Actor Akeem Mair talks Entertainment, Education, and Experiences in an Exclusive Interview w/ Mistah Wilson

Akeem Mair on IMDB

"You have to wake up and know instantly what needs to be done. You don’t have the time to waste in activities that does nothing for you to prosper or slows down your progress."

Mistah Wilson: Yo, Akeem Mair! Thank you so much for coming thru for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock Magazine! How's everything?
Akeem Mair: Honestly, everything in my life right now has been evidence that God is real! If you would have asked me that question 2 years ago I would have told you I am miserable and felt like I wanted to die. I was just going to work and watching my life take its own course. It wasn’t until January 3rd, 2019 I had a conversation with my brothers at the 7 Eleven on Orange Grove blvd and Lake Ave that I decide to stop feeling sorry for myself and bought me a notebook to write down my goals and what I wanted to accomplish. That led me back to Mike Pointer and everything changed! So how’s everything? A blessing!!

Mistah Wilson: For our audience reading this, could you give us a quick background on yourself?
Akeem Mair: Hi my name is Akeem Jahmal Mair, and I am born and raised in Pasadena, CA. I was named after Eddie Murphy's character in the box office 1988 hit “Coming to America” and has starred in award-winning independent films screened by Warner Brother studios including “Kidnap” and “The Fine Line.” I’ve worked for CBS and Comedy Central on the hit show “NCIS: LA”, and “Key and Peele.” Additionally, I landed principal roles for live performances across major Southern California Universities. I also appeared in national television commercials for eHarmony, The Clippers, and most recently for The Dominguez Firm and has played the lead in numerous music videos. Additionally, I perform in high-traffic original content on the web in numerous roles such as Allistair, a vampire seeking to exterminate vampire hunters, in “The Blood of the Dead” and appears on the Youtube channel “Girls Going Viral.” Most recently he appeared on The Ellen Show, helping garner over 5+ million views. Whether I am bringing life to characters in film and television, on small and big screens, or in high-traffic original content on the web, he remains in Southern California always bringing his upbeat attitude and infectious energy to every project and role on my rise to stardom.

Mistah Wilson: What were some of your best experiences growing up in Pasadena and what street(s) did you live on?
Akeem Mair: Pasadena has always been my home! I tell people all the time I’ll visit places and countries around the world but I will never move from Pasadena. I will always represent. I’ve lived on Altadena Dr. and Woodbury, Altadena Dr. and Fair Oaks, Summit and Hammond, Altadena Dr. and Brigden Rd, and now I’m up in the Meadows. My experiences growing up in Dena has always been great. From me being born at the Huntington Hospital in 1988. To riding my first bike and playing football at the age of 10 with my brother Wesley Mair and my cousin Aaron Winston. To graduating at John Marshall Fundamental in 2007 to get my High School Diploma. To practicing my driving skills with my Dad or my Aunt some nights at the Rose Bowl to get my driver’s license at 19 from the Rosemead DMV. To filming the Dominguez Firm commercial across the street from my High School. Just too many memories to pull from.

Mistah Wilson: So, tell us more about tha defining moment that led you to pursue acting full on. How satisfied are you with the decision you made?
Akeem Mair: Acting was not my first choice, I really wanted to be a financial banker. I saw Micheal Douglas’s character and lifestyle in the movie, “the game,” and became so inspired after that. I drove the 2000 BMW 740i he drove, the custom suits he wore, the excitement of everybody winning money in the office, and the personal maid that lives at his house. Plus I always loved math and punching numbers in a calculator so I figured “why not?” Little did I know while working at Ralph’s grocery store a loyal customer ending up changing my path. I remember being a cashier and seeing a customer I knew quite well coming into my line with a sad demeanor. It seem something was bothering her so I tried to brighten up her day with my personality. I said hi, “it’s good to see you again, did you find everything ok?” She said softly, yes I did thank you!” I said, “usually I see you smiling but whatever you’re going through I know God will not give you more than you can handle!” “ He has something better for you!” After the transaction I said, “have a bless day!” “I hope to see you again soon.” Immediately she paused and finally looked up at me for the first time and i could she had been crying. she replies, “Are you an actor?” I said, “No. Why do you ask?” She said, “Because your energy is filled with so much positive energy. You move people by it. You lifted up my spirits after I just lost my house in a foreclosure. Thank you!” Her reply shocked me. After she left I went home that day and wondered, What would my life look like if I was a successful Actor? I thought about how I’ll be able to help my family so much more and how I can infect millions of people with the same positive energy. That night I searched ‘how to become an actor’ and it said most start as an extra on a movie set. The next day I reached out to Central Casting in Burbank for their free introduction and here I am today! I am more than satisfied and really love what I do!!

