Actor, Tyler James Williams reflects on the “traumatic” experiences of his childhood acting career

Actor, Tyler James Williams reflects on the "traumatic" experiences of his childhood acting career

Hollywood actor, Tyler James Williams has opened up about his early years in the movie industry and his “traumatic” experience as a child star.

In a recent interview with GQ, Williams reflected on his journey to what led him to star in one of TV’s hottest family sitcoms.

Williams landed his big break at just 12 years old after working on shows such as Little Bill and Sesame Street, when he secured the lead role in Everybody Hates Chris, portraying a teenage character, Chris Rock.

While the role presented a steep learning curve, Williams noted that it left him with “the most useful information” he’s ever received.

“​​I learned how to carry a show in a matter of two or three months. It’s the most useful information I’ve ever gotten in my life.”

Despite receiving this “useful information,” Williams admitted that his time on the show coincided with the “most awkward years” of his life.

“The time this was happening was the same time the internet was becoming more ingrained in the industry. So as I’m going through the most awkward years of my life, everyone sees it. I think my voice was cracking nonstop during seasons two and three.”

Williams summed up the situation by pointing out that

“I was trying to find myself in front of everybody. And everybody had an opinion and was getting used to getting theirs out.”

He used the word “traumatic” to describe his experience and explained that growing up in the public eye has resulted in him being “triggered” by things that are typical parts of other people’s childhoods.

“It was traumatic. I still get triggered by things that are part of everybody else’s childhood. Every time someone comes up to me, regardless of what it is they recognize me for, what that says to me in the moment is that I’m seen.”

He added that, while working through this trauma in therapy, “hypervigilance” was a major issue that he had to address.

“Hypervigilance was one of the things that we had to tackle, because I would be listening to everyone’s conversation in a room. I could hear my name being brought up from two, three tables down. I could see how many people clocked me when I walked in the door. And that’s not healthy.”

Aside from the personal ordeals that his on-camera adolescence put him through, the actor also addressed some of the work-based pressures, which he “figured out pretty f**king quickly.”

In fact, Williams cited an interaction he had with an Everybody Hates Chris producer in which they proclaimed,

“I’ll never see you as anything else and you’ll probably never work again.”

While the actor noted that the comment “was probably a joke,” it still deeply impacted him. However, rather than being discouraged, Tyler acknowledged that he “decided to stop and pivot” in order to hone his craft.

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