Garfield Wilson: “Your journey is yours and yours alone”

Your journey is yours and yours alone. This industry can really prey on your insecurities and self-confidence, particularly when you compare yourself to others. This can contribute to one trying to be someone that they’re not, and I’ve had those moments early on in my career. My career changed dramatically when I completely immersed myself into […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Your journey is yours and yours alone.

This industry can really prey on your insecurities and self-confidence, particularly when you compare yourself to others. This can contribute to one trying to be someone that they’re not, and I’ve had those moments early on in my career. My career changed dramatically when I completely immersed myself into my own self-discovery and looked within rather than comparing myself to others.


As part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Garfield Wilson who was born in Surrey, England; the middle child of three to Jamaican parents. His family immigrated to Canada when he was six years old.

Having always felt a pull to all things creative, he organically fell into music and acting in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. After two years performing as the lead singer to a funk/soul cover band, Garfield’s first break was portraying Judas in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He then ventured to Vancouver, BC, to pursue music and acting further. After singing in his own band, followed by a Canadian tour singing back-up vocals for Colin James, Garfield began to focus on acting.

Garfield has found success in the spotlight on screens both big and small with the likes of THE ASTRONAUTS, directed by Star Trek franchise veteran Jonathan Frakes, and Dean Israelie. STOLEN BY MY MOTHER: THE KAMIYAH MOBLEY STORY opposite Niecy Nash, and COME TO DADDY, VENDETTA, with a myriad of television roles including the likes of : TNT’s SNOWPIERCER, ARROW, Once Upon A Time, Bates Motel, The 100, Continuum, iZombie, Zoo, Netflix’s Travelers, Van Helsing, The Good Doctor, The Man in the High Castle, Batwoman, and J.J. Abrams’ Almost Human, amongst others.

Next up for Garfield is the star-studded comedy musical series from Lorne Michaels opposite Keegan-Michael Key, Cecily Strong, Fred Armisen, Kristin Chenoweth, and Dove Cameron to name a few. The series is slated to stream on Apple TV+.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born in London, England to very loving Jamaican parents. We moved to Canada when I was 6 years old and I then grew up in Edmonton, Alberta. I spent lots of time in sports, music and being with family.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was 5yrs old my father brought home a Jackson 5 album called “Maybe Tomorrow”. From that point on, the Jackson 5 was my favorite group and my brother and I pretended we were them. He was Jermaine and I was Michael, of course. Throughout my adolescence, I was always in the choir and drama clubs. And eventually, I ended up in a popular cover band out of college. A stage manager saw our show and asked me to audition for the role of Judas in their production of Jesus Christ Superstar. I ended up landing the role and caught the acting bug. Shortly after the production, I moved to Vancouver where a friend of mine told me I could probably join some of the TV shows being shot in town. I literally walked into an agent’s office and asked if they could help me. They sent me to an on-camera class and I booked enough small acting roles to get my full membership to the union. That was the very beginning of a long up and down journey to where I am today.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Because my ex-wife and I had small babies to feed and care for and the small acting roles were not providing financial security, I’d taken a 10-year break from acting. During that time, I focused my attention on my career as a personal trainer. My client at the time, Natasha Trisko, who had repped me on a small project asked me to audition for a pilot. Given the fact that I had a full schedule of clients, my business was growing fast and I had no idea what it was for, I was reluctant to go. However, I ended up having a break at the exact time of the audition, so I went and did the audition (which was packed) feeling like there’s no way after 10 years I’d land this part. I actually landed the part, which turned out to be a series regular on ALMOST HUMAN! That role changed everything! Having JJ Abrams name on my resume changed the roles I was auditioning for and led me to my acting coach, Deb Podowski who completely changed the trajectory of my career.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started out, I did a few commercials. One of the first commercials I did was kind of low budget, so they did my fitting on the day of filming to save time. During the fitting, I proceeded to rip the tags off all the clothes I tried on, and when I mean rip the tags I mean ALL the tags. The wardrobe person absolutely lost her mind, she looked and sounded like a crazy person when she saw all the tags removed. “How are we going to be able to return the clothes that we don’t use on you now??!!!” Let’s just say I never removed the tag at a fitting again, hahaha.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I just wrapped a guest-starring role on the new NBC series, DEBRIS (episode 10). I’m also extremely excited about a new series coming out this spring on Apple TV starring Cecily Strong, Keegan-Michael Key, produced by Lorne Michaels and Cinco Paul (Despicable Me) called, SCHMIGADOON. I’m about to also start filming the biggest project of my career which is in production right now and will be shooting until roughly the end of June. I wish I could say more but unfortunately, it’s very hush, hush. However, what I will say is I’m extremely excited!

You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

My journey as an actor is wrought with many ups and downs. The path to being successful in this career or anything in this life is to dive deep into those failures and find opportunities for growth and self-discovery. I would not be where I am today were it not for the many mistakes and “failing up” experiences I’ve had along the way.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

I’ll give you one… Art that moves will ultimately reflect and represent the world, and our world is beautifully diverse. The film and television industry should always be striving to reflect and represent that diversity in characters being depicted and the stories that are told.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

In no particular order…

1. It’s about the journey, not the destination.

I’ve been on so many projects in the beginning of my career (and the second chapter) where I thought that this gig or another gig was going to be the Golden Goose. It generally doesn’t work that way and it will make you less present in what you’re doing and ultimately diminish the work you’re doing.

2. Your journey is yours and yours alone.

This industry can really prey on your insecurities and self-confidence, particularly when you compare yourself to others. This can contribute to one trying to be someone that they’re not, and I’ve had those moments early on in my career. My career changed dramatically when I completely immersed myself into my own self-discovery and looked within rather than comparing myself to others.

3. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

I used to get so amped up for auditions and then would get even more amped up when I booked a role. *Sigh*. What’s the point if you’re not enjoying yourself?

4. You won’t run out of time.

I used to think that I needed to accomplish a certain level of success by a certain age or I would be out of the game. Crazy, I know but on the spectrum, I think more people share that sentiment than those that do not. That narrative is just not true, I’m living proof of that.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Finding something outside of this business that brings you joy, inspiration and fun.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could end systemic racism full stop.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that? That’s an incredibly difficult choice to make. However, in regards to my journey as an actor, I would not be where I am today without my acting coach Deb Podowski… Thanks Deb!!!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“When you know you are of worth — Not asking it but know it — You walk into a room with a particular power.” — Maya Angelou

I have lived a large portion of my life not knowing my worth. Now I’m happy to say I’m in my truth and am grateful to be in my “particular power”.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would love to have lunch with Barack Obama. He’s someone whom I admire greatly and I think we would have a lot to chat about in regards to fatherhood, etc.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!


    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Author BJ Gallagher: How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself with Tyler Gallagher

    by Tyler Gallagher
    Community//

    “Happiness is an inside job; If we’re not happy within ourselves, life can be pretty miserable” with Fotis Georgiadis & Author BJ Gallagher

    by Fotis Georgiadis
    Community//

    Going on a Magical Adventure with Photographer and Author Michael Blanchard in His New Book ‘Through A Sober Lens: A Photographer’s Journey’

    by Michael T. Marsh
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.