The pursuit of success in certain careers – sales is one, and acting is certainly another – necessarily involves being told “no” a lot. Adrian Lockett, an actor and male model from the tiny town of Butler, Alabama, launched his acting career in 2009. He has since shared the stage with Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Terrence Howard, Jean Claude Van Damme, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish, among others, but he has heard “no” many, many times.
Succeeding in the entertainment business, regardless whether in front of or behind the camera, is notoriously hard. Lockett is working his way up in the business, but it’s been a long haul. His first big role was in the independent horror movie, The Alp, about sleep paralysis and a mythical demon. Lockett went on to get a role in Get Hard with Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell, which along with a role in Man Down, with Shia LaBeouf, gained him membership in the Screen Actors Guild.
Adrian Lockett is confident his biggest successes lay ahead. We asked him what motivated him to attempt a career in a business where so few succeed, and how he has dealt with the constant “no” that discourages so many.
GD: Were you encouraged to pursue an acting and modeling career when you were growing up?
Adrian Lockett: Well, when I was a kid all I wanted to do was be a football player. Being an actor seemed to me like you had to be a magical person back then to be able to be seen through the television. It seemed special and unattainable, so I never bothered with dreaming that far.
GD: What motivated you to pursue a career in entertainment?
Adrian Lockett: The thought that I would always be working to build someone else’s dream. I use to work 8, 10,12, & 16 hours a day. I remember looking in the mirror while at work, thinking to myself “I’m too young to be here building someone else’s dream. What is it that you really want to do?”
From that day forward, I started using my money to make mistakes and find out what it took to be an actor/model and the rest is history! I never quit after that. That was in 2009.
GD: The entertainment industry is mostly about hearing “no”, so what kept you working when you started out?
Adrian Lockett: I attended an event when I first started, the first thing that I ever did in the industry. The host of the event said something that sticks with me to this day. He said “No doesn’t mean never, it just means not now.” I thought to myself then that maybe he had a point. It’s all God’s timing. Me, myself, I think that “no” just mean that I can’t do it with you. I’ll always find a way. I’m just built different. I don’t know what “no” is.
GD: What was the turning point in your career? What was your big break?
Adrian Lockett: Well, I don’t think I’ve had my big break just yet, but I have broken a lot of barriers. I would definitely say that making it on the front of the poster cover for the movie Get Hard with Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell was definitely a game changer for me. It changed the way people viewed me and came at me with new opportunities.
Q: what advice would you give others who want to work in the entertainment industry?
A: I would say stay consistent, be ready to make sacrifices, have tough skin and never bring your feelings in the room unless you need them to be in character, make mistakes because they are connected to your growth and always asked God to guide your footsteps. There is nothing worse than going your own way just to only end up where he wanted you in the beginning. God bless!