Monday, January 10, 2011

THE BAY Series Interviews - Real Andrews Part One

You may have loved or despised him as Detective Taggert on ABC's GENERAL HOSPITAL. Either way you are going to be fascinated by what Real Andrews shares in this in depth new interview.  From therapy to religion, from obesity to racism, we sat down and discussed the issues that impact and shape our world. And of course, he opened up about his new role on the current hit indie series THE BAY,  and previous roles on GENERAL HOSPITAL and AS THE WORLD TURNS. So please join me for this revealing multi-part interview, and take notes, we're going to learn a lot!

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Let’s start with your role on THE BAY.  You play the role of Dr. Keith Campbell, who is described by the character of Colleen as a “smooth operator.”
Real Andrews: I guess I’m smooth!  Colleen and Keith have a very unique relationship.  It is fun working with [Daphne Bloomer].

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How did you get involved in THE BAY?
Real Andrews: I am a big fan of Gregori Martin.  We became really good friends and kept talking about how we wanted to work together.  I heard he was doing THE BAY and I reached out to him.  Gregori is very loyal, which is an amazing thing.  He had been working with a good buddy of mine named Monti [Sharp].  The part that I am playing was originally written for Monti.  As fate would have it, Monti has another thing going on, and that opened the door for me coming in. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What can you tell us about Keith? His story is slowly unfolding.
Real Andrews: And as you know that is the way it is with soaps.  If I told you too much I’d have to kill you with my doctor potion (laughs).  But Dr. Campbell has a lot of levels.  Gregori is an amazing writer and has an amazing vision.  That’s why he has been able to get so many big name actors on his show.  He has the respect from the actors in the industry.  There will be relationships, and many twists and turns.  Daphne and I have a great relationship and you just can’t write that, it just happens.  We worked together the first day and had a great time.  Then on day two we started having this weird kind of chemistry—like the kind you would have with someone you had known your whole life.  I look forward to more of that.  I worked with Lane Davies as well and had a wonderful time.  I worked with Derrell Whitt, love him.  I’m with Mary Beth Evans, I can’t say enough good things about her.

When you’re doing a project like this where everyone has to make a great commitment on a limited budget, you end up working with a great group of people.  You’re not dealing with egos and attitudes because those people aren’t going to make it on this kind of show.  They’re doing it because they love the show, they love the genre, they love the people. And most importantly they love the creator, Gregori. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Did you want to get into acting when you were growing up?
Real Andrews: I had no desire whatsoever to do acting.  I didn’t even know what that was.  I was the jock.  Fitness was my thing but my girlfriend was a drama queen.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: On-stage or off-stage?
Real Andrews: Both.  As fate would have it, My aunt had an acting/modeling school.  She called me up and said, “I’m having a big acting seminar.”  I said, “No thanks, not interested.”  Then she told me there would be a lot of girls there.  I said, “Okay, what time do I need to be there?” I went, and it Tony Shepherd [Vice-President of talent for Aaron Spelling Productions] was the guest.  I did a scene from Ordinary People and got great compliments from him.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Where were your raised?
Real Andrews: I was raised in Vancouver, British Columbia.   I moved to Toronto in 1981 and became one of the first African-American stunt men in Canada playing every bad guy you could ever imagine.  Back then it was only black men who killed, raped, plundered and pillaged.  Whenever there was a bad guy who would get blown up, shot up, or killed, I was the stunt man who got the part.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You were raised by a single mother?
Real Andrews: Yes.  I never knew my real dad, I met him only once.  He was a musician.  He started reading about me in the papers when I started acting.  He wanted to meet me.  He changed the name of his band to “The Real Johnson's And..." the whatevers.  Real Johnson was my real name.  I was going to college at the time.  He thought that would get my attention, and it did.  I came home and said, “Mom, there’s a band out there named after me!”  He had already contacted her and she was nervous that I’d want to go live with him.  I don’t know why she was nervous since she always took care of me.  So I went to meet him.  I went to see the band.  I knew he could tell who I was.  In between sets I went to the back and he pretended like he didn’t know who I was even though he knew exactly who I was.  I came up to him and said, “Do you know I am?” He said, “No.”  I said, “I’m the real Real Johnson.”  I turned around, I walked out and that was the last I ever saw of him.  The dad I consider my dad is the man who has always been there.  When I was 21-years-old he married my mom and adopted me. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Did you ever learn more about your biological father and why he behaved that way?
Real Andrews: No.  I spent the beginning of my life somewhat in denial.  I didn’t understand the soap opera stories or the talk shows where people would make a big deal saying, “My dad left me.”  I thought, “What is the big deal? I don’t even know my dad and I don’t care.”  I was in denial.  It didn’t hit me until he passed away a few years ago.  I had anger management issues and I went to therapy.  I sat down and talked about how I always had issues with airports, with goodbyes, and I had issues with relationships and getting too close. I never made any close friends.  I kept saying, “It’s no big deal.”

