CW ALL AMERICAN ACTOR: MICHAEL EVANS BEHLING FOR our AUTUMN 2021 COVER
Since 2018 Michael Evans Behling has become a favorite face for his [now] millions of fans worldwide! His hit character on the explosive “All American” series has certainly cemented his fate as a sought after actor in the industry. Now entering their 4th season of the hit show, the Columbus, Indiana native takes time to reflect on where he’s come from, his perseverance and making his dreams a reality! We were fortunate enough to grab some time with the handsome actor as we dove in to fully find the real
Michael Evans Behling!
Jacket: Bottega Veneta. Pant: Moschino
As told to: Corey Guevarra, Editor In Chief
Photography: Cyoer Photo
Wardrobe: Kwame Waters
Grooming: Reginald Raphael
MICHAEL, HOW/WHEN DID YOU DECIDE THAT YOU WANTED TO BECOME AN ACTOR?
I first thought about acting as a freshman in high school. I did not fully make the switch until my sophomore year of college.
HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED THE MOST SINCE 'ALL AMERICAN'?
My life has changed the most in the sense of getting recognized in public and seeing the show's effect on fans who reach out from all over the globe. It has also showed me the plurality of our experiences and how so many of us are going through the same thing, just in different stages.
HAVE YOU FOUND THAT CELEBRITY/NOTORIETY HAS ALSO BROUGHT YOU ACCESS TO [INCREDIBLE] EXPERIENCES PERHAPS NOT AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE? IF SO, LIKE WHAT? access
Absolutely, without a doubt. I have the opportunity to travel and experience things beyond my wildest dreams! I enjoy being able to attend large sporting events from suites and on-field access. I wake up every day and tell meaningful stories with many actors I have looked up to over the years. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the perks of the job, but what I enjoy most is the opportunity to give voice and visibility to important issues and causes. I love partnering with St Jude's Children Hospital and The Boys & Girls Club of America.
Coat: Valentino, Shirt: Sandro, Pant: Valentino, Sneakers: Gucci
TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE FROM AUDITIONING TO BOOKING ALL AMERICAN; WHAT WAS IT LIKE GETTING THE GREEN LIGHT FOR YOU?
The audition process is pretty straightforward. I auditioned on a Wednesday, received a call back immediately for Friday of the same week. The following week I was testing with actors. After the two initial tests, there was a week and a half of radio silence. It felt like the longest week and a half of my life! I received a phone call that I had the green light from our showrunner at the time, April Blair, and I was beside myself. I immediately called my mom and was rather emotional. However, I knew the work was beginning, and there was still a chance I could be recast, or the show wouldn't get picked up. I was proud of myself and the journey. I did not give up.
IS IT TRUE THAT YOU WERE IN SCHOOL FOR PRE-MED? WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THAT PREVIOUS DECISION?
Yes, it is true! I was a biology pre-med at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. My mother is a registered nurse and a nurse practitioner. My grandfather was a cardiac heart surgeon at THE Ohio State University Medical Center, my biggest inspiration.
OUTSIDE OF MEDICINE, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE MOST OF ALL AS A KID & WHY?
As a child, I had aspirations to be a professional football player like most children who grew up around me. I love football, but after my freshman year of high school and being 5'6, 5'7ish, I quickly realized that was not in the cards for me!
YOU ALSO PLAYED FOOTBALL IN SCHOOL; WE'D GUESS PLAYING IRL & ACTING IT OUT ON TV ARE TWO DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES. WHAT'S THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRAST FOR YOU?
They are different. The most significant contrast is the lack of getting hit as an actor versus on a high school field. I always beg our producers and directors to allow me to perform my stunts, which they do on throws, but they are always hesitant about getting tackled, which makes sense for safety purposes. After season one, they stopped hiring doubles for Jordan because they saw I could complete passes and movements they were asking of my character. I love getting back out there and feel a little bit of tenacity from playing a sport I love.
Shirt: Fendi, Pant: Valentino
WE KNOW THAT YOU'RE AN ADVOCATE FOR MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS; WHAT ARE SOME SELF-CARE PRACTICES YOU ENJOY FOR YOURSELF AND MAYBE ALSO RECOMMEND? also recommend?
