I am a big believer that you will never succeed if you’re afraid to fail. Being scared puts you in a state of paralysis, and once you are in that state, nothing productive is going to get done. In other words, you must take risks to receive rewards. Right now, think about how easy it is to control your destiny with a phone in your pocket. People have made it before you without that advantage, but if you can be persistent with it, something great will happen as long as you keep going. Avail yourself to as many opportunities as possible, and just keep creating. Don’t feel like you have to wait until you get to Hollywood, you can start by bringing Hollywood to you. Take this opportunity, show the world how good you are, and continue to chase your dreams.
We had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Omar Miller. Omar Miller transitioned from his NAACP Nominated for HBO’s “Ballers” with Dwayne Johnson into CBS’ breakout comedy series “The Unicorn” with Walton Goggins. Creator and host of the audio/video sports-oriented podcast, O-ZONE — Oznpod.com. He also voices Raphael in Netflix’s Emmy-nominated “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” for which he’s completed a movie, is a series regular on Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats” animated reboot for Paramount+, and has appeared in the likes of “8 Mile,” “Shall We Dance,” “Transformers.” Next up is the Apple TV+ limited series, “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” (March 11th) opposite Samuel L. Jackson.
Omar, thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Our readers would love to know a bit of your origin story. Can you tell us about how you grew up?
I am the youngest of seven, six boys and one girl, and grew up in southern California. My parents owned a dry cleaning business, and we had a loud, awesome, loving household. I feel very fortunate that I grew up being so well-loved and feel as though that has affected so many aspects of my life and the effects continue to reveal themselves more and more the older I get. I’ve met people who had so much trauma in their childhood, that it makes me grateful for what I had. Having this type of family dynamic, set me up to have the discipline that I needed to get things done in life and help others.
I went to San Jose State University for college and thought I would just continue with baseball since I grew up in the game. I figured I was going to play sports, but somehow I instead stumbled into the theater and fell in love with it. I began doing plays all over the Bay Area and eventually had several key professors who saw my potential and my interest in the craft. They helped me see what was possible and once I was done with school, I landed a role on 8 Mile with Eminem, which completely changed my life.
You have a fascinating career, can you share the most humorous story that has happened in your career so far?
When I was on set for Ballers, The Rock gave me his phone while he went to film his scene so I could send myself a text and he would have my number. I texted what I thought was my phone, but I put the number in wrong. So someone out there got a text from Dwayne Johnson and has no idea. Thankfully, I didn’t quote him or anything in the message. To this day, that is one of my favorite stories. But, the lesson I learned from that is don’t move too fast. Pay attention to what you’re doing, because in life we don’t get an edit button.
Can you tell our readers about some of the exciting projects you are working on now and what you are looking forward to in the future?
Right now, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey in which I played Reggie Lloyd, is out on Apple TV, and the last episode just premiered. I enjoyed working on the limited series due to how intimate and personal the show was for me. I am so proud of how it turned out and it was such a great cast to work with including Samuel L. Jackson and Dominique Fishback.
I’ve been doing a lot of voiceover work for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ new movie, The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which will be coming out on Netflix. I’ve also been working on the new Rugrats series and was recently working on an amine show with Tonko House called Oni, which will be on Netflix as well.
Also, Dice Tutsumi, the filmmaker behind Tonko House, who received a nomination for best animated short invited me, along with Craig Robinson, to work on a project with him, so I’m excited to get started on that. I also have a podcast about sports that I do with my brother, and I’m wanting to get back up and running on it, as I put that on the back burner for a while.
You have been blessed with success and a career path that can be challenging for some. Do you have any words of advice for someone that wants to be in this career field as well, but seems intimidated or daunted by the prospect of failure?
I am a big believer that you will never succeed if you’re afraid to fail. Being scared puts you in a state of paralysis, and once you are in that state, nothing productive is going to get done. In other words, you must take risks to receive rewards.
Right now, think about how easy it is to control your destiny with a phone in your pocket. People have made it before you without that advantage, but if you can be persistent with it, something great will happen as long as you keep going. Avail yourself to as many opportunities as possible, and just keep creating. Don’t feel like you have to wait until you get to Hollywood, you can start by bringing Hollywood to you. Take this opportunity, show the world how good you are, and continue to chase your dreams.
Do you have a story of someone you are grateful for who helped you achieve the success that you have now?
That would be my college professors, Buddy Butler and Dr. Steve Millner. They were both such amazing teachers who saw the potential in me, invested, and challenged me so much, that it helped me get to this point that I’m at in my career.
But also, my family. From my brothers, to the rest of my family, when I told them that I wanted to take a path that was more in the artistic realm, instead of them telling me I should play it safe or find an easier job, they encouraged me to follow what I felt was best for me. Because of this, I believe that positivity and encouragement can truly go a long way. Just a simple word of kindness, can sustain people and get them to the next level of their journey.
What are your “5 things I wish someone would have told me when I started?”
- Buy real estate and stocks
- Invest in that personal trainer
- Keep creating
- Make it your own
- Most importantly, take advantage of people who offer to help. I used to turn down offers when people would ask if they could help thinking it was noble or something, but it is just silly not to. Most people who ask, are genuinely wanting to help you and by taking them up on their offer, they are not only helping themselves but elevating you as well.
Omar, you are a person of enormous influence. If you would inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good, to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea could inspire.
I would love to inspire a movement of generosity. Over my 40 years, I’ve noticed that people are becoming more and more stingy. There seems to be a lot of selfishness, especially among people with money, who are now having wealth at astronomical numbers, that most of us cannot even comprehend. It’s pretty crazy to think about how there are people on this planet who live on less than a dollar a day, and on the flip side, we have multiple people who have hundreds of billions of dollars.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people making big money and taking care of themselves, but I believe if we had a bigger gauge on how generous we are being instead of being ruthless and selfish when it comes to capitalism, we could make some headway on being better as humans. What people don’t realize is, that when you give, you receive intrinsically, as well as materially. Having your mindset be full of abundance and generosity, you begin to speak those things into your life. Along with that, the Lord will make sure that you are replenished. You don’t need money by any means to fill those voids. You can still all do these things through joy, laughter, good advice, and kindness.
We are very blessed that prominent leaders read this column. If there is anybody in the world that you would like to have a private lunch or dinner with, who you believe could take you to the next level? If so, who would that be?
The first person would be Sam Bankman-Fried. He’s a young man who’s known as the crypto Robin Hood, yet even with all the money he’s made, he gives a lot of money to charity. I would love to chat with him and see what his process is and what he was currently working on for the greater good. Another person would be MacKenzie Scott. She is making a lot of noise right now, and to be able to sit down with her as well would be pretty crazy.
But the more I think about it, I think it would be Robert F. Smith. He’s known for paying off all the student loans for the 2019 graduating class at Morehouse College. To me, his actions showed a tremendous mindset of putting your money where your mouth is, and I love that.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much Omar! We wish you continued success!