Hunter Payton is a child actor who landed a recurring role in the NBC series A to Z before booking a challenging minor part as a child with muscular dystrophy in the film Who's Driving Doug.
Recently, I was given an opportunity to have him share his story with us.
1. What are the projects that you are currently working on? Please tell us a little about it. I just wrapped up filming a movie called The Joneses Unplugged with Mischa Barton set to come out later this year. I was just on an episode of Criminal Minds and I have two national commercials airing right now.
2. Please tell us what do you feel is your biggest achievement? Well, I feel it actually hasn’t happened yet. But if I had to pick one thing that I am super excited to achieve, then that is that I am looking forward to launching my very own charity this year in honor of my grandpa. I think after that is complete then that will probably be my biggest achievement so far.
3. Besides acting, what are you passionate about? I am completely passionate about animals. At my house we currently have 22 animals that are mostly rescues. We have 3 horses, 2 ponies, 8 chickens, 1 bunny and 8 dogs. I raised my chickens from eggs under a lamp and we get fresh eggs almost every day from them. One of my ponies was rescued from an abusive environment and it took over 3 years for her to allow me to touch her head. When we can we foster at our house and donate to local shelters.
4. How do you prepare for a role? Depending on how many days I have to prepare, first thing I do is research the role and learn about the character. Depending on the role and if I have time, I get coached to help me better prepare.
6. Why and when did you decide to start you acting career? That is a funny story. I always liked to make people smile. When I was little I would always dance, sing and perform on our coffee table while watching Grease, Mary Poppins, Wiggles and most singing shows or in public. One day after seeing Willy Wonka I watched the little boy go into the TV and wanted to do the same. I wanted to be an actor. Financially we couldn’t afford acting classes at the time. But several years later when I was about 6 years old we were approached from a Performance school at a street fair where we lived and they interviewed me on the spot. I guess I did something right because they gave my mom 2 weeks free at the school. After those 2 weeks I was hooked and I really liked it. We couldn’t afford the school but the owner really believed in me so he gave me a partial scholarship for half and my grandpa paid the other half. To this day I have a lifetime membership to the school. After that I got an agent and the rest is history.
7. If you could travel the world with anyone whom would you take? That’s an easy one…my parents because they are really cool and we travel a lot together already. I would love to go back to our favorite place…The Aulani in Hawaii.
8. Please tell us what do you feel is the biggest challenge in your acting career? Being able to accept rejection with a smile knowing I gave my best. Realizing that when I don’t book a role, sometimes it is just out of my hands.
9. So many young actors are committed to public service, setting a great example for their peers in terms of being involved with charities and the community. What causes are important to you, and what do you do to support them? I actually support several organizations like the ASPCA, Humane Society, Childrens Hospital and Altheizmers Assoc. But in the past year I was asked to be a Youth Ambassador to a few that hopefully I can make a difference with. Boo2Bullying helps to educate schools on the growing problem of bullying. I was bullied in school so by helping this organization it has helped me face what happened to me and share my story with others. I think if everyone came together by being kind to each other this could change everyone’s life for the better. TheShoe Crew is an organization which gives disadvantaged kids new shoes. Everyone deserves a new pair of shoes. OrangUtanRepublik is an organization fighting to save the endangered Orangutans and their rainforest habitat in Indonesia. Had no idea that palm oil was wiping this all away so I am hoping I can help bring awareness so that we can save the Orangutans and other animals. The Jonathan Foundation supports kids with learning disabilities and special needs by bringing awareness to the free education that is out there for them. My two best friends have ADHD and Autism and have both struggled with school and I am hoping I can help.
10. As a teen actor, how do you strike the balance between schoolwork and your career? My parents have always taught me that education is first no matter what. When I started auditioning a lot it was really difficult to balance everything. My typical day was going to school, practice lines in the car on the way to auditions , go to the audition, come home eat dinner and have 2 hours of homework and then go to bed. It was tough because I would not have time for me to be a kid like playing video games, going to Parkour or seeing my friends. My mom saw me sacrificing “me time” as I called it, because I really love being an actor so my mom changed things for the better. I currently attend an online private school which gives me flexibility to learn, be an actor and still be a kid.
11. If you were not a teen actor, what would you be up to now? Never thought of not being an actor because I have always loved doing it. But if I had to pick I would probably be a singer and dancer. I would also be doing Parkour and XMA full time.
12. If you have the chance to choose any other stars at your age to be your classmate, whom would you like to? There are so many great actors I know my age so that is a tough one. But if I got to pick any stars I think it would be great to pick some of the funniest guys I know like Casey Simpson, Mace Coronel, Albert Tsai and Trevor Larcom who would make me laugh the entire day. We probably wouldn’t get any school work done but we would have a great time.
13. Have you ever taken acting classes before? And do you think acting classes are necessary for aspiring teen actors or actresses? Yes, I have been taking acting classes since I started acting at 6 years old. I think classes are very important because it helps give you the building block and tools to learn from. I am always learning something new in class like seeing what I am capable of and finding out my limits. 14. How can your fans interact with you online? And what’s your fan mail address? Fans can interact with me on Social Media at the following: Instagram: @TheHunterPayton Twitter: @TheHunterPayton Facebook: @HunterVPayton Website: www.hunterpayton.com
Fan Mail Address: Momentum Talent Agency 9401 Wilshire Blvd. Suite #501 Beverly Hills, CA 90212
15. Favorite Sport: Parkour Favorite Music: hip hop Travel Destination: Hawaii at The Aulani Hotel Favorite TV Show: Spongebob Dream College: Yale
16. Now for my last question: what do you want to say to those who wish to pursue their careers in Hollywood? You have to love what you do and stay positive because there is a lot of rejection in this industry. But when you book something big or small it is such a great feeling. So, follow your heart and dreams and if someone tells you that you can’t do something, that should give you more motivation to try harder and achieve it.
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