The image of overnight success is a misleading one. It implies that a person caught a lucky break, or was simply in the right place at the right time and suddenly propelled into the spotlight.
In reality, overnight success is the culmination of passionate labor and the continued mastery of one’s craft.
At the moment, there is no greater spokesperson for the image of earned success in Hollywood than Michael B. Jordan.
The 27-year-old actor is quickly becoming a household name, after his powerful role as Oscar Grant in “Fruitvale Station,” his performance in “That Awkward Moment” alongside Zac Efron, and his portrayal of Vince Howard in NBC’s “Friday Night Lights” series.
Next summer, he will take his success and fame to the next level as The Human Torch in the forthcoming “Fantastic Four” reboot. He’s come a long way since he broke onto the scene as Wallace in the hit series “The Wire,” but as a young veteran in the acting game, his journey makes perfect sense.
I chatted with Jordan about his success as an actor, the legacy he’s creating for himself and his upcoming role as the host and celebrity photographer at the Canon USA PIXMA PRO City Senses live-music themed gallery exhibit in Austin, TX on October 1. The gallery opens to the public on October 2.
The key to success
In 2013, Jordan completely rocked my world with his performance as Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old year-old man who was fatally shot by a police officer while being detained on New Year’s Day in Oakland, 2009.
I couldn’t help but tell Jordan that he legitimately made me cry. He laughed, but a dramatic performance of that caliber is certainly telling of the natural talent and dedication it takes to tackle one’s dreams.
“You have so many different actors trying to follow the exact same dream, so it’s about what sets you apart from everyone else,” Jordan explained about the process of succeeding as an actor. “I think it starts at home. You know, the drive. The wanting to be great.
“You’ll hear tons of nos before you ever hear a yes,” he admits. “So be mentally being prepared to go for the long haul. To feel like you’re working harder than everybody else.”
Inspiration through photography
As the celebrity photographer at Canon’s upcoming gallery event, Jordan is able to further express his creativity behind the lens, rather than in front of one.
“An image that always stayed with me is the famous Mohammed Ali and Sonny Liston photograph, of Ali standing over Liston after the knockout. I love black and white photos, they’re timeless and last forever.”
He explained that, in today’s world, everyone has the tools to be a photographer, though it’s important to preserve the art of photography.
Jordan is taking his celebrity photography role for Canon seriously, and is capturing a few of few shots of his own. Here are two that will be exhibited at the event:
Creating a legacy
Like any successful person who is fueled by passion, Jordan feels he is only getting started. For him, the opportunity to keep on creating is key. When I asked what he feels he hasn’t fulfilled yet, his answer was simple: directing.
“I’ve been in this game a long time, in front of the camera on both film and TV sets. I feel like I have good knowledge of what it takes to put together a full package I look forward to getting behind the camera and having a strong opinion about something.”
I decided to take a page from James Lipton of “Inside The Actor’s Studio” and steal the trademark question he asks each of his guests, which derives from the French journalist Bernard Pivot: “If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?”
“We’ve been waiting for you Mr. Jordan,” he chuckled in response.
Luckily, he doesn’t have to wait that long because the film world has already greeted him with the same sentiments.
Photo Credit: Getty Images