Actor Y’lan Noel rose to fame thanks to his role as Daniel on Issa Rae’s critically acclaimed series Insecure before landing the lead role in the 2018 horror film The First Purge. Since then, Noel has appeared in various films, including Slice and The Photograph. The actor’s popularity has continued to rise, and rightfully so, even earning a nomination at this year’s NAACP Image Awards for “ Outstanding Breakthrough Performance.” In honor of his achievement, get to know the thespian with these quick facts.
He initially auditioned for the role of Lawrence on ‘Insecure'
Before landing the part as Daniel King on the critically acclaimed series, Noel initially auditioned for the role of Issa’s boyfriend, Lawrence Wallace, played by actor Jay Ellis. During an interview with Backstage, Ylan told the outlet, “I related to Lawrence at the time because where I was was so similar to where we see Lawrence in Season 1. I thought I could just plug in Lawrence and show up to the set, and I'd be him.” He added, “As far as Daniel was concerned, he was a little more put together.”
While the actor was born and raised in New York, he is of Panamanian descent on his mother’s side. His former Insecure cast mate, Sarunas Jackson, who played Dro on the hit series and is also Panamanian, spoke highly of the pair representing their community on such a vast platform.
He worked at a few retail stores before landing it big as an actor
“I was between New York and Georgia, and I worked retail. I was at Brooks Brothers for a while. I was at Tommy Hilfiger in the tailoring department. I was really depressed about the whole situation because, for me, I didn't know what it took to be a professional actor,” he once said in an interview.
“I went to conservatory-style training, and I was doing the work, sharpening my craft, but there were a couple years where outside of the indecision and the procrastination and maybe a few personality quirks, I didn't know how to go about doing the things that would make me a professional actor,” he added.
He briefly attended Morehouse
Noel was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Queens before his family moved to Stone Mountain, Georgia. He ultimately attended the historically Black Morehouse College before transferring to New York University and graduating from the Tisch School of Arts.
You’ll have a hard time finding him on social media
Unlike most celebrities who don’t mind 15 minutes or more, Noel appears more private about his personal life. He reportedly once had an Instagram account but later deleted it. However, there have been many fan pages dedicated to the handsome leading man.
Watch the NAACP Image Awards live on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at 8:00 pm ET/PT on BET.