Brand Strategist, Monica Cost

I met Actor and Singer Leon (pictured below), in 2010, while working on the stage play, “Loving Him is Killing Me” (by Theo London) in New York. It was my first time meeting “one of the Sexiest Actors of all-time” as noted by AOL Black Voices. Upon first meeting, Leon is definitely smooth, charismatic and full of quick one liners.  Pretty much, at first glance, he’s everything the ladies have touted. However, after spending more time with him (and the other actors), I came to believe that there was more to the story.

Well, I caught up with the Actor & Singer this week for an interview to try and peel back some of the layers a bit, and to see what Leon is really made of. To date we mostly know him as a “ladies man”, but let’s take a further look.

After exchanging pleasantries and having a laugh about my confusing the timezones we were in, Leon and I began our conversation with his introduction to Hollywood. Leon’s interest in acting began when he was in the seventh grade, and after seeing his older sister in “The Rock and Role Revival”. He was captivated by the historical figures that the actors played. The following year he produced his own version of it at his school, and it was a success. He’d been bitten by the acting bug. Eventually, Leon went to Loyola Marymount University where he ultimately majored in drama, after being asked to play a role in a film called “The Photographer” while in school. He mentions that it felt very familiar on the set.

Given Leon’s familiarity with the set and being on film, I asked him if he thought that there was such a thing as being “a natural” and if it gave one a leg up in the industry. Because of my craving for living your truth and my disbelief in the notion that “some people have it and some people don’t”, I was delighted to hear his answer. Leon said he believes that everyone is a natural somewhere and others have to put in more effort. However, having to put in effort doesn’t mean you can’t be good at that thing. WOW! He gets a L.Y.T.E. star from us on that.

He continued by saying that someone could get casted in a role that seems perfect for them; however, there is no way to determine if that’s the best they can be. The point here is find what you like, put the effort in and do it well. “The best” is only the best in that moment and for that time.

Leon

I don’t think I realized how many films Leon has been in until researching and speaking with him. He’s been in the game for a minute. His most memorable roles might be, from The Five Heartbeats, Cool Runnings (which grossed $210M worldwide), Waiting to Exhale, Above the Rim and The Temptations; however Leon has a longer list of credits than we may realize. He was also in Madonna’s controversial video “Like a Prayer”, which catapulted him into having more significant roles in Hollywood.

Leon has chosen to live his truth in this Hollywood game, by not playing so much into the media, living in New York, choosing his whereabouts carefully and now touring with his band, as the lead singer of Leon & The Peoples, a reggae and soul band. While Leon was not looking for any sympathy from the public, he did acknowledge how much entertainers give up to do their jobs. Often times, we, the public, have no clue how many dinners, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions are missed due to work schedules. “It becomes very hard on all relationships, even when the people you have to be away from are in the industry”, said Leon. He noted that while it is often commented on how many beautiful women he has dated, he also acknowledges that given his schedule and chosen career, he’s also lost many beautiful women.

So what’s Leon up to now? Well, he is starring in an upcoming romantic comedy called Ex Free. The movie is about women who want to find out the real reason why men leave or disengage. He is also starring as Deon in “From This Day Forward”, a movie that is about a couple working through their issues. This film debuts on the Gospel Channel on May 12, 2012 and he will be in the upcoming movie “Soul Ties” based on a book by Tee Austin. Least, but certainly not last, Leon is performing around the country with his band Leon & The Peoples and releasing a single this summer called “Love is a Beautiful Thing”. The ladies man, and LYTE star is on the move.

I found Leon to be very down to earth, funny and honest. His assessment of his life was grounded in his own truth and what he wants the vision in the rearview mirror to be. We at, the L.Y.T.E. (Live Your Truth Experience) applaud his willingness to make an attempt at living true. Leon is a LYTE Star in our book.

I’m appreciative of Leon taking time to share part of his life and journey with us and I look forward to supporting him.

Monica Cost is the Founder of Evidently Assured, brand strategy firm and the Live Your Truth Experience (L.Y.T.E.). She is the Author of the new life changing book on living an authentic life called, “The Things I Used to do to Sneeze!: How to live an authentic life with awesome sensations.” Email her at:  LiveYourTruth@MonicaCost.com. Follow her via Twitter: @monicacost and Facebook.com/monicahairstoncost.  www.monicacost.com.