Most popularly known for his roles on Cougar Town and Brothers & Sisters, Ryan Devlin can be found on The CW’s, Jane the Virgin. Recurring as Billy Cordero, Michael’s brother and boyfriend to Jane’s best friend Lina.
Talk Nerdy With Us recently caught up with the actor to see what he’s up to, and to discuss the upcoming season of Are You The One?
How did you get involved with hosting MTV’s Are You the One?
“The hosting started quite a bit before Are You the One? My first gig out in Los Angeles, was hosting a show. I hosted a show, ET on MTV, which is like Entertainment Tonight for MTV. It had a humorous angle to it, a little bit more like The Soup or something like that. I started hosting and it was a lot of fun. Its kind of got a sense of improv to it where you’re interviewing people, and doing comedy and stand up. I really enjoyed doing it.
After ET, I really started actually booking work as an actor, which I had been of course trying to do for quite some time. I was constantly going on auditions. Finally things started landing and that’s when I got onto shows like Veronica Mars and it sort of worked. When opportunities came around I would always see if it would be a good fit for me and what I was looking to do. I’ve been fortunate to have had some really nice opportunities both in acting and hosting.
When I heard about Are You The One? and particularly the creative team around it, it was just a show that I really wanted to be a part of. It seemed like a very fresh concept. This idea that I think is very universal, just trying to find the one, right? Everybody is going through life trying to find their perfect match, and then putting some really high stakes on it. If everybody works together, if they all find their perfect match, they can win a million bucks. That added suspense and reward and stakes really spoke to me. I thought that we would get some incredible moments, and of course I was right.
Now, having done three seasons of it, it’s never a dull day on set. If we do things right then we manage to pair people up in relationships that are really good for them.”
Do you hang out with the cast off camera?
“No, not much. I try to be as removed from their experience out in paradise as I can. I come in three times an episode and usually when I’m there something big is happening. Usually it’s either something really good or something really bad.
I try to keep my persona with them as the harbinger of good and bad separate from their experience which is really one of trying to learn a lot about themselves. To dig deep inside themselves and hopefully turn around their bad record of finding and dating people that are wrong for them and finding somebody who’s really the right person for them.
It actually takes a lot of work. I know when you look at the show it can come off as really provocative and incendiary. There’s a lot of fighting and that kind of thing, but it all comes from a place of either insecurity or almost overconfidence in the person that they are. If I’m not getting in there and screwing it up, it allows them to have these moments where they can learn a lot about themselves, and learn a lot about the other people in the house and hopefully make a real connection. That’s why we brought them all out to paradise.
Every once in a while when the cameras aren’t rolling or we’re in between set ups, if we’re out on a challenge location on a beach or something like that, I’ll hang out with them a little bit. I’ll answer questions as much as I can for them. They’ve watched the show, so they want to know about what happens and all of that. I try to be as friendly as I can, but I also don’t want to be a part of their world beyond what my role is in the show as a host.”
What do you do when you’re not hosting?
“This last season I was running a business, I’m the co-CEO of This Bar Saves Lives. I’m also always preparing for the next time that I’m going to be on camera. There’s quite a bit of preparation that goes into each time that I’m on set with the cast.
I’m preparing questions and I’m reviewing any story-lines that I need to be brought up to speed on so that I can be a good host when I’m there with the cast.
I’also spending time with my family. In Hawaii this last time, my wife was there and we have a new baby. It’s been a lot to juggle. When I wasn’t taking care of the entire cast of Are You The One?, I was taking care of my family or my business.
There was very little sleep happening during season 3 of Are You The One?” [Laughs].”
Speaking of this This Bar Saves Lives, you just reached a huge milestone. You’ve sold over 500,000 bars since 2013. How did the company form and how did the concept for it come up?
“Thanks for asking! It really sprang from a trip that myself and my partner, Todd, took to Liberia. We were helping a village out there construct a bridge that they needed built.
While we were there we visited some refugee camps and we saw the need for emergency food aid. We saw these children with their moms who were really fighting to stay alive, to get the nutrition that they needed. It made a massive impact on us, as it would anybody who saw it.
We came back to the United States and just wanted to find a way to sustainably feed into the aid organizations that were working to help these kids. We built This Bar Saves Lives to help do that. For every bar that we sell, we donate a packet of lifesaving food to a child in need.
We do that through various non-profit partners. It’s been set up like Warby Parker or TOMS shoes. A one for one model.
What started as a little idea. We just wanted to try and help any way that we could. It has now grown into a much bigger and much more impactful business than I think we’d imagined in the beginning.
Our bars are now in Whole Foods and we have a new line of kid’s bars in Target stores. We’re growing very quickly. As you mentioned, we’ve reached over a half a million packets of lifesaving food, which is enough to help save the lives of over 3,000 children! We’re very, very proud of what we’ve accomplished.
It’s far bigger than just me. It’s an entire team of people at our offices and our advisors and people who work in the factory and our sales team. It’s really become an incredible family. I just couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve built with This Bar Saves Lives and the support we’ve received from the community, whether they were fans of the shows that I’ve done or just people who really like good snacks.
The support has been very strong and I hope that we continue to grow at the pace that we are. We’re making a big impact around the world. It’s something that everybody could be proud of.”
Can you tell us a little bit about This Kid Saves Lives? What is it?
“Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s the newest product under the banner of This Bar Saves Lives. It’s something that we’ve been working on for over a year now. Kristen Bell, who’s one of our founding partners in the company, has really been spearheading that project because she’s a mother of two beautiful girls.
