Molly (Yvonne Orji) has had a lot of interesting suitors on Insecure. There was Chris (Jidenna) who pretended to be her boyfriend to save her feelings, Jared (Langston Kerman) the cutie who worked at a rental car establishment and Lionel (Sterling K. Brown) the professional who’s ready to settle down. But none of them hold weight on the drama scale to Alejandro ‘Dro’ Peña played by Sarunas J. Jackson.
Introduced in episode three of the series’ second season, his character is a childhood friend of Molly’s who grew up across the street from her family home. Close friends for years, we first meet him with his wife, Candice (Gabrielle Dennis) in a cupcake shop.
It’s all innocent and platonic when a day party turns into an open invitation for Dro to ask Molly to have sex, since he’s “in an open relationship.” What unfolds is a series of steamy sex scenes that make a horrible argument for heterosexual people of the opposite ever just being friends.
“I think if people really watch it and pay attention, I think he’s actually been respectful,” Jackson, the 6’8″ former professional basketball player told ESSENCE about his character.
“There was a mutual moment when they were dancing and that’s where I think people get confused —as if he’s the one that pursued her— but there was a dance battle in it. I saw her backing up on me, it was just a mutual thing. We’ve all made mistakes when ‘Slow Motion’ came on.”
When told the theory of Dro not truly being in an open relationship, Jackson simply replied “Mmmhmmm, that’s interesting,” —not confirming or denying— which we took as, ‘Either way there’s going to be mess.’
Hailing from California’s Inland Empire, Jackson’s background is diverse with his mother being Panamanian, Jamaican and Native American and his father being African-American and German. Always interested in playing ball and acting, his pursuit lead him to UC Berkeley for undergrad, then Hong Kong to play in an international league and then Hollywood. Oh! And somewhere in between he managed to become an amateur boxer.
But when it comes to dating, the 27-year-old is quite mature about open relationships, having been in one right before filming began.
“I know for me, my own relationships got better when I looked at myself in the mirror, and was like, ‘All right, you need to improve as a man.’ Physically, spiritually, mentally, you just need to improve,” he admitted. “Relationships where I’m talking about, I’m a better son, I’m a better brother, I’m a better friend or lover. That improved once I improved myself first.”
He also has a bit of advice for Molly, since she’s gone from one disastrous relationship to another.
“If you have a long, bad run of attracting people, then let’s improve yourself first, before we worry about improving other people. You can’t change other people if you don’t change yourself.”