After appearing in ABC’s How To Get Away with Murder, we spoke with Actor Brandon Claybon. Learn more about the model and actor below.
How did you get your start in the entertainment industry?
Well, I first started out as a model. I started at Elite Model Management in Atlanta and I basically just branched off from there. From working as a model in Chicago, Dallas, New York, LA but I have always been a student of acting ever since I was 4 or 5. I knew I wanted to be an actor, so I need to move to Los Angeles and that is what I did.
Where are you from?
I am originally from Memphis Tennessee. Well, I say Memphis but I am actually from a small town outside of Memphis called Oakland, Tennessee but Memphis is only 15 minutes away.
How was the transition from a small city in Tennessee to the Los Angeles?
As you can expect, it was a big transition because I basically grew up in the country, on a farm seeing cows, pigs, horses, and goats. I come from dirt roads, blues music, and corn whiskey. These are the things that I know, like barbecues in the neighborhood. So coming to a big city it was different. But I loved it. This is something that I have always wanted, so I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. There was nothing that was a surprise.
You have done some work with BET. How did you get into that situation?
It was all about networking. Being around people. People see your face. People know your work and this guy said “I think you can do this. I think you would be great for this. Hosting and interviewing.” I’m like I don’t know but you know Shonda Rhimes speaks about her year of yes. He actually caught me at the right time in my life when I was just saying yes to a lot of different things. I was like you know what, I haven’t tried it yet but yes, let’s try it out. This is not necessarily my expertise but let’s live and learn. So I took the advice from Shonda and I said yes and it’s has been great. It has taught me a lot Working with them and meeting so many A-list stars. They are people like you and me and they have their own issues and problems just like anyone else
Who would your dream interview be?
I actually want Mary Hart to interview me. I grow up watching entertainment tonight when I was younger. Mary Hart was and she still is the queen of that show even though she is retired now and I thought that if Mary Hart was interviewing you, you made it.
Where does the passion for acting come from?
It’s funny that you ask that. I think I was born with it. I’ve always had it. It was all about telling stories and about bringing something to life that people don’t necessarily see. Being an artist in that it is not always pretty. It’s not always something that is glossed over. It was all about living different lies from myself. I wanted to be it all. I wanted to do it all. People ask me “do you want to be a lawyer?” Yeah, I want to be a lawyer. I want to be a bus driver. I was saying to myself as I was younger that all of these people have stories that need to be heard and needs to be seen. So, I want to do it all.
Recently you appeared on ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder premiere episode. How did it feel to be around that cast?
It was great! Especially Aja and Matt. That is who my scene was with. I was kind of jealous though that Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson were coming in the next day. I really wanted to meet them. These are the legends but it was a great experience just to be around the cast and the crew. I don’t take those jobs for granted and I know there are more on the way. I haven’t even reached the tip yet. This is nothing, I am just on my way up!
What are your thought on diversity inside the industry coming in at this point in time?
I think the platforms for diversity have grown so much. We have so many outlets now and I believe from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon there are so many different outlets. I think we are getting better at writing our own stories and producing and directing and it is all across the field. So in this day and age, I think it is better but I always feel like there is so much more to improve on when it comes to diversity. For all of our brothers and sisters of color. It’s better but I think we still have some rooms to grow.
What do you think about giving back to the community?
Giving back is so important to me. It’s one of the things that really drives me because growing up I felt like I always had this ability to affect people and inspire them. I don’t take that for granted. I always knew my power and I feel like to help someone along the way is what we are like here for. I had a teacher in high school, who said “Brandon it’s not all about you. The world doesn’t revolve around Brandon. It is about everyone else and who you can help on your journey.” So, I make sure that I implement that in my daily walk. I walk around knowing that I can affect and touch people in ways that I didn’t know I could. Every year for my birthday, I don’t necessarily like to do these big celebrations for my birthday but I do like to raise money to give to a certain foundation. Like that teacher told me, her name was Charlotte Burns, she told me “it’s about helping others”. I want to make sure that I am doing everything that I can because I know that I am a product of the Talented Tenth. If you know anything about W.E.B Dubois, he talks about the Talented Tenth and our responsibility as intelligent African Americans.
What do we look forward to from Brandon Claybon?
You will see more TV and Film. You will see more commercials. I do a lot of commercials. I have been in Los Angeles for about maybe 6 or 7 years and I have done about 25 national commercials. So, you will see more of that. You will see maybe more hosting. You will see more.
Make sure to follow Brandon Claybon on Instagram.