This Kid Saves Lives is just a multi-pack of kid granola bars. They’re nut free. Oftentimes for schools and that kind of thing some kids have peanut allergies, so we have no nuts in the bars. They have 14 essential vitamins and minerals. They’re still fair trade and gluten free and non-GMO product verified. They’re a little bit smaller and a little bit softer. They’re just formulated for kids.
It’s the same give back. For every box of bars that is sold we donate a pack of lifesaving food to a child in need. We just launched. We’re available in select Target stores across the country and the bars will be available on our website in about two weeks.
We’re really proud of that. It’s a brand new product and one that kids are loving, moms are loving. Again, it just continues to help other children around the world, which I think is a really exciting thing.
For kids who are here, who have food, who don’t know what food insecurity feels like, what it means to have food be something that can affect your health in the way that we see in developing countries, it’s a conversation starter for parents here. Parents are talking to their kids and saying, “Well, you know, look. There’s kids around the world who don’t have it as good as we do, who aren’t able to get the nutrients that they need. Just so you know, because we have these bars, because you’re snacking on This Kid Saves Lives, a child somewhere around the world is getting a meal.”
I think it’s a great way for children here to start to understand that there are situations outside of their own neighborhood that they’re really unaware of. It’ll help them bring perspective to their lives and understand how fortunate they may be, and that helping children, helping other people around the world is a wonderful thing to do. Hopefully we inspire some children as well!”
We’re going to go back to Are You The One? Who’s job is it to clean the boom boom room?
“That is awesome. Fortunately it is not my job [laughs]. That is all I can say about that. Of course we have a team. The boom boom room particularly is probably the room that gets the most attention on set because we have to make sure that everything is clean and refreshed for any couple that may want to jump in there.
I can’t say that for any of the other rooms. The cast, it’s up to them to clean the bedrooms and the kitchen and the bathrooms.
Oftentimes, the house starts out pretty clean and then by the 10th week, it is a disaster zone in there. I have to be very careful where I step. [Laughs]. You can usually see that when you tune into the show, too. If you look very closely, you’ll see the progression of the house as the weeks go on.”
Last year there was the twist with Christina being the extra girl. Is there another twist for season 3?
“There is a twist for season 3, but that’s all I can say about that!”
Do you watch the show when it airs?
“Yeah, absolutely. I don’t see most of what happens during filming! I show up to host the challenge, I show up to send a couple to the truth booth and then I show up to host the match up ceremony. All the good stuff happens when I’m not there.
I tune in every week to see what’s going down. What couples are hooking up, what fights are happening, what love connections are being made. I get the stories. I hear about it when I’m at the match up ceremony, when I’m talking to the cast, but I don’t get to see any of it. I love tuning it when the show airs.”
As a viewer, who’s been the craziest member to you?
“Oh my gosh. That is such a loaded question. [Laughs]. Can I say 41 people have been the craziest member? That’s how many cast members we’ve seen on TV so far.
Who has been the craziest? Look, there’s always a few each season that really kind of push the envelope, right? I would say in season 1, Simone and JC and John. That triangle was really intense. There was intense love, there was intense fighting, there was jealousy. That was one where we never knew what was going to happen each week.
In season 2, I think it was really interesting having Christina in there as the 11th girl. That really shook up the dynamic. Obviously the relationship with her and Brandon was a very intense one. When they found out that they weren’t a perfect match, it almost didn’t matter, particularly not to Brandon. He was just in it and so, so passionate.
That really created a lot of sparks for everybody else in the house who wanted to play the game right. Not least of which was somebody like Layton and Dario who really were unhappy about the way the progression of the house was going at that time.
When you’re in the pressure cooker of Are You The One?, a day feels like a week and a week feels like a month. As these days grind on, it’s really high highs and really low lows.
Season 3 is certainly no different. I can’t tell you right now who it is that you should keep an eye on, but you’ll quickly see tuning in that there are some people in this season of Are You The One? that need the show more than ever. I think some of them do a good job about embracing that opportunity and some of them probably don’t do such a good job. Fireworks ensue as a result.”
Obviously after the season ends you guys have the reunion show, after that do you follow-up with anyone to see who’s still together?
“I actually don’t. I definitely get a great update and it’s fantastic to catch up with all the cast when we do the reunion show. I really enjoy that. After that, I know a lot of the casts are still tight.
In fact, I know that some of the cast members from season 2 have become really close friends, and even dated, some of the members from season 1. It becomes its own weird high school I feel like. Once you graduate from Are You The One?, everybody starts to, I think, be able to relate to somebody else.
It’s a very intense experience being there. Like I said, high highs and low lows. It doesn’t surprise me that the cast members have stayed close and that some of them have even dated other people from other seasons. It’s really a crazy experience.
Ethan and Amber are a great couple and one that I hear about every once in a while because they got married and they had this beautiful baby. That really kind of helped to prove early on that what we’re doing with Are You The One? isn’t just bullshit. We really put a lot of work and a lot of expertise into trying to match up these couples.
Some of them work out and some of them don’t of course, just like in the real world. When they do work out, it’s really nice to see it. When they don’t work out, I hope if nothing else that all these cast members are learning something about themselves and about what they need in a relationship. They can take that back with them once they return back to the real world, and hopefully build better relationships as a result.”
Can you tell us when season 3 is going to air?
“Season 3 premieres Sept. 24th!”