An Interview with Actor Orlando Eric Street

By Taroue Brooks

How have the Arts impacted your life?

The Arts have impacted my life in many ways. The Arts have a unique way of helping me with life situations. Being an actor you can experience situations that might not directly affect you. For example, I was able to play a homeless man in a video. Like always, I don’t like to mingle too much with the cast. I decided to sit down in the alley and go over my thoughts for the next scene. A “real” homeless person sat down next to me and offered me some of his food and just wanted to chat. We were talking for a while and I found out he was homeless because of a job loss. He was determined to get back on his feet and he hated that he had to beg for money from strangers. I hated telling him I was an actor portraying a homeless man. We exchanged more stories and I learned some things from him. Every homeless person has a problem unique to them that they may not be able to overcome on their own. Most wish they had a place to go to help them with their problems. 

My goals are to become a successful actor so I can reach more people in helping the homeless. 

What inspired you to become an actor?

When I was young, I saw a headshot of my aunt and wanted to know why her picture was taken in black and white with her agent’s name on it. When I talked to her, she explained the meaning behind the 8X10 black and white picture. My wheels started spinning. I then asked my parents to put me “in” television. I found out quickly, it is not that easy.  I had to go back to my aunt for her to explain to me how to get into acting. Another Aunt was a singer. She was always performing in Chicago. I got to see her perform once (with my mother). I loved the cheers from the audience. I wanted to have those cheers. 

I guess you can say my Aunts and Mother nudged me toward the Arts.

What has been your most exciting role and why?

I did a show in Austin Texas called Onyx. I played a character named Richard Carson. I was able to play a pretty shady guy. I’m so nice all the time I thought it would be a challenge to play this character. It was interesting to be evil and rude to my co-stars. Actually had a two punch fight scenes. Those were fun. Lost the fight but I still enjoyed being a “good” villain.   

What advice do you have for someone who seeks to be an actor?

Don’t expect this to happen over night. Take a lot of classes to get better. Spend some money to get the correct items to be successful. For example, you need a good camera, lights, backdrop, and someone on your team who will help you with auditions.

A lot of my friends think it’s easy because I’m doing it. Some of them gave it a go. They came back apologizing for taking acting lightly. 

What are your rituals before an audition?

I prepare the same way I would prepare for a job. I make sure I get lots of rest. I try to stick with the same food that I ate when I got a role. I try to stick with the same food because I’m little superstitious and cautious about getting a stomach bug. I record myself several times to see which take is the best,  along with a backup version just in case the casting director wants another option. 

What is the role of life for you and why?

Being a Method Actor makes that question a little hard. I’m very comfortable in every genre. I’ve done so many characters from the villain to the charming guy in a romantic comedy. I definitely don’t want to be labeled the actor who can only do one genre. How about I give you my white board list of people I would love to act with? In no particular order: Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Ealy, Will Smith, Andre Shanks, Adam Driver, Robert De Niro, Benedict Cumberbatch, Viola Davis, Regina King, Octavia Spencer, and Sanaa Lathan. I love what they offer on camera. My list is longer. I thought I would give you a few. 

About Orlando

Orlando Eric Street was born, Eric Darrell Street II, in Chicago, Illinois.

Orlando is the second of four siblings and only boy. Orlando lived in Chicago until the age 12. His father, Eric Street, Sr. decided to move the family to Louisiana in 1982 to keep his children off the streets and out of trouble with gangs. Orlando began acting at an early age both in Chicago and later in Louisiana. He took so much interest in acting and films that he began making home movies as a hobby. To date, among his most prized possessions are the home movies he directed featuring hosts of family members.

Although, theater was his first love, his father convinced him that a tennis and an athletic scholarship would best suit his future needs. Orlando attended Southern University and majored in Broadcasting. He did some modeling and acting for local companies while in college to make extra money.

After graduating from college, Orlando began working as a tennis professional and still acted in local theater and commercials to keep his “chops.” Seeing that his son’s desire to act had not waned, Orlando’s father suggested he pursue acting full time. However, his father took ill, so Orlando decided not to go to California to pursue a career in acting. In 2011, Orlando Eric began a renewed pursuit of an acting career. Prompted by his father’s declaration and the realization of Orlando’s true drive and eventual goal – to win the Oscar!

Orlando is still directing small family films.