We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandon Runkel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandon, what’s the end goal, career-wise?
My end goal is to be able to support myself financially through my artistic endeavors. Professionally, I want to be in the director’s chair for feature films, and be a known and respected force in the acting world by the end of my career. I want to be a show runner or producer for thirty-minute comedies and hour-long, thriller-drama limited series. I want to continue modeling for however long the industry wants my look, and then use my knowledge and experience with fashion from my modeling career to create streetwear/designer clothing brands. I want these brands to be in the forefront of creating clothes for all shapes and sizes, with a conscious effort to use differently abled people to model and represent the inclusive brands. My end goal with my career is to utilize the opportunities I have already been blessed with to give a voice to the voiceless, and share real people’s stories in the way they want them to be told.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have professionally modeled for commercial brands such as Belk, Rooms To Go, American Express, Hanes, and also some higher-end fashion brands such as Neiman Marcus, Sean John, Champion, and Burberry. My professional acting work consists only of a Zaxby’s commercial that aired across the US during the 2019 World Series. Non-professionally, I have acted in around twenty student short films. I am most proud of a five-minute short film that I directed and starred in called “You Ready?”, which I recently posted this short comedy on my Instagram account (@brandonrunkel). This film acts as an episode to a series that my co-star, Austin Sena, and I are creating. We have released two episodes so far—“You Ready” and “Kiss The Homies” which you can find both on youtube posted by Sena-Matic Studios. We’ve gotten some great feedback on these short films and Austin and I have some really exciting goals for this series to continue and possibly put us on the comedy TV map.
I have also been in a few professionally-made music videos for local artists in Atlanta and Nashville. I have a few music videos that I shot, directed, and edited as well. I’m really excited to hopefully continue starring and shooting more music videos in the future because I find music video sets to be the most creative and fun environments to work on.
I’ve been in school throughout my entire professional career, which has not been easy. Prioritizing getting my degree over my professional career forced me to decline many, many modeling/acting opportunities that could have catapulted my career. When making the decisions to stay in Nashville for school over going to Paris, London, Milan, and New York Fashion week I consulted my family and closest friends to help remind me that I was making the right decision to focus on my degree. As of three weeks ago, I graduated from Lipscomb University with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Film Production and a Minor in Business Entrepreneurship!! I’m so excited to begin working full-time in Atlanta as a model/actor beginning this coming August.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First and foremost we’re getting brunch with mimosas at 5 Church in Colony Square. During the largest chunk of quarantine in 2020 I lived on 14th Street and spent most of my time around Colony Square where I fell in love with that area.
Then, after 5 Church we’re walking across the street to go to the High. Every time I step foot in that museum there’s a new exhibit that never fails to blow my mind and bring a child-like awe to me. Next, I would take them to the Battery for a Braves game–I don’t go to enough Braves games so this would be necessary for both parties. If I’m doing well financially, then we would play 18 holes at Atlanta Athletic Club or Bobby Jones Golf Course with a steak from Houston’s afterwards. As far as the nightly activities, there are many spots I would take my friends. Some of those spots would include Dark Horse–mandatory karaoke for everyone with me, no questions asked–Club Havana to dance the night away, PuttShack, Laughing Skull Lounge, and Bruster’s Real Ice Cream to cap the night off, of course.
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?
My first shoutout goes to my incredible parents, Hal and Jenny Runkel. Without them, I would have never even considered to get into the arts or study filmmaking in college. When I was at my lowest, my parents encouraged me to try something new simply for the fact of trying something new and foreign to me. They are the reason I got into modeling and filmmaking; because they taught me about my self-worth from the day I was born and taught me that no one will ever be able to take that away from me. My parents instilled confidence within me to 1) find what my true passions are and 2) actively seek those passions out to create a career from them.
I would also like to shoutout the organization AMTC (Actors Models and Talent for Christ). This organization taught me the basics of the modeling industry, and more importantly they taught me how to enter the industry with a Christian faith-based mentality. This organization led me to get signed with my agent, and has done the same for thousands of other models/actors/singers/dancers.
None of the real modeling/acting work I have done so far would be possible without my mother agent, Ursula Wiedmann!! Ursula and her team of booking agents (shoutout Kristen Lombard!!) have provided me so many opportunities for modeling work. From day one of signing with UWM, they all have understood that my studies and college degree came first and foremost. They have taught me how to be professional on sets, how castings work, how to self-tape, and more incredibly important things about the industry.
Austin Sena Ryan Gabriel Wilson Brandon Hayden Will Smitherman