Exclusive Interview with Rick Fleur from ‘Temptation Island’

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Temptation Island is one of the best reality TV shows this year. The reboot of the beloved Fox hit from the early 2000s follows four dating couples at the most vulnerable time in their relationship. They travel together to Maui, but are soon split apart as they move into separate houses with 12 attractive singles of the opposite sex. At the end of the show, each couple will decide whether to stay together, leave the island with someone new, or leave completely alone.

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Rick Fleur had been dating his girlfriend Ashley on and off for four years prior to going on Temptation Island. They came to Hawaii hoping to determine if Rick is really ready to commit to Ashley – and if she is willing to accept Rick for who he actually is. I got the chance to talk with him about how he and Ashley originally met, what initially attracted him to Medinah, in what ways he feels like this journey helped him grow as a person and so much more. Keep reading to see what he had to say!

I want to go all the way back to the very beginning. How did you and Ashley first meet originally?

She was interning at this company that I was modeling for. It was actually one of my first modeling gigs. I didn’t exactly know Ashley like that at all. I had maybe passed her once or twice, but [she was] somebody I never really spoke to. She got up the courage to say something at a company party – a Halloween party – we were both drunk and she got some liquid courage and that’s when she put the moves on me and I guess that’s how we started. That’s when we first hit it off and we’ve been rockin’ ever since then. 

And that was four or five years ago, right? 

Yep, yep, yep. May have been longer than that to be honest [laughs]. 

I know it was Ashley’s idea initially to bring you to Temptation Island but what made you agree to do the show? What questions were you specifically looking to answer about your relationship?

Like you said, it definitely was not my idea. Going to Temptation Island was all Ashley’s [idea]. I was kind of content with how things were but clearly she wasn’t exactly happy. So some of the things I wanted to address was that I know how to act when [she’s] not around. That’s always kind of been an issue where Ashley always kind of wondered like, “Oh, I wonder what Rick’s doing” or “Oh, Rick’s probably out flirting with this girl. I know he’s definitely not at work.” So I just kind of wanted to shut her up and let her know like, “Yo, I’m not out here doing what it is you think I am.” Yeah, I might be around beautiful women and other girls but that doesn’t mean I’m over here entertaining them or anything of that nature. Let me live and know that I’m going to value and respect our relationship. That was one of the things I really wanted to hit over the head, like let Ashley know, “Hey, I’m about you and I’ve been about you. Stop worrying about unnecessary things because it’s putting unnecessary strains on our relationship. You’re bringing all of this drama to me where it really didn’t warrant it.” Yeah, I may have done my things in the past, but I just wanted to shut her up by going on Temptation Island. That’s basically what I wanted to do [laughs].

So did it take a lot of convincing on her end to get you to go? Or was it something where you were like, “You know what, this is a good opportunity to shut her up. Sure, lets do it”?

I didn’t jump at the opportunity. It definitely took some convincing. It took like maybe a week of her constantly nagging me because Ashley can be annoying [laughs]. I was like, “Yo get off my back. Here’s the paperwork. Let me know what happens next.” But yeah, it definitely took some convincing because I’m kind of guarded with my personal life. I don’t let too many people in, so to open up my life to the public – the world – that was a lot. I don’t know what made me give in to her. It was more so to make her happy and shut her up [laughs].

Were you familiar with Temptation Island at all before you went on the show? If not, did you go back and watch old episodes to see what twists and turns they may potentially throw at you?

Check it – so I was definitely not familiar. I had heard about it, especially the original back in the early 2000s. But after Ashley told me about Temptation Island, I still didn’t really watch it. I watched one episode and I was like, “Oh okay.” But by the time I watched the episode, it was damn near too late; it was either I was going to be on or not and I was like, “Whatever.” So up until the casting special, I didn’t really watch Temptation Island like that so that was real when I said I didn’t know what Temptation Island was. I was kind of thrown into the fire not knowing what the hell I got myself into.

Do you think that made your experience better?

