‘Sirens’ Star, Kevin Daniels, Talks Juilliard, Oprah & the Hollywood Struggle
Kevin Daniels is an actor’s actor and it doesn’t take much to see that. The Juilliard graduate, whose classmates include such notables as Anthony Mackie, has a rather impressive resume with Theatre, Television, and Film credits. His path has been consistent and noticeable, all in an industry that doesn’t always note faces of color; in particular, African American men. There were several take away moments from the conversation, but ultimately, Kevin Daniels speaks to the dreamer; and more impressive than his education or talent, is his humility and ability to chart a path all his own.
On his experience at Juilliard:
“It was great for me. You get an idea of what it’s like to be in a repertory company, I had a blast. Some of my lifelong friends I met at school…like Anthony Mackie; I was his mentor and we did a play together.”
On doing Sirens and Modern Family:
“It’s cool! I’ve done 7 or 8 episodes of their show and it’s just a well-oiled machine, they’re so welcoming and you get to play around with new things [and] new ideas. I get recognized more for that show than anything else that I’ve done. That’s the thing, there’s this huge reach.”
On difficult moments in the business:
“…It’s all a big journey and there are ups and downs. I was a little lucky I got out of school and the first thing I did was a Broadway play, Helen Hunt put me on Mad About You, then I got my SAG card, and worked and worked. I met Oprah at a party, and then she put me in ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God.’”
But it was until he booked a pilot that “didn’t go,” that the challenges began to roll in. He mentioned that there was a writer’s strike that introduced him to the world of “middle class acting,” a result of movies not being written and movies stars doing television that pushed so many actors to the side.
“I couldn’t get a job, I couldn’t get hired,” he said. “You never know what it’s going to be, so you just keep showing up and hope the work will be there. I waited tables, I catered and answered phones to pay the rent and I’m lucky enough now that if this job ends I don’t have to go wait tables, but I still would feel like I have to have a job! You just always have that job inside of you, it’s just another part of the journey.”
On where he finds strength:
“I grew up in the church! I’m really spiritual, I listen to a lot of gospel music, and I meditate and pray. I just try and keep perspective. My mom told me something I’ve never forgotten, she said, ‘In this moment you have everything you need, and life is just a series of moments.’”
On what he takes heed to:
“I like to see how people present themselves, and I believe everyone wants to be understood and everyone wants to be heard.”
Kevin says he’s just an actor who grew up in Texas, but he is a shining example for artists everywhere. In fact, his path shows that there is a way to follow your dreams without having to compromise education or any other parts of who you are. He is vested in finding a way to tell the stories that he wants to tell and his work ethic is a testament to that.
With the Season 2 finale of “Sirens” having aired yesterday, Kevin will continue his involvement in several passion project! We’re looking forward to the renewal of Sirens for a 3rd Season…stay tuned!
Follow Kevin on Twitter (@kevinddaniels)