Tyler James Williams stars in the critically acclaimed sitcom Abbott Elementary but this isn’t his first time finding success. The actor got a successful start on television starring in Everybody Hates Chris and recalled a producer from the show who didn’t see a bright future for him.
“‘I’ll never see you as anything else and you’ll probably never work again,’” Williams told GQ about what the producer said.
He added, “I was like, ‘Holy shit, you really just looked at me and said that.’”
Being a kid actor on a successful sitcom was something “traumatic” for Williams as he was growing up in front of television cameras.
“The time this was happening was the same time the internet was becoming more ingrained in the industry,” Williams said. “So as I’m going through the most awkward years of my life, everyone sees it. I think my voice was cracking nonstop during seasons two and three. I was trying to find myself in front of everybody. And everybody had an opinion and was getting used to getting theirs out.”
Williams continued, “It was traumatic. I still get triggered by things that are part of everybody else’s childhood. Every time someone comes up to me, regardless of what it is they recognize me for, what that says to me in the moment is that I’m seen. I have to be on, immediately, because someone’s watching.”
The actor says that he has been in therapy and “hypervigilance” is something that he has worked on adding, “I would be listening to everyone’s conversation in a room. I could hear my name being brought up from two, three tables down. I could see how many people clocked me when I walked in the door. And that’s not healthy.” He’s recently managed to establish firmer boundaries and slow the pace of his life.”
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