Interview: Lee Petropoulos From Hulu’s ‘Back in the Groove’ Dating Series


All episodes of Hulu’s new reality dating series titled “Back in the Groove” hosted by Taye Diggs are now streaming.

Three single women in their 40s, all stuck in the grind of their everyday lives, will check OUT of their comfort zones and check INTO The Groove Hotel, a magical resort on the beautiful island of the Dominican Republic – where the goal is to rediscover their youth, live joyously, and hopefully find love with men HALF. THEIR. AGE.

As the saying goes, “you can’t fall in love with someone else until you fall in love with yourself!” At the Groove Hotel, these three women will have the opportunity to do both! Whether they find the perfect fling, friendship, true love, or something in between, this is their chance to take charge and break through the double standards older women face every day. And they’re going to have a lot of fun doing it! The show is hosted by Taye Diggs, who knows a thing or two about getting into the groove.

Recently, Disney Plus Informer had the opportunity to chat with one of the show’s contestants Lee Petropoulos who shared some insight on the series as well as his journey on the show.

Check out our interview with Lee below:

You are a contestant on Hulu’s new dating series ‘Back in the Groove.” Can you first tell us a little bit about the series and describe it for us because it is different than other dating shows we’ve seen before?

Yeah, so “Back in the Groove” features 24 guys and three women in their forties looking to get back in their groove, whatever that means. The definition is on them. So basically, the women had all the power on the show. They could do whatever they want and the guy’s job was to help them find their groove back in any way possible. So, there’s eliminations every other day and three people went home every checkout. And so it narrowed down every checkout more and more. I think those women found their groove in the end.

Can you also just tell us a little bit about yourself and what enticed you to be a contestant on the show?

What enticed me to be a contestant on the show was I am attracted to older women. I am. And it’s sometimes hard to admit it in public, but I know the truth. And a lot of friends of mine have known for a long time that I’m kinda into the older women. But not that I’m not into younger women. I just like to be open minded and I thought it would be a fun experience and I go into everything I do with no expectations. I think that when you go into something with expectations, the experience is just not present and you’re not fully experiencing what you’re supposed to experience when you have pre notion expectations on things. So, I went in with an open mind with whatever happens, happens.

Have you dated older women in the past?

I have had a few encounters with older women. Yeah, I have.

What do you typically look for in a partner?

Somebody who’s kind and understanding, who doesn’t take life too seriously, who loves God, and has good morals and a sense of humor is big because if you don’t think I’m funny, then you’ve lost your mind.

The three leading ladies are Steph, Sparkle and Brooke and it looked like you and Sparkle had a really strong connection and bond.

I locked in quick. I was the first person who knew. I think I’m good with energies. So, some may call me emotionally intelligent. I might not be able to put your bookcase together or do technical stuff, but when it comes to emotional intelligence, I’ve got that.

What was it about Sparkle that got your attention and then just share a little bit more about your journey on the show.

I literally could see in her eyes that she had some sort of depth to her and that she was going to be compatible with me. All the women had something great in them. But for me, I knew Sparkle was it. As soon as the first interaction, I locked in and everybody was like, oh, who are you going for? I’m like Sparkle for sure.  I locked in that quick.

I’ve had the pleasure of talking to several of your other fellow contestants who shared that it was kind of difficult in the beginning to get that one-on-one time with the ladies. You kind of had to be assertive and make yourself known. Was that something that you struggled with as well?

Yeah, kind of actually. At first, I was like, wow, they don’t even know me like that. I’m looking crazy right now. Because as soon as I walked in, I went up to Steph and I’m like, hey, so like what are you looking for in a man? And she goes, whoa, can’t I get a drink first? And I got embarrassed in that moment. I was like, oh, shoot. I got nervous, like that’s what sparked anxiety for me. I was like, oh my gosh, I’m not meant for this. And I walked away like, oh gosh.

One of the things that I loved about you is that you really wore your heart on your sleeve and you showed your vulnerable side and that had to be something difficult to do, especially when cameras were watching you.

