Throughout my childhood and the years as a young adult, i’ve always had a passion for performing arts. I’d be the first to take the chance and jump in front of class or a crowd to make people laugh. Although I had a vaguely shy personality, i’d blossom when I would go on stage. I remember I did a monologue in front of the entire school about how I hated all my teachers. 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 some of my teachers. After the show they came up to me and congratulated me on my performance with all smiles. I started questioning whether they fucking with me when I got no higher than a “C-” that term.
Acting had always been a part of me. Whether it be on stage, in front of a camera, or in my 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 New York. We heard back and went for a meeting, but my parents decided not to send me so I can concentrate on football. 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. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. My ultimate goal would be to make it in Hollywood. It’s okay to dream big, so long as you always keep your feet on the ground.
When I quit playing football, naturally I turned my attention to my other passion. Perhaps the first. Before there ever was the idea of becoming a football player, I dreamt of 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 expensive as hell so anything beyond two months was going to be a real fucking commitment. Besides i’ve already had year of conservatory at La Guardia performing arts.
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? Cause I can’t believe I just did. 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 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 a piece of shit, right!? 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 after that great audition”. Right then and there I knew I could do this 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 and couldn’t find new things to do. Even when I moved to Turkey, it was to get some sort of life back 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. A dream perhaps I should have been chasing from the beginning. Sometimes it’s not happiness itself, but the pursuit of happiness that gives people the hope to go on in life. Because without hope, we humans have nothing. 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. I mentioned my feelings towards most things have faded. I’m never really too sad or too happy. Even though I was very passionate about Acting, I wasn’t gonna sit and cry about it if it doesn’t work out. I know it’s a long shot. 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 should have could have tried harder.” I rather regret the things I did than the things I didn’t do. But then again, I rarely live with regret. If i did, there would already be a few. This was one thing I knew I would regret if I ever turned my back on destiny.
Acting gave me a direction. A goal in which I can work towards. I want to be a great Actor. Not a celebrity status maybe, just be able to pay bills through my art. Not make millions maybe. 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 probably be one of my top wishes. 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 to me. 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 just 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 him, asking me to enter a modeling contest called “Best Model of the World”. Models from all around the world compete for some dumbass crown. Around 25 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 I heard nothing, so I thought it wasn’t gonna really 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. I was still half asleep and wasn’t really sure if this was a very vivid dream or reality. I get those sometimes so I said, “Who the fuck is this?”
“It’s me. And you are Mr. United States.”