Cameron Boyce On Giving Back, Living His Best Life And… Joe Biden

Cameron Boyce

Photography: Jonny Marlow

Styling by Veronica Graye

Grooming by Bekah Lesser with Opus Beauty

Cameron Boyce had quite a run-in with former vice president Joe Biden at the 2019 Biden Courage Awards. The “Descendants ” and “Mrs. Fletcher” star even jokes that his family might have prompted Biden to run for president, as he announced late last month. When the 19-year-old actor isn’t kidding around, he’s giving back. He was honored with The Pioneering Spirit Award at the 9th Annual Thirst Gala for his efforts to bring awareness to the Global Water Crisis and raising more than $30,000 for Thirst Project (thirstproject.org) to build two wells in Swaziland. We chatted with Boyce—who is known for projects like “Eagle Eye,” “Mirrors,” and “Grown Ups”/“Grown Ups 2” opposite Adam Sandler and will appear in the third “Descendants” installment this summer—about giving back, meeting Joe Biden and how he’s currently living his best life.Cameron Boyce

You’ve been referred to as an “old soul.” Is this accurate? Why or why not?

Weird story, my parents were out somewhere with me when I was a toddler. An old lady pointed me out to my dad and told him that I was an old soul. Why she said that or how she came to that conclusion, I have no idea. But I do think it’s am accurate assessment of me. A way easier conclusion to come to now than it would’ve been then.

You have become quite the philanthropist. Why is giving back so important to you? Where did this come from? How do you specifically give back?

There’s a long line of difference makers in my family. I’m following in the footsteps of some really strong men and women who have showed me what it means to give back; It’s the greatest way to fulfill yourself. Every time I talk to someone who shares that similar passion, we talk about how there aren’t many feelings more euphoric. Changing someone else’s life positively changes yours for the better as well.

How do you personally think you inspire others to give back?

Many people have the heart to give back, but a lot don’t know how to. I try to be the bridge for those people– whether that means getting them involved in one of my campaigns or inspiring them by showing them a blueprint of how to get others engaged.

Cameron Boyce

Your grandmother, Jo Ann Boyce, was one of the famed Clinton 12 and just wrote a book. For those who may not be familiar with her incredible story, what is the book about? Has your grandmother inspired you? How, and to do what, be what?

The book is about her experiences in Clinton at the time of the desegregation of Clinton High school. She dives into what it was like to be a black student in a school that the entire town wanted to stay white. Neighbors and town folk who were sometimes even cordial to the 12 (when they stayed in their place) took a turn towards hatred when they began to lawfully attend the high school just steps away from their homes. Her story doesn’t just inspire me… It hits home with everyone who stops to listen to it. She and the other 11 students set the stage for our generation to come together. We have to ensure–especially with some of the controversy plaguing us now– that we continue to push towards dreams that have yet to be realized. Equality in its truest sense.

Given your diverse background, and the adversities that your grandmother faced, do you feel that this has shaped the man you have become today?

She’s a huge part of who I am. Being African American and Jewish, I have plenty of ancestors and family members that I can look to for strength, and more importantly, for a grateful outlook on life. Every one of them clawed and scratched for my sister and I to be in the position we’re in today.

You just introduced Joe Biden at the Biden Courage Awards in NYC. What was that like? Did he say anything to you that you’ll remember forever?

VP Biden and the presenters were gathered in a room backstage joking about how it’d be so cool if Joe could talk to some of our family members. I’ll never forget Joe saying “Call Em!” Sure enough, five minutes later my mom was interrupted in her meeting to speak with Joe Biden. She said, “Please run Joe, run!!!” Maybe she was the one who convinced him.

Cameron Boyce

You’ve been filming “Mrs. Fletcher” for HBO in NYC. In a city filled with such culture, what will you take away from your experience living and working there? What are your favorite go-to spots?

New York is by far the most stimulating city I’ve been to. I came back home rejuvenated, and more inspired to make art. The music scene out there is amazing. If you’re looking for an intimate spot to chill and hear good music, jazz clubs like Smalls, Zinc, Mezzrow… can’t go wrong.

What advice do you have for others who are looking to accomplish a goal or chase after their dreams?

Fail and fail and fail until you don’t fail. That’s the cycle. You’ll fail until you don’t, and then you’ll re start the process over again.

With success comes adversity… How do you combat the naysayers so to speak, and stay focused on the course ahead?

Speaking with a lot of artists, one of the things all of us have in common is we’re all our own biggest critics. I find comfort in that. I know that everyone else sees my work in a light differently than how I see it. They’re not picking apart every little habit and twitch and imperfection nearly as thoroughly as I am. So often times naysayers aren’t as hard on me as myself. It also helps when you can decipher a naysayer and a hater. A hater should always be white noise.

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