UNO alum navigates the world of acting

UNO alum navigates the world of acting


Roxanne Ardekani, Staff

“Acting has been a passion of mine for a long time,” said University of New Orleans alumnus Deric Augustine. Augustine, a successful actor, currently alternates between Los Angeles and New York to practice his craft.

Augustine and his twin brother began modeling for national retailer J.C. Penney as children. At one of their fashion shows they were persuaded to take acting classes, later making their debut in a production of “The King and I.”

“After that performance, I realized that I wanted to be an actor for the rest of my life. I fell in love with the art and the craft,” Augustine explained.

Augustine took a break from acting while he finished high school, and although he considered moving to Los Angeles after graduation, he decided to attend college so he could be close to his mother, who was sick at the time.

Immediately after enrolling at UNO, Augustine fell in love with the college. “I was known on campus as the overachiever and the guy who had his hands in everything. I led my fraternity’s food drive and voter registration every year, I was part of the 2010 championship football team. These activities made my experience at UNO extravagant. I’ve maintained contact with the majority of my professors and peers, all of whom I constantly ask for advice and guidance. My freshman theater appreciation class still influences my professional career to this day.”

After graduating from UNO, Augustine moved to New York to pursue his passion for performance where he was accepted into The Negro Ensemble Company, a theater company whose alumni include Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Keith David, Laurence Fishburne and many other successful actors. “My training at Negro Ensemble Company built a strong foundation for my acting career.”

After his training with the Negro Ensemble Company, Augustine quickly found work. His resume includes: “The Vampire Diaries,”  “Notorious,” “The Yard,” “Saints & Sinners” and, most recently, Oprah and Ava Duvernay’s new project, “Queen Sugar.” His film credits are also growing: “When the Game Stands Tall,” “Seven Hands of God” and “Where I Stand.”

“I have two movies coming out this fall called ‘Secrets’ and ‘Girl From Compton,’ where I played DJ Yella in the popular rap group N.W.A.”

As for what advice he would give to current students, Augustine said, “Acting has been an incredible milestone in my life. Show business is a very appealing industry, but it’s the journey that’s been the most memorable. I get to travel the world while pursuing a career that I love. Finding a career that you enjoy creates happiness in your life. When your work is aligned with your personality and beliefs, it becomes a career.”

“The journey to become a working actor is not easy. Students looking to become actors should be willing to train and take the necessary steps to be successful. UNO has the best film and theatre department in Louisiana, but it’s still important that you acquire an agent so he or she can locate jobs for you.”

Augustine recommends acquiring an agent early on, and he recommends it’s important to travel to either Los Angeles or New York for training.

“As an aspiring actor, it’s important to make a vision board to fuel your career. Write down your overall objectives, directors and producers you would like to work with, actors you would want as your cast-mates and most importantly where you see yourself in 5 years.”