UK student lands BET role



By Gary Hermann | @KyKernel

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Trey Lindsey is a UK senior majoring in social work. But when he’s not working toward graduating in December, Trey is a professional actor. His breakthrough came in the 2011 comedy “Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son,” with Martin Lawrence. This summer, Trey will be appearing in the series “Being Mary Jane” with Gabrielle Union. Trey came by the Kernel for a Q-and-A about balancing his acting career with a demanding semester, and reflected on his experiences so far.

Q: How have things changed for you since we first interviewed you two years ago?

A: After I did “Big Mommas,” I kind of had a dry spell in terms of booking other major projects. But recently, I was on spring break and I went to Atlanta and I had an audition for this new show on BET called “Being Mary Jane” with Gabrielle Union. Right when I got back up here, literally, I got the call that I got the role and had to turn back around.

Q: How has your experience been with the show so far?

A: It’s been great. The first day I was on set, I got to go through the whole rehearsal and the wardrobe fitting. Working with Gabrielle, she is truly just a class-act. I’ve heard great things about her from fellow peers, but to work with her and meet her personally was really cool. The chemistry between us in our scenes is really natural, very fluid. That made me very comfortable.

Q: What can you tell us about your role?

A: His name is Jah ‘Babycake’ Johnson and in his late twenties, early thirties. He’s a superstar athlete for Tennessee. He’s a pro athlete. The episode that he’s introduced to the show, he gets caught up in this illegal substance. He gets suspended for six games for testing positive for Adderall. The media and the fans are making a big deal of this, because he should know the rules. So, he goes on Mary Jane’s talk show, basically to say his defense.

Q: How is being on TV different from being in a movie?

A: Actually it’s really different. This is my first television gig and seeing how quick things go. With movies you might do a scene, maybe 12 takes. On a TV show, it’s maybe five, six at the most. The pace of it is different, but I adapted to it. You have to adapt, conform and perform.

Q: Do you know when the show is going to air?

A: They are going to air the pilot episode sometime this summer and it’s still up in the air on when they are going to show the complete first season. It’s a one-hour drama. From what I was told the other day by a producer, they are aiming for this summer.

Q: You’ve done comedy and drama now. Which do you prefer?

A: I love drama. When I did “Big Mommas,” that comedy was a great experience, especially working with someone as talented as Martin Lawrence and getting to work with him one-on-one. But for some reason, I feel like you really have to watch your timing with your dialogue when it comes to comedy, because you don’t want to come off as if you’re trying to be funny. But with drama, it’s very realistic. A friend asked me the other day, ‘How do you act?’ I said, ‘Think about it like this: Everyone acts in their day. You just go throughout your day and you’re acting. The only difference is that there’s not a camera in front of you.’

Q: I’ve asked you a lot about your acting experience, but what is your UK experience like?

A: It has been amazing. I consider this home. I am a diehard UK fan. The whole atmosphere here, the student body, the whole faculty and staff, everything about UK has been nothing but positive. It’s just a class-act school and I will always be a Wildcat. It’s all going to pay off in the long run.

Q: What is it like for you being back on campus this semester?

A: It’s amazing to me how you can one day just be doing your typical thing with classes and a set schedule, then … Bam. Your life changes just like that. I guess now that I’ve been on the show and it’s a possible recurring role, it’s ‘How am I going to balance school and fly back out of town and film?’ It’s a little overwhelming, but I have a lot of supporters. They know how stressful this business can be. I’m just taking it one day at a time and just trying to focus on school and graduate. That’s my biggest priority.

Q: What are you majoring in?

A: Social work, and that’s a very demanding major. I’m interning; I have to do 270 hours this semester for an internship for field practicum. That’s taking up a lot of my time. Then having a full load of classes and working (not including this acting role). It’s a lot on my plate. Time management has to be efficient.

Q: What do you hope to do after you graduate?

A: I’m up for a role that’s going to be filming in Cleveland in the next couple of weeks, but I can’t give out a lot of information about that because it’s not 100 percent certain. Another film that is supposed to be filming in Louisiana from June until November, I’m in the running for that. It’s a huge franchise film. My agent’s working on those for me. I’m just waiting to hear back about those, graduate, go to Los Angeles and pursue this 100 percent.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: Just some words of encouragement for people whether you are trying to pursue an acting career or just something that might seem far-fetched. If you want to pursue this career, understand that it is all about someone else’s opinion of you. You can be the best actor; you can think that you nailed it, but it comes down to one person’s decision. If you don’t fit the character that they have imagined in their head then it is what it is, but you have to have tough skin. And don’t give up. Usually from what I’ve noticed about my career, when times get hard, right around the corner is going be the breakthrough. Lastly, never sign to an agent that says you have to pay them up front.

Never give up on your dreams. You can do both school and pursue whatever your dream might be. Coach Cal has also been a big influence on me. When I got these roles a lot of things came up and I was wondering, ‘Do I leave school? Do I stay in school?’ I’ve never met Coach Cal, but hearing him talk about pursuing your dreams, but having that back-up plan and having education as a priority. I respect him and thank him for having that type of insight and knowledge.