Vaughn Hebron is a prolific actor who is currently wrapping up production on the latest season of BET’s “The Oval”. We caught up with him to discuss the show and the experiences he has as both an actor and as a former account manager for a pharmaceutical firm.
The Knockturnal: How do you balance your career with your interests in technology, fitness, and finance?
Vaughn W. Hebron: I’m a huge advocate of work-life balance. Although acting is a great passion of mine, I make sure to indulge in the other passions I have when I can. I’m not at that point in my career yet where I’m working on set every day, and especially this year with Covid, I’ve had ample time to be with myself and my interests. However, my interests outside of acting helped make me who I am. They fuel my personality and character which in turn fuel my work as an actor. So, I make sure to still always make time for myself because it carries over into my career.
The Knockturnal: Could you tell us about the short film that helped start your career?
Vaughn W. Hebron: Literally the first day that I was in Atlanta to “start my acting career” (I had just got in town at 3 am the night before), the casting director of a short film that I had submitted to before I even moved to the city emailed me back and asked if I could come in for an audition at 11 am. It was my first audition ever! It was a very small, independent short film so the casting process was very interesting, to say the least. I booked the role by simply being myself and showing my personality. My main job during the film was to be a smooth criminal-like heartbreaker, something I had no experience with from my actual life. We got a few laughs and applauses at a local film night, but the film itself was not very good. However, the director of the film referred me to my first coach in ATL who then referred me to my coach in LA eight months later, just a great example of never know where small beginnings may lead you.
The Knockturnal: Have you ever combined your interest in finance with your acting projects?
Vaughn W. Hebron: I have yet to combine my interest in finance with my acting projects from a creative, artistic side. From the business and economic side of the industry, I get to use finance all the time. It is show business. An actor cannot forget the business part and learning how to budget is even more crucial as you make more money, especially in this industry and lifestyle.
The Knockturnal: What kind of experiences did you have traveling the country as an account manager?
Vaughn W. Hebron: The time I spent traveling as an account manager was one of the most invaluable experiences I’ve ever had. It gave me the opportunity to travel to parts of the country I probably would’ve never gone to, interact with people on a business and personal level that have left great influences on my life, and diversify and expand my horizons on such a granular scale. I honestly believe that my time as an account manager gave me the independence, identity, and self-awareness I needed to want to pursue acting and not be afraid to go after it, in a roundabout, indirect sort of way.
The Knockturnal: What was it like to work with Tyler Perry on “The Oval”?
Vaughn W. Hebron: Working with Tyler Perry is a surreal, dream come true experience. One of those times where I really had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I really had to focus on being in the moment, just make sure I’m taking everything in and also doing my job. It’s a tricky dynamic because I was in a setting and workspace, I had always hoped to be in, but couldn’t think about that at all because I had a job to do.
The Knockturnal: What were your favorite moments as Barry Hallsen?
Vaughn W. Hebron: Driving the truck into the pharmacy was a blast, as well as the fight scene after. I think my favorite moments with Barry were the high stakes, dangerous moments, which may seem like a lot, but there were definitely ones that stood out to me. It was the ones where “he may not make it out of this” that were the most enjoyable for me as an actor.
The Knockturnal: Could you tell us anything about what your character is going to do in the second season?
Vaughn W. Hebron: In the second season, Barry decides to take matters into his own hands, and go directly to the source of all his problems. It may not have been a good decision…
The Knockturnal: You recently started filming your newest movie King Richard. What inspired you to take the role of Monsta?
Vaughn W. Hebron: Well, besides the obvious chance to work across from Will Smith, I also grew up watching West Coast gangster movies. This was a chance to be one of those characters I had grown up watching. It was also a chance to adopt a very different mindset and character than I had played before. I wanted the challenge.
The Knockturnal: How does it feel to work alongside Will Smith?
Vaughn W. Hebron: Working with Will was one of the best experiences I’ve had so far as an actor. All I could think about was how blessed I was to be in that space and have that opportunity. It was a beautiful thing that I don’t think words can truly express, and it inspired me to keep growing and striving to be working on that level consistently.
The Knockturnal: What do you want the audience to take away from King Richard?
Vaughn W. Hebron: Revisiting the theme of small beginnings, I’d like the audience to take away that everyone starts somewhere. The movie is the story of Venus and Serena Williams, but more so the story of their father, Richard Williams, who started training the girls in Compton, long before they were the icons they are today. The many adversities he faced and the unyielding faith he had are what led to their remarkable story. So, you just never know where your hard work, your steadfastness, and your first step will take you, but you just have to take it.