Echo Kellum knows how to embrace every bit of his character – whether it’s a role he’s playing on TV, or just living in real-life. As Curtis Holt on The CW’s “Arrow,” Echo plays a hacker/coder who joins Green Arrow’s gang of vigilantes as Mister Terrific.
You can also catch him starring alongside Amber Tamblyn and Bob Odenkirk in the Netflix feature film “Girlfriend’s Day,” as well hear him voicing the character of King Joaquin on Disney’s animated series “Elena of Avalor.”
InLove Magazine caught up with Echo to learn about his new hip-hop album, charity work with the Ronald McDonald House, ‘geek chic’ personal style, and how his journey has been so far.
Sari Cohen: Tell me how you first fell in love with comedy.
Echo Kellum: My first instance of knowing that comedy was what I wanted to do was watching Jim Carrey on “In Living Color.” I would see him dive deep into those characters. He was so funny and so committed. That was something that I looked at as a kid and thought, ‘I want to do exactly that.’ It’s something I’ve been pursuing ever since. That changed my life in a lot of ways, trying to come at characters from a comedic standpoint. I studied everywhere from iO to The Groundlings to UCB. That really helped in honing my comedy chops.
What was it like to transition from comedy to a superhero show like ‘Arrow?’
I actually did a pilot [in 2015] for Warner Bros. and The CW called “Dead People,” so when casting for “Arrow”, they called me back to audition for the role of Curtis. The rest is history. They asked me on as recurring and then I became a series regular. It was definitely a big shock for me to switch to drama. I actually started off doing dramatic work in Chicago before I even started doing comedy. So it kind of got me back into my roots, but I’m grateful I still get to bring some levity to the show.
What would you say are the biggest differences and similarities between you and your character?
One of the biggest similarities is that I’m a huge tech nerd. I worked at Geek Squad for about four years so I know computers. I definitely connect with that in terms of Curtis; also that I’m very loyal to my friends. I think that one of Curtis’ most endearing qualities is his ability to really have his friends’ back, to be there for them and always try to find a situation to help people that he cares about get out of the problem that they’re in. As far as differences, I am nowhere near as smart as him (laughs). And I don’t live in a city that’s constantly being attacked by terrorists so that’s cool, too. I think that’s the reason why I gravitated toward the character … because there were so many similarities between the two of us.
I would love to touch on your style. You really embrace your personality through what you wear. What’s your process when it comes to finding a piece of clothing or an accessory that you love?
I just trust my gut and those aspects in what I think fashion is. I’m very much into nerd culture: video games, comic books and anime. So, any time I can find a type of outfit that can play off that aspect of my personality, I’m definitely in. I mix concepts of nerd-isms with fashion industry-isms, so, it’s kind of my own style I’ve formed that I like to call, ‘geek chic.’ It’s something I’ve always been passionate about; what I wear. I love dressing and having different outfits, mixing and matching my style up.
What is one piece of advice you can give to those who are looking to discover themselves, whether it be through a medium like acting, comedy, or fashion?
My number one piece of advice for anyone is to just trust yourself. You’ve got to trust that what you believe is true. Trust that what you think is cool, IS cool. What it boils down to is that you’re the only one who really matters from that perspective. Anybody else can feel however they want about you and they will — no matter what you do in life. I think that’s really what you’ve got to lean into — your own inner-voice, your own inner-style, inner-comedian, or whatever it is, and hope that the masses agree with you. And if they don’t, it doesn’t matter, because you’re making yourself happy.
Photo by Lesley Bryce.
To subscribe or purchase the magazine http://inlovemag.com/subscribe/