I think so. I think it made my experience better because I didn’t exactly know what to expect or what was going on. Some guys would be like, “Oh remember when this happened last season, blah, blah, blah?” and I was like, “What? Who?” I walked into Temptation Island blind. So with each situation, I was like, “You know what? I’m going to go in with a fresh outlook on everything, just experience it all and see what happens.”

Once you got to the island and started filming, how confident were you that you and Ashley were going to leave Temptation Island as a couple?

That was my whole point on going to the island, work on issues that we had ourselves and answer the questions that we need to answer for us to be the great couple that we intended to be. That’s what we went to Temptation Island for. So I had every [intention] of leaving the island with Ashley. I’m the type of person where if I start something, I’m going to finish it together. We came on the island together, we’re going to leave together. 

Going back to that first night, do you remember what was going through your head when you first saw the singles?

So what was going through my mind when I first saw the singles was like, “Okay. They look good.” I’m the type of guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve so I didn’t want to let Ashley know that I was liking the singles more than I was. I wanted to play it cool. But Ashley knows me, so she knows my little smirks and my faces and my body language. So that definitely was grinding her gears. You probably didn’t notice this but she’s over here nudging me and pinching me every time a girl came out and made her introduction. I was like, “Chill, Ash.” But there was a lot of good, good thoughts running through my mind seeing the ladies walk down and introduce themselves. They did a great job with the cast of women this year. I loved it [laughs]. 

So that first week you picked Medinah to go out on a date. What was it about Medinah that you found attractive and in what ways did you guys connect off the bat? 

Maaaaaaan, what’s there not to like about Medinah? She’s got a great personality. She’s the type of woman that…. her energy. You can feel her energy, you can feel her vibe and it’s just infectious when you’re around her. That’s one of the things I felt. During the singles mixer where we were just getting to meet all the singles, I got the chance to chop it up with her and there was an instance where I was like, “Hey, I’m about to beatbox. Anybody want to freestyle and rap?” and she was like the first one that came out. She was like, “Yo, I’m going to rap for you.” She kind of flopped – she can’t rap; she needs to leave that alone [laughs] – but that just showed me that she wasn’t scared of embarrassing herself and stepping out of her element. She’s here to have a good time and that’s how I am too. So that’s how I kind of connected with her. I’m like, “Okay, I like her. I like her personality and I like that she didn’t care to make herself look stupid cause she’s having a good time.” So I decided I was gonna go with her for my first date and me and her kind of hit it off ever since that. It was kind of crazy. I didn’t think I was going to be feeling Medinah like that but I definitely was feeling her from that point on.

Going off of that, on your second date, you took Samantha instead of Medinah. So if you were feeling Medinah so hard – and you said on that second date that you were thinking of her that entire time – then what was your reasoning behind choosing someone else?

That’s a great question. My reasoning for choosing somebody else was because I felt like I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t go out there and check to see what the other ladies had to offer. They’re dope and great and most of the time, we only got to chill with them and get to learn more about them in a group setting. Sam was a good friend to me so I wanted to see what she was about. Although my feelings were definitely with Medinah, I wanted to see what else was out there too. I know Temptation Island is an unique opportunity to date other women, so I wanted to take advantage and do that. So it wasn’t a situation where I was just doing it because I wasn’t sure about Medinah. I was sure about Medinah, but I also wanted to see what else was out there.

You saw probably what is the worst possible thing you could see at your first bonfire. So because you that at your very first one, did the bonfires get easier or tougher as time went by?

I feel like they got tougher to be honest because okay, yeah, I witnessed the worst possible thing you could see at a bonfire. But then, it just kept on getting worse to me just because they kept on having a connection but it was more sexual, if anything, and it kind of bothered me a little bit. I don’t know how to explain it but it was with the same guy, of course, and it just seemed like she wasn’t connecting the right way, you know what I mean. We’re supposed to be connecting in ways to make ourselves better and to learn from. It was more so her bonfire clips that I was seeing were things of a sexual nature and it didn’t seem like a real genuine connection. So it was kind of tough seeing my girl get 1) played and 2) kind of used and not using her time wisely. We came out there for a reason and it seemed like she was diverting her attention elsewhere and kind of forgetting the main goal, which was to work on yourself and maybe come back together. 

