This week’s TDQ Q&A is with actor Donald Paul. Donald spoke to us about his upcoming work on “Quantico” and “Atlanta,” the influence his family had on his career, and how working with special needs children while he was in college impacted his life and career. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with Donald Paul:
The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?
Donald Paul: Growing up, my mother was a Haitian gospel singer that would travel all of south Florida performing in different churches. I would tag along playing the drums for her. That combined with me being in my church’s Christmas play every year, made me realize that I’m comfortable being on stage. I eventually started signing myself up for improv groups in school and, long story short, ended up moving to New York, and here I am today.
TDQ: Who was your favorite actor growing up?
DP: My favorite actor growing up and still one of my favorites is Jamie Foxx. His versatility is impeccable. Im big into improv and his work on “In Living Color” back in the days was some of my favorites. I played football growing up as well and when I found out he played quarterback for his high school team in Texas, it let me know as a young artist that it is possible to make that transition from sports to acting.
TDQ: What was your favorite TV show growing up?
DP: Um… I watched a lot of TV growing up. Looking back on it I’d have to say “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” That show did a great job of being both funny and delivering a message. “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” also had Will Smith in it. I love Will Smith’s work.
TDQ: What was the best advice you ever got?
DP: “What is yours, is yours. What’s meant for you will be for you and no one else.” Which means to me don’t worry about what others have and/or what you don’t have. Just concentrate on what you have and your skills and what’s meant for you will come to you.
TDQ: What was the worst advice you ever got?
DP: “Have kids really early so you guys can hang out at a bar sooner.” At the time of receiving this advice I was a sophomore in college so I did not take this advice with a grain of salt. I was like, “he might have a point.” But looking back on it I think I made the right decision.
TDQ: Who are your influences?
DP: My sister and mother hands down were my biggest role models and influencers growing up. Jeannie, my sister and Fleurina, my mother, are the most resilient women you’ll ever meet. They don’t back down to anything and don’t give up on anything. Having them by my side throughout this journey as an actor has been nothing but a gift.
TDQ: You’ve appeared in shows like “Boardwalk Empire,” “Blue Bloods” and “Elementary.” What have you learned about the business from working with experienced actors like Tom Selleck, Steve Buscemi and Lucy Liu?
DP: Working with those actors thought me how to be a real professional and work ethic. It is easy to get lost in the fun within this industry. There was a lot I didn’t know going into the industry or the set life. All I knew was how to act because of all the training prior to getting my break. So being lucky enough to work in that great company of actors was a gift from God.
TDQ: When you were younger, you worked with children with special needs to help pay for college and to study theater. How did that experience help you, whether in acting or just in life in general?
DP: Working with those kids matured me and I felt made me a better human. I wouldn’t be here in this position if it wasn’t for those kids. Most important thing I learned was patience. In this career you must have it. I think it is one of the most important attributes to have as an artist, because things take time to develop in this career.
TDQ: What project are you working on next?
DP: I recently finished filming “Atlanta” on FX, which season 2 is set to premiere March 1st. I am currently working in the season 3 of “Quantico” on ABC.
TDQ: Where do you see yourself in five years?
DP: In five years I see myself still growing and evolving as an actor. Doing more, working more, and putting my best foot forward in the work that I do.