Something to Be a Part of – Creatively and Morally
“As a young kid, I didn’t know entirely what it meant to be a great actor or what it meant to inspire someone. I definitely had inspirations – not necessarily actors [but] my mom,” Devin Druid, 21, explains of his early influences. Raised by a single mother along with his four siblings in Virginia, his interest in performing arts was stimulated by his “artistic” family as well as his elementary-school music teacher. “She was just great at recognizing a love for performance and music, and trying to grow it,” he recalls. “She really did that for me.” Although he enjoyed performing, it was his younger brother Aidan Fiske who had already made up his mind to be an actor and started auditioning for roles as early as 9 years old. Druid, coming off surgery and wanting to get out of the house, would accompany his brother. “I just thought it was so cool what he was doing, and I wanted to give it a shot, and some years later, I’m here,” he says.
Druid’s career jump-started when he and his brother were cast to star in a student film by former NYU student and director J. Casey Modderno. “That kind of got me the boost I needed to audition for higher-tier projects,” says Druid, who would later land guest roles on several television series before getting the role that would make him the star he is today. Druid was impressed and “overwhelmed” at the amount of talent that was attached to Netflix’s original series 13 Reasons Why, from show-runner Brian Yorkey to executive producer Selena Gomez (“I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of – creatively and morally”).
Originally auditioning for Clay Jensen, Yorkey saw Druid as a perfect fit for the role of Tyler Down, a socially-awkward photography enthusiast who had a crush on Hannah Baker. In preparation for the role, Druid would research book reports done on the novel that the series is based on to gain different interpretations and perspectives on the character. “As an actor, I think one of the greatest tools you can have is empathy and the ability to empathize with each other,” he elaborates. “So even if you haven’t been in the situation, the ability to kind of put yourself in their shoes and uncover your similarities and differences with a character, that’s kind of been my mentality for every role I’ve come across.”
With the success of a series that has focused on so many controversial topics – including mental health, suicide, depression, violence, bullying, sexuality, drug use, trauma, PTSD, sexual assault, abortion, and immigration – Druid wants to continue doing what he feels is important work. “Hopefully, work keeps coming, work that poses interesting questions, requires people to think about how they approach those questions, and helps people,” he shares.
Writer: Alain Clerine
Photographer: Chris Constantine
Stylist: Savannah Avant
Stylist Assistant: Taryn McKeen
Men’s Grooming: Emily Sims
Videographer: Lottie Johnston
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Music City Hotel (@musiccityhotel & @musiccityhf - musiccityhotel.org) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)