Yeah, for sure. I mean, I only care about one opinion and that’s God. At the end of the day, I can’t be focused on other people’s opinions and that’s just what my motto is. What does it even matter? You know? So, I go in knowing the truth, the way, and the life for me, which is God and I’m just rolling with it. I just have faith. So, I just trust the process. I know I’m not a perfect dude. But who am I gonna be unperfect in front of?  Other unperfect people? Other people with flaws? We all got flaws, you know?

 I know a lot of scenes had to be cut during the editing process. Was there anything that wasn’t shown that you wish the audience could see?

Oh my gosh. On the group date, me and Akio were left together and I started making beats so we could rap over it and I sat down and he said, hey, how did it go? He’s like, expecting me to be myself and I come in and I threw him a curveball because I felt close with him and I was like hey, watch how you talk to my girl all right cause I’ll flip this table. And he was like, oh my gosh and we started cracking up and I feel like my lungs were collapsing how hard I was laughing. I felt like I needed to step away or something how hard we were laughing.

You sound like a lot of fun to hang out with. I gotta tell ya.

Yeah. I like to do whatever and have fun. Like right now, I’m just walking at the park. I just went on a run. I feel like I’m living my dream and I feel good. But this is what I’ve been doing.  I don’t go out and drink and stuff. So people my age are like going out and drinking and like spending their money on that. I’m just spending money on investments. I’m investing in myself and my health. Health matters the most and that’s why I feel so good is because I take care of myself.

What was your most memorable moments from the show? Do you have one?

Like I said, I really enjoyed that Akio moment. A lot of stuff happened before we got to the villa. It was actually kind of profound because I felt like a lot of people told me… we saw how you handled a lot of criticism. First off, I’m never outing anybody. I’m never outing anybody. I’m never gonna be like, oh they did this.  It’s all good. But at first, I felt like I was being a little like picked on and so I’m like, you don’t think I’m used to this? You really don’t because if you guys think this is the first time that this is happening in a big group of guys, you guys have lost your mind. And so over time, they said they respected the way that I handled criticism and jokes and I could laugh at myself.

You all stayed at an incredible resort in the Dominican Republic. It looked amazing. What was your favorite thing about The Groove Hotel?

I like the infinity pool. Yeah, I was chilling in that infinity pool pretty heavily.

I’ve asked that question a lot and nobody has said Pedro yet.

Oh, Pedro! We just didn’t get to interact with Pedro enough. I think Pedro is underrated.

Yeah, he was one of my favorite parts. He was the concierge at The Groove Hotel and offered a lot of humor along the way.  Has life been any different for you after the show?

 I’d like to say yes. I’m just getting a lot of amazing feedback and I appreciate it so much and I’m excited. But at the same time, this part is very crucial what I’m gonna say is… as much as I love the amazing feedback… The reason why I am, the way that I am is because I try to shut out other people’s opinions of me. If they think I’m amazing and stuff like that, I try not to listen. It’s so appreciated but at the same time if I put value into the good, well I would have to put value into the bad, right? Putting value into people’s opinons.  So, I appreciate it so much and I read it and smile and laugh but if I get too involved and indulged in what people are saying, then it’s just not legit for me. Obviously, it’s a show where they cut what they want to cut. They do it however they want to do it, which is cool. I am still living my best life and being me and and just trying to stay level headed and just keep my faith in God and like just have good mental health.

You sound like you’re doing okay!

Yeah. I’m doing good. I mean, nobody really knows this but I struggled on my own. I lived in LA for like six years.  And that really showed me what I was made of because either I fold or I just keep going. And God’s got me through this. Like straight up, God got me through this. And so I’m not trying to push anything on anybody, but I’m just saying what God has done for me.

You can follow Lee on Instagram.

You can also read our interviews with fellow “Back in the Groove” contestants Remy FloresQuentin LloydRobert DellaVentura, Josh Teasley, and Akio Ross.

The show is executive produced by showrunner Elan Gale, Bill Dixon, Sonya Wilkes, Evan Wilkes, Michael Krupat, John Luscombe, Shannon Stoeke and Taye Diggs. “Back in the Groove” is produced by Walt Disney Television Alternative and Beyond Media Rights Ltd.

The series marks the first unscripted Hulu original series from Walt Disney Television Alternative, the company’s recently launched unscripted studio.   An international Disney+ release date has not been announced yet.

You can watch a trailer for the series below:

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