–says ‘Haves and Have Nots’ star, Gavin Houston
By Gabriella Chapman
IT’S no question that Guyana is home to a plethora of undiscovered talents. Similarly, it is also a home away from home for many international celebrities.
Last weekend, ‘The Buzz’ just happened to be at the right place at the right time, as dining at the Marriott Hotel with his father last Sunday evening was Gavin Houston, who is part of the cast on the popular Tyler Perry TV show, ‘The Haves and the Have Nots’.
Many people were not aware, but Gavin is Guyanese! In a brief interview with the celebrity, he said that this was his first visit to Guyana.
Born to Guyanese parents, Houston said that he is the only one in his family who wasn’t born in Guyana. However, growing up in a home where both parents and an older sister have Guyanese roots, all he grew up hearing were stories of Guyana.
“I always wanted to come to Guyana because I’m Guyanese, and my family is from Guyana. Dad is a Queen’s College alum, so he came for the 175th Anniversary, and I wanted to be here with him to see home, ‘cause I’m the only one born in the States. It was good to finally be able to make the trip,” he said.
Houston was fascinated by most of his experiences in our country. He said that it was unfortunate that he had to cancel his trip to the Kaieteur Falls and the Essequibo River, but he got a chance to see what life in the countryside is like, and places where his father grew up.
“I love animals,” he said, “and seeing the horses pulling the people made me remember when my dad told me stories of him jumping on the back of those horses to catch a ride, and jumping off when they reached his stop. That’s just fascinating; and it’s so much different… A lot of natural, beautiful things… And it’s really interesting, because there is also the flip side to it; there’s a lot of poverty still… Also I went out and I saw the night life, and it was really good. I went to ‘The Strip’; I liked it. I went to Palm Court; it was good… It was a bit unexpected, but it was just good to be around all Guyanese people. The food, the people, the experience was amazing,” Gavin told ‘The Buzz’.
JUST THE BEGINNING
He said he wants to learn more about Guyana, and not just about Georgetown. In fact, he said this first trip is just the beginning.
Knowing now that he is well known in Guyana, the star said he will organise his next trip better so as to be able to go into schools and communities to give motivational talks and so forth. With reference to the lack of opportunities here for persons wanting to be in theatre, he said that all is not lost for Guyana, as the ability is always there, and potential can always be propelled.
Said he: “The opportunities aren’t here as much, and the one thing is, will this be similar to Hollywood or New York? Probably it will take a long time for that, but the one thing that is here, and everywhere, is the ability. If you have an interest in it to grow and get better, that’s what I think is important. To make sure that it’s in the school systems; make sure that people are being trained. If they want to get into theatre, they’re getting a chance to use their artistry to do that, whether they stay here or not. I just think it needs to be more exposed from a younger age… Theatre gets you comfortable in yourself; with speaking and being in front of people. I think those things are definitely important.”
Additionally, he noted that there is evidence that change is coming.
“I love being here at the Marriott because it shows change is possible. And I would love to see more money going into the community,” he said, adding: “Certain places I went to, it shows that money needs to be going into that community. So, hopefully, with what’s happening here, and with the Marriott here, it will bring in more people; more revenue stream for the country as a whole.”
BEING AN ACTOR
Speaking on his character in the popular TV show, the actor said that it is not the same as his actual life. That, he said, is the most challenging part of being an actor.
“We really have to transform into something different to be in that world,” he said, adding: “It’s easy to fear something that is different from you, and different from what you’re used to. For me, I think it’s just the focus and immersing yourself into a character. When my first character came on, people didn’t like it. But now, understanding the history and the back story, and the treatment from the family and mother, now the same person they didn’t like they root for. And that means so much to me; to see people have a different perspective, because we’re so quick to judge, but we don’t always know what’s happening behind the scenes for that person. So it’s not always what a person is doing; it’s why they’re doing it.”
In his admonition to young people, Houston said, “You have to have a dream of where you see yourself, and you have to protect it, because there’s always going to be people who will try to throw you off of your own belief. Do the work. You see people being rewarded publicly for the things they have been doing privately for years and the sacrifices. Nobody is an overnight sensation; there’s always a lot of work, and there’s always a lot of hours that go into it. Do what you can do, which is getting better at your craft. Because, the one thing with this is that you can never be over-trained; you can only be better. Jobs are given, but careers are built; you have to put in the work. Go to where you can be most successful. If the opportunities aren’t here, go to where the opportunities are.”