"Working with Sophia Vergara was amazing..."
Meet Keegan Leiba, a man of many hats. Keegan is an actor/model who has appeared in multiple print ads, fashion productions, and notable television shows. He is also a husband, father, and acting coach with Actors, Models & Talent for Christ. So what’s Keegan’s secret to his many accomplishments? Read on to find out!
You have been modeling for over ten years. Where did you get your start?
As a young boy, I did fashion shows. Also, I grew up playing Carnival, where you dress up in costumes and parade through the streets of Trinidad, where I’m from, so I grew up performing. At five I was part of a choir, I did some theatre onstage and I knew that it was inside me. My mom would tell me that when people would come over, I would get up on the table and put on a performance. But I became a Christian when I was about