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Staying True to Yourself – An Interview with Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Terry Crews

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Love him or hate him, actor Terry Crews is making moves as an actor, host and yes, activist. Crews’ career to stardom begun on the gridiron in 1991 when he was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 11th round. While not one of the best players, he played for the Rams, the San Diego Chargers, the Washington Redskins, and the Philadelphia Eagles. In 1995, he joined the Rhein Fire.

Despite bouncing around from teams only to be repeatedly cut from rosters, Crews never looked back and after retiring in 1997, he decided to move to Los Angles to work within the film industry in any form. While he never intended to be an actor, he co-wrote and co-produced an anti-drug independent feature film titled Young Boys Incorporated. Even though he considers the film to be “horrible” it further fueled his passion for the film industry because it allowed people to see how authentic he is in life and in his craft.

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From there, Crews’ career as an actor grew from playing a character athlete in Battle Dome, to commercials, films and music videos. Finally, his breakout role came in Friday After Next. Despite never taking acting classes, he contributes his success to never comprising and once again being himself in every role. He later saw success in The Longest Yard, White Chicks, Everybody Hates Chris and as NYPD Sergeant Terry Jeffords in the ensemble cast of the NBC sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

As an actor, he asked himself what the audience wanted, and he believes this ultimately brought him success. He now believes acting is what he was born to do and would not wish to have any other career, despite the physically demanding nature of the work.

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“It’s hard to call myself an actor because I’m pretty much Terry Crews at everything I do. Even the character’s name [in Brooklyn Nine-Nine] is Terry, you know what I mean? So it’s one of those things where I just bring a little piece of me into every role that I’ve ever played, so I can really say it’s me. So what can I say? You can’t really separate me from host, from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, from any other product, even when I did Everybody Hates Chris. These are all parts of Terry Crews, and it’s a beautiful thing, and it’s about the pick.”

In 2019, his resume grew longer when NBC announced Crews as host for America’s Got Talent following his involvement in the same role for the program’s spin-off series, America’s Got Talent: The Champions.

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When speaking about his hosting gigs, Crews lights up with pure excitement. “The best part about being a part of AGT is that I get to give someone their dream. Personally hand them their dream of stardom and it feels so good.”

While talking about his success at American Got Talent, he also expressed his love for this season’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine which will is set to undergo major changes.

“Oh my god, the new season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, they keep everything fresh by changing up the world every five minutes. I am now a lieutenant which changes the dynamic but also I’m over the precinct because Captain Holt has been demoted to an officer; which everyone is just having the hardest time with, I don’t know what else to say.

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We were backstage in-between scenes and I was actually sitting at his desk which is now my office now, and I got there and he walks in like, ‘hey’ and I’m like ‘hey’ and he’s like, ‘that’s my desk’ and I’m like ‘not anymore;’ and we’re not even filming but it was like, he’s like ‘oh yeah, right but I’m gonna get up anyway, I’m so sorry Mr. Braugher, go ahead’

I mean that’s how weird the dynamic is, to watch him where he’s wearing an officer’s uniform, this was crazy. I don’t think everybody’s ready for what they’re about to see in this new season. It’s gonna be so good.”

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Despite the hardships, setbacks, and controversies, Crews still manages to balance a hectic work and life schedule that’ll see him continuing his passion for an unforeseeable future.

Season seven of Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Thursdays on NBC at 8/7c.

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