How did you become an actor?
I started off doing church plays in DeRidder, LA. During my senior year, I played the lead role which received a lot of praise and high review & I caught a serious case of the acting bug. Albeit, I was already enrolled To attend our Lady of the Lake college in Baton Rouge Louisiana. My mom, my grandmother, and my aunt, were all physical therapist assistants and it was a two year degree $45,000k/yr right out of school. In my third semester I decided to drop out and on my way back from dropping my classes in speaking with my advisor there was an ad on the radio for a company called pro scout. They were seeking actors that were interested in trying to make it to Hollywood so I showed up and I performed, ended up going to Dallas to the second round & speaking with a talent agent who said he saw potential in me but that I wasn’t ready. He told me to get on craigslist and look up acting jobs and start there. So when I got back home, thats what I did. I found Green Lantern was filming in New Orleans and they were looking for extras. I applied, and ended up working two months on it. I networked and met the niece of agent....the rest is history.
What type of preparation is done before an audition?
Research. You have to understand the whys and the hows. Any information not provided within the script will have to be developed by your imagination. Yet it has to stay truthful to the character and the direct objective. Each scene, each character has an objective. Our job is to figure out what that is, once identified, everything falls into place seamlessly.
Tell us about your role on Queen & Slim.
I believe my character played a very pivotal role in the flow of the story. I played a Black Cop. If you haven’t seen the movie already, queen and Slim are on the run from law-enforcement after Slim shot and killed a police officer in self-defense. They’re hiding out in a car that Slim hotwired inside of a garage and there’s a police unit on every corner. I hear a scream like someone’s crying and I attend to the noise. I hear a car crank and lift up the garage and there they are. Queen and Slim, I have them both but in the moment, im torn. I’m looking in there eyes & I can see myself. And me being a black cop, I’ve heard the racist jokes within my unit, I’m aware of the unjustified killings of black & brown people by the hands of police, that’s probably why this character became a cop. That was my drive for him. And also my character being called ‘boy’ by his white partner added a little motivation for letting Queen & Slim go. But in that moment it’s like “Naww I ain’t turning my people in, f*** the badge.”
In such a competitive industry, how do you maintain the edge to stay in the game?
I’m motivated by the thrill and seeing the growth within myself. There’s so much work behind the scenes, hours upon hours, auditions after auditions, let downs after let downs, no auditions, they’re teachable moments. They’re all lessons. You have to be an optimist in this profession. My glass is always half full. And when you finally book a well earned job, it’s one of the highest forms of organic happiness.
How has Covid-19 impacted your business?
COVID totally shut down the film industry for pretty much the whole year. Coming off of a great year in 2019 with the success of Queen and Slim, I was prepared to steam roll 2020. I felt unstoppable and I carried that momentum with me. I can count single-handedly how many auditions I’ve had this year. This has been the slowest year for me in the past seven years. I’m looking forward to rebound in 2021. I actually just finished an audition before this interview, let’s get it!
What advice would you give someone who seeks to become an actor?
One, I’d ask them, do you want to be a celebrity or do you want to be an actor. The ones who seek fame & fortune and ignore the craft will fall to the wayside. But if you’re serious, I’d tell them to disband their mental timeline of success. You have to be comfortable with the journey. If you’re able to accept the highs and the lows, then you can endure. Its all about the perseverance, stay hungry, stay training, stay ready and when the time comes, you’ll be prepared. A favorite bible verse of mine is Ecclesiastes 9:11 “ Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but TIME AND CHANCE HAPPEN TO THEM ALL.”
What is your fantasy role and why?
I’d revel at an opportunity to land a series regular role or book a movie with several sequels such as Harry Potter or Transformers. There would be a lot of room to showcase everything I’ve learned through the evolution of the stories. As the script evolves, the characters evolve along their journey.
Where would you like to see your career in the next five years.
I’ll obtain a series regular role and/or I’m going to book the lead character in a major motion picture.
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