Wrestler and bodybuilder turned model and actor, John Quinlan is the prime example of how a seemingly unrelated career can help you find success in other fields. Quinlan started off doing bodybuilding before transitioning to wrestling in the 90’s due to its popularity at the time. As a professional wrestler, he was a IIXtreme Heavyweight and Hardcore Champion. Along with his trainer, WWE legend Ed Leslie better known as Brutus The Barber Beefcake, he was set to sign on with Xcitement Wrestling Federation (XWF), but it ultimately fell through for financial reasons. During this time, he also worked in general fitness and in a range of modeling jobs, in fitness, fashion editorial, underwear modeling, and book covers. Now, Quinlan is preparing for one of his biggest roles yet – the leading role in A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives, as United States Army Captain Jake Nixon coming to theaters in November, 2017.
One might wonder how each of these pursuits led to acting – Quinlan’s latest challenge and passion. For him, the answer is simple: “Being a model involved with fitness definitely prepared me for the role of acting as I was selected out of a group of guys.” He considers each of his prior passions to be important steps in what got him where he is in his career today. “I think everything you do is a challenge, but each one prepares for the next [challenge] and everything I was doing took some level of discipline,” Quinlan described of his different vocations. Quinlan attributes this success to his hard work and consistency. Anyone working as an actor or model will get tons of negative feedback, but according to Quinlan it is key to stay positive and to never give up. “I always tell people the same thing – you have to be consistent. If you keep going eventually you’re going to get picked and achieve your goal.”
Playing the role of Nixon, who is a very bad man, has been especially challenging for Quinlan. “My favorite work is being the nice guy who is peaceful and happy because that is the real me. So for the role I have in this film I have to step out of my shell and be a bad guy, which is a challenge for me – I’m so happy go lucky.” However, this ability for Quinlan to step out of his comfort zone and play in a role that is so different from himself only further showcases his acting abilities. “The director and producer Jillian Bullock said that’s the real challenge of acting – to take a nice guy and create him to be a nasty guy. That’s the beauty of acting.”
While Quinlan is currently focused on his role as Nixon, in the future he hopes to continue with acting and to grow in that field. Quinlan described: “Ideally, in any profession, you always strive to be better every day. So I would like to use the Nixon role as a platform, and hopefully somebody will say, ‘I like this bad guy from Boston, I want to use him for this role.’” Until then, Quinlan intends to keep working to his full potential in his role as Nixon and strive to be the best actor he can be.
Senior at Rollins College studying Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. I’m an Intern for Fierce Entertainment Management, working with the Orlando International Fashion Week and Orlando Fashion Magazine. I have always loved everything about fashion and am excited to be working in the field!