Charles McMahan-Irby

Charles McMahan-Irby

Acting / BFA

Born in Chicago and raised in Peoria, Illinois by my mother, I’ve always loved to make my mother and sister proud. My family has always been my biggest supporters and I’m more than blessed to have such a family that’s with me 100% through it all. I received my family's support in all that I did - basketball, football, tennis, school, getting a job.. My mother always encouraged me to act, sensing that it was something I was deeply passionate about. She pushed me the extra mile to explore my talents If it wasn’t for her I would’ve never pursued acting post high school.

Growing up, I loved the television show, Power Rangers,. I told my mother I wanted to be one, but was upset because I didn’t think I would be one of the chosen ones. She cackled, and when her laughter subsided, told me everything I saw was fake. I was seven. The news crushed my dreams of becoming a power ranger. Noticing how sad, she I was, she uttered one of her many life lessons: Just because something's fake doesn't mean you can't play the role.

She then showed me the world of acting: how almost everything on television involved acting, and how acting didn't have to be only on television. It was something my naive young brain couldn’t quite understand, but within a few months I got it. Though my dreams of being a power ranger were crushed, my dreams of being an actor were only just beginning.

As the years went on, I was able to add more to my growing passion. In the fifth grade, I was cast as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With the longest monologue in the entire play, not only was I the first person who memorized the part, I was the only person who had their lines down when we performed.

The smile on my mother’s face is something I will never forget, and aim to make happen a thousand times over. After that play, my Grandfather told me: Choose a job that you absolutely love and you will never have to work a day in your life’. For a while I thought that job would be basketball. It was only years later that I realized the job I absolutely loved was performing.

I have God and my family to thank for raising me into the man I am today. I pray to continue making my family proud and furthering my craft. I appreciate Academy of Art University, and all my professors who have gone the extra mile to make sure I understood the material. I am extremely grateful for all of the lessons I have been taught, mistakes I have made, and great people I have come across while enduring my journey of self-discovery.

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