If great actors are measured by their ability to portray characters that are entirely different from themselves so convincingly, then better make room for the ever-surprising Travis Van Winkle on your watch list.
You’ve probably seen Travis Van Winkle as Blake Lively’s rich ex-boyfriend in Accepted (2006), or Shia LaBeouf’s bully in Transformers (2007), or a parody version of a Spartan soldier in Meet the Spartans (2008). But the real Travis Van Winkle is not even close to being like his characters; he is, in fact, an anti-violent, psychology-loving gentleman.
In this exclusive fashion shoot, DA MAN digs deeper with the 29-year-old actor, whose latest work includes a recurring role in hit comedy show Happy Endings and a co-starring role in Battlestar Galactica, as well as being in the thriller Bloodwork (also known as Phase One).
DA MAN: One of your most memorable experiences is…
Travis Van Winkle: My first kiss in the Glenlock Woods in Peachtree City, GA in the fifth grade with my friends watching, making sure we used tongue. I was 9 years old and I remember wearing blue Umbro shorts, I had a classic bowl cut, and I definitely popped a little wood.
Next on the list, I was traveling by myself through Europe last summer taking in everything under the sun and under the moon. I met some amazing people and had some spectacular moments of new encounters and synchronistic meetings. Traveling on my own forced the real me to stand up and shine… I had no other choice. It truly gave me a clear look into the strength and capacity I have always had and that which I was discovering and igniting in that very moment. I love and encourage solo travels, but my next trip will involve a special someone. I haven’t met her yet, but I will.
DA MAN: You can’t live without your…
Travis Van Winkle: Family. Friends. Need for LOVE. My curiosity and inquisitive nature. My thirst for knowledge. Food… Spiritual and literal. My quest to understand and know the divine mystery that transcends human thought and intelligence. Writing poetry. Art and creativity. Sports. Music. The butterflies I get in my stomach when I approach that quiet, soft first kiss with a woman I’m enamored with. Going to the movies. Laughing uncontrollably. Bodysurfing on waves in the Pacific ocean. Mountain biking. The feeling of warm afternoon sand on my skin. Children’s innocence and purity. The trust of another. Faith in the good of life. Rain. Snow. The sun. Sarcasm. And, of course, peanut butter and chocolate.
T-Shirt by J.C. Rags
DA MAN: Your idea of happiness…
Travis Van Winkle: To be so immersed in the experiences I am having without riddling them with control and expectation. Letting go of all pre-conceived ideas of what I think I “know” will make me happy. To just completely submit to the moment knowing it is for a reason of insight, growth and all of the above… love. It is these moments that bring hope that true beauty lives in every moment if I let it. Life teaches me lessons and usually not the ones I think it will, so happiness to me…. is to SURRENDER.
DA MAN: You value…
Travis Van Winkle: Genuine connection in all facets of my life whether it be family, friends, homeless guy, check-out lady, whoever. Connection with every soul I come into contact with, whether it be in a look, a two-minute encounter, or a long conversation. Without connection, I am nothing in this world but isolated and indulging in the prison of self.
DA MAN: Something that you’ve not shared with anyone is….
Travis Van Winkle: I am going to become and ordained minister so that I can marry this amazing duo of friends back in Georgia. They are a remarkable pair of souls that I am honored to know on such a deep level. They have given me full creative rights to host their wedding in the way I think would best represent their pursuit of love and harmony… I am touched by the trust they have shown me and I will make this experience one they will always cherish.
DA MAN: This year your goal is to…
Travis Van Winkle: Top 9 List:
1) Serve kids in my community as much as I can by doing everything within my power to inspire them to move past their misfortunes and to be a male role model in their young, impressionable lives.
2) To attract a woman’s heart to fall into and to truly learn to let her love all the way into me. To get out of my own way and become a clear channel of love… a hollow reed.
3) To expand my craft, ability and confidence as an actor/performer/artist.
4) To bring more consistent ease and joy to my moment-to-moment experiences by trying to control less!
5) To exceed every expectation I set for myself and to detach from overzealous expectations.
6) To fully commit to bettering mankind in every way possible. My reach extends further than I know and I am onboard with doing my part to make this world a better place. For the first time in my existence, I am stepping up to this responsibility in life and I couldn’t be more excited.
7) To love more fully and unconditionally. To judge and criticize less. To become more inclusive and accepting to all walks of life.
8 ) To travel to Asia and South America and take in new cultures.
9) To learn to really jam on my guitar and to increase my singing skills.
DA MAN: Fashion, to you, is…
Travis Van Winkle: Always changing. I am constantly moving from liking one style of shoe to the next. From one kind of shirt to the next. From baggy jeans to skinny. I guess what it boils down to is as long as what I am wearing makes me feel good about myself, I am happy. There is a sequence that is birthed here… basically if I think I look good, I feel good. If I feel good about myself, life is good. If life is good, I exude positivity. If I exude positivity, that positivity radiates. If I am creating genuine positivity, love spreads. So, wear wisely because your style can be more than just a material influence, it can influence your contact with your higher nature and purpose.
DA MAN: If you were not an actor…
Travis Van Winkle: I would go back to school and get a degree in psychology and see where that takes me. I have a deep fascination with human behavior and relationship dynamics. I do everything in my everyday life to understand the human condition from every angle my humble capacity can grasp. I am a sponge and love human interaction and influence, as I am curious to know about what causes strife in life and how to remove such patterns of behavior that don’t serve our greatest peace. I find pure joy in exploring and reflecting on my own failures and successes and, hopefully one day, I can use these lessons to shed some light on those in need of clarity.
DA MAN: Your favorite journey has been…
Travis Van Winkle: “Nepsis” is the Greek word that describes what my greatest journey has been thus far. This last year of my life has completely shifted and reshaped my perspective of the world, of the people I share the planet with, my relationship with myself, and MY understanding of the greater power ever- advancing the progression of mankind. “Nepsis” means SOBER OBSERVATION and this past year of my life has been just that. Being sober has opened me up to see the divine I embody underneath the confusion I place on myself. Being connected to reality in such a way is a very new thing for me and I am so damn grateful to have experienced such a significant 2011. The journey for me is truly just beginning.
DA MAN: Your motto in life is…
Travis Van Winkle: “I wanted to do it, so it turns out I can.”
Photographer: Yann Bean
Stylist: Monty Jackson
Groomer: Leslie Alejandro
(Hair products: Celtic Cream, Kenra Volume Spray, Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo)