We had the good fortune of connecting with Aleq Bey and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Aleq, the decisions we make often shape our story in profound ways. What was one of the most difficult decisions you’ve had to make?
Retiring from the military to become an actor. I gave up everything that came with it; the benefits, the stability and the monthly retirement pay, all in the name of pursuing an career in acting. I gave it all up to pursue a dream that wasn’t guaranteed.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It took me going to college, getting kicked out of college, eventually graduating from college and joining the military to realize what I was. I am an actor. I’ve always been one, even though I didn’t always have the drive and confidence to pursue it. As a kid, I lived inside my head, I still do. It made me a weird kid and even weirder adult, but although “weird” is cool today, it wasn’t back then. It caused me to be introverted, barely comfortable in my own skin. In my head though, none of that mattered. I could be anything, I could do anything; in my head, I made all the rules. In 94′, my teacher painted my face dark green and at the age of 9, I took to the stage as the frog in “The Frog Prince.” That’s where it all started  for me. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough. There was something familiar about pretending to be a talking frog, something that only existed inside my head. Looking back, I see how all the dots connected. I also see the obstacles that hindered dot connectivity. People have a way of self-sabotaging their blessings and I was no different. I constantly talked myself out of certain opportunities. Why? No clue. I know now, that I was worth every opportunity I passed up. Hint- if you’re faced with an opportunity, you’re probably worthy of it. Once I got around “self-sabotage,” I had to wrap my brain around the idea of other people sabotaging me. Unfortunatelfor me, it was the ones closer to me. News flash – Everybody doesn’t want to see you win. I’ve had teachers, friends and even family members try to steal my dreams; masking it with pure intentions. Maybe they were pure intentions, but the dreams weren’t theirs to dictate. It wasn’t until I was in the military that I reclaimed all of the things that I somehow lost along the way; the dreams, the ambitions, all of it. Being an actor isn’t easy and it’s not for the faint of heart, but having a strong group of friends, that happened to be actors, has gotten me though some of the roughest times. I don’t think my specific journey was the easiest, but whose is? Journey’s aren’t meant to be easy, they’re meant to test you, reward you and humble you at times. Dream chasing isn’t easy? Who knew? I think that’s what sets me apart from most people, that fact that I don’t really focus on where I want to be, I’m more interested in the journey it takes to get me there.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Sleep in til about 10, then head to Piedmont Park to walk around, maybe throw a frisby back and forth (Piedmont Park on a sunny day is a must). We definitely have to stop by the Martin Luther King Memorial at some point. There’s a ton of history there that needs to be revisited. The aquarium is probably one of my favorite places to go, so we have to spend some time there. I’m getting hungry writing this, food. What to eat, what to eat? I haven’t tried the Varsity yet, so lets throw that on the itinerary. After that, go back to Piedmont park to take a nap in the grass…wait, it that weird? If we have time, I’m always up for the Atlanta Zoo.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I don’t think there is any one person who I could give sole credit to for where I am. My situation is a product of so many different hands guiding me. If I had to pick a few, I give credit to my parents for all the life lessons and tough love and also giving me the courage to bet on myself; my military career for instilling the discipline, focus and drive needed to pursue any dream; my sister for letting me crash at her place for nearly two years without complaint; my acting circle for helping me see past the doubts I had within myself and every gracious person that I’ve met in Atlanta along the way that has molded me into a better actor. I owe everything that I am and everything that I am gradually becoming to them.

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Image Credits
Hollywoods Headshots Bryan Chatlien

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