(photos via PenderPR)
1. I know you, but some people may not.
So could you please introduce yourself to the world?
”I’d love to! I’m Antonio. Actor, writer, restaurateur, and dad!”
2. What was your first job in the entertainment industry?
Also, what did you do before that?
”My first job was in grade 7 hosting a show called KidsTV, which consisted of kids programming where we interviewed the most interesting people and learned about very cool things. We were slotted between Saturday morning cartoons. It was amazing!”
3. Did you study acting before getting into the industry?
”No, the first job I booked was a fluke, right place, right time, right person. But it set me on a course towards the arts and eventually took me to theatre school and countless classes.”
4. If you could work with anyone you'd want,
who would that person be and why?
”My path in the arts has often been about <following the invitations> and through that I’ve met the most remarkable people. And I trust that process to continue so I’ve never really dreamt up people to meet. But I love people that have lived life, who are generous mentors, who are well-versed in humanity, and whose lens and perspective are focused on leaving this all better than they found it. Will Smith comes to mind as someone who has really developed as a man, a father, a person of color, and an actor, I bet he would be a rich and intimate conversation. Ava DuVernay would be high on my list, she most closely embodies the responsibility I feel we have as BIPOC artists to create legacy work of the highest quality while working to change the narrative of what is and what’s to be expected.”
5. What does a normal day in your life looks like?
”I’m a dad first, so chances are I’m either home or out with my wife and son, swim class, playing with toys, having dance parties. After that, I’m at one of my restaurants working. I’m pretty lucky to be part of a restaurant group with close friends who share similar values and ambitions, so work rarely feels like work. Then I’m up late into the night reading, watching things, creating, and thinking. Add in a little bit of sleep here and there and that’s a day in the life.”
6. Where is your favorite place to be and why?
”Hmm. My favorite place to be these days is in my son’s private world. He’s two and a half, and there’s so much going on within him all the time. The moments that I get to climb inside are humbling and I’m more present than in any place I’ve visited.”
7. If you could, what would be the one advice you
would want to give to your younger self?
”You are interesting. Don’t be afraid of your voice, or what you have to say. Oh… and everything you’ll ever need is inside. Don’t look out, look in. You got this.”
8. What is one of the best advice that you've got?
”With time as your ally, and patience as your weapon, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.”
9. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
”I started a non-profit with 3 of my closest friends called Project: Humanity. The goal was to use art as a way to raise social awareness, without sacrificing the quality of the art of the impact on the community. During the 10 years I poured into it we had the opportunity to challenge perspectives and develop methodologies in teaching, in verbatim theatre creation, and in art-activism that really stirred social change. Getting to be a part of building art initiatives that can benefit communities in ways that will outlive me is perhaps my greatest accomplishment.”
10. If you could book any role in the next years to come,
what would that dream role be?
”I’m a big advocate for representation in the arts. Growing up, I didn’t see faces that looked like me, or that reflected my family’s experience very often. My ‘dream role’ would be one that lets someone who looks like me know that they are welcome here, that they can be anything, and that they belong. Art has that power and I would be humbled to be a part of something that changed what the next generation believed was possible for themselves.”
11. Is there anything you can disclose about
Christmas in Evergreen: Bells are Ringing?
”I can confidently disclose that Rukiya Bernard is amazing in it ☺ That’s not a spoiler, that’s just a fact! We had such a great time bringing the story of Hannah and Elliot to the forefront. This is one of a handful of Hallmark movies this year that features Black actors in lead roles (alongside Holly Robinson-Peete and Colin Lawrence to name a few) and feel like we made the most of the opportunity presented to us – making sure that a younger audience would see our love story and know that it belongs in this world.”
12. If you could describe your character, Elliot, in only five words, what would those be?
”Kind, loyal, loving, ambitious, careful.”
13. Any other new projects you are working on at the moment?
If yes, is there anything you can disclose?
”I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the new television spin on The Mighty Ducks. Besides being a fan of Letterkenny (as any good Canadian should be) and getting to work with Dylan Playfair, the real story are the kids. There are so many amazing young talents on this set from Sway Bhatia to Brady Noon to to Maxwell Simkins, funniest kid I’ve ever met! They work so hard, they have so much fun, and when you get let into their world you’re transported back to the beginning of your own journey and you get to be a wide-eyed wonderstruck kid again! It’s a great reminder on how to approach this industry.
Plus they know every word to Hamilton, so they’re basically the coolest.”
14. What is the best part about life on set?
”Everyone on set has a story –how they got started, when they worked with so and so, veteran actors passing down the holy grail. Guys like Daryl Shuttleworth (Christmas in Evergreen) are those rare birds who have performed on stages across Canada and studied with the greats, and generously share tales and insights for the sheer love of the craft. Those moments of really ‘being in the club’ are magic.”
15. In the end, is there anything you'd like to say to the people who support you?
”Thank you! It’s obvious, but that’s it. This career doesn’t happen overnight for everyone and it truly takes a lot of work, a lot of support, a lot of love, and a lot of patience. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible community and work to show up for them as powerfully as they show up for me. Thank you Dee Criss, thank you for putting the energy into this work, for chatting with me, and for telling the stories! It’s so important, and so deeply appreciated.”
(photos via PenderPR)
Antonio Cayonne is an actor, best known for his work on projects like: The Best Laid Plans, Supernatural, Detective McLean, iZombie, Lucifer, Aftermath, A Dash of Love, Bates Motel, Prison Break, UnREAL, Chesapeake Shores, Colony, The X Files, It's Christmas, Eve, The Magicians, Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy, Matching Hearts, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, Christmas in Evergreen: Bells Are Ringing etc.
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