True Blood

TV Plus (South Africa) - - 18 AUGUST -

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.

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