Interview with actor/model Drew Leighty
TRC: Hi Drew and welcome to The Reading Cafe.
We would like to start with some background information. Please tell us something about yourself?
Drew: Well I have always been an athlete. I played just about every sport growing up, and narrowed that down to baseball, water polo, basketball, and football in high school, and on the side I would go surfing and snowboarding with friends. In college I played baseball before I had an injury to my collar bone, snapping it in half, that took me off the field for good. In the ER I met a woman who gave me her card and asked me to contact her to model for her company. Some may say the rest was history, had I made some impact on history. Sadly I didn’t haha. I began modeling for Ford, then moved to Pinkerton, and worked with a theatrical manager. I then moved to a new commercial agency, RC Talent, owned by my friend who was previously an agent for Pinkerton. Soon after I had my son and I took a hiatus from the entertainment industry to work full-time and finish my bachelor’s degree. About two years ago I did another shoot with Scott Hoover and started being featured as a book cover model. Then a year ago I did a couple trailers for Jennifer Armentrout’s Titan Series and realized I had given up what I loved to do, acting. Since I have resigned with my old commercial agent as well as my theatrical manager, I’ve been featured on more book covers, worked on commercial like Ross and American Crew, and soon will hopefully be on some SOAP Operas or prime time TV shows.
TRC: What were your dreams and aspirations growing up?
Drew: My dream growing up was always to be a professional baseball player. However, the snapping of my collar bone really ended that dream. Fortunately, before I had declared Communications as my major at the time I had taken a public speaking class and did absolutely terrible. My counselor had suggested I take a theatre arts class to help me with my public speaking, so I did, and I fell in love with it. I realized how natural a transition was from being in the spotlight on the baseball field to being in the spotlight on stage. I took that passion, transferred it to my work in the entertainment industry and ran with it.
TRC: When not modeling, what are your other interests?
Drew: I love studying. I read a lot of books on working a stage, script reading, character development, etc. to enhance my skills as an actor and give me an idea of what is to be expected from all aspects of production.
TRC: Would you please tell us something about the Showtime™ television series SUBMISSION and your role?
Drew: Well I joined SUBMISSION originally as a regular, but didn’t receive much information about my role. They sent me some contracts but as you might imagine once I got the call saying I got the role, I was off the walls excited, I mean it was my first major role. So the contracts I was sent, I signed and returned without even reading, they asked me if I knew any “adult” (we had different ideas of what adult meant) actors and I was like, “you kidding I know tons!” and they asked me to get a girl who was a good actress that could play a love interest. I reached out but all my friends were working at the time so I had to let that go.
Then I get an email, and they cut my days from 3-4 weeks to one day, and I was distraught. I mean I had passed up job opportunities to commit to this show so it was very unfortunate. Still in the back of my head I was like, if I perform well then maybe they’ll want to keep me as a regular. This is about a week or so before the first day of filming. At that point I still hadn’t received a script, they said they had done a bunch of rewrites and were still working out kinks. The day before I’m supposed to be working was the day I finally got the script. I get it, I get my character name, and I begin reading. Right off the bat I realized I’m not much of a character in this story at all, I mean I’m five or six pages in and haven’t even heard my character mentioned. BOOM, I see my character’s name highlighted half way down the page. I skip ahead and look down to read my first line, it’s three words. Basically a throw away sentence, so I skip ahead some more, nothing. Skip some more, still nothing. I skip, skip, and skip and there’s nothing, no more lines. So I start back at the page where my line was and realize my character is the main character from a book from the 50’s or 60’s. He’s kinky for today’s day and age but can you imagine the scrutiny he would have faced if he’s as kinky as he was for today but lived back then?
So I did what I learned, I began building my character. I read on, and all of a sudden I’m hitting a very real and organic sex scene, it took me a few read throughs to confirm that this was my character getting down and dirty. At this point my jaw was on the floor and heart was thumping, I thought for sure they would have asked me was I okay with a sex scene. I grabbed my contracts and there it was in the first paragraph, simulated sex scene, so they had told me. Soon after I get an email, it’s from a high friend and basketball teammate who I haven’t seen or spoken to since high school, now he’s a camera man. His email says “Hey man are you working LA tomorrow on SUBMISSION?” I come to find out he’s the head camera man on the show, so not only am I doing my first simulated sex scene, I’m also doing it in front of a guy who I haven’t spoken to since high school.
I get to set and find out the girl who’s working the scene with me is a well-known adult star (if you’re like me and don’t know this yet, adult star means porn star), so that made things even more intimidating for me. However, fortunately enough for me the crew, the director, the actors, were all so professional I felt completely comfortable for a first timer. In the end I wouldn’t take it back because that was the most difficult role I’ve had but it made me learn a lot about my abilities as an actor and myself.
TRC: What first sparked your interest in modeling? acting? Is there a defining moment where you knew that modeling /acting was something you were interested in pursuing?
