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The Working Actor

Finding Your True Self in 2018

Finding Your True Self in 2018
Photo Source: Raquel Aparicio

The brilliant spiritual teacher Gary Zukav said in his book “The Seat of the Soul,” “When the personality comes fully to serve the energy of the soul, that is authentic power.” This idea resonates deeply within me and has shaped the path I’ve traveled for the past decade. It has forced me to ask myself: How exactly do I align those two forces, which seem at times wildly unharnessed and entirely unpredictable?

As actors, we have the blessing of tapping into a deep well of experience to create and mold the characters we’re being called upon to portray. It’s an exciting and empowering notion to develop over time our familiarity with the collective consciousness—words, thought processes, and emotions of energies living, deceased, and fictional. But what happens when we spend years training and learning to be different personalities only to lose sight of our own true selves? This is the crossroads I came to in my early 20s: Do I learn to be a thousand people to the best of my ability, or do I learn to be the best possible version of myself and offer that as a form of service to my craft? My personality wants to act, my soul needs to be of service; melding those two desires was necessary to living authentically.

That’s when I started turning inward, tuning in to the vibration of my personal frequency, and aligning myself with roles and projects that synced up with that vibration. Whose story do I feel compelled to tell? Which character resonates on the deepest level? How can I be used for a purpose greater than myself?

Much of my dedication to both service and truthfulness stems from the desire to become what was so obviously missing for me as a child tuning in to my favorite television shows or watching my favorite films that featured no young, queer men of color, and no accurate or uplifting representations of black gay men. For years, it seemed as though I was the only one. But I knew that if I had the ability to dream of seeing myself represented onscreen, then with billions of humans on Earth, there had to be other individuals who felt the same, and who refused to subscribe to the strict and overplayed regulations of the status quo.

Actors hold a reputation for being crazed artists in various states of arrested development. I believe a remedy for that diagnosis is taking on the personal responsibility of tapping into our own authenticity and aligning our personalities with our truest energy. Every character I’ve auditioned for that I felt at my core was my character, I booked. Every audition I was devastated upon hearing the offer had gone out to someone else was simply not meant for me. If the role went to another actor it’s because it allowed for that person to be of service to the world in a way I could never have been. Surrendering to that knowledge has been freeing in ways I couldn’t have imagined had I continued to strive for somebody else’s greatness instead of my own. At the end of the day, we could be providing a truly priceless service by consciously mastering the role of a lifetime, the best possible version of ourselves, and offering that to the world in whatever form it may take on. When we choose to answer our soul’s calling to connect, create, and live joyfully in alignment with the magic of our own imaginations, that is authentic power.

A Canadian-born actor, Bowyer-Chapman is best known for his role on Lifetime’s “UnREAL,” which returns for Season 3 Feb. 26. Additionally, he’ll be launching a podcast in 2018 called “JBC Presents: Conversations With ‘Others,’ ” which will explore concepts of “otherness” and finding the strength and beauty in our differences.

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