Olive Branch native Akono Dixon has defied the odds and emerged as a prominent figure in the entertainment industry after years of determination to pursue his dreams.
In an exclusive interview on Good Things with Rebecca Turner, Dixon recounted the hurdles he overcame to land his first major role in an independent film called Summer Breakthrough.
“I think it started at age 5 when watching a Fruit Roll-Ups commercial,” he said.
Dixon continued, explaining that although he wanted to go to numerous auditions as a child, his parents wanted him to have a solid academic upbringing. It wasn’t until he graduated from high school that he made his first big moves into the industry.
“I turned 18 a day after I graduated high school, and three days after that, I moved to New York City. I took 80 bucks and made it to New York City,” Dixon said.
Dixon left Mississippi with his sister after telling his parents that he would only be in New York for a couple of days. His sister returned home several days later without Dixon, revealing that he planned to stay in the Big Apple until his career progressed.
The actor explained that it was difficult to tell his mother about his decision to remain in New York for an unknown amount of time.
“‘Mom, I didn’t tell you this because I knew you’d do everything in your might to not let me do this,’” Dixon said. “It was a big dream, a goal of mine that she did not believe in, but now, she’s my biggest fan and is super supportive.”
Dixon was met with numerous hardships after arriving in New York, with the actor recounting how he slept on a rat-infested floor in a friend’s “model house” for three months.
He explained that although transitioning from living in Mississippi to New York was a major hurdle, Dixon’s goal of becoming an actor kept him going.
“The only thing I had was a dream to do great and a desire to be an actor,” Dixon said.
During the next few years, the aspiring actor would wake up early for countless auditions before working 14 to 15-hour shifts as a caterer, leaving Dixon with only a few hours to sleep before repeating the same routine the next day.
Dixon continued the cycle for years without the support of his friends and family before he decided to do one last audition for a small independent film called The Essay From Hell.
He received an email from the film’s directors shortly after returning to his home state, saying that they would like for Dixon to return for a callback. He informed the directors that he was not available to attend the callback since he was in Mississippi, but the staff quickly stated that the role was his.
After his breakthrough performance in independent film, Dixon decided to channel his creativity into writing and directing his own movie while continuing to pursue his acting career.
“It’s been a life-changing experience on an emotional and career level. I’m still auditioning, but I’m being offered roles, and they’re handing it to me. It’s amazing to me because I love being a leading man,” Dixon explained. “I love being at the forefront of a ship, taking care of my family and my country. It’s opening doors for me, writers’ and directors’ respect for me has risen, and I’m being contacted by respected people in the business.”
Looking ahead, he envisions his first blockbuster leading role as the protagonist in a romantic action movie akin to Braveheart, and he aspires to be part of a major superhero film.
Audiences can watch Dixon in Summer Breakthrough on Hallmark’s website and app.
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