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A Chat with Actor/Model Ryan James

Who is Ryan James?

Ryan James is an actor/commercial print model originally from Memphis, TN.  I have a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Media Production from Middle Tennessee State University. I’ve been a resident of Atlanta, Georgia for 5 years and could not be happier to live here. I’m an extrovert and very ambitions. Although I am an actor, I do have my shy moments and get anxiety when I have to do any kind of public speaking. My zodiac sign is Taurus, but since my Birthday is on the cusp (4/20), I’m sometimes listed as an Aries too. I am the most unique version of myself, and which version you get to see that depends on our nature of the interaction. A few random facts about me are that I don’t eat fruit (I’m a texture person and yeah it’s weird I know). I also lived in Las Vegas for a number of years as a child and I do a lot of production and PR work along with acting.

How would you describe yourself in one word?


How would you describe your brand?

As an actor, when I think of my brand, I think of qualities that others find most memorable about me. Casting directors often tell me I have a very “commercial’ look. My look can be ethnically ambiguous which works well in the commercial world and I try to display that in my headshots by highlighting my hair color, and my distinct freckles. My personality can be reserved, mysterious, youthful, charming, serious, intellectual, and innocent. I feel that conveying this in castings has helped me to book roles more frequently. My headshots and resume communicate my brand.

What is your philosophy towards your work?

If I could sum up my philosophy in one statement it would be, no matter how big or small the project/role always put 100% into it. Every opportunity to do what I love is a blessing. I feel the most alive when I’m filming and I am grateful for each chance to showcase my gift and work with other folks dedicated to their craft.

Tell us a specific accomplishment of yours that let you know this was for you.

In March of this year (2017), I received an invitation to join SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild/ American Federation of Television and Radio Artist), the most distinguished performers union in the world. For most actors and other media professionals, joining SAG is a significant rite of passage and proof of your professional status. Receiving my letter in the mail was definitely a pat on the back moment that let me know this was for me. It felt rewarding to accomplish this after years of working and I look forward to accomplishing more in the future.

When did you realize I am talented, handsome and I want to take this more seriously?

While in college, I started working with BET doing PR on the red carpets and production for different shows. Often times, members of the team would always ask me, “Why aren’t you doing anything in front of the camera?” I was constantly told that I had such a unique look being a Black male with naturally red hair. I’ll admit, I always wanted to pursue on camera endeavors; however, growing up and living in Tennessee, which wasn’t known for anything TV related, it seemed like such an intangible dream. In 2009, I received a random casting notice in my college email for a commercial being cast in Atlanta. I didn’t even have real headshots then (lol) but I cropped a decent Facebook picture and submitted for it. I received an invitation to come audition and I got on the road and drove to Atlanta. Long story short, I booked the commercial which was for Sprite as well as the accompanying print ad. I was the ONLY guy who booked both the commercial and the advertisement as well. This was when I decided that I wanted to take this seriously and realized that maybe I did have a dope look.

What Motivates You?

Making my mom proud motivates me. Unfortunately, she is no longer here on earth physically but I know she is smiling down on me from heaven. She was always my biggest motivator and encourager pushing me to follow my dreams. She was my biggest fan and I work every day to make her proud.

What Legacy are you preparing to leave?

I want people to remember me as a person who never gave up on getting to the next level in life. I want to be remembered as a person who never settled or let the trials and tribulations of life get me off track. I want to inspire others from my city to go for their dreams. If I can help someone see that it’s possible to do anything you work hard and achieve things that seemed impossible, even if it’s not in entertainment, then I will feel I have lived a life fulfilled.

Why do you think you’re a Quintessential Gentleman?

I’m a go-getter and a man about my business. I’m always networking to expand my brand and knowledge base. I’ve traveled the world which in my opinion opens your mind and heart to the world’s challenges to realize how blessed you are. I am patient, yet persistent, about accomplishing my dreams and I will not stop until I get there. Last but not least, I always know how to dress for the occasion at hand and remember that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. I think all of the qualities that I embody make me a Quintessential Gentleman.

Follow Ryan James on Instagram.

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