Story by Cassie Hepler
Philadelphia native Kevin Savage is an actor, model and vocalist building his portfolio through a dozen of onscreen roles. Savage discovered his love for acting in church when he was cast as the lead in his first stage play. Since then he hasn’t looked back, saying, “The response I received from the audience after my performance gave me a high for acting that I never came down from.”
His first film was an independent project called Cold Feet, written and directed by Lateek Harrison. He then landed a role in a web series called The Underground Kings written by American Black Film Festival award winner Skye Dennis and produced by NBA basketball player Rick Hamilton.
A stand-in position for Jay Ellis (Blue) on the hit television show The Game, which in-turn led to a speaking role in Season 8 of the critically acclaimed series. Kevin signed with Aligned Stars agent Patrick Ryan and booked his second television appearance as Jerick, a lead werewolf on the hit CW television show The Originals. Savage earned a co-starring role in the film Chasing Waterfalls, alongside Drew Sidora and Jasmine Guy, which premiered on March 8, 2016.
Savage is currently starring as a “Quarterback” in the upcoming anticipated series on BET “The Quad,” beginning January 31, 2017.
We caught up with Kevin and got an exclusive Q&A for Explore Philly. Check it out below:
Q: Where were you born and raised? What was it like?
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Me and my twin sister, Artise, was adopted at the age of 2. Being raised in a household full of women, it was pretty tough to find my identity as a young man because I didn’t have a male role model to look up to. Fighting became the norm for me because I always had to prove I wasn’t punk or a sissy. But my grandmother, the late Elsie Currie, taught me how to be a great protector, hard worker and provider growing up which I’m sure contributed to were I am today and where I strive to be tomorrow.
Q: How did you get the acting bug?
When In my early 20’s, I attended Victory Christian Center, and the drama leader Nicketta Raynee asked me to audition for her up and coming play “The Real Meaning of Christmas.” It was an adaptation of the film “Little shop of Horror,” but a christian version. I auditioned and landed the lead role of seamor. Near the end of the play, I had this extremely emotional monologue in which I was having a conversation with God. I related personally with the monologue because of all of the things that were going on in my life at the time, so to me I wasn’t acting. Well, the audience went crazy, and the feeling I received was amazing. That’s when becoming an actor became more than just a possibility, it became a goal.
Q: Have you ever modeled too if so for who?
My modeling career is also picking up extremely fast. I’m signed with MMA in Langhorne, Pa and CLICK models in Atlanta. When I lived here in Philly, I was fortunate enough to do New York Fashion Week, Philadelphia Fashion Week, New Jersey Fashion Week and fashion shows at Moore College, Kimmel Center and many others. But CLICK is focusing more on booking me a lot more print work like magazines, billboards and also commercials. My personal goal is to end up on the cover of an issue of GQ magazine, which will happen. I’m extremely excited about my modeling future.
Q: Do you have any formal training or education?
I’ve never gone to school for acting but I’ve taken a host of classes. One of which was under the Sander Meisner technique by Juilliard graduate and Philly native Lee Colston. As an actor, it’s extremely important to stay in class and building cultivate your skills. Many actors, once they begin booking, slow down training. That’s totally understandable because sometimes your fortunate enough to work more on set than in class, which is definitely the goal. But it’s our jobs as actors to continue to learn … and with that, I’ll be back in class real soon.
Q: What’s the best part about this new gig?
I’m extremely happy and excited about working on The Quad. It’s a drama about life at an HBCU airing January 31st on BET. I’ve always wanted to work with BET and the executive producer of the show Felicia D. Henderson of Moeisha, Soul Food and many more, gave me that chance in which I’m so gratefulI for. It’s the first television show in which my character blossoms. I play star quarterback Terrence Bell and my character … well, I’ll just say that you won’t ever forget him. Former life coach and Emmy winner Rana Walker exposed me to the HBCU experience at Howard University’s home comings and I fell in love with it. So being apart of the show became an opportunity to get a small taste of what it would have been like attending an HBCU. I’m also really happy about the exposure this show is going to give me. But I will have to say that the most exciting part about this process, is the fact that I was able to perform extremely well under the pressure of Hollywood producers, directors and actors. That’s why it’s so important to be ready when your time comes! The interesting thing is that I was told by one of the writers that I was slated to appear on only 2 to 3 episodes. This was after I had just finished an intense scene with Emmy Award winning actor Sean Blakemore, who plays coach Hardwick. They were so impressed with my work and though they were nervous because they didn’t really know who I was or what I could do, I was able to leave a strong impression which led to more scenes and ultimately a full season. For me, when I can walk on set with seasoned actors like Jasmine Guy, Anika Noni Rose, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and E. Roger Mitchell and still perform at a high level, it’s more than exciting, it’s liberating as a personally as an actor.
Q: How long will it last?
I can’t say how long I will be on the show because it would be a breach in confidentiality, but I will say get ready to enjoy this extremely well written hour long drama.
Q: Where are you filming and have you met any super stars?
The Quad is filmed in Atlanta, Georgia between a studio and Morehouse College. It’s just been a great experience filming at the college were the most prominent African American leader Dr. Martin Luther King attended. To be able to have this experience become apart of my acting career is epic.
One of the best things about living and working in Atlanta is that it’s become little Hollywood. Running into celebrities like Usher, Vivica Fox, Cee Lo Green, and many other are a norm. But I gotta say running into Jack Black was the best, because he didn’t mind being on my Facebook live feed with me. He even said “Savage Life” which is my brand which stands for inspiration and motivation to Lifestyle Fitness and entertainment. He was funny and full of life.
Q: What is your ultimate acting goal/role?
Many actors have goals to win an Oscar or an Academy award. My goal as an actor is to just find consistent good work that resignates with me while also affording me the lifestyle I desire. If I win an award, which I do believe I will, great. If not, I’m truly okay with that. As long as I’m truly respected for my hard word.
Q: Who is your favorite actor?
My favorite actor is Jamie Fox. He’s one of the most versatile, gifted entertainers of our life time. Give him a dramatic scene, he can deliver, give him a mic he can sing have your head nodding to his smooth melodic voice, or he can have you dying of laughter. Give him a piano, and it’s over!!! I truly respect his hard work and dedication and I WILL share the set with him one day. He’s definitely going to know who Savage is one day.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I see the Savage Life brand taking off. From movies, to television shows, to billboards, Kevin Savage will be a known face. But it will only happen if I keep God first, and family second, which I will forever do!!!