all my looks in the season 2 premiere!
Has playing Nathaniel had an impact on you as a person?
She really encourages me to stay true to myself, and continue to take pride in not fitting in. Finding the power in that, and honing in on it.
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Showrunner and creator Nkechi Okoro Carroll described All American: Homecoming as a show that’s about pushing people to embrace the best of themselves. How does Nathaniel embody that and what do you hope audiences learn from her?
I really hope that audiences learn from her that love is more than a vulnerability; it’s a strength. That day in and day out, people will challenge you, but you choosing to react in love is how you show your heart is stronger than any temporary circumstance.
We know how important fitness is to you. How do you prioritize it with a busy career and without getting burnt out?
I start my day with it, no matter how early I have to wake up. It’s what prioritizing my mental and physical health looks like to me. I think it helps sustain me from burn out.
Photography by: Maya Iman