It’s an old adage that people will go to nearly any length to get attention in Hollywood, and now, it seems, that goes for Atlanta, too.
Racquel Bailey, as aspiring actress in Georgia, wanted so badly to get Tyler Perry’s attention that she paid for an ad on a billboard in Atlanta promoting herself to the entertainment icon. Seven years later, she ended up as an actress on Perry’s new show Sistas.
Bailey reportedly first took out the billboard ad in 2012, but it failed to catch Perry’s eye. She repeated the effort several more times over the next few years, with the latest attempt this past summer. That’s when the newly-minted studio boss finally took notice.
After seeing the billboard in June, Perry took to his Instagram to explicitly request that no one else attempt to pull the same stunt. “This is not the way to get my attention if you’re looking for a role in one of my shows,” he wrote, in part. “Please DON’T DO THIS, SAVE YOUR MONEY!! This is the third time that someone has done this. PLEASE STOP! To audition is FREE!! I’m sure you can use that money for a better purpose. I love that you want to work with me, and I love that you invest in yourself. But when you do things like this it puts my team on high alert and makes me look at you sideways.”
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Auhhh.... soooooo...... here’s the deal. This is not the way to get my attention if you’re looking for a role in one of my shows. Please DON’T DO THIS, SAVE YOUR MONEY!! This is the third time that someone has done this. PLEASE STOP! To audition is FREE!! I’m sure you can use that money for a better purpose. I love that you want to work with me, and I love that you invest in yourself. But when you do things like this it puts my team on high alert and makes me look at you sideways. I know the message that you want to send is a positive one, but this comes across as the opposite. Again, the best way to work for me is to AUDITION and it’s FREE! We post breakdowns all the time for actors. JUST COME AND AUDITION. And by the way, you were great in THE NIGHT OF! It was my favorite show a couple years ago. I ALREADY SAW YOU!! So just audition and keep your money!! Again, I appreciate your effort, but that’s not the way to work for me. God bless you dreamer. I have no doubt you will make it one day!!
Well, Bailey did land a role on Perry’s new show, so did her antics work after all? Not really. Turns out, Perry didn’t end up finding out that Bailey was the same woman who took out the billboard ad until after he hired her — meaning she landed the job based on her merits, not her shenanigans.
Perry was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live this past week, where he broke it all down:
“That was scary as hell. I was really creeped out about it,” he said on the show when asked about Bailey and the ad. “She auditioned. I didn’t even know it was her. I had separated the two in my mind. She got the job and after she gets the job, they tell me, ‘Oh that’s the girl from the billboard!’ I go, ‘What? Why didn’t somebody tell me!?’ It’s good that she’s good because if you put up a billboard and you suck, it’s not going to work.”
Even though the billboard is not what got her the job (in fact, it might have cost her the gig had Perry put two and two together), Racquel Bailey had persistence in spades and achieved what she set out for.
Watch the full interview segment with Tyler Perry, below:
Photo: Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images