Mike Merrill’s team will be the ‘Last Squad Standing’

Courtesy: Mike Merrill
Courtesy: Mike Merrill


By now, you may have caught Oxygen network’s latest reality show, “Last Squad Standing.” It’s an intense competition hosted by Alesha Renee of MTV’s “Girl Code,” featuring three groups of friends vying for a grand prize of $100K. Coming from Baltimore, Detroit and, New Jersey, each squad is tested — individually and collectively —by physical, emotional and mental challenges. As usual, there’s plenty of drama that pops off in a house full of frisky millennials.
The Detroit Players consist of Armond Rashad, Mike Merrill, Nastashia Young, Charmaine Pratt and Nikia Briggs. Rolling out recently connected with the show’s charming lothario, Mike. The “D” boy who now lives in the “A,” is an actor and model whose dynamic crew includes his ex-girlfriend, Charmaine. He shared his lessons learned from being on the show, his upcoming projects, if he’s affected by the response from social media and more.

So, you brought everyone together for the show. How did that come about?

They [show producers] contacted me … and I started with Kia … we did a stage play together. My homeboy, Donnell suggested Nastashia, so I got Nastashia. I had asked Armond before Nastashia — he thought of Charmaine.  Every last one of them took time out their life to come on this show. Even though I got the opportunity, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. And I thank them for coming on the show with me and making this happen for all of us.

Many “reality” shows are scripted. Did the producers have you all do and say certain things?

The show is so different, it’s ridiculous. It’s not scripted. What show do you know that you get to bring your real friends on [the show]? We’ve been knowing each other for a long time. Stuff got hectic in the house because you can’t be by yourself. You’re not just with your team, [there are] other people in the house besides your team. You couldn’t have nothing [sic] [phones, laptops, TVs], but the people that you’re with, the food and the liquor. After the first day, you forget that the cameras are there. They follow you around with the cameras so much that you want to hide from them.

Tell us about your relationship with Charmaine. There seem to be some unresolved issues between you two.

Me and Charmaine met years ago, we dated for seven months. She likes to say that there were some things that she wanted me to change about myself. But, really it’s the other way around … I really didn’t know who I thought I knew. She was really demanding and a controlling person … I saw some things I didn’t like that no man would put up with, for as long as I put up with. I took care of every single one of my exes. Charmaine was one of those exes that I did not take care of because I was down — back at square one.

Charmaine seemed bothered by some of your interactions with other women on the show, was that awkward?

Yea, ’cause I wasn’t thinking that she still had feelings for me. She didn’t tell me that. I still got love for her, but I’m not trying to hold no [sic] woman up. I’ve been raised by a woman, Detroit is my father figure. My dad’s been in jail since ’99, so my mom raised me and my brother herself. Experiences in the streets taught me things, I should and shouldn’t do … I’m very street smart because of the people I’ve been around in Detroit and the things I’ve done that nobody knows about. [There’s] no way to get away from Detroit … you gotta come to Detroit for something. That’s why I say, “Detroit is my father figure.”

What did being on the show teach you about yourself?

That I care too much about other people before myself. That’s why I’ve got trust issues now. I’m very sensitive, I’m romantic, I love hard. The show woke me up to that. Ain’t nothing wrong with that, but I had to pipe it down.

What’s your vision for yourself?

Even if I don’t win an Oscar, I want to be nominated. I know this is a high scale, but I want to reach where Will Smith is at and I’m going to push until I get to where he’s at. I admire Will Smith. Mike Merrill Entertainment is my company that I plan to make a talent agency based out of Detroit. Whether I make money or not, I’m going to hold my head high. [Nothing] negative can stop me — I’m not stopping.

What do you think about the response to the show from social media?

I’mma take it all in. Because you would want to be in my shoes … I don’t care … What you see on the show has nothing to do with seeing me outside of the show. When you’re in that house with 14 other people and you’re just in there, you’re gonna end up doing things that you wouldn’t think you would do. What I was doing on the show was real, but I’m still a good person, I’m still positive. Whether you give me good feedback or bad feedback, I’m still me. People are still gonna love me. I’m going to continue to inspire and motivate. I’ve been losing all my life, now I’m winning. My testimony is so strong; I’ve been through so much.

What do you want readers to know about you?

I want people to know that Mike is intelligent. I’m focused on my career. I know a lot about the industry for me to just be starting. I’m a respectful guy and I give women the most respect out of anything because y’all go through so much that us guys don’t go through. I get the point why y’all have to be cherished and catered to. I like for a woman to let a man be a man. Don’t feel like you have to do everything for yourself. I’m an adventurous guy. I’m open to trying anything. I want to travel … I want to do some things that a woman has never done with a guy.

What are your future plans, after the show?

God led me there and everywhere he leads me, I’m listening. Once the show is done airing, I’ve got stuff coming out right after that. I have two TV series and two films with Tier 2 Films that are gonna be on network TV next year.

Catch Mike Merrill and his squad Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on Oxygen.

Courtesy: Mike Merrill
Raquelle "Rocki" Harris
Raquelle "Rocki" Harris

As a passionate media presence, Rocki covers culture, entertainment, and relationships. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram @writedowntoit, and Twitter @writedowntoit3. She is also the host/producer of Rocki's Reality podcast (@rockisreality), where she facilitates unfiltered and unapologetic convos about culture, music and relationships.

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