Shawn Christian talks As the World Turns, Days of our Lives, Travel Projects and so much more! Learn more here--->
It's one of those times where you all will need to be patient with me in relation to my introduction, please. We spoke to Shawn Christian. I was fangirling, hard. Some people just have it. Allow me to be a little personal. I think I'm a pretty nice person with my own flair. But it is my significant other that has it. People just gravitate toward him. I don't get mad, well maybe a little sometimes. LOL. Anyway, listen. Family, you all know I'm going to give it to you straight. Mr. Christian has it and has it in spades. He is magnetic. It jumped through the cell phone's airwaves. Shawn is charismatic, funny, and very smart. We had a blast and talked about everything.
Shawn is from Michigan and there he didn't receive much (really not any) encouragement that you could be an actor and actually make a living doing it. Still, Shawn had a passion for acting since he was a young boy. He wrote school plays and talent shows just for fun and would cast himself in them. Yes, let's add enterprising to his long list of attributes. Shawn had a few ideas about his future before he realized acting was the way to go. His first plan was to be an architect as he liked the idea of creating and designing something from nothing and watching it be built. But then Shawn found himself studying Chemistry, Physics, Advanced Math, Design and Engineering which wasn't exactly what he thought he'd be studying. Then someone told him, "You know computers will be able to do this at some point." Shawn was like, "What?!"
He altered his plans and double majored in college in Marketing and Computer Information Systems. While studying Computer Information Systems it became apparent it wasn't the creative process he thought it would be. It was more coding than anything else. And if any of you have ever taken Computer Science (or a similar course), you know how particular coding is. "I was doing binary coding with mainframes. It wasn't the creative gamesmen stuff I'd thought I'd be doing. I didn't do enough research." Laughter. "If you don't have a period or a comma where it is supposed to be; it isn't going to work. (Oh, I remember that in high school!) "I was like, 'Hold up this isn't me.'" Shawn did find "me", himself, in college doing commercials to help pay for books. That is when Shawn realized acting was something he could do for more than "just fun."
About a month before he graduated from college, he met with people in the industry in Chicago taking another step to determine if a career in acting was a realistic pursuit. The feedback he received let him know, it was. One of the agents he met with told him to come back after he graduated. The day after Shawn graduated from college with a degree in Marketing he moved to Chicago to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. While there he started screen testing for shows in New York and in L.A.
Shawn's breakout role was in soaps as race car driver, Mike Kasnoff, on As the World Turns. We were big fans of Shawn as Mike. Of course, we weren't the only ones. "I still have people come up to me and ask, "Are you Mike from As the World Turns? People loved the show and they loved the story with Mike, Rosanna, and Carly. Those experiences I had while on the show are near and dear to my heart."
Shawn believes the best thing for him was starting out on a soap. "It was a great way to learn. It's not just learning about acting. But also in the soap world, you learn technical and creative aspects exponentially faster than anything I have ever done. I recommend it to people just starting in the business. On any given day you are asked; to get into the light, to make sure you know your lines, to hit your mark, not to get in someone else's light and sometimes you have to say dialogue that is unbelievable or not plausible. You have to be grounded and real in a hierarchy of melodramatic form. It can be extremely difficult to stay grounded and to do all that while doing twenty-thirty pages of dialogue a day, which is unheard of. You can grow as an actor much faster. Soap actors are the hardest working actors in the industry and are equally as talented as others in the industry. For any artist who wants to learn really quick, I think it is one of the greatest training grounds to learn. And on top of that, you can reach a level of celebrity you might not otherwise."
Shawn shared his first experience with celebrityhood when he attended his first soap fan event. We love this story. "My first soap fan event was in the Mall of America in Minneapolis. There were just tiers of people. I had four bodyguards. I was like why do I need bodyguards? I was just grocery shopping at Walmart yesterday and nobody cared." Laughter. "I was blown away at the number of people who showed up. I'm very personable so I'm like, "Oh come on over here! Don't be shy! You can come sit by me!" And this dude next to me was like, 'You aren't going to be able to do that all day.' Well, I have a lot of energy, so I was able to do that all day.' He was like, 'Holy cow, you were able to do that all day.' Laughter. "I was so grateful that people would come by to say hello, of course, I'm going to take the time to say I appreciate it." Love it!
Next, we talked Dr. Daniel Jonas. Shawn was transparent when talking about the, Dr. Jonas. "Daniel was the death of me honestly." Laughter. "I loved it but it was very personally consuming. Let me be clear for those who work digging ditches or let's say on top of a hot roof working in say Phonenix, AZ from 8:00 AM to 6:00-7:00 at night, that is really hard work. But it can be a very self-involved job as a soap actor. I'll just speak for myself that it was that way for me playing Daniel Jonas. He was on a lot and involved in a lot of stories. I had medical dialogue that was related to nothing I do personally. I wasn't actually out there with people who were having their organs harvested in a dungeon somewhere. Laughter. I wasn't going on a mission through the jungle to find their heart in an igloo cooler and then bring it down to the dungeon and open their chest cavity and bring their heart to life. Of course, then I had something attached improperly so I have to open it up and do it all again. Laughter. And then you must massage the heart until it starts beating. Yeah, that happens all the time." Rolling on the floor laughing. Yet you have to rehearse these lines until you can say it like you have said it a thousand times. As far as me being let go, there are things in life that happen that are out of your control. You can't get bogged down in it. When it happened, I told myself I wasn't doing it."
As they say, Shawn didn't let the grass grow under his feet after he left Days. "I can't sit still. From the moment I left Days, I went to work. I did an independent film, Last Seen in Idaho. The role was completely different from Dr. Jonas by design. I wanted to develop a new persona. I jumped into that and then played some other characters. I was also writing. I will always continue to write. A year ago I sold my script, Love in the Sun, to Hallmark. I also got to be in the movie. It felt like a miracle. You write something and it hits the screen. I was very blessed to do that. We went back to Florida, where we filmed the movie, to thank the fans and the locals. We had a screening in the park. I had never done that with fans before to sit in a movie with them for a premiere. So for me to sit there in a park full of people who are tailgating with food and beach blankets; it was incredible. We got to share with them, to take pictures during the commercial breaks and to hear their reactions. When I got up to speak, I was tearing up because it all came to fruition. And to be able to share that moment with the fans and the locals who helped was a very humbling experience."
If you follow Shawn, then you know he has been involved in creating travel stories. If you haven't checked them out, you must. "I create travel content about wherever I go. It's a natural extension of what I do as an actor because I'll immerse myself into a place or a destination and share that sensation from the experience. I want you to come along for the ride. That's what I do as an actor and that's what I do as a traveler. My goal is really to inspire others to live adventurously every single day. Sometimes it isn't always about the destination. It's about the feeling that place gives you and about the people. I love meeting the people, the locals." It all sounds like so much fun! But there is work involved yet Shawn has made something he loves into work. Pretty smart. "It's a lot of work because I'm editing, filming, writing, etc. I'm doing it all. Eventually, I'll have a squad, a team of people. So I won't have to do everything. But now it is a good thing to do everything so I can learn everyone's job." Pretty smart. "What I love the most about traveling is you hear people's stories. You hear the strength of the human spirit."
Our favorite part of the interview is when we just "chatted" with Shawn and learned more about the man himself. "I love hikes. I love basketball. It's the one time I won't think about anything else. I live in the moment. I can lose myself in the game. I'm discovering golf in my travel. It's maddening because I'm not that good yet." Laughter. "I'm a competitor." We asked who was on his music playlist. "With music, I'm all over the map. I listen to a lot of country. Then I'll go back to the pop, Travis Scott, Drake and, Jason Aldean. It just depends. Right now I have an entire just chill acoustics playlist. Because I'm putting so much out there, I need to absorb more. Music without words is where I can let my imagination just flow."
During our chat, Shawn and I discovered we lived in Chicago around the same time. We both love, love, love Chi-town. The energy is fantastic. During that time Michael Jordan had a restaurant in Chi-town and we talked about eating there. Oh and the baseball games; Sox and Cubs! Yes! I shared with Shawn that I went to my first baseball game at the Cubs stadium in Lincoln Park. A hotdog, peanuts and a drink at a Cubs game, that is living! This Southern girl called her mom when she got home (before cell phones) and told her that I had just seen people sitting on the rooftops of highrise apartment buildings on lawn chairs watching a baseball game. This southern girl had arrived! LOL.
Our last topic was on every parent's favorite subject, kids. Shawn, like me, is the parent of an older teenager. That can be an interesting place as you have to shift your parenting style. He spoke openly about the challenges parents face as they transition to more of a supportive role in their kids' lives. And we talked about what we want most as parents for our kids. "We want them to be kind, generous and to bring some good into the world. We want them to have moral fiber and character and to possess good traits. And we have to trust them to make good decisions and there will be times they won't. But I believe if they have a good foundation they won't stray too much. We have to have faith they will learn like we learned. " Amen!
Shawn is the realest of the real deal. As we said in the beginning, his magnetism just shines through. We had the best time "interviewing" him and learning more about and from him. Through the ups, downs, ins, outs and the good and the bad of life; Shawn has learned what he described as the "ultimate lesson", "I've learned to be true to myself. I've tried all the other stuff. I've tried everything else. I've tried to be everything to everybody. I just can't anymore. I've learned to be true to me."
Fam; you all make sure to keep up with all of Shawn's great travel stories and support all his upcoming work!
Thank you, Mr. Christian! Please please come back and chat with us (ahem me lol) anytime!
I AM KP Smith