“Started from the bottom and now I’m here!”

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They say, “Honesty is the best policy!” So, here’s a dose of TRUTH! To start, I’ve never been a “follow your dreams” kind of guy. Before my story broke on Yahoo News (2013) and national TV, back in 2004,  there was a time when I wanted to be an actor. In the beginning, I would say that I dabbled, but as time progressed I pursed it full steam ahead. I had my head shots taken, got an agent, 12540548_10206689052037248_7533835615623879994_nshuffled around LA from audition to audition, and actually booked a few TV guest starring roles and film gigs. But when it came to acting, I didn’t feel confident in my acting abilities, nor did I think I had any talent to offer. I’m not saying this out of self-pity, but when I think of actors/actress, I think of the greats… Academy Award winning greats – which I was not! I wasn’t ready to fully commit to the “craft” due to my weight gain and the uncomfortable feeling of living in my own skin. I took a few acting classes to experiment and see if it was for me, but even the thought of playing someone else made me uncomfortable. (This is some deep shit!) I was told by several acting coaches, “You’re a natural!”, “You got the chops, son!”, and “You’ve got raw talent!”  Raw talent?  What the hell am I supposed to do with that? LOL! After a year and a half and A LOT of rejection, I decided to hang it up! Another reason I gave up acting was because I was tired of being type cast. I was always playing the part of a thug, prisoner, or a bully! Although the type cast parts paid some bills, it would later take its toll on me mentally and physically.

Even though I was heavy, I knew deep down that I had more to offer than a frownin’, mean mug. On the inside, I felt like a leading man…ok, let’s be honest…I felt like a supporting role at least! LOL! My insecurities and fears got the best of me, however.  I was my own worst enemy and no amount of training could have prepared me for the journey I was about to go on. Fast forward to today. Since my weight loss transformationbeforeandafter1

(In 18 months, lost 250 lbs. by walking – no gym, no gastric bypass, no crazy diets, along with changing my eating habits) and being back in the acting world, I must admit is a little intimidating.  I’ve been hiding my voice and true self behind my weight and the camera for the last 7 years… but recently, as you may have noticed, things have changed! After only being back in the game for 2 months, I’ve had several callbacks where the production team (Director, Producer, Casting Director, and/or client) have pulled me aside and said, “Papa Joe, you’ve got raw talent, my friend! Where have you been?” Some have continued by saying, “I plan to invite you back in my office to discuss future projects with you.. And that’s a promise!”  When I hear this, I usually just smile and say, “Thank you!” which is later accompanied with an eye-roll because once again, I heard, “You’re a raw talent!”  But now, with all the experience that I’ve had over the years, this dream once lost is starting to take shape again. I guess they see something in me that I’m still trying to find within myself.IMG_5648

I don’t know where this is all going to lead, but I know that it will teach me something. For now, this is the lesson that I’ve learned: “If you dream it, believe it. Work hard and you’ll achieve it! Stay humbled, focused and true to your heart… and FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!” #changestartswithYOU! THANK YOU for your continued love and support! See you on the BIG screen! Signing off –  The Electric Negro! http://www.papajoeaviance.com.

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Photo credit: Thierry Brouard/premiumparis
ALL MY LOVE!

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