ARISING STAR EARNS NOMINATION FOR BEST ACTOR AWARD AT FILM FESTIVAL
Featured article image taken in June of 2018 in Maitland, FL | Courtesy of Michae Allen- Detour Entertainment, LLC
MODEL TURNED ACTOR GAINS SUCCESS THROUGH ACTING NOMINATION
This ambitious and passionate individual is a rising star with his multiple-faceted talents from modeling and acting to his strenuous corporate position , Troy Williams finds no rest for the weary. He is youngest of two children from Bradenton, Florida. His childhood friends called him "Hollywood" because of his confidence and his flashy style of dress.
Williams began his career in the entertainment industry doing runway modeling in 2005. He modeled for F.A.C.E.S. Modeling Troupe and Set it Off Productions. It was during his time in F.A.C.E.S. where he met his beautiful wife Candace Curry-Williams. After experiencing great success, Troy walked away from modeling officially in 2008 to pursue a career in acting. However because of hardships in life, he made the difficult decision to put his acting career on hold for a number of years to begin a career in Corporate America.
Then, he came back with a vengeance with his acting debut in film in 2015. He is most known for his lead role in ‘The Watchman's Edict’ (2017) directed by Bryan Boykins — available on Amazon Prime, and for his role in award winning film ‘The Turnaround’ (2016) directed by James C. Hunter. He is also known for sitcom ‘Apartment 5210’ (2018), ‘Drop Webseries’ (2019), ‘MMA’ (2018), and feature film ‘HENRI’ (2017) where he stars alongside Hollywood's own Burt Reynolds, Eric Roberts, and Robert LaSardo. We had the pleasure to take a moment of his time and get to know Troy on a more personal level.
- Mary Swanson
NIE: Thank you for taking your time and having this interview with us. Congratulations for your second nomination for Best Actor! Tell us all about the project, your role and how does it feel to be recognized with such an honor?
Troy Williams: Thank you so much! It feels great to receive my second nomination for Best Actor. This is truly a blessing. I didn’t get into acting for recognition, but it’s a beautiful thing when you get recognized for your work. This nomination is very unique because normally you would receive a nomination like this based on a role in a film, but I was actually nominated this time from my theatrical demo reel. It’s actually pretty cool that the Southeast Regional Film Festival created a category for demo reels.
“Be yourself and don’t worry about what others think about you.”
- Troy Williams
NIE: You must be so excited to watch the film the beautiful Regal Cinemas Avenues 20 & RPX at the Southeast Regional Film Festival. What does this film mean to you and how has this role changed you? Impacted you?
Troy Williams: I am very excited to watch my theatrical reel play in front of hundreds of people at the beautiful Regal Cinemas Avenues 20 & RPX at the Southeast Regional Film Festival. This demo reel is special to me because it’s the first one I’ve ever put together myself. My objective for this demo reel was to take the audience on a roller coaster ride and to show my versatility as an actor. I feel as though I’ve accomplished that.
NIE: You train under SAG actor Chris Greene. How has that experience helped hone your skills as an actor? What are the most beneficial tools you have learned from the ‘Life Of An Actor’ program?
Troy Williams: I’ve been training under Chris Green now since January of 2018 and he has helped me grow leaps and bounds. Chris has taught me some great fundamentals such as learning how to break down a scene so thoroughly that you don’t miss any details, also how to go deeper in your character development. I am very grateful for the Life of an Actor (LOAA) program because it has given me the guidance I need to truly understand the craft of acting. Chris brings so much experience to the classroom and we all benefit from it. I think the thing I like the most about Chris is he’s a working actor which allows him to give us real insight on what it’s like behind the scenes in this industry and what it ultimately takes to make it to that next level. This was something that was very important for me in my process of seeking a coach, I wanted someone who was also on the battlefield. The LOAA family is definitely making moves in the industry, I am surrounded by so many talented individuals who share the same passion for acting as I do.
NIE: You were originally in Corporate America before going into the entertainment industry. Why the change and what made you get to the point of no return?
