(Photo: Essence Magazine, June 2015)
The fictional Lyon brothers of Fox’s hit show Empire have been making the ladies swoon on screen and it turns out they’re total charmers in real life, too. The trio, played by Bryshere “Yazz” Gray, Trai Byers and Jussie Smollett, are currently covering not one, but four covers for Essence’s June issue, which is great because we can’t get enough of Hakeem, Andre and Jamal.
Inside, Smollet, 32, revealed how he landed the role of Jamal Lyon by reaching out to the show’s creator, Lee Daniels, and his method couldn’t have been further from traditional.
“I jumped on Instagram and direct-messaged Lee and said, ‘Sir, I know you get this all the time, but I’m a singer, actor, dancer, songwriter and musician. I am Jamal Lyon in more ways than one.’”
Meanwhile, 21-year-old rapper Gray opened up about saying goodbye to his NFL dreams after suffering from an injury and instead focusing on inspiring his young fans.
“I would hear things like, ‘My dad was never in my life…’ and my response was, ‘My dad was never in my life…Don’t feel like you don’t matter,’” he said.
And Byers, 33, is reeling in success from both Empire and his role as James Forman in 2014’s Selma. But don’t expect him to rest on his laurels when it comes to keeping that body in shape.
“I work out for two reasons: one, because I’m an actor and two, because I’m somebody’s [future] husband. I want to be prepared for the woman God has for me.”
Well alright then! Check out the boys on the June issue of Essence on newsstands now.