From reality game show star to film actor, Mike Merrill is slowly leveling up in the world of acting. The Detroit native transitioned from the Motor City to Atlanta to chase his acting dreams. The city has allowed Merrill to land roles in shows like “Side Chick” which was named one of the top seven web series by Essence Magazine in 2016.

Now, starring “The Bobby Brown Story” Merrill is using his talent to shed the “pretty boy” image. Though he landed the role of “Manny,” he didn’t initially go out for the role.

“I originally went in for the role of Steven Sealy. Lance Gross plays the role of Steven Sealy and they wanted me to do a cold read for “Manny” on the spot,” Merrill said. “I had to go study the lines and got about 20 minutes to myself. Two months later, I booked.”

Being cast in “The Bobby Brown Story” gave Merrill a new perspective on Brown himself and his music.

Merrill expressed that relates to a lot of Brown’s music; especially “My Prerogative.”

“After talking face to face with him, he taught me that you don’t have to think that you need someone to go to the next level,” he says.

“I’ve never paid attention to the actual lyrics and song, and after talking with him, that’s what made me realize I relate to the song.”

Transitioning to Atlanta from Detroit was not an easy task for Merrill. Though New York City and Los Angeles are normally key cities for actors and models, he chose Atlanta as the best place to grow his career.

“I felt like Atlanta can be this place of growth to get to where I want to go because New York and L.A. is a bit much,”  said Merrill.

While Merrill continues to build his resume, his drive for acting comes with the confidence that he has built over the years. He’s learned to take his nervousness and switch it to the excitement.

“If you’re acting for a hobby, you’ll have a long way to go,” he says.

“I ended up staying with my grandfather and then with immediate family, and then stayed in my car again before finding a place. I have to sacrifice something and take a leap on faith.”

He continues, “Believe in yourself and put the work in because God doesn’t work if you don’t work.”

Merrill will be filming for an upcoming play, “Side Chick” season 3 and will play in Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” season 7, which will air in 2019.

(Photo: Mike Merrill)

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