From New Jersey to the OWN, Elizabeth native BreakOut Star,
Julian Brittiano, talks about his life and being “Chosen by Oprah”
Every Wednesday, I am cemented to my television watching the latest drama on OWN “GreenLeaf.” The series consist of the Greenleaf family and their sprawling Memphis, Tennessee megachurch. It is full of saints, and sinners. Aunt Mavis portrayed by Oprah Winfrey is the blues club owner. At the legendary bar, there is bartender David depicted by Julian Brittiano. He was booked merely as an extra actor. Now, Mr. Brittiano has a recurring role as the bartender.
Mr. Brittiano is an Elizabeth, New Jersey native who was raised by a single mother. She adored both her two boys: Julian and his older brother who has cerebral palsy. He graduated from Elizabeth High School and credits his handicapped brother as his source of inspiration and motivation when “…going after his different endeavors.” His child hood was unique, because Julian and his mother spend 4 to 5 days out of the week at the developmental care home with his brother. He reminisced, “Many of my friends were patients in my brother’s facility and they were in wheel chairs.”
As a Gifted and Talented student, he flourished in academics as well as sports and music. He was in the chorus, band, drama club, played the piano, sax, guitar, and bass. In high school, he played football, track, and basketball. He earned a scholarship for his football skills to University of Maryland majoring in Psychology. He left college early to pursue his love for football entering the NFL Draft. He worked out with the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers and eventually played arena football in South Dakota.
Back to the Music
After football, Mr. Brittiano came back to his first love – music. He unapologetically described himself as the, “The Art Guy.” The Art Guy became a producer and submitted tracks with recording artist “Tweet” and a group called “Lyric” as well as independent artists. He has worked on many different genres of music: Pop, Rock, R&B, and Jazz. Music is his first love. When he returns to music, he plans to record a “Faith Based Hip Hop CD”
While working in New York City as a marketing director, he coordinated events such as record release parties for record labels. In addition, he marketed events for the NFL, NBA, NY Giants, and MTV. He met the right people which led to his first modeling opportunity. Mr. Brittiano proudly recalled when he was invited to walk the runway for the first time for a local independent designer in New Jersey.
At 6’4 and 250 pounds, he graced the runway for BET Rock the Runway. He modeled for Steve Harvey’s line of men suits and Dr. J’s big and tall men clothing line. I asked him who taught him how to walk. He laughingly stated he watched Tyra Banks “America Next Top Model” to learn about the modeling industry. Then I asked him, when he walked the runway what was going through his mind. He replied, “My goal is to go co-exist with the garment. I represent the garment and the garment represents me. I enjoy modeling. I respect fashion designers and creators is one of the major stables place in our society. They are artist too. If they feel that I am a good fit to represent their clothing line, that’s cool.” He is looking forward to participating in New York fashion week in September 2016.
The Story – “Green Leaf”
Mr. Brittiano wants the public to understand the back story of how he booked “Greenleaf: “Many people do not know the story what happen within the first two weeks after booking “Green Leaf.” They only see me on television now. They do not know the story of what I had to endure during those two weeks. The first two weeks I submitted for an extra during background on set which role over to some other major studio gigs. I met people on set and got some major studio gigs."
GreenLeaf was my fifth project in two weeks. I did a lot of driving up and down East Coast. I get to GreenLeaf booked as a background actor and doing my part. Next thing you know, Oprah took notice of me and saw my consistency on how I was working the scene and my dialogue. By the end of the day, I got upgraded to a recurring role.”
I asked, Mr. Brittano, “How does it feel to be handpicked” by Oprah Winfrey, he paused in thought and stated: “It is a good feeling. It is an affirming feeling. It is a feeling of affirmation. As people we must understand something especially when things occur, the source is the spirit realm.” Then I asked about the set dynamics of “Greenleaf,” and if he felt any pressure or stress? He eloquently stated, “I am definitely going to be myself. That is what got me to where I am at. Right now, 9 months in I got the opportunity to 31 projects. A lot of it was background extra work, I will continue extra work, I auditioned and booked some roles, and I am waiting for them to be released.” He views the set as his classroom stated, “I watch seasoned actress or actors and I am learning from them to make adjustments. watching actors who had years of training, classes, and workshops. When I am on set, I watch and observe everything from the lighting, make up, and craft services. It is school for me. I feel very good, and confident I can hold down my end when it comes to acting.” Mr. Brittiano is using this opportunity to learn more about media production. He stated, “I am learning about every aspect of film production which in turn I am creating my own production company.” I know this breakout star will continue the legacy of achieving the impossible while shining bright!
We will be watching!