I enjoy meditation in the morning before I begin my day and in the evening if I have trouble sleeping. Another practice I started later last year is in the morning when I'm brushing my teeth or combing my hair; I find one thing about myself I enjoy physically and thoroughly enjoy it. Whether it's the way you smile, your eye color, a specific freckle. It helped me build confidence and enjoy being myself.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MANIFESTATION MICHAEL? WERE YOU INTENTIONAL IN MANIFESTING THE LIFE YOU NOW LIVE TODAY?
I believe manifestation can play some part in achieving the things that you want. However, it takes hard work, dedication, drive, and passion for getting you to where you want to be. Just speaking something into existence will not get you what you want, in my opinion. I believe I spoke the fact that I wanted to become an actor into existence while actively pursuing it once I left college.
IF YOU COULD PLAY ANY CHARACTER, WHO/WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM ROLE?
I've seen a lot of great films. My favorite type of character is specific roles who have lost control or are evil. I'd love to play a villain. After watching Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, I was hooked. Being able to tap into a character's mind, who has lost all sense of good and wants to "watch the world burn," is interesting to me. Exploring duality is crucial for me.
Shirt: County of Milan, Pant: Valentino
TELL US ALL ABOUT YOUR APPAREL LINE 'DESIGNEDAT5AM'!
5 AM is an apparel I started a few years back with my buddies hoping to inspire the early morning risers. It's been a fun ride. It's a lifestyle.
WHEN YOU'RE NOT ACTING/MODELING/DESIGNING, WHAT'S A PASTIME OR HOBBY THAT YOUR FANS WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW YOU ENJOY?
In a recent interview for the show, I said that I wanted to start learning how to paint it. I have started that process, and it has been relaxing. Other than that, you can find me on the couch playing video games with friends.
SPEAKING OF SELF-CARE, YOU HAVE GREAT SKIN, ANY GROOMING TIPS FOR OUR READERS OUT THERE?
Why, thank you! Ha. I have to credit my parents and my dermatologist back in Indiana for prescribing Accutane for me as a high schooler. That helped clear my skin up, and it's been good to me ever since. Routine-wise, I do my best to wipe off makeup no matter how tired I am from work and moisturize in the evenings.
IDEALLY WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF 26 YEARS FROM NOW, MICHAEL? 2
Twenty-six years from now, I'd like to have a family of dogs and perhaps even a pet monkey. I desire to be happy with my work and continue producing content I believe in that inspires and shares important stories.
Coat: Valentino, Shirt: Sandro, Pant: Valentino, Sneakers: Gucci
AS A BI-RACIAL PERSON WITH A MULTI-LAYERED UPBRINGING & BACK STORY, HOW DID YOU HANDLE THE RACE RELATIONS THAT HIT NEW PEAKS DURING 2020 & ARE NOW CONSISTENTLY RIPPLING?
2020 was a year, a year that was hard for everyone. COVID-19 struck, the consistent injustices that plagued our world were broadcasted in a new light. I didn't handle it well. I retreated into myself, and that caused several health problems for me. Being on the other side of some things, I always want to inspire people to love each other. Realize we're not all that different. It may be an impossible feat, but I'd like to do my best to open people's eyes to realize that we're all trying to flourish in this game called life, and negativity and hate don't help anyone.
WHAT'S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE ANYONE'S EVER GIVEN YOU?
After booking the role of Jordan, my agent back home said something to me that has stuck ever since. "This is amazing, I'm happy for you. But always remember, it's a job. Just like any other job. Treat it as such."
WHAT'S YOUR DEFINITION OF LUXURY MICHAEL?
Honestly, I just recently started doing this..... After getting out of the shower, I grab a robe, sit on my couch, and let the robe dry me off. I'd never done that before. I feel luxurious after that! [LOL]!
FINALLY, WHAT'S NEXT FOR MICHAEL EVANS BEHLING?
Season 4 of All American debuted just yesterday the 25th!! I have my HBO max film "A Cinderella Story: Starstruck" debuting in November! Also, I've just teamed up with a fantastic apparel brand for a new campaign shoot that should drop in Spring 2022. -I can't wait to share with the world!!