Mistah Wilson: What are your favorite movie genres and why?
Akeem Mair: My favorite types of genres is romance and action packed films. As for romance I always love it when the guy who beats all odds end up with the beautiful woman. When he finds his true love and they end up happily ever after. Someday I would love to find my own princess and be happily married. I don’t want no part of getting a divorce. I’ve seen happy many times, even to the best of them and some actors don’t recover from it. So the romantic films fill me with hope. As for the action, I’m all for superhero movies. When you watch movies like the Black Panther, Spider-Man or the Avengers you can’t help but visualize yourself as one of those heroes. These types of movies always empowers me in some form. You see your favorite heroes rise from impossible odds and that motivates me to do the same.

Mistah Wilson: What are your personal favorite productions you've worked on and/or been featured in?
Akeem Mair: It’s gotta be the Ellen Show!! Don’t get me wrong I am grateful for everything I’ve been able to in but the Ellen’s Show brought so many blessings out of it. I was in class when my friends and family kept hitting my phone every 5 mins with texts like, “what??? you were on The Ellen Show??? You gotta call me!!” Everybody was so excited for me to be on her segment show, “Speak The Lyrics.” A show where one of Ellen’s writers walks up to a complete stranger and begins speaking to them in song lyrics. I was so shocked and wonder how everyone is able to see it. I was in David Rountree’s “On Set/On Camera” class learning about how to commit to a scene and make it real. Now I had no way of knowing I was on The Ellen Show. See a couple months back, I wanted to go check out some books at Barnes and Noble in Burbank. As I approached the building I notice a bunch of film crew just standing outside. I asked one of them, “What’s going on?”But they all pretended to be confused. Alright so I go inside to look around and didn’t find anything interesting. I was able to walkout when I notice my favorite rapper 2pac’s record “All Eyes On Me,” in the record section. As I’m looking at it I swear Lauren literally came out of nowhere! I remember Coach Mike is teaching us as actors to be prepared for any moment and to never let the moment to take you out of what’s happening now. So I played into what she was saying and a bunch of producers came running towards after we were done. It airs on TV and Ellen calling it, “The best episode she’s ever seen!” I’m speechless. It was generating over 5 million views on instagram and for some miracle it landed in my future agent, Sarah Angeli from Commercial Talent Agency, Instagram feed. Unbelievable! Funny thing is I just sent her my headshots and resume with the help of my good friend and mentor Mike Dolphy. So when I walked into her office for my agent meeting, boom!! She had already up on her computer. When she said, “I just saw this yesterday and here you are,” I just felt the power of Jesus. She played it again and we both smiled and laughed. I’ll never forget it! 

Mistah Wilson: Let's discuss education for a moment here. In what ways has college impacted your career as an actor?
Akeem Mair: College has been really good I study at Pasadena City College’s Acting Program. But college shouldn’t be the only focus an actor or actress needs. After my 5 year hiatus, I went back to Mike Pointer at Hey, I Saw Your Commercial. I’ve taken all 5 of his levels which really helps the actor or actress build self confidence and understand the acting business. From there I went to LA Acting Studios and study under David Rountree, Andrew Hall, David Banks and Jeremy Jordan. They teach what it’s like to be on set commercially and theatrically. From there I study under Dave Lowe and Micheal Antonacci at Alyson Horn and Ross Lacy’s the Commercial Class. This helps you with commercial auditions and working with other actors and actress in commercials. Next I study under Toby Lawless intensive commercial training and now I’m at (UCB) Upright Citizens Brigade for comedy. So I’m taking a variety of coaches/teachers who work on different aspects of my acting game. Expanding my resume more than just college makes me look like a gem in front of casting directors and talent agents.