So he asked my about my dad.  I said the only thing I could remember about my dad was standing next to my mother when I two or three-years-old, holding her hand while she was crying, looking down eighteen stories from an apartment window, and seeing my dad get in a cab.  The therapist looked at me and asked, “That is the only memory of your dad and you don’t think that affected you? You have no memories of you dad before or after that moment? And you wonder why you have all these issues?”

Now at age forty-seven I understand this.  One of the things I’m really passionate about right now is called “Raising Up Davids” (  It’s about helping fathers to man up and be there for their kids.  Our country has gotten to the point where women have stepped up as parents and taken the place of men.  It’s their instinct.  It doesn’t mean they like it, but they’ll do it.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: So this is encouraging men to take responsibility as fathers?
Real Andrews: And to be the men God created us to be. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Which is what?
Real Andrews: Leaders. Difference makers, the champions, the warriors that God created us to be.  To be there for our kids.  To be stay-at-home dads, to take our kids to school every day.  To be there for our wives to make them feel safe.  To be there for our moms, to provide for our family.  To be heroes to our kids.  I went to Texas to talk to kids at a school known for its phenomenal football program.  The coach pulled me aside and said, “Thank you for talking to these kids.  Me and the other coaches are the only fathers these kids know.” That is just crazy to me.  No matter what you say, sons and daughters need the influence of a father.  If people are interested in learning more they can go to Raising Up Davids.  I am interested in locking arms with men across the country who share the same passion. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Once you realized that there was a connection between your biological father’s abandonment and your anger issues, how did you make changes?
Real Andrews: To be honest with you, I think I’m just starting to make those changes now.  I recently went through a Deliverance.  That is something you do as a Christian at a high level.  You have people pray over you and get the demons out.  You fill out many pages of claiming and disclaiming certain things.  And when I put it out on paper like that I could see how certain things were really pivotal in me becoming who I am.  In Raising Up Davids I say to the fathers, “They will become who you are.”
The absence of my father led to me having problems with me being in relationships, with me being a father, with being the husband that I should,  and led to problems dealing with drugs.  There are reasons for all of that.  I take responsibility for all of them, I’m not making excuses.  But you can look back at your life and see that certain things will send you down a certain path.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: When was the Deliverance?
Real Andrews: About three months ago.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Did the Deliverance help you to be the husband and father you want to be?
Real Andrews: Yes. That was the most amazing experience I have ever had.  I had a lot of demons coming out of me.  I was in Texas when I did it.  Immediately there was a difference in me.  When I came back people said to me, “I don’t know what you’re doing differently, but there is a calmness in you.” My wife and my kids could see it.  There is a still a lot of work to do but there are definite changes.  I used to be afraid to fly.  I used to have claustrophobia.  I couldn’t swim in the water because I would have panic attacks.  These are things that were related to demons that we got out of my body.  I was in Hawaii and just jumped in the water and swam.  I’ve been flying like crazy.  All of that is gone.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please come back for Part Two in which Real discusses the relevance of religion in his life, as well as what to do to combat obesity in the United States.

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Therapist now accepting new clients in New York City.  He is also the author of the popular book "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." For more information about scheduling an appointment, please email him at [email protected].

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