This past week, we saw you guys leave your thirty second videos for your partners, if you wanted to. You said that in Ashley’s video, it looked like she had mentally and emotionally clocked out with you and that it just didn’t feel like there was any heart in the message. Did that scare you? Did it change the way you approached your last little bit of time on Temptation Island?

It kind of did. Just seeing her body language and everything, it just showed me that she mentally tapped out. So, it just let me know like, okay, maybe I need to just continue focusing on myself and just getting the best out of this experience and seeing what it is I have with Medinah. That’s basically what it was at that point. After seeing that video message, it just kind of led me down that road of I’m just gonna continue worrying about myself because clearly she’s not worried about me but I hope for the best for her. Of course there’s love there. I love her. And that’s where my mental[ity] was at that point. 

Gotcha. In your video message, you were talking to Ashley about how much you’ve grown and just how much the experience has changed you. And that’s honestly been one of my favorite parts about this season, just watching you grow as a person. So looking back, what was the biggest thing you learned about yourself from this experience?

Maaaaaaan, there’s been a couple. Most importantly, how I deal with conflicts. I know that sometimes I may not deal with conflicts the best way and sometimes when you’re in the midst of it, people always want to just get off point as opposed to listening. Sometimes I’m not the best listener. Some of my problems could have been negated if I had just listened. So that’s one of the things I learned. I learned to be more open to talk about my issues. Me and Medinah always had issues about me opening up, but she helped me with that. She got me out of my shell, like “Okay, maybe I do need to open up and talk about my feelings more.” I do that more now, more now than ever to be honest. Sometimes I’m opening up my feelings a little too much. But it feels a lot better now because now there’s transparency on both sides. Be open, be transparent, and learn how to deal with conflict – those are the things I learned on the island.

Mario Perez/USA Network

That’s awesome. What has watching the show been back been like for you? Because this is your first experience on reality TV. So is that weird or are you totally comfortable with seeing yourself on TV?

It’s definitely weird watching everything play back. Up until the first episode aired, I had so much anxiety. I’m over here freaking out like, “I don’t even remember half the stuff I did on the island. I wonder what my parents are going to see.” I was freaking out. But then after the first episode aired, I just learned how to accept everything; accept what happened, accept everything I learned, accept some of the bad things, accept some of the good things – accept it all. And that’s what I’ve done. But it’s still kind of crazy. I still can’t believe I’m on a f*cking TV show [laughs].

So without giving away the ending, are you happy with how things ended? And do you have any regrets about your time on the show?

One thing is [that] I try not to live life with regrets. I try to make the best out of every situation, especially when I’m thrown into it. I really didn’t know what I got myself into. Within the first week, I was like, “What the f*ck did I get myself into? But I’m here and I can’t do nothing about it.” Deadass. There were a couple of times I may go into the bathroom and breakdown crying like, “Yo what did I get myself into?” But I’m glad I did because it pushed me to learn about myself and I couldn’t run away from my issues. So that’s why I do not regret going on Temptation Island. There are some things I do kind of regret as far as… I mean I don’t want to give too much away, so you’ll just have to watch every week, Thursday, 10pm on USA [laughs].

Nice plug there. Last question – our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd so what is something you are currently nerding out about?

Hmmm, you know what? Because this is like a whole new technology wave, I want to learn how to code. So I’ve been reading up on that and I don’t know. I’m really big on what the next big thing is and what the trends are. So I kind of try to stay hip to what’s going on, you know? I don’t know. I like to learn and watch documentaries, Ted Talks. I do that. So, I nerd out on that. I’m a man’s man – I like my sports, I like my football, I like my basketball [laughs]. 

Temptation Island airs Thursdays at 10/9c on USA. Make sure you follow Rick on Twitter and Instagram.

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