Mistah Wilson: How do you feel about stage plays or possibly starring in roles on Broadway as oppose to acting on screen?
Akeem Mair: I am open to stage and broadway I think it’s an amazing experience, but if it takes me away from feature films I would have to decline because I understand my focus. I know what I want and that is to be on screen. You have to know where you want to end up or your career can go all over the place without any direction. But stage is really good for developing an actor. Denzel and Sydney Poitier both started with Stage/Plays. I myself have done a lot of plays at my First AME Church in Los Angeles, UCLA, USC, and at Long Beach University.

Mistah Wilson: What are some unique things you do when preparing for a new role?
Akeem Mair: When preparing for a role, I like to breakdown the character. Why does he say what he says? There’s always a reason. Where is he at that moment in time? You have to know where you are, because if your character is in a library then he wouldn’t be yelling! So you have to know where the hell you are. What does he want in this scene? Because everyone wants something, the question is what do you want. Then, last I aim to be real. I always ask myself, how can I make this scene real to me? An example would be to imagine a character you're talking to actually be someone you are close to like your mom or brother. Last but not least, KNOW YOUR LINES!!!! I can’t tell how much looking at the script or forgetting your lines break your character and the scene falls apart.

Mistah Wilson: How do you generate confidence when delivering a performance?
Akeem Mair: My confidence came from the very first role I’ve ever booked!! “Good Will Hunting,” a student remake film for the Los Angeles Film School. My nerves were extremely high and this experience gave me one of my most treasured lessons. The director asks me to take my shirt off and lay next to actress Alexandra Gurskaya. Now I was nervous as hell while I’m going my lines in my head and then the professor yells, “Action!!!” So I place my right hand over her arm and deliver my lines in a shaky tone, “yeah but how do you kno——“ The professor yells “stop!!!!!!!!!!” He tells Alexandra in a pleasant tone “you’re doing a fine job sweetheart, keep it up! But you” as he points to me with an aggressive tone, “come here!” He guides me to the monitor and says, “Now study yourself, is your character suppose to be nervous or confident?” I said, “confident!” He then says, “then why the hell are you messing up my scene by being nervous? forget about all these people in this room. Your job is to entertain us and deliver an excellent performance because that’s what you do. You can’t let us ruin this moment for you! And don’t ruin this moment for yourself either!” My lesson on confidence is to embrace being nervous and be confident anyways. If you keep your mind on delivering the best performance you can do, everything becomes easy. You have to practice too and practice hard!

Mistah Wilson: What have been some of tha biggest challenges you've faced along your journey as an actor?
Akeem Mair: The biggest challenges I’ve faced is the ability to stay awake at night completing auditions before the deadline or practicing your lines when you are dead tired and you could hear other family members sleeping and getting their rest in. The challenge to hold your head up after giving an audition all you had, believing you got the part only to hear they decided to go with someone else. The challenge to spend your money wisely that benefits your career and having the mental toughness to hold back on spending it on foolish things, like a brand new car or shoes you don’t need. The challenge to get things done as fast as you can without falling victim to procrastination. The challenge to not compare yourself to other actors and actresses, to really focus on what you got going on and not be envious or jealous of the blessings of what another person is receiving. The challenge to trust the process and know just because you don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean you are not progressing. The challenge to be ridiculed by your family and friends who keep telling to give it up because you are wasting your life on something that will never happen and you are fighting to stay strong with much faith. The challenge to trust God and not yourself despite what you see in front of you. These are my challenges and yet I refuse to yield and give up on my dreams.

Mistah Wilson: What would you say are some more of tha rewarding things that you've experienced?
Akeem Mair: The most rewarding things I’ve experienced is everything I’m doing inside of acting. All of my experiences that include my failures, bookings, classes, presses, interviews, practices, social media platforms, connections/networking, workshops, red carpet events, you name it brings a certain joy in my life. I remember being on a hiatus from acting for almost 5 years and it was the most depressing feeling in my entire life. Now I’m taking classes with some of the biggest names and learning so much about myself such as being able to act in front of all your peers and being able to take criticism from the coaches too. The feelings you get from notifications that you booked an audition in some days you think nothing is happening this week. That feeling you get when you get a callback from a director because they want to see more of what you got to offer. That feeling of actually booking the job and can’t wait to let your family know about the amazing moment that just happened. That ugly feeling you get when you gave it your all but the people behind the project choose someone else for it. I love all of my experiences.

