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Q. Iridium Clothing is breaking down walls with its unisex line, how does it feel to be a part of that?
A. It’s cool! I like the concept, you know, I’m all for it. I don’t know if you got a chance to see the interview on CBS that we did, but you can see it’s pretty cool. It’s a fresh idea. So I think it’s gonna go bigger than what it is. It’s based out of Chicago, and they actually style a lot of the actors on Empire, so a lot of Iridium stuff is worn by those actors, and they just opened a store in Atlanta. So I’m representing the ATL part. It’s exciting.
Q. You balance modeling and acting and stay extremely busy with both—if you had to pick one which would it be and why?
A. I think I would go with acting. I go with acting because it allows me to be someone else, if that makes sense…and I actually find out a lot about myself when I’m playing other characters, other people. So it’s interesting, it’s exciting.
Q. I love the crime shows, but they spook me late at night if I am home alone. Not to sound silly, but was it kind of eerie playing a role on Nightmare Next Door? What was that experience like?
A. You know what? Doing it, it was so much fun—but watching it, it was a bit creepy. Because I’m like aw man, I look like a child predator for real! (laughs) Preparing for being in it I YouTubed and Googled child predators to see the characteristics of a child predator. So I tried to embody those characteristics when I played the actual role—so yeah, it wasn’t creepy at the time, I laughed at myself, but watching it–it was creepy!
Q. You have to have a lot of range to play a role like that!
A. Yes, that’s my goal! I want to tell all stories; I don’t want to be the actor for this particular role or that particular role. I want to be known as a great actor. A person who can play many different characters.
Q. I read you are about to release a movie Ambivalence–What can you tell us Ambivalence?
A. Ambivalence is a short film that I shot late last year that will be releasing this year. This is really good. I play this guy named Sam who is deeply in love with this girl, but she has all these hidden secrets I don’t know about when it comes to her family. Her family is of African descent, so they are a bit different when it comes to her dating. She has this backstory of losing her mom because of her culture and things like that. So when it comes to her dating this American guy, she is really holding back from him and she’s not giving her all. I can’t give away the story too much, but she’s set to do something at graduation, they’re in college at the time. Her father is pretty much forcing her to keep on this tradition, I’m trying to tell you without giving it away, but it is pretty cool!
Q. You have a new hot show—About Him—I love the trailer, it is such a heavy coming-of-age type story— to me this is like groundbreaking and much needed, what is it like playing such a heavy role in such an intense series?
A. We’re actually on tour now promoting About Him. We screened it Saturday at YouTube, we premiered it in San Diego Friday, and the response has been phenomenal. I did not want to play the role when the producer first reached out, I was just like I can’t do that, because I don’t want to be typecast as this homosexual actor, but when I read the script and I thought about the impact it could have on people dealing with their sexuality, you know, it was much bigger than me. It was a story I needed to tell. I thought wow, what if I could change a person’s life through this role—that is my goal. So yeah, About Him is about a guy that’s trying to find his way, I play the best friend on the show, and my best friend does not know that I secretly fall in love with his brother. When I‘m around my best friend I‘m living this heterosexual lifestyle, so it’s sort of a double life. I am disowned by my mom on the show, which I feel it’s really going to hit home to a lot of people when they see that particular theme…but yeah, it deals with everything from abandonment to finding yourself to everything you can think of that a person would go through trying to find themselves and who they are. It’s deep. And it’s sexy too at the same time. And I really don’t (laughs)—that was actually a challenge for me because I really don’t exude sexiness if you know what I mean, so to play that role I had to really mentally put myself somewhere to be that type of guy. So, I’m excited.
Q. This actually gives a voice to someone who maybe hasn’t been able to identify with someone like themselves in television and movies…
A. Yes, and that is one of the things that we talked about on the panel at YouTube , we were saying fifteen, twenty years ago people really didn’t have any outlet, because it wasn’t on TV, it wasn’t really dealt with like it is now, so we’re trying to make this show be that resource for someone who maybe is afraid to talk to anyone, they can look at this show and say hey, he’s human, he feels just like how I feel, and it could really touch someone. So, that’s what the goal is.
Q. Looking over some of your projects it appears you intentionally pick certain roles that have “intensity” or have to do with the world and people, reaching someone—is that true?
A. So I look at breakdowns, just like every actor, and I read the backstory of a character, and I choose if I want to audition for it, but I want to do meaningful projects. You know, I don’t want to just play any role or any person. When I read it I instantly knew I wanted to be a part of it, so I guess you could say in a sense I pick roles –but I pick them, I audition for them and I hope to get picked for them—I mean if you’re doing this role you want to give your all. I think people will know if it’s authentic or not. And I pull from different situations in my life and I let those emotions come out. In a way for me acting is very therapeutic –I am talking to her, but my mind is about my ex-girlfriend, as if I was talking to her. The emotions come out as authentic.
Q. And for something totally different that you have done—I have to bring up that you were on my favorite show The Walking Dead! What is it really like, working on set—the make up—did you get to work close up with the any of the main characters and if so, is it true—that family vibe you hear about with the cast and crew of the show?
A. So let me just say, The Walking Dead is what made me want to become an actor. The whole process. We would get there very early, six a.m., and we would be in makeup for about three hours and I was killed by– I don’t know if you remember–T-Dog, in season three. We do the contacts, the whole nine, everything; like they changed my eyes white, that was one of the best sets I’ve ever worked for in my career. But it’s a process, like I said we get there at makeup, you have one person doing one layer, the second person, they are doing the eyes, the third person, they are doing the dirt, so it’s like a whole process, and it was extremely hot, we shot it in Senoia, Georgia, which is south of the airport—it was really hot! Nothings there pretty much, but these empty fields and abandoned warehouses. So yeah, working on that show we would work anywhere from sixteen to almost twenty hours a day, and I would leave and go home and I’m exhausted , but I couldn’t wait to go back and do it again! The cast, they were so supportive, they were encouraging, they were everything. They were very down to earth, and a fun cast!
Q. I’ve heard that—that the whole cast and crew is really like a family—and for me, watching the show and Talking Dead and being a fan since the beginning– they feel like family to me in a way. So all that is genuine, what you hear about the family vibe on the set for the Walking Dead? That is so cool!
A. It’s genuine, it’s very genuine. We ate lunch together. I mean there were times when they went to their trailers and everyone was kind of separated, but for the most part they really were a tight knit group, cast and crew. Which I enjoy.
Q. You have about a million projects going, but is there anything else we should be looking out for 2016 for you?
A. I have a role in another series; it’s called Dream “The Urban Musical”. I play this music producer who did all these bad things– cheated on my girlfriend and you know how that story how that goes—she’s a singer a well known pop star on the show. So I come from New York to Atlanta to try to convince her to come back with me, to forgive me and all this stuff, so I think that’s going to be cool. Playing a music producer is completely different than About Him and it’s really a different role than what I play in Ambivalence. I have another small part on this show called Besties on Netflix, and we shot that a few weeks ago. That’s going to be a comedy, it’s funny, and so I’m excited about that as well.
Q. How do you do it—energy wise and staying focused, being pretty much immersed in multiple projects at all time?
A. I get rest. I make sure I get rest. Multivitamins. (laughs) I think working out helps; my energy level is always up. I stay focused . I keep my eye on the goal and what I want to accomplish and I just go for it. I don’t let anything stop me. Especially when it comes to acting and modeling. That is my passion. So I find the energy some way somehow. And I make sure I get sleep.
Q. You are in such great shape! What do you do?
A. I always find time to go to the gym. I do a lot of calisthenics, so just using my own body weight and trying new things; looking up things on You Tube, trying new exercises I haven’t did before, because you know sometimes you can reach like a plateau doing the same old workout, so I try to keep it interesting. I make time for the gym. I go whether I’m tired or not. I’ll drink a big pre-workout drink and just get it in. Because it’s a part of my brand, you know, to be in shape. For the type of stuff I want to do.
Q. What advice would you give someone trying to break into the industry, rather it be modeling or acting?
A. Study your craft, study great actors, great models, and just make sure it is something you want to do. I think a lot of people want to act and model but I don’t think they know of the work that comes along with that. Have a great attitude because you are communicating with people a lot and sometimes you book things based off a great relationship, from having a positive attitude. Be you and just go after it. Don’t let anyone discourage you or lessen your dream.
Interview by Stephanie Hodgson