It is always refreshing to meet people in the entertainment business who genuinely care more about their connection to their audience than being rich & famous. It is a rare quality that only a small amount of entertainers truthfully possess. In our opinion, this young actress is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside and sincerely cares about making a difference. We are honored to have had the opportunity to sit and chat with this amazing young lady. She’s recently been cast as Brittany Pitts in the reboot of The Game on Paramount +. Check out our interview with Adriyan Rae.
SFND MAG: First and foremost, we want to thank you Adriyan, for interviewing with So FN Dope Magazine. We are extremely excited to have you. How have you been?
ADRIYAN RAE: I am well. I’m feeling grounded and good. There are a lot of transitions happening, but I’m embracing them all so I’m feeling good.
SFND MAG: Love the word grounded. It is important that we ground ourselves daily especially with all that is going on. So let’s start at the beginning because we definitely want to get to know you better. Where are you from and how did you get started in acting?
ADRIYAN RAE: I am from Seaford, Delaware and growing up I never even knew that acting was “a thing.” I thought the people on TV were just people in the TV. [LAUGHS] My whole life I thought I would be a scientist or a doctor or something like that. While in college I dabbled in singing, and someone suggested that I should go to Atlanta. They said, “It's like Black Hollywood. You should try it out.” So I went, and that is when I experienced my first time on set and my first experience in acting and I really just fell in love with the whole thing. I kind of just followed my heart and took a leap. I guess something struck me and I thought, “I think I want to do this. I’m just going to try it.” I stumbled my way through a bunch of stuff. I feel like I rolled down a hill and landed, got up and I was like “Oh... The Game... Cool.”
SFND MAG: That is amazing! So, you have already made some huge strides in the industry. You landed the lead role on SyFy’s Vagrant Queen, as well as secured a role as a season regular on NBC’s Chicago Fire and most recently you were casted for The Game as you just mentioned, which airs on Paramount Plus. What has been the most rewarding part about your journey as an actress so far?
ADRIYAN RAE: I think the most rewarding part is the ability to connect people and the ability to create art that makes those connections. To be frank, I could really care less about people being like “It’s Adriyan Rae, Oh my gosh!” I appreciate the support. I love it, love it, love it so much, BUT, that is genuinely not why I act. When I hear things like, “This helped me through a really tough time.” or like, “I was crying all day and I turned on Vagrant Queen and it made me laugh and thank you so much for that.” That is the reason why I do it. That has been the most impactful and the most beautiful part of the journey for me is just being able to have these growing platforms to interact with, and affect, and help so many people in so many different ways that go beyond just me seeing myself on a TV screen.
SFND MAG: It is very humbling to hear you say that the reason why you do this is to be able to connect. I think a lot of people miss that so I commend you for having that and soulfully doing that. I think that is amazing. So, of all the roles you have played so far in your career, which one do you feel like you relate to most and why?
ADRIYAN RAE: Oooh, that’s a good question. Who do I relate to the most? It’s hard because Alita is an alien and she's in space, but she had her own little journey, and then Brittany and I are very different. I honestly don't know. I don’t have any roles where I’m just a quirky geek yet. [LAUGHS] I think that would be the one that is really like Adriyan. [LAUGHS] Gianna is cool. I think each one of them has a different part of me, a different aspect that I try to dabble in there as well as honoring the writing and the tone of the shows, but I don’t have one specific one that is spot on. They each have pieces of me. You can take a little piece of Alita when she is snarky, and you add in the empathy from another character and pair that with the persona of maybe Candace in Atlanta, there are different things that I sprinkle into them all. If you look closer, you'll possibly find a bigger picture of me.
SFND MAG: You mentioned Gianna from Chicago Fire. What initially drew you into that character to want to take on the role?
ADRIYAN RAE: It was in the medical field. Like I told you, I thought I would be doing medicine. I was just talking to my friend, who is a neurosurgeon physician assistant. I was telling her how I “fangirled” over Jesse Spencer, because we used to watch House every day. When I saw him I was like “Dr. Chase!” and he responded “Hi Adriyan” [LAUGHS]. I got to play a paramedic. I really wanted to do medicine, so I wanted to incorporate my medical mind and analytical mind into a character and it allowed me to do that so it was super exciting. She is also spunky and sassy.
SFND MAG: So we’ve been following you on Instagram for a few months now. I must say that we were thrilled when we saw your post that you were being added to the cast of The Game. Personally, we‘ve been fans of the show for a long time. How excited were you when you found out you got the role?
