Signal 23 TV is truly turning up the heat with its web series. Just this summer alone, our hearts were set ablaze with the debut of About Him. However, the fun, the love, the sex, and the intrigue does not stop there as the network has debuted three new series About Justin, About Her, and Steel River: When We Were Young! The only thing hotter than these new series, are the actors on them. One in particular, Rion Deshon, steals hearts and attention simply by staring at you (those eyes)! This rising star is a new face to Signal 23 TV, starring in both About Her and Steel River; portraying two very different characters. Rion is smart, fun, handsome, talented, and most of all determined to be the best at what he does. Trust us when we say you won’t ever be able to forget anything “About Her,” after you learn everything there is to know about him!
Hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, Rion moved to Atlanta a little over a year ago to pursue his hopes and dreams of acting. His involvement with Signal 23 TV began when he was recruited by “Mr. 23” himself, Henderson Maddox, when the director found him online. “Back in January of this year…I think he saw me on Instagram and that I was acting…at that time I was doing a play and he sent me a script for ‘About Him,’ and it was for Justin’s role [he begins to laugh]…so I read for that role and auditioned for it, obviously I didn’t get it [he laughs]…Rico [Pruitt] does a great job at that…but then I read for ‘Steel River’ and it was initially for Addison’s role…months went by and I didn’t hear about the role so I kind of put it on the backburner, then he [Henderson] hit me up like, ‘What are you doing? We’re about to start filming for the show.’ I got the script and found out I was ‘Ivan’ [he laughs]…so that’s pretty much how it happened and the rest is history…”
Whereas many actors would have reservations of starring on an LGBT web series, Rion completely embraces the genre, seeing the little known benefits to them. “I initially I felt web series were something a real actor wouldn’t do…I was thinking it’s not on TV, it’s a not a movie…but I grew up a little bit more and kind of figured out my passion for the craft; and that’s what it’s about the craft and the work, and we’ve all got to start somewhere. Nowadays, web series are a very big market, it’s poppin’! I didn’t realize that until ‘About Him’ and seeing Henderson’s vision for how he wants everything to be…it’s really inspiring…” As aforementioned Rion stars on Steel River: When Were Young which is actually a prequel to the original series. Here is portrays “Ivan,” who seems to be trying to find love–but in all the wrong places. “Ivan’s situation is a lot…he’s a lot, and I’m actually learning more about his situation during filming. I’m learning a lot about who he is and his layered personality…He just graduated high school, he’s eighteen, going to college, and he’s sort of dealing with issues with his mom. They’ve dealt with some tragedy in his family and she’s protective of him—she’s overly protective of him! So because of that he’s looking for attention, he’s looking for love and so you see on the show he’s promiscuous and has a lot of dealings with other guys…”
Rion goes onto to reveal he is pretty different from Ivan in the aspect that he is openly gay, but similar in that he too is looking for love. “Ivan does things because he wants that attention from a guy. He wants to be loved and have someone there…I kind of felt that recently in the past when I went through that because I missed my ex and he moved on, and so since he moved on I figured I should too. So I experienced the moving on from guy to guy, but it wasn’t for sex, it was more for attention, more trying to find that person. So I get it…we all go through phases where we’re finding ourselves through other people and it’s the wrong people…and for Ivan they just want a quick jump off and he’s hurt…”
Empathizing with your character only makes your portrayal of them more believable; especially since you understand their pain. Ivan and Rion’s pain may be their link, but his other character, Daniel, from About Her, is definitely his liberation! “I actually love Daniel’s role! I feel like I get to add more of me into him. With Ivan’s role I feel like I have to take some of myself out. When I first got the script to ‘About Her,’ I read the script and told Henderson this was totally me! Daniel’s very sarcastic and very funny, and he and his sister [“Danielle’ portrayed by Brooklyn Summers] are very close and he has a soft side which you’ll see more of on the show…He’s going through a lot with his family, his love life, and also Daniel’s bisexual. He just has so much personality!” After watching the first episode of About Her you will find yourself instantly loving Daniel, and even more so, the banter between him and his sister. It can sort of be described as when sibling rivalry actually goes right! Rion believes the show is just as good as any other series on Signal 23 TV, but its uniqueness begins with Henderson’s vision. “…the vision is already there and Henderson’s vision for every show is amazing, but I know he gives each show its own little identity…but for this show the actors are very seasoned, they have a passion for the work…Robin Givens is a veteran actress and the cast is just ready to take the series to a whole new level…”
We are more than ready to see a lot more of Rion; and not just on Signal 23 TV! There he is already killing it with both of his shows, but we are talking Broadway where he has dreams of stealing and slaying the stage. He sees and feels that is in his future five years from now along with more acting. Talking with Rion is like kicking with a friend you have known for years—heartwarming, fun, and above all else awesome. If any rising star deserves super-stardom, it is definitely him!
Written By: Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning