Between all the blood, gore and violence of True Blood (2008-2014), there’s been one constant source of amusement: the flamboyant Lafayette Reynolds (played by 36-year-old Nelsan Ellis). He’s a chef, drug dealer (and taker!) with witch-like powers whom fans love for his outrageous outfits and in-your-face quotes. While Nelsan says that he’s “just a boring person”, we found these interesting titbits about him…
His full name is Nelsan Narie Ellis and in 1995, at the age of 17, he joined the United States Marines, where he admits that he “loved and appreciated” his first real taste of discipline. Nelson met co-star Rutina Wesley (Tara in True Blood) at famed art school Juilliard’s Drama Division in 1999. He got his BA degree in Fine Arts in 2004. Although he portrays over-the-top Lafayette, in real life the actor’s a shy guy. “I get nervous around people, especially celebrities,” he says sheepishly. On the set of the movie The Butler (2013), where Nelsan played Martin Luther King Jr, he froze when he met his co-star Oprah Winfrey. “I was like, Ohmigosh, ohmigosh, ohmigosh. I think Oprah is queen of the universe. I think she sits on the balcony of the heavens!” Nelsan took inspiration from his mom’s fashion for his character’s colourful headscarfs. “The scarf thing is ’cause my momma used to wear a lot of scarves. I think there’s some Prince influence in there…” The actor revealed that Lafayette’s feminine side and hand gestures are also inspired by his mom. “A friend saw a pic of Lafayette and goes, ‘That looks like your mother, dude.’ I don’t look anything like my mom, except when I’m Lafayette!” Unlike his character, Nelsan’s neither a good cook nor gay. He’s been in a relationship with author Tiffany Snow for 17 years and says that “when I lose my way, she brings me back”. Aww!
Nelsan’s a scene stealer as
his character Lafayette.