Troy Williams: What many people don’t know is I am still in Corporate America and I am an actor. It’s not easy juggling both, but I was always taught to be the best you can be in all aspects of life, so I excel in both arenas. One thing I believe is that we all have a special calling, our mission in life is to discover what that special calling is. Once we find it we have to pursue it like there is no tomorrow. I didn’t find acting, acting found me and now I’m just pursuing my special calling.
NIE: Any particular reason why you started in modeling and how has that experience help shape you to who you are now? And why the change into acting?
Troy Williams: The reason I started modeling was to have an extra-curricular activity that helped the time pass by. I had played sports my entire life up until that point, and for the first time I wasn’t playing sports and I was bored. I have to be transparent, the other reason I pursued modeling was to get girls LOL. I’ve always had a thing for fashion and that has transitioned into my acting career as well. Whenever I have the opportunity to walk the red carpet I picture myself on stage modeling in front of thousands of people. That is where my swag comes from and that is why people call me “Hollywood”. I stopped modeling back in my college days and that is where my career ended. Every now and then I get the urge to get back on stage, but acting is what I really want to do. I love learning about different characters and telling their stories, modeling doesn’t give me the option to do that.
NIE: Where did the desire to be an actor stem from?
Troy Williams: My first exposure to acting was back in the year 2000, in my sophomore year of high school I was forced to take a Drama class. In this class part of the curriculum was to improvise 30-60 second skits each Friday with a partner in front of the class, and for the final project we had to do a 5 minute play with a partner, on the big stage, in front of an audience. I had a huge fear of public speaking so was forced to overcome my fears in order to get a good grade in this class. I refused to let my 4.0 GPA drop because of this one class.
However, the more I came out of my comfort zone, the more I began to love the art of acting and I realized I had the potential to be good at it. Even though the dream was born, I kept it to myself because at the time I was a high school athlete and my main focus was going to play ball at a Division I college and to hopefully make it to the pros one day. Also, back then everything was about being cool and having a good reputation, and drama was not the cool thing to do.
So I focused more on sports and kept my love of acting to myself. Fast-forward 15 years later and that very dream was still in me, so I decided to go for it and that decision has paid off in a major way. Life has taught me that you have to follow your dreams no matter what, sometimes you have to put things on the back-burner, but never give up, always follow your heart and you can’t go wrong.
NIE: Do you feel modeling has helped your growth and transition into acting?
Troy Williams: I definitely feel like modeling has helped my growth and transition into acting. One of the things we learn in runway modeling is having stage presence and confidence, and no matter what you have to keep your composure. In modeling you learn to tell a story without using words, but more expressions and gestures. This is parallel to acting because in many cases you have to tell a story without words. So modeling has prepared me for many of the situations I’ve been in thus far in acting.
NIE: What process and techniques do you use to get into your characters? What role(s) have been the most challenging for you, and why?
Troy Williams: In regards to getting into character, I use the method acting technique. I first like to read through the script scene by scene to find out what’s going on. Once I know what story I’m trying to tell, I then get into the character development. The most difficult role I’ve played to this day has been a drug kingpin. This particular role was difficult because I knew nothing about this lifestyle so I had to learn everything from scratch. I had a lot of doubt playing this role because I didn’t know if people would see me as believable as that character. But that doubt makes me put a lot more time into understanding that character and the lifestyle, and to this day it has been one of my best roles, in fact this was the role where people really began to respect me as an actor.
NIE: What obstacles do you face as an actor and what do you do to overcome and achieve your goals?
Troy Williams: As actors we all face obstacles along the way. One of the biggest obstacles I face is auditioning. I have a tendency to overcomplicate auditions by being too analytical. Once I get in my own head my performance always suffers because the character does not naturally come out. I’ve learned to overcome this by auditioning more, and by being clear with my choices to ensure I stay present in the moment as the character.
NIE: What do you personally take out of a role and what impact does it have on you?
Troy Williams: My goal with any role I play is to truly become one with the character. I typically use the method acting approach, in which I live as the character, even when I’m not on set filming. Using this approach allows me to get a true understanding of the character, such as how they think, what motivates them, why they do things a certain way. Sometimes when you become someone else for too long, it can be difficult to return to being yourself. I have to admit I have gotten lost in a few characters.
“Don’t let fear hold you back from being what you are destined to be."
