Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Actor Tyler Lepley: Working Hard at Success Everyday

by Cyrus Webb

He may have only been in the industry for a few years, but already actor Tyler Lepley is making his mark on television and the hearts of fans everywhere. As Benny Young on the hit drama The Haves and the Have Nots, we have seen him realize a dream of being a business owner and the nightmare of being accused of a crime you didn't commit. Through it all Tyler allows us to not just see a character but a part of himself as well.

I asked him about the experience and the response to the show. "The first thing that comes to mind is when I stepped on set," Tyler told me. "I've only been acting for about a year and a half, and it was like nothing I have ever seen before. Everyone checked their egos at the door when we were running lines and as we filmed the show that bond was solidified. The whole thing has been a blessing. It's one thing to be able to put something together and another to get the love from the fans." Those with The Haves and the Have Nots are getting both.

Tyler told me that the character Benny has been easy to relate to, but so have other characters as well. "I've seen people who don't have a lot find peace and happiness, and I've seen people who have money who are very unhappy." He says these are issues that are going on in life everyday.

This experience has an actor began in an unlikely way. "I had failed NFL dreams," Tyler says. He was naturally gifted at football but that wasn't enough. It came so easy to him that he admits he failed to work at it. "Sometimes your gift is your curse." After football Tyler went into personal training which led him to  modeling and acting. What was different this time? "I thought about the football dream and why I didn't succeed," he told me "The truth was I didn't work at it. I wasn't going to make that mistake again." As he began booking the first things in his new career he made sure to work very hard, even though it was something he was gifted at. "Everything happens for a reason," he says. "It's up to us to figure out that reason."

One of the things viewers of The Haves and the Have Nots have gotten to enjoy is Tyler's character Benny's interaction with his sister Candace (played by Tika Sumpter). "It's crazy to watch her be that snake and then come home and see that she does love someone," he told me. "Sometime the things about someone who is rebellious is it's a way to protect themselves. "A lot of it is a wall," he says. "It's a shield." At the end of the day, though, with Candace and Benny it's all going to go back to love. "When you see characters act like that you're able to dive into that creation. It's a big privilege."

When I began watching the show their were two things that struck me about the character Benny: the power of the dream and the issue of faith. "Benny wanted to be able to have that towing service," Tyler explained. He could relate to the feeling behind that. "It's such a realistic dream. Growing up I wanted to be someone who could provide for his family. I have to there for my family. It's one thing to chase a dream and another to realize what a dream takes." The journey is not always easy. "When you are going towards a dream sometimes you have to go through the dark to get to the light." Tyler says it is fun to play that dream and to remember that sometimes hard times have to come in order to realize your dream.

The next thing we discussed was Benny and faith. It's obvious from the very first episode of Season One that he doesn't share the excitement his mother Hannah (played by Crystal Fox)  has when it comes to God. Tyler explains it this way: "I'm a God-fearing person, but it took for me to get a little older in order to realize what that means. A lot of times when things aren't going well for you it's easy to look up at the sky and curse and ask God why me. When you're going through those trails and tribulations you get to understand what is on the over side of that darkness. For Benny the chips seem to be stacked against him. He's trying to find that path. It's hard for him to find that faith with everything going on. I can say that Benny now is Tyler Lepley four or five years ago."

With the first season coming to a close and the audience continuing to grow I was curious as to how Tyler was able to stay true to himself in the face of success:  "First of all it's all about staying grounded," he answered. "That means keeping my relationship with the Lord and the friends around me. You should always keep in mind that what got you to this point is what you should stick to. I'm not just soaking up the limelight. I'm still growing and auditioning. I have to remember who Tyler Lepley was before all of this. I know that just as quickly as it was given to me it can be taken away."

Stay in touch with Tyler Lepley on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tylepley. Tweet using the hashtag #HAHN.

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