ADRIYAN RAE: Very excited. I remember getting the call. My best friends and I were doing a little barbeque. So, I looked at one of my best friends and said, “I think I just booked the role.” And he was like “Shut up!” Then he picked me up and spun me around. Meanwhile, my other friend was on the phone arguing with AT&T completely oblivious. [LAUGHS] I was so excited because I love the show. I’ve loved it for years. Growing up, I told you I was doing the medical thing. I had a little athlete boyfriend. I thought I was Melanie and he was Derwin. [LAUGHS] I have always just related to it. I love the story lines and the characters and things like that. It’s just such an honor truly to be a part of the legacy. It’s just a blessing because the people that I work with, the cast, the crew, and the production they are So FN Dope. [LAUGHS] They really are. To learn from Wendy and to learn from Hosea and to be able to act with Pooch and Coby, I mean... I fangirled when I saw them too. [LAUGHS] It’s been amazing and I’m so happy to be a part of it because I’ve been a fan for so long.
SFND MAG: I’m glad you mentioned Wendy Raquel Robinson and Hosea Chanchez and some of the other cast members. What type of valuable things have you learned from them while on set?
ADRIYAN RAE: I’ve learned different ways that you can lead. They are such brilliant, beautiful leaders and the key is that they always lead with love and they pour into everyone around them. It is just a beautiful thing to see and experience especially for me coming in as Brittany. Brittany has been played by two other actors before and they made sure I felt safe. They allowed me to make choices. They gave me creative space. They respected my artistic mind and my artistic take on this character and they poured into me that way which allowed me to genuinely build the character that is fresh but familiar. It’s just beautiful things like that. I remember I was so nervous and Wendy just showed me how to be present. She sat down with me and she broke it down. She is good for that. Wendy will drop a pearl quick. [LAUGHS] There are things like when we do press, Hosea will always suggest that I say something even though I’m very introverted. He pushes me, and pours into me to make sure that I not only know that I have a voice but that makes sure that my voice is heard. Things like this, I really appreciate.
SFND MAG: Sounds like they drop lots of gems. So, as an actor on the rise, who are some people out there whom you would love to work with that you have not had an opportunity to work with just yet and tell us why?
ADRIYAN RAE: I would love to work with Benedict Cumberbatch. He is fire. He is my favorite actor. Also Debbie Allen because I’m obsessed. There are going to be so many interviews where I’m saying “Debbie Allen.” She is going to see me one day. [LAUGHS] I would love to work with her. Honestly, I want to work with anyone that is trying to be present and create something dope and impactful that we can change the world with. It doesn’t matter if you have a name or if you are new or if I have ever heard of you before, but if we can make something really dope that is really impactful, I want to work with them.
SFND MAG: That’s awesome. How exciting. So...You have been super busy! You have recently starred in Light as Feather, which is a Horror series on Hulu as well as guest starred on FX’s Atlanta and BET’s American Soul as well. How do you manage to stay so busy in the industry? Do you constantly audition for new roles or do you have a really good agent or both?
ADRIYAN RAE: I manage to stay so busy because I operate in abundance. The one thing that I worry about the least is work. I know that it is going to come to me as my intentions are pure. I have an amazing team surrounding me. I trust them. They know me, and I think that one of the key things to me finding parts of success was building a team of people who get it. They believe in me just as much if not more than I believe in myself. They push me and they are real. I’ve built this amazing team, they work really well, and I know that I’m operating in abundance so we get these auditions. But nothing is out of disparity. There are times when other actors may say. “I really didn’t want to do it but I auditioned anyway.” Why are you auditioning? They often respond. “Well, I really don’t feel like I can turn down auditions”. Yes, you can. If it is not meant for you or if it does not resonate with you then why are you wasting your time and their time? You’re just doing it because you are scared of scarcity and you’re operating out of being desperate. But if you know what is for you will find you and you’ll never miss it then you’ll have the confidence to say, “You know what, that's not really for me. I’m going to pass on that.”
SFND MAG: Dope! So in all of our interviews we like to ask this question to all our interviewees. Before you go, could you name for us one other actor that you think is So FN Dope and tell us why?
ADRIYAN RAE: Zazie Beetz because she is a light and one of the realest people ever. She is one of the sweetest and she knows how to hold boundaries. She is just phenomenally talented and her spirit and her outside beauty and talents all match. It is all just amazing and she has taught me so much. I love Zazie.
SFND MAG: Awesome! Is there anything else you would like to add before we wrap up this interview?
ADRIYAN RAE: Yeah, sure. I would like to add for people to tune in to Atlanta Season 3 because I’ll be in there. Also, follow me on social media @Adriyan Rae. It’s always love and light so I hope you find love and light there.
SFND MAG: Once again, we would like to say thank you Adriyan for interviewing with us. Clearly, you are a star without a doubt. We are rooting for you and wishing you much more continued success in all your future endeavors.