FOCUS FEATURE: TYLER LEPLEY

The mystery behind his eyes is just the start. Tyler Lepley is a dynamic talent you will see flashing across your screens more and more in 2013. Starring as Benny Young in OWN Network’s The Have and the Have Nots, Lepley gets to flex considerable artistic muscle as he sinks his teeth into a challenging role. And with comedy Baggage Claim alongside Paula Patton and Adam Brody out this September, there is nothing stopping this man on the upswing.

HAVE AND HAVE NOTS STAR TYLER LEPLEY

THE LEPLEY FILES…

CLOSET FAITHFULS: Black Velvet slippers (mine are Armani), Gargoyle silver ring, leather strap silver face Diesel watch.
BEST FEATURE: My ability to listen.
SECRET GARDEN: I’m an only child
THE GREAT ESCAPE: Bahamas
BEST ON-SET SHENANIGANS: Tyler Perry approved a singing scene for me in Haves & Have Nots and I can’t sing! That was pretty funny.
I LOVE MY…alone time.
#1 MOVIE HANDS DOWN EVER: Training Day
MAD MEN OR BOARDWALK EMPIRE: Boardwalk Empire
LAST ITUNES DOWNLOAD: U.O.E.N.O Rocco feat Rick Ross Produced by DummaBoy.
GUILTY PLEASURE: Sour Skittles, I have a serious sweet tooth.
DREAM DINNER GUEST: Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr., Helen Keller
WORDS TO LIVE BY: Carpe Diem

HYDROGEN MAGAZINE: What were you like as a little one? Were you that kid hamming it up for the family when company came over?
TYLER LEPLEY: As a kid, I was a handful I’m told. I was the bad one running all over the place. I liked to play a lot and stay active so I was more or less the one that had to be settled down.

HM: When did acting take a real hold of you?
TL: It was the moment I understood that with hard work and dedication I could be successful at it.

HM: Was it challenging getting roles when you first came to Hollywood? What were those early experiences like?
TL: I have only been acting for about two years, so it’s still the early years for me. However, the first few projects I worked on were ones that were brought to me so it wasn’t too difficult at first to find projects as I wasn’t looking to become an actor. I was a personal trainer at Iron Gym in Santa Monica and was approached to do a project a few different times.

ARTIST ON THE RISE: TYLER LEPLEY

HM: What actors have influenced you on your journey, perhaps with a body of work that makes you think, “Yeah, I wouldn’t mind that portfolio.”?
TL: There are so many great actors to pay respects to that have had an influence on me as an actor, but I think none more profoundly than Denzel Washington’s career. He’s one of the greatest of our time in my opinion. But although it’s important to have people in the industry to look up to, you can never underestimate the power of being unique. Some of the most talented actors in the game are also some of the most unique.

HM: Pitt, Clooney, Gosling….whose wardrobe would you raid if you could? Who has the most swagger?
TL: I’d have to pull a heist on Brad Pitts place. He’s definitely got good taste when it comes to accessories and for me that’s what it’s all about. I’ll go with some Gucci tennis shoes, gold Rolex, some blue jeans and a white V-neck during the day as opposed to some extravagant three piece suit and top hat. For me it’s about the subtleties.

HM: How did the role of Benny Young on The Haves and the Have Nots come about? Tell me about him and how you approached the role.
TL: The role of Benny came about through a long audition process that lasted about four months from start to finish. After landing the role I started to create Benny’s life outside of just the lines on the paper. Benny is someone that is transcending the boundaries that he is currently living in and is dreaming big. I grew up very much a ‘Have Not’ so I know what it’s like to feel Benny’s dreams coming from a place that seems hopeless. For me, it was all about connecting with where I came from to translate it into the life that I lived as Benny on screen.

HM: Let’s talk about Baggage Claim, the comedy you have coming out this fall. What is it all about? Tell me about your character.
TL: Baggage Claim is a story about a woman (Paula Patton) trying to find love. She doesn’t want to be the eldest and unattached at her younger sister’s wedding so she decides to track down all of her ex-lovers through the air as she is a flight attendant. It’s about a journey that starts out with her trying to find a date and ends up seeking love and gets more than what she bargained for. My character is Curtis and I play one of the exes that she tracks down.

HM: How do you keep your feet on the ground in a very heady industry?
TL: I think it’s all about staying humble and grounded. A lot of times, if you start to take yourself too seriously in this industry, you fall victim to your ego and that is a slippery slope. Pride can get in the way of a lot of great opportunities.

HM: What’s the long game for you?
TL: The road for me will only be long if I stick to my current process. I am more than just an actor and want to use my platform to expand my brand. I’ve gotten back into the studio to record an EP that I’m working on. I also have a clothing line I’m developing that I would like to release within the next year and a half. All this while continuing to work hard with my acting coach Ivana Chubbuck and continuing to audition for more projects. All one step at a time while keeping God my first priority.

THE HAVES AND HAVE NOTS AIRS TUESDAYS ON OWN NETWORK, 9.P.M.ET/PT

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GREY VEST LOOK: PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIMBERLY METZ / GROOMING BY CHRISTINA SORGI

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