Today we’d like to introduce you to Tavon Hanner.
Tavon, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
If there’s one thing that I can say has helped me the most with my journey, I would say willpower. Being born with an infinite amount of positive belief in myself has been my greatest asset.
I was born on a Thursday in Manhattan hospital. I lived with my biological family in white plains for some of my early years. Soon before kindergarten, I would move to Jersey City, NJ with my foster parents where I would grow into the man I am today.
I always had a love for creativity, when I was younger I would make funny skits with my friends and film them. We even would make music and remix songs from our favorite artists like Drake, J Cole and Lil Wayne. Then record the songs with our cellphones, haha. I’m also big into drawing, growing up I would make 1000s of sketches of characters/heroes that I thought were cool like sonic, Spiderman, Naruto and plenty others. Color them, cut them out and play with them. I even started selling them until the school principal caught me. I’ve always had a huge imagination and I’ve grown to love that part of my personality.
My love for acting would blossom at an early age, my mom still tells me of how I would perform iconic scenes from movies like “the mask, nightmare before Christmas, the terminator and the rocky series” as a child in public places. Even during high school, I would always find myself drawn towards drama club, theater classes or some form of art despite not having the confidence to take it as serious as I needed at the time. I was very heavy set (240+) and wasn’t comfortable with my talents but I always had the right people around me to keep my fire burning.
Once I got to college, I would blossom into the person I am today. It wasn’t until my sophomore/junior year I made a decision to stop not taking chances on myself. I decided to embark on my journey to becoming a model/actor. I then signed up for a bunch of casting websites, Facebook groups, told my parents and friends, began walking in fashion shows for my school, working out even harder and going to auditions. Of course majority didn’t believe in me but in time, me believing in myself would prove more than enough.
That upcoming summer, I would book my first principle role in a pioneer Headphones commercial. After that experience, I knew that I wanted to keep this a part of my life as long as I could. It felt like I was a teenager again making videos with my friends. Another big role I had was as Mr. Steal ya girl in the Japanese singer Joji’s music video “Can’t get over you” I was originally casted as background but got swapped roles the day of the shoot. The video now has 40mill+ views and is on YouTube to this day.
I’ll never forget walking into my school’s gym and the girl at the front desk recognizing me from the video as I gave her my school ID. I was blushing so hard, I almost tripped as I walked down to the gym in the basement. Then that Thursday at one of my fraternities parties this girl from my class recognized me as I was making my way to the dance floor. She said, “I didn’t know you were a model, model” I just laughed and brushed it off but it was a crazy moment because the fruits of my labor were flourishing.
Now I’m 26, I’ve graduated from college with my bachelor’s. I’ve been on TV twice, first time for the holiday episode of the Tamron hall show and 2nd for a flowers commercial that was released this previous valentines day. I’ve worked with brands like Nike, eBay, NBA, Gap, Arnold palmer, kandypens, Gillette, Conair, Cash app, Jameson and many more. I’ve found representation with a
modeling agency in NY and long island. It’s currently NYFW so I’m mentally preparing for my show tomorrow, and right now I’m on my way to set for a Macy’s campaign. Feeling very blessed that I can confidently look back on my younger self and be proud at how far I’ve come.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has definitely not been easy. This industry is so competitive and with all the different branches of modeling (commercial, editorial, fitness, parts, ecom, fit, etc.) it’s easy to get lost. I think a good tip to anyone interested in pursuing a career in modeling/acting is to take some time to learn the culture of how it works. What certain terms mean, how advertisements are created, what are the top names in the industry doing daily. Be a student first as this career is lifelong.
You really have to want this and by this, I mean the goals you have set for yourself in this entertainment industry.
Building “thick skin” has been a huge help, you constantly judged by your appearance so there is pressure to maintain it. Also, clients change their minds all the time regarding their creative direction so I’ve taught myself never to take a “no” personal. You will have way more nos then yes but it only takes that certain yes to change your life.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I want my work to resemble me in the purest form, planning to accomplish a whole lot while I’m in this industry.
What does success mean to you?
I think success is getting what you want and that definition varies from person to person. Everyone has different ambitions but we all experience the same feelings.
- Website: https://www.longislandmodels.com/divisions/men/portfolios/tavon-h
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vonn_y/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tavon.hanner/