Mistah Wilson: In your own words, what is it like working with so many different talents across so many projects?
Akeem Mair: It’s amazing to get to work with so many different talented actors and actress such as LL Cool J, Eric Roberts, Stana Katic, Nathan Fillion, Keegan, and Jordan Peele because you get to see their work. Their preparation and flaws you don’t get to see in the finished product because it’s been deleted and edited out. You get to see the fans standing outside waiting for autographs because they heard their favorite stars were filming in their area. You hey see how they conduct themselves with other actors and what kind of car they drive. What’s their personality like and what ticks them off in that particular day. You get to see how they treat people, how easy they make acting seem. It’s truly a blessing, It’s literally like I’m in class learning and studying. Working with them truly makes your job a lot easier and less stressful because they seem to always be prepared.

Mistah Wilson: In your experience, what's it like doing movies compared to television and web series shows?
Akeem Mair: For me, television and web series shows are like stepping stones to get me to landing the big feature film roles I crave. I’m finally doing my first feature film called “It’s on You” where I have a few lines which is a big step for my career. Every actors or actress experiences are different meaning some love to do television/ web series and others like myself love to do feature films. Feature films typically have longer shoot days. That’s why you see the big stars usually do 2 to 3 movies a year. But the plan is to grab plenty of guest star roles on different T.V series because they're easier to break into. Then leverage my way up! 

Mistah Wilson: I know this might be hard to do, but give me your all-time top movies. They don't have to be critically acclaimed, but more so your own personal top five favorites...
Akeem Mair: These movies are no particular order but here are my main 5. The main actors in these movies completely show me what it looks like to dominate a role. 
  • Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio portrayal of Jack was just incredible.
  • Training Day, Denzel Washington is a beast! He made you love Alonzo the bad cop more than you love Jake trying to do the right thing.
  • Gladiator, Russell Crowe just has that dominance and fearless presence. I really felt his pain.
  • The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the joker was just beyond my expectations. I have to admit I doubted Heath in the beginning because I didn’t think he would be able to top Jack Nicholson’s version of the joker but he blew me away the first scene.
  • Scarface, Al Pacino was that man. He made everybody wanting to be Tony Montana! That movie taught me so many lessons and inspires me to be the top of my game!
Mistah Wilson: What do you plan to accomplish through your career as an actor?
Akeem Mair: I want and will have 6 Oscars!!!! I want and will be the Micheal Jordan or the Kobe Bryant of my profession. I want to be the greatest period! I’m not that person who gloats over being seen on television or a working actor, I want more than that. I want my name to be next to the legends of Hollywood. I’m talking about the Sidney Poitier, James Dean, Brad Pitt, Clark Gable, Denzel Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day Lewis, Heath Ledger, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Eddie Murphy, Tom Hanks, Al Pacino, Morgan Freeman, Samuel Jackson, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Marylin Monroe, Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Joaquin Phoenix, Robert Downey Jr., Russell Crowe, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman... I mean the list goes on. I put that pressure on myself because I want to work that hard and be that great because I love it so much!!

Mistah Wilson: What positive, encouraging words do you have for aspiring actors and actresses who may be reading this?
Akeem Mair: You have to start everyday with daily goals. Time is always moving so fast and you could lose 24 hours without even realizing it. You already lost 6 to 8 hours due to sleeping, which you can’t avoid. You have to get your rest in to be able to perform at your peak level. The rest of the hours you have left you got to manage and control it to the best of your ability. You have to wake up and know instantly what needs to be done. You don’t have the time to waste in activities that does nothing for you to prosper or slows down your progress. For instance if one of my goals was to study my scripts today for class at 7pm then is going to the store to window shop or hang out with friends really going to benefit me? The answer is a loud no!!!! But if you do it then be prepared to suffer any consequences that comes with that choice you’ve made. The daily goals is a reminder for you to constantly make the right choices everyday and when enough “good decisions” stack up over time, you can look back and see how much progress you’ve made. Daily goals is extremely important.

Mistah Wilson: Where can people find and follow you online?
Akeem Mair: If you literally google me, everything pops up! But here’s a few links to find me quick.

Mistah Wilson: Yo, Akeem Mair! It's been super awesome having you here with us for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock Magazine! We look forward to following your work and reconnecting soon for tha audio follow-up. If you have any shout outs, let's hear it...
Akeem Mair: Sarah Angeli with Commercial Talent Agency

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