Did you know that Nigel from First Wives Club is not really Jamaican?

First Wives Club: The low-down on Hazel's fiancé

Mikhail Keize, who plays Nigel on First Wives Club was born in the United States, but he did draw from his Caribbean heritage to land the role.

The BET+ First Wives Club remake has certainly never held back when it came to its star-studded cast list.

The series started its first season with names like Michelle Buteau (who plays Dr. Bree Washington), Jill Scott (as Hazel Rachelle) and Ryan Michelle Bathe (in the role of Ari Montgomery) already signed on.

However, one up-and-coming name has quickly taken the First Wives Club fandom by storm – and that is Mikhail Keize’s Nigel.

The actor behind First Wives Club’s Nigel

Mikhail signed on to play lead-woman Hazel’s much younger love interest, Nigel, in the second season of First Wives Club.

And although Nigel is one of only a few ‘newer’ cast members who have joined the show’s cast over the years, he has quickly become a fan-favorite.

Though if you found yourself swooning over Nigel’s Jamaican accent throughout the course of the past two seasons of the show, be warned, as Mikhail is actually a born and bred New Yorker in real life.

That’s right, Mikhail (who is a Bronx native) reportedly had to lean on some of his Caribbean heritage and the advice of friends and family who sent him music, and movies like Cool Runnings to watch, in order to help him prepare for this once-in-a-lifetime role.

And fortunately, this proved to be quite an effective strategy, as his fake generally-Caribbean accent and attitude proved to be so convincing that the First Wives Club producers hired him for the role after just one round of auditions.

Mikhail’s First Wives Club journey at a glance

The original The First Wives Club film that this now-popular remake is based on originally premiered  back in 1996.

And eventually, more than two decades down the line, BET announced that it would be reviving this popular film with a modernized television series.

This series was released in 2019, alongside the launch of BET’s new streaming service, BET+.

But Mikhail’s character, Nigel was only introduced in the second season of the series, so his run on First Wives Club so far can be outlined as follows:

Season Episodes in the season Initial release dates
Season 2 10 July 15, 2021
Season 3 10 November 17, 2022, to December 15, 2022

The other projects that you might recognize Mikhail from

Mikhail’s portrayal of Nigel has become such an integral part of the First Wives Club narrative so far, that it is difficult to believe that this was one of the actor’s first real roles in a major television production.

And since Mikhail only really started considering a career in acting around 2018 and 2019, his resume is not quite as extensive as some of his glittering First Wives Club co-stars.

However, if you thought you recognized Mikhail’s Nigel from somewhere when he joined the cast in season two, you might have just spotted him in in other projects.

These include the She Had To Ask 2020 short film, All the Queen’s Men, or Hard Drive. You might have also seen Mikhail in his former life as a self-proclaimed video vixen in one of Keke Palmer or Flo Milli’s music videos.

How Mikhail Keize got the role of Nigel

Just like many other actors, Nigel found himself doubting whether the industry would survive the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

However, fortunately for him, the producers of First Wives Club had already gotten their ducks in a row and reached out to his agent before these doubts could make this on-again off-again actor consider any other career path.

But if you ask Mikhail how he got the role, his answer might surprise you.

When Porsha Monique from Rollingout Star Studios asked Mikhail this same question a few years ago, he revealed that he actually believes his manifesting is what ultimately led him to landing this career-altering role and what has helped him portray Nigel as such a well-rounded character for two seasons now.

Mikhail’s favorite First Wives Club scene so far

Mikhail may have had a much shorter run on First Wives Club than some of the show’s other leading men, but he is already thankful for all of the growth that the character has had on the series so far.

In fact, Mikhail recently shared via a December 2022 Instagram post that the heartfelt scene between Nigel and his love, Hazel, where they decide to call off their wedding, was definitely one of his “top favorite scenes from season 3.”

This is because of the “vulnerability and emotions” that he got to explore for his character in these few moments.