Drew: Well modeling just kind of came with the territory. I wanted to act but the agency I originally worked for, Ford, saw me as a youthful model. I had no experience besides college courses in theatre arts for acting, so they wanted to develop me for the industry. After a few moves from agency to agency, and a few jobs I had a little experience under my belt but not enough so I had to go to expensive schools to study with teachers that would help give me a more professional look on my resume. I’ve always known that I wanted to be in the spotlight, whether for baseball or acting. It’s something that comes natural to me and it’s something I enjoy doing, like I love doing it. Working and studying for it I love as well, which is a love and passion I have never found in any other subject at school.
TRC: Have you ever had a photo shoot or fillming that went completely wrong?
Drew: Yes my first photoshoot, I paid for. I paid over $900 for the shoot so off the bat I should have known something was wrong, but I was young and naive, and new to the industry. I got my images, all of my headshots, and ZED cards back and they all looked like trash. I found out soon after that the entire shoot I had paid for was a scam, luckily the person who informed me was willing to help me and looked after me from there.
TRC: Many photo shoots and film sets take the model to exotic locations. What has been your favorite location to shoot? Least favorite location (and why)?
Drew: Well my favorite was probably the Bahamas obviously for the tropical beaches, sun, room service, etc. Plus we were there for four days so that was also nice to have a day to relax by the pool and beach. My least favorite was probably the Mojave desert at night in the Winter. It was cold, I was in pants that had holes and rips, and at night it began snowing.
TRC: Nudity in modeling or acting can be controversial. Some pictures can cross the line between sexuality to pornography. What would you tell young models/actors /body builders just entering the business about nude modeling and photography?
Drew: I would tell them do whatever you are comfortable with. For us it’s an art, the poses we take create a picture that we consider to be art, to us it’s not controversial or pornography. However, like artists we must be proud of our craft, if you are uncomfortable during a shoot it will show, and it will not look like art and you will probably not be proud of it. So stick within your comfort limits and do not do anything that you find uncomfortable.
TRC: The modeling industry exposes you to many people and sometimes it can be very stressful. At times do you feel alone, surrounded by so many people? What do you do when the stress becomes overwhelming?
Drew: No I never really feel alone, I have my family, I have my agents who take great care of me and always include me in everything even things outside of the industry like workouts, or dinner or whatever. However, when I do stress it’s usually due to not booking a job in a while and I usually take a second to myself, to reevaluate what I’m doing. Find what’s stressing me out, usually it’s money, and take a look at what I can do to break down that stress.
TRC: At times, there has been a ‘stigma’ surrounding the male model and the romance-cover industry but the popularity of the romance story line has skyrocketed in the last few years especially with the erotic and sensual cover images. What is your opinion about the recent popularity and the very busy industry of the ‘romance cover model’?
Drew: I’m very thankful for it. I’m thankful for all the authors who write these novels, and use me on their covers. I’m thankful for the readers and fans who read these novels and enjoy the covers. And I’m thankful for the erotic and sensual reality that is portrayed. I think inside we all have a piece of us that can relate to these stigmas and that’s what makes it so exciting and enjoyable. It shows us that the natural being that is within us isn’t something to be held in or to be shy about, it’s something exciting and lovable that can bring you a new sense of euphoria that we haven’t been able to experience yet.
TRC: Do you remember the first ‘romance cover’ on which you appeared?
Drew: Yes “The Return,” by Jennifer Armentrout.
TRC: Do you have a favorite cover-romance image or otherwise? (e.g. magazines, ads etc)
Drew: I like them all. I don’t think I could pick a favorite because all of them show a different side of me. Some tender, some strong, some athletic, some passionate. To me they show me my experiences that I have faced and triumphed. They show me my growth as a human and my development in my craft. To me they show my life.
TRC: Would you please tell us what you do to relax?
Drew: I go on dog walks with my family. We go to the beach. I read or chill and watch Netflix. I do whatever my mind asks me to do in that moment.
TRC: Do you listen to music when you work out? If so, what songs are currently on your playlist?
Drew: I listen to pandora. My current play station is J. Cole Radio. I enjoy his beats and the messages he sends through his lyrics.
TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
Drew: I would like to get on a SOAP to start my acting career, so let’s start a #getDrewonaSOAP movement. I would also like to help an Animal Rescue non-profit along with a Climate Change non-profit. Sooner rather than later I would also like to help fund and receive funding for a project I have been working on for the past 6 years “NEVER HIKE ALONE,” a Friday the 13th Fan Film, that I have been lucky enough to be a part of. A story lead by a very creative writer/director who I have known for about 7 years.
TRC: What is something that few, if anybody, knows about you?
Drew: I eat wrappers to cupcakes.
TRC: On what on your currently working?
Drew: I am currently working on “NEVER HIKE ALONE.” Along with finding work on a SOAP or TV show.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Drew: I would also like to help non-profits for the ocean and marine life, education, and veterans.
BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers (add onion rings and french fries- inside burger)
Rocky Road Ice Cream
Favorite TV Show
Sons of Anarchy
Last Movie that you Saw
Secret Celebrity Crush
1.) Jennifer Anniston 2.) Amber Heard 3.) Carrie Underwood
Dark or Milk Chocolate
Last Book that you Read
Chewing with your mouth open or bad breath. Or bad breath while chewing with your mouth open.
TRC: Thank you Drew for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you all the best !
Drew: Thank you again so much and I hope this was alright!