Waco Chat

Oli Pettigrew

By Kevin Tankersley

That Englishman in Texas

“Telling it through my perspective and through my eyes is something that I found that that a lot of people quite enjoy.”

I actually started doing That Englishman in Texas because I find Texas to be a very misunderstood state. I think even Central Texas and Waco are misunderstood as well. When I initially started doing the videos, it was because the loudest in any country or any state was invariably the stupidest. And then they’re the ones that get the attention. I realized that when I moved to Texas, how friendly and generous a place it is, and how even people that may fundamentally disagree with you will still give you the shirt off their back or come over and help you or they see someone in need or a problem that needs fixing, Texans fix it.

And I just wanted to start telling stories as an outsider, but [also as]someone who’s been coming to Texas for 18 years, and married to a Texan for 15. Someone who understands a lot of the Texas mindset. Telling it through my perspective and through my eyes is something that I found that a lot of people quite enjoy.

And I started cranking these [stories] out and expanding on TikTok and Instagram and Facebook and everything else. So much of my adventures are sourced from comments from locals going, ‘Oh, you’ve got to go to this place.’ Then cities started inviting me out. Eastland invited me out for a ribs cookoff to be a judge. Hico invited me to be a judge for the Texas steak cookoff. And then I went to Dublin [Texas] for St. Patrick’s Day.

My wife is a Lorena girl. At the age of 16, she came runner-up in a national modeling competition, and she went on a 28-year modeling career. I met her when I was 23. I was modeling at the time in Singapore, and we just met at a casting the very first day she was in Singapore. She landed and the first person she met was me. We struck up a friendship, which clearly became more than a friendship. It was just one of those things when you meet someone.

She always says I taught her how to have fun. We just kind of went off on adventures, and then we started sort of modeling together. We went to Hong Kong, we went to New Zealand. And then within 18 months, I got into television, and I started hosting TV shows, and she did as well. That started eight years where I did about 14 or 15 shows for HBO, Cinemax, I drove the Cash Cab, Discovery Channel, TLC, Discovery Kids, Food Network. She was doing shows as well. At one point, we had nine shows between us at the same time that we were shooting, but that meant that we got to travel to nearly 50 countries, together and separately.