Huntley Woods – Actor, Model, Hepatitis Activist
up and coming model/actor talks to us this week about growing up on
the ice and his interest in acting as well as his work with the Hep Team.
“Growing up I couldn’t play conventional sports to save my life! Baseball, soccer, basketball, football, you name it, I failed at it!” Huntley says. “But I was still athletic and overflowing with energy, so I fell into a not so common sport. I put on some ice skates and something clicked. I trained as a figure skater for about ten years. I got teased a lot, but stuck with it. Eventually it came to the point where I had to choose to skate full time as a profession or go off to college. My coaches begged me to stick with it, but I had spent SO MUCH TIME at the rink practicing, I never had a social life. So after high school, I decided to go to the University of Southern California where I pursued theater and film. I had been performing already for so many years, acting seemed like a natural segue.”
Huntley confides he always knew he was gay growing up…”I knew something was different, I just didn’t know exactly what it meant. Then when I understood what being gay was, I had been taught in catholic school that it was not an acceptable life. I didn’t know anyone who was openly gay until I got to college. There I met a lot of gay people and begun to realize it was an OK lifestyle. I could lead an openly gay life and be happy!”
A Recent graduate from USC’s School of Theatre & School of Cinematic Arts, Huntley says, “Acting is my main aspiration, but I’ve really starting to get into modeling recently and am getting very passionate about it. I think a lot of people come out here seeking fame and fortune. They wait tables by day, waiting for a big break without studying up or getting training. I love everything about the film and acting business so I wanted to know all about how it works. In school I got to learn a lot about all the roles behind the camera as well as be in front of the camera. I found that I really enjoy the craft of film making and the enormous collaborative effort that goes into it. I enjoy acting out different roles and becoming different characters. Sure, if fame and fortune come, that would be nice, but I’m not in it to be a movie star, I just hope to be successful and working. In the end I just want to work in the industry I am passionate about.”
So by day, rather than wait tables, Huntley got into learning the business of movie trailers. He is an office coordinator at a Los Angeles based company that creates the trailers and teasers we see in theatres. In his free time he auditions for various television, film, and print work. He recently landed a cover for COMPETE , the gay sports magazine and also a Neutrogena television commercial . He even helps out on OurSceneTV as a writer and host having done a segment about West Hollywood’s BIG RED BUS . “The next step is to get an agent or agency to represent me. I have been going on a lot of auditions I have found myself, but an agent is essential to take it to the next level. I am always looking to network with some great photographers and creative minds to expand my portfolio of work as well.”
Sounds like a busy life! When he’s not at the office, acting, modeling, or playing volleyball on the beautiful beaches of Southern California, he works part time for the Hep Team. Not just another Southern California pretty gay-boy-next-door, Huntley leads a busy life but still finds time to help worthy causes like the Hep Team.
“Hep Team works as an outreach program that goes all over the country to help make sure at-risk adults are protected against hepatitis A and hepatitis B.. They’re in NY as well and also in Chicago. I mainly handle the West Coast events, California -LA, San Diego, Long Beach, also Seattle and have done a bunch in Arizona as well.”
Hep Team has been around for 15 years. But in the last couple years we’re seeing a lot more of the orange-clad workers and volunteers. The initiative was created by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, and geared toward the MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) population. The goal is to vaccinate people against hepatitis A and B, and it is working. Hep Team is a partnership of GSK, Hep Team staff, state and local county health departments and supportive volunteers. In Arizona alone, over 1,700 individuals were vaccinated in 2009 thanks to the Hep Team Project. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports a nationwide initiative to make hepatitis A/B vaccine available to states to undertake vaccination programs for adults to help reduce the threat.
“I got into this role quite by accident,” revealed Huntley. “A friend of mine at USC was working for the marketing company and he needed some help one weekend, so I volunteered. My role with them just sort of kept growing and expanding and now I am their Event Manager out here. I go to events all over Southern California and help run booths, train new staff and help establish new markets. I love talking to people and I love sharing my new found knowledge on the topic of hepatitis prevention. There’s a fair amount of people who are aware of it. But it brings me joy to find that random stranger I can help educate about the disease and the importance of getting the vaccines.”
If you’re in or around Southern California this summer, keep an eye out for Huntley at:
Los Angeles Gay Pride – June 11-13
San Diego Gay Pride – July 17-18
Sunset Junction – August 21-22