Throughout my childhood and the years as a young adult, i’ve had a passion for performing. I’d be the first to take the chance and jump in front of class or a crowd to make people laugh. Although I was vagely shy, i’d blossom on stage. I remember I did a monologue about how I hated every teacher. Right on the center stage of my high school theater, in front of the entire school. I didn’t write the monologue, it was just a piece given to me to perform. I guess the acting coach thought I fit the bill. I got up in front of all my High School friends and teachers and ranted about how I hated it every teacher. The students liked it, but I got a few cynical looks from the teachers. After the show they came up to me and congratulated me on my performance with smiles. But then I started questioning why the highest grade I got that semester was a C.
Acting had always been a part of me. Whether it be on stage, in front of a camera, or in day to day life. I’d sometimes fake accents, or pretend to be another character when I met random people I didn’t know. Knowing i’ll never see these people again. I’d practice the accents of different nationals speaking English. I’d imagine how I would have played a scene from some movie I had just watched. If it wasn’t football, it was acting. I remember when I was 12 my parents sent my pictures to a talent agency in Hollywood. We heard back and went for a meeting, but my parents decided not to send me. Who knows maybe I would have been in Hollywood right now. Not that it was ever my biggest dream, but if I ever decide to go for acting i’m gonna shoot for the stars. My ultimate goal would be to make it in Hollywood. It’s okay to dream big, but always keep your feet on the ground.
When I quit playing football naturally I turned my attention to the second thing I love the most. Perhaps the first. Before football, there was acting. I never really tried to go any further than school plays because all my focus was on my training. Anything else, including girls, was a distraction. I started searching for acting schools and came across the New York Film Academy. I attended a two month course just to test the waters and see what it feels like. It was shit expensive so anything beyond two months was going to be a real fucking commitment. I’m not sure if you know this but actresses tend to be very “free spirited” individuals. Well, most of them anyway. I met so many girls at the film academy. Looking back, I fingled with more than a few girls during my school years in performing. Does anyone use the term “fingled” anymore? I guess more than anything, acting brought out a certain level of comfort and confidence in me that I never had in my day to day life. All that is changed now of course. When I act though, I become someone else other than myself. It’s no longer me, but a character I create that has bits and pieces of me. Maybe i’m just bored of being myself.
When I decided to try acting and modeling in Turkey a few years back, I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. It wasn’t about the passion of acting. I was a lost kid who didn’t know what he wanted in life. Working never worked for me and I always thought I wanted to be famous. It wasn’t about anything more than the superficial reasons of displaying how amazing, and awesome I was to social media. Having the need of people wanting to take a picture with me or ask me for my autograph. All about the fame. Childish things. I’m so lucky and blessed to have grown out of that and have the mindset I have now. I know what is important, what matters and what doesn’t. All of that is thanks to my greatest depression.
When I moved to Turkey I didn’t know if I wanted to go for acting. I knew I could act in English, but I didn’t know how deep I was at it in Turkish. I sometimes speak Turkish with an American accent so I wasn’t sure how that would work. One day I got a call from my agency about an audition for a TV series. I got the script 2 days prior to the audition date. I practiced and rehearsed my lines over and over. I’d act in front of the mirror, try different ways of saying the same thing in various tones. My character was a macho guy who has an argument with his girlfriend and finally after she pisses him off, he ends up slapping her across the face. Yeah! What an asshole! So my Turkish had to be spot on, sounding like a Turk. The tone had to be spot on as well. I went into the audition, and the camera started rolling. I did so well the people there had me reading lines for other actors auditioning. I knocked it out of the park! It was a home run. I felt so good, and comfortable playing the role that after I left I said to myself “fuck them if they don’t pick me”. Their loss. Right then and there I knew I could do this. And do it good. Damn good.
I’ve never really had anything I truly wanted in life besides football. I was always bouncing around in search of something I never knew. I had no goals, or dreams. I did everything and nothing satisfied me. At a very young age I came to that point where I felt as if I had achieved everything I ever wanted. That there wasn’t much left to do. I had done everything I ever wanted. Even when I moved to Turkey, it was to get some sort of life on track. When I left the audition, I told myself that this could be a new goal, a new direction to go towards. A new dream. A dream that i’ve rediscovered. Sometimes it’s not happiness itself, but the pursuit of happiness that gives people satisfaction. From that day I made it my goal to be a professional actor. Not my mission, but my goal. There is a difference. I was perfectly happy with my life. I had a great job in teaching English, I lived in a nice apartment, friends, family, and inner peace. Becoming an actor wasn’t going to make me a better person. Nor happier for that matter. I mentioned my feelings towards most things have faded. I’m never really too sad or too happy. Even though I was and still am very passionate about acting, i’m not gonna sit and cry about it if it doesn’t work out. I know it’s a long shot. But I wanna at least say I gave it a try while I was young. I don’t wanna look back in a few years and say, damn I could have tried harder. I rather regret the things I did than the things I didn’t do. But then again, I never live with regret. If i did, there would already be a few. But this is one thing I KNOW i would regret if I turn back on my destiny.
Acting gave me a direction. A goal in which I can work towards. I want to be a professional actor. Not a celebrity. I just wanna be able to pay my bills through acting. Not make millions. Not that i’d mind the millions. I don’t know why anyone would wanna be famous. If you asked me when I was a kid, fame would me my top wish. But now I never wanna be famous. Why? I guess it’s because I like keeping to myself. I like the fact I can walk around in the streets completely invisible. I rather be known and liked by a few people that matter, than a million that don’t. I look around, I see people living their own lives, doing their own things and I ask myself who cares if these people that I don’t know, know me. That’s not the point of life. Nor is money. If I was a millionaire I wouldn’t live any different than I do now. I have a great home, free time for myself, financial comfort, I traveled and continue to travel the world, I have absolute no need for millions. Money nor fame is my objective in life. Or with acting for that matter. If I can pay my bills through being an actor, and walk the streets unknown, then I would be even more privileged than I am now. Not happier, privileged.
Recently a friend of a friend who became a very good friend, tried to help me break into the business. Through his vast network of people he was pulling strings for me. I was meeting with new people, and agencies. One day I got a call from my friend, asking me to enter a modeling contest called “Best Model of the World”. Models from all around the world compete for the ultimate crown. Around 30 nations, one male and one female model from each nation. I already knew about this competition before. It’s very well known in Turkey. My reaction was a modest “cool”. It wasn’t %100, since he hadn’t heard back from them yet. Two weeks went by, and we heard nothing, so I thought it wasn’t gonna happen. Whatever. I didn’t give much thought to it to be honest. If it happened great, if not, it wasn’t meant to be. One night, two o’clock in the morning I got a call from my friend. He said, “I’m sorry I know you’re sleeping but I was too excited and couldn’t wait for the morning to tell you”. I was still half asleep and wasn’t really sure if this was a very vivid dream or reality.
I said, “Who is this?”
He said, “You are Mr. United States.”