“I think anyone responds better to authority when it comes with an English accent,” says Lauretta Nkwocha.
The London-born singer-by-trade is a professional “wingman” on the new Logo reality series Setup Squad, which follows a posh New York City agency that pairs coaches with socially inept daters. As a wingman, Nkwocha must give her clients encouragement and friendly advice but also a bit of stern tough love. That’s where the benefits of being British come in.
“I do believe that the accent gives the perception that, possibly, [Brits] kind of know what we’re talking about more,” Nkwocha says. “I don’t necessarily think that’s true, but if that’s the perception that people get, then that’s wonderful, because it’s in my favor. It makes you stand out. People perk up their ears when the voice they’re hearing is different from what they’re used to.”
But Nkwocha is no stereotypically stoic British disciplinarian. She displays an outsize personality that matches her mammoth mane of hair. “You have to be personable,” she says. “We are asking people to be vulnerable, to be open, to be honest in a short space of time. They have to let their inhibitions go as much as possible. So you have to be the type of person that people can easily relate to and want to talk to.”
In the series premiere, airing tonight (April 25) on Logo, she helps a self-consciously macho Jersey boy navigate New York’s gay scene. A straight married mother of Nigerian descent, Nkwocha says her methods don’t change based on her client’s orientation. “The perception is that if you’re a gay man, every gay man is in the nightclub with their shirt off and you know, rubbing any other man that he can find. It’s not necessarily true. I’m a straight woman, and I think I’m just as floozy as a gay man you would find in whatever club in New York. I don’t think there’s a difference. I think it’s just a personality thing.”
But when it comes to Brits and Americans, she says our ways of cruising are miles apart. “I would say that Americans, especially New Yorkers, are a bit more forthright and a bit more go-getting in that way,” Nkwocha says. “I think the British have a very different way of approaching people: we’re a bit more reserved, but that’s kind of what you expect when you’re dealing with Brits. With Americans, it’s just a bit more gung-ho. That might be the right word. And neither is better or worse, it’s just different.”
Meanwhile, Nkwocha is “excited” for Friday’s (April 29) royal wedding. “I think in England we kind of need something like this right now,” she says. “It’s kind of perfect timing, getting the whole country pumping about something positive. And both of those boys [Princes William and Harry], everyone just absolutely loves them, and I think everyone really loves Kate [Middleton]. It’s going to be mad on the day. I know I’m not invited, but I don’t pretend that I am. I’m going to sit in my living room and watch it and get dressed up and have cups of tea.”Read More