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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Comedian and Actor Dawan Owens: Discovering Himself Everyday Through His Craft

by Cyrus Webb

You've seen him in diverse roles on shows like Hell Date, Southland, The Hustle and NCIS: Los Angeles, but it is as the character Quan on the hit show IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG that actor and comedian Dawan Owens has really gotten his opportunity to shine.

The funny thing about his journey though is that it may not have happened if he wasn't willing to ask the tough questions of himself and do the work. "It's amazing to do what you love," Dawan told me during our conversation together. "I spent most of my life trying to figure out what I wanted to do." After some events and conversations took place it was undeniable what he should be doing. "This is the path that God has put me on."

You wouldn't know it by looking at him today, but Dawan hasn't always exuded the confidence that comes out on camera. "Growing up I wasn't the coolest of kids," he explained. But it was during that time that he realized one of his gifts. "Comedy is what got me out of trouble." Even when things were rough at home, Dawan says the best thing to do was make jokes. "What we did with our time was laugh." Now he is literally laughing his way toward his destiny.

Coming to Hollywood he was once again faced with the question that he had asked himself: "Who are you?" They saw him and realized that he wasn't a one-note. He could play "urban", be funny and even do drama. All of those abilities had to be honed.

What helped Dawan not to get lost in the bubble? "What has been important is not to try to be somebody else," he explained. "We spend a lot of time looking at others and trying to emulate their success. What we should be emulating is the drive and the discipline they have. I can only be Dawan, and the great thing about that is there is no other Dawan in the world." His advice to others trying to break into the industry or pursue their goals in another field? "Don't waste time trying to be anybody else. You are uniquely you and that is the best thing in the world. There is no one else like you."

He was able to bring that attitude into the making of the character Quan in Tyler Perry's IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG. "The thing about this cast is it's a labor of love," Dawan says. He also revealed that several of the cast members---including himself---experienced some heartbreaking losses during filming. "We all rallied around each other." With a rigorous schedule of shooting an episode a day, Dawan says: "It bonded us as a family. Some of that has to come through on camera."

Another thing that he refers back to was how Tyler Perry gathered everyone who worked on the project together and told them "I have built this place for you to come and live your dreams." That resonated with Dawan. "It feels good to know that he wanted to give people he (Tyler) thinks are great an opportunity to succeed."

Now Dawan is able to take that motivation and use it in every aspect of his life. What a great example for all of us.

Stay connected with Dawan on social media at www.twitter.com/dawanowens and www.facebook.com/dawanowens.

*Photo credit: Paul Smith

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