Be­ing Mary Jane

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Sea­son 1 SABC1 (*191) 20:00 Drama

Fans will recog­nise Aaron D Spears as Justin Bar­ber on Bold & Beau­ti­ful (1987cur­rent – see more on p26 & 61) from 2009 un­til now, but the 45-year-old has made bolder strides on TV as gay jour­nal­ist Mark Bradley on drama show Be­ing Mary Jane (2014-cur­rent).

While study­ing com­puter science 1

and maths at Delaware State Univer­sity in 1994, Aaron’s sport­ing tal­ents got him no­ticed by foot­ball scouts and he al­most made it to the NFL. He missed an as­sign­ment and was put in the cam­pus theatre pro­duc­tion as “pun­ish­ment” but ended up lov­ing it. Now he jokes, “Act­ing is some­thing that I can make as much money do­ing and I’m not de­stroy­ing my body.”

Aaron’s other pas­sion is po­etry. In 2

1997, he started Henna, a com­pany that fo­cuses on spo­ken-word po­etry and thought-pro­vok­ing film. He also has a keen in­ter­est in com­pos­ing mu­sic, hav­ing re­leased a sin­gle in 2002 en­ti­tled Makin’ A Baby. Plus, Aaron re­leased his spo­ken-word al­bum Thoughts Of An Un­tamed Mind in 2000.

He’s been mar­ried to Estela Lopez 3

for 16 years. They have daugh­ters Nay­ali (23), Aiyana (14), Henna (11) and Kaaria (9), as well as son Riaz (7).

Aaron got his Mary Jane role with4

out see­ing the script. “They were strict on let­ting the script out. Once I’d em­bod­ied the en­tire script, I was very proud to be a part of such a ground­break­ing show,” he says. He didn’t know that his char­ac­ter was gay un­til later. Not that it was an is­sue for him…

Aaron adds that play­ing a gay 5

char­ac­ter on helped him see life from the per­spec­tive of a rel­a­tive who’d been sui­ci­dal be­cause of his ho­mo­sex­ual thoughts. “It has al­lowed me to walk in the shoes of the peo­ple I didn’t un­der­stand,” he ex­plains.

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