Garfield Wilson is no stranger to the spotlight, and is certainly one to keep an eye on. For those who love TNT’s Snowpiercer, you may recognize him as Jackboot Kaffey; however he’s also graced the small screen with projects such as Nickelodeon’s The Astronauts, STOLEN BY MY MOTHER: THE KAMIYAH MOBLEY STORY opposite Niecy Nash, as well as hits such as ARROW, Once Upon A Time, Bates Motel, The 100, Continuum, iZombie, Zoo, Netflix’s Travelers, Van Helsing, The Good Doctor, The Man in the High Castle, Batwoman, and J.J. Abrams’ Almost Human, amongst others.
Born in Surrey, England, as the middle child of three to Jamaican parents, Garfield has become all too familiar with chasing a dream. His family immigrated to Canada when he was just six years old, and even in his youth, he felt a pull to all things creative. He’s also an advocate for using his voice for good such as the recent Black Lives Matter Movement and believes that real change comes from inspiration, education, and kindness.
We had a chance to sit down and chat with Garfield about his career, his go-to style, how he maintains that jaw-dropping physique, and what he’s hopeful for as we move past the pandemic.
You play Jackboot Kaffey in TNT’s Snowpiercer, which just wrapped its season finale. What was that experience like, and what can you tell our readers who may have not be familiar with the series?
I had an incredible time on the set of Snowpiercer! Such an incredible cast and crew, with fantastic writers.
For anyone not familiar, the show takes place in the not too distant future where the entire world is an uninhabitable frozen tundra. The only place that can support life is on the Snowpiercer train created by a man named Wilford. An apocalyptic Noah’s Arc that will have you on the edge of your seat!!
You’re originally from Surrey, and grew up in Canada. At one point did you feel the pull to entertainment?
I wanted to be in the entertainment business from the age of 5yrs old when my father brought home a Jackson 5 album. A seed was planted when I saw Michael Jackson and his brothers performing.
The entertainment industry certainly has its challenges. What struggles did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenges I faced early on was self confidence and belief in myself. That affects how you occupy space, whereas you’re not in your truth/second guessing yourself constantly.
I’ve had the very good fortune of having some incredible mentors in the last 10 years: Deb Podowski, my acting coach being one of them.
Through that self-discovery and hard work I’ve been able to separate myself from all of the many distractions, and become an artist and a person I’m truly happy with.
We can’t help but notice your physique, and heard you have a personal training business on the side. What led to your pursuit for wellness and physical fitness?
Honestly… I was a massive comic book geek when I was a kid (I was also heavy into sports). I was always sketching super heroes and wanted to look like them when I was a kid. When I got to high school a good buddy of mine introduced me to weight lifting and I have always tried to stay in shape ever since my younger days of reading comic books.
Do you think actors have extra added pressure to look a certain why or have a particular type of body when it comes to being on-camera?
I believe that over the years through a variety of sources there is an ideal body type that we’ve been indoctrinated to aspire to. In my experience as a personal trainer, that ideal has had a traumatic impact on body image and mental health. So yes, I do feel there is some pressure that we put upon ourselves on the spectrum. But the truth is that health and wellness comes in all shapes and sizes.
Mental health is a subject that many are discussing these days. Do you think physical fitness plays a part in keeping mental health in check?
Absolutely! We are designed to move. When we become sedentary our bodies rebel against us, so the goal is to stay active which will ultimately have a positive impact on our body, mind and soul.
Your next project, Schmigadoon, is a musical comedy with an all-star cast starring opposite Keegan-Michael Key, Cecily Strong, Fred Armisen, Kristin Chenoweth, and Dove Cameron. What can you tell us about it, and what were some of your favorite moments from set?
I can’t say much more about the show other than it will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen… Truly magical!! Working with this all star cast was one of the highlights of my career. Some of my favourite moments…Every time Barry Sonnenfeld called “Action!” because then the magic would happen!!
Not many events are taking place these days, but we’re slowly getting back to a new normal. What do you miss most about red carpets and are you looking forward to getting back out there again?
I honestly miss all the social gatherings; going to restaurants, concerts, movies, hanging out with friends… Can’t wait to take my fiancé and my kids to a red carpet event!!
What designers are you loving, and what would you say is your go-to look?
It all depends on my mood and the event. I love getting swag in a suit or dialing in some cool jeans, boots and a T-Shirt. I really dig a classic simple look like Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Dapper Dan, Hugo BOSS or Gucci
As a man who uses his platform for change, what message do you have for our readers? What moves you and what are you hopeful for moving forward?
Kindness matters, that’s the message. Last year was brutal to say the least and unfortunately this year is still wrought with intolerance, violence and hate towards Black, Asian, Brown and LTBTQ communities. So I would like to see an inspired movement to eradicate systemic racism and bring real equality to the people and communities that have been marginalized and dehumanized for far too long.
Where can Lapalme readers catch you next? Anything exciting on the horizon you’d like to share with us?
I am currently filming a supportive role in the biggest project of my career! I honestly can’t say anything about it yet but I am extremely excited about it… Stay tuned!!
Follow Garfield Wilson on IG @garfieldawilson
Images by J Benson Photography