- Troy Williams
NIE: How do you prepare yourself before a scene certainly to overcome your nerves? And what helps you perform to the best of your ability?
Troy Williams: The way I prepare myself before a scene is by listening to music that connects to the scene. I really like to clear my mind of everything so I can be present in the moment. I constantly go over my choices for the scene and having the lines down really helps me overcome my nerves. Knowing my lines, being confident in my choices for the scene, and having a clear mind gets me into my element, which allows me to perform to the best of my ability.
NIE: What would you say is the biggest asset for any actor in the industry to achieve?
Troy Williams: I would say the biggest assets for any actor in this industry is work ethic, being coachable, not having a fear of failing, and being your own best promoter. Having a strong work ethic goes without saying, without it you will not go far. You have to be coachable if you want to grow in the craft. You have to leave your ego at home. I’ve seen the fear of failure hold so many people back because they don’t understand that it is a part of the process. One of the things that has helped me most is I’ve failed more than most people, so early on in my career, and that has really helped me grow as an actor. You have to be your own best promoter! No one is going to make you successful in this industry, and no one is going to care about your career more than you. I like to focus on growth and progression whenever I promote something in my career. Be strategic in what you promote, and remember you are your own brand.
NIE: What are some of your secret tips that help you in this industry to keep grounded and focused?
Troy Williams: I do not really have any secret tips that help me in this industry to stay grounded and focused. Honestly with me, it’s all mindset. I always try to keep a positive perspective on things. I do not take losses because even in failure I look for learning lessons. I know becoming a successful actor is my destiny, so anything that happens along the way is just a part of my story. Nothing will stop me from achieving my goals and having my dreams come true. It is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
NIE: Who inspires you to be a better person than you were yesterday?
Troy Williams: I am inspired by people every day. You don’t have to look far to get inspiration, it’s all around us, we just have to open our eyes and observe it. As I look back, if I had to choose one person, I would have to say Tupac Shakur inspired me the most. He was a free spirit and a thinker, his wisdom and intelligence were second to none. I really loved how he handled all the adversity in the public eye. No matter what he was going through, he stayed strong and figured out a way to rise above his circumstances. He inspired me to follow my dreams.
NIE: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue a career in the field?
Troy Williams: The advice I would give to someone who wanted to pursue a career is do it for the passion and not for the money and fame. If you are doing it for those reasons, you will not succeed. Also, having a strong mentality is a necessity, in this industry you will experience more rejection than you do praise, it’s just a part of the process. But the beauty in it all is if you keep working hard through the rejection, you could one day land that role that changes your life forever. I love the thrill of it all.
NIE: What are the most impactful words of wisdom someone told you and who was it?
Troy Williams: The most impactful words of wisdom someone told me was “many are called, but only a few are chosen, and you are chosen”. My mother told me this a couple of weeks ago and it came at the perfect time because mentally I was having some self-doubt from other things that were going on in my life at the time. Those words got me back in focus. Love you Mom ☺
NIE: What are three things you would say to your younger self that you know now?
Troy Williams: They say hindsight is 20/20, that is so true. Three things I would say to my younger self that I know now are 1) Be yourself and don’t worry about what others think about you, because people are going to hate on you no matter what you do 2) Don’t let fear hold you back from being what you are destined to be 3) Never lose faith in the Lord, no matter how hard life gets, the Lord will always get you through it 4) This one is a bonus, avoid student loans by all costs.
NIE: Last but definitely not least, is there anyone you would like to thank at this moment?
Troy Williams: I would personally like to thank God first and foremost, without him none of this is possible. I would also like to thank my entire family- my beautiful wife and children, my mother and father, and my brother for always being there for me through the toughest times. I have to thank my LOAA family, my agent Jean Selig-Wenger of Treasure Coast Talent, Leslie Gray of Leslie Gray Photography/Executive Thought Partners, the TJ Chatman Show, the Peace on the Streets Radio Show, the Back to Reality Radio Show, Makin Noize TV, The Bradenton Herald, ABC7 News Sarasota, and the Manasota Black Chamber of Commerce. All these people and organizations have played a huge part in my life and my career.
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