I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the most generous, kind and most aspiring actors I know— Chaka DeSilva.
Chaka and I go back, way—back. We grew up together in the same neighborhood and while others were getting involved with the streets, we concerned our time with video games, music and movies.
Here we are twenty years later, I the aspiring writer interviewing the aspiring actor. It doesn’t get better than this.
Q: What made you want to pursue acting?
A: Attention. The basic necessity to a human being is attention, we all need it, crave it and will do anything to get it. I’m the only child to a single mother who had to take care of me and there was no time for after school talks, visits to my football practice, watching me in my wrestling team. I developed a family outside of my home with the friends I surrounded myself with and I knew that I needed to do something more with my life. I stayed with the wrestling team until I couldn’t take it anymore; it was just too painful on my body on my mind. Then one day I just decided to pick up and go, and follow my heart and my heart lead me here to New York. I have been here for two years, I will be here for another year and then I’m off to California.
Q: It seems that you have done pretty well in New York. Why leave now when things are finally picking up for you?
A: I don’t want to get comfortable. New York has been good to me—yes. But after this year I am moving to the west coast, I’m taking my contacts with me and see what happens in California. If it has gone well for me here I need to see what I am capable of in Los Angeles.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to get into the industry?
A: It’s a tough walk; it’s a challenge of your patience you would need to stay positive. So that when you get turned down you don’t walk away. You need to prove how much you want it, not just to them but to yourself which is most important. No one is going to give it to you, you need to get out there and get it, there are a million people who want this just as bad as you, and you need to make sure you stand out, if you don’t have the confidence and the beliefs you are not going to make it. Don’t give up—because one day that door will open up and you’ll get your foot in and realize that it will pay off in the end.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: My mom of course, through her sacrifices and her strength to keep going to make it so that I could get to where I am now. However, I have learned a lot from LL Cool J. I read his books and I felt he was talking to me and guiding me which helped me when I first started. “One yes can defeat a thousand No’s.”
We ended the interview on advice for me in which he then began to think about all of the obstacles he had had in his life and what he thinks is best for when trying to achieve your dreams/goals a making them a reality.
Don’t feel bad to be self-centered. You need to work on your road. It’s like building a house because the winter is approaching. And you need to make sure you have all of your wood. And here comes your friend who is building for someone else, but asked to borrow a piece of wood from you and you say yes. Now here comes the winter blasting into your home by a slit that stayed opened from you allowing your friend to take the wood, and now it’s tearing down your strength. To this I say be selfish if they ask for your piece of wood say no— right now I’m building my home. And as soon as I’m done you can all move in.
You can catch more of Chaka DeSilva this fall on MTV in the intro to My Life as Liz.