When I was younger, I did what  every little boy or girl did. I spent plenty of time outside riding bikes with the kids in my neighborhood, hours playing my Xbox, and playing with toys I’d get from Christmas each year. The only difference that I may really be able to highlight is that I, along with many of my family members, have experienced being in front of the television camera for years. It’s honestly something that I don’t even remember half of the time until someone brings it up.

When I was  in elementary school, my parents, my aunts, and grandmother were all on Family Feud. It started with them just being on the show for a one-time thing, falling to another family, but then they were called back for a sort of tournament of losers. In this tournament, however, they showed fortitude, making it all the way to the final round before ultimately losing. From this point, my family must have fallen in love with being on screen.

Next, my sister started her work as a model, with my aunt helping her get photoshoots for different things. She did this for maybe two or three years and it actually paid really well. It may have since been taken down, but for a while she was on a billboard in Indiana for the juice brand Tampico. Since getting more involved with school and volleyball she has slowed down with her model aspirations. Around that same time, my mom saw either a commercial or an ad for families who wanted to possibly be on a Walmart commercial. My little brother was too young at the time to be involved but my sister, my parents, and I all went to the audition, eventually getting a call back to return for another series of interviews before being chosen along with three other families to be in the commercial.

From there many of my relatives all had their own separate occasions with being on TV for any number of reasons. After the Walmart gig, my aunt asked me if I wanted to get involved with modeling like my sister but I declined because that style of work just wasn’t for me. I’d only see any more television time by being on ESPN a couple of times during games against division one opponents like Valparaiso and the University of Illinois in Chicago. My dad was on break at work in the city one day and saw that there were open castings for extras for Christopher Nolan’s well known The Dark Knight film. He then told my grandparents about it and all three ended up being a part of the movie, with my dad actually walking directly in front of the camera as an officer during the funeral scene. From there my grandfather was in a couple other movies.  They all began with similar stories like the one with my dad. My grandfather, Aunt, and little cousin also have all had repeat roles on the television show Chicago Fire along with another show.

The reason why I share this is to show that these types of things are not things that just happen to special people, celebrities, or rich people. My aunt was/is really into doing this because she thinks it’s fun, with the added benefit that it is easy money with only about two hours’ worth of work. My dad simply walked into a building during one of his breaks and called my grandparents. My mom just looked into an ad she had seen and tried it out. My sister just started out taking pictures with my aunt and she sent them to a friend and from there she started getting work.

What I want everyone to take away from my experiences is that if you want something all you have to do is show just a little initiative because not everything is nearly as hard as you may think it is. Like I stated in the beginning, I grew up doing everything any other little kid did growing up. Now I’m 21 and absolutely nothing has changed except I understand now that if I truly want something it starts with me trying and showing a little effort. At the end of the day, they are experiences I’ll be forever grateful for throughout the rest of my life.