Before living in two fictional worlds both drowning in destitution, corruption, lust, and fortune there lived a little brown kid in Springfield, Illinois discovering that life is grounded in the parallels of absoluteness and hope. The memories of humble beginnings are near for actor, musician and model Rome Flynn. However, with perseverance and acceptance, he manifested a career that those in his small town could have only hoped for.
Winning an Emmy for his role on The Bold and The Beautiful, starring on A Madea Family Funeral, and making his mysterious character, Gabriel Maddox, oh so sexy on How to Get Away with Murder is a pure testament to Flynn’s ability to entice and capture an audience. “It’s all about me trying to make sure I imitate the life around me, and it’s a huge responsibility,” said Flynn. “Whenever I get a character that I’m fortunate to play, I make sure it’s rooted in the essence of my culture. There is a responsibility, especially for people like me, people of color that don’t have many opportunities to be on tv.”
The confident and stylish man we see today formed an immense appreciation for fashion after settling into his newfound lifestyle in Hollywood. With passion and humility, Rome spoke about growing up extremely poor in the late 90s, wearing the knock off versions of brands that millennials praise and even put their lives at risk for today. “I wasn’t in tune with the culture of fashion back then. I just couldn’t afford to be, and it wasn’t something I cared about until I became an actor,” said Flynn. “The first time I acknowledged that I wanted to be a figure in fashion was when I attended my first Emmys the year before I was nominated.”
Being labeled is a constant struggle that men of color face regardless of their financial standing. And like many of us, our outward appearance determines our lives security which is often met with prejudice and stereotypes. As an Afro-Cuban talent, Rome Flynn stares adversity directly in the eyes when going out for projects. “I have fewer opportunities. Lead roles written for us aren’t as complex as they are for our white counterparts. So to put it in perspective, I have to work twice as hard for twice as less to receive success.” But in admiration of champions and trailblazers like Lena Waithe, Ava DuVernay and Tyler Perry, Rome foresees a huge shift for actors of color in Hollywood. “The key is we have to stop relying on someone else to “fix it.” Now we have Black and Latino showrunners and writers who can tell the stories we want to hear. We have to show people that we are multifaceted and multitalented to make them pay attention.”
Longevity can be achieved through tenacity and a solid plan. “I’m at my best when I feel grounded and when I have my pulse on the world around me. I’m at my best when I have a strategy to deal with these things,” said Flynn. Whether the goal is to become versed in the world of fashion or a voice in young Hollywood, Rome Flynn’s trajectory is worth following.
Check out our Style Issue featuring Rome Flynn.