If you ask Love, Victor star Anthony Keyvan where his passion for acting came from, he might tell you it’s in his DNA.
“As a kid, ever since I was learning how to speak I had always been a performer,” he says. “I would always be singing and dancing, reciting lines from movies and stuff. My parents always knew that I was destined to be a performer.”
In Season 2 of the Love, Simon spinoff, which debuts on Hulu later this year, Keyvan continues his already long career in front of the camera. The 20-year-old has had recurring roles on shows such as Netflix’s Alexa & Katie, ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Nickelodeon’s iCarly, and more.
Given the volatile nature of the industry, Keyvan is grateful for his past roles and the ability to consistently get work.
“This industry is not kind or forgiving at all,” he notes. “I have had my fair share of almost booking something that could have been huge. However, I have been very lucky in that I have been able to book something every year. I am really proud of myself that I have been working on my craft, networking and getting myself out there.”
Keyvan’s latest role is one that he’s especially excited about. In Love, Victor, he portrays Raheem, an unrestrained and funny LGBTQ student. Keyvan identifies with Raheem, since both of them have friendly and exciting personalities.
“He is a really funny and stylish LGBTQ+ student,” Keyvan says. “He is a character who is at the start of his coming-out journey. It is difficult, exciting, scary, and new for him. I am just very glad to be able to tell his story and all that entails in this upcoming season.”
At the forefront of Raheem’s character is his diverse background. Raheem was originally named Syrus (Keyvan’s actual middle name) but was later changed after a Muslim writer was hired to consult on the series.
It is that kind of representation that excites Keyvan, who is of Filipino, Persian, Asian and Middle Eastern descent.
“For my character in the show, it is not as easy for him to come out as it was for Simon, due to his cultural background,” he says. “I really hope what viewers take away from this season is that while it might not be easy for everyone to come out, if you have the right people around you, you should be able to get through it.”
Today’s TV shows and films don’t typically show people of color going through these kinds of struggles, so Keyvan feels a duty to represent his character with authenticity and respect.
“I think it is really important, and I am so lucky to be able to be on a show like Love, Victor where I am able to help push that narrative for young adults and teens who need to see that kind of representation on screen,” he says. “I am just really excited to be that for someone.”
Keyvan’s excitement was on display during the show’s filming even when the cameras had stopped rolling. Love, Victor was shot in Los Angeles on the huge Fox Studio Lot—something that still leaves him in disbelief. “It’s been a surreal experience,” he says. “It is all crazy to me, because I have been to that studio lot so many times for auditions and stuff. Fifteen-year-old me would be so proud.”
One especially unforgettable moment was when the entire cast of Love, Victor welcomed Keyvan to the set with open arms. “The cast really embraced me as part of their family, which is really special,” he says. “You do not always see that on TV sets. We got along really well. It is crazy, because we didn’t have any “chemistry reads” before shooting. Everyone has been so welcoming and amazing. I am so thankful for the friendships I have created with my castmates.”
Going forward, Keyvan has his eyes set on more ambitious roles, including stepping into the action-film genre.
“In this industry, it is hard to say what could be next, but I would really love to be in an action film one day. I would really love to play a superhero or supervillain—I do not care!”
And does this promising young talent have any tips for aspiring actors? Keyvan emphasizes that perseverance, and fighting for what you want, is essential. “I have almost quit so many times, because this industry is really hard. If you are going to get into this industry, know that it is not going to be easy, especially if you do not have connections or family ties. But every time I have tried to step away, the industry has sucked me back in. Just do not give up.”
For updates on the release of Love, Victor Season 2, follow the show on Twitter @LoveVictorHulu.
This article appears in the March 2021 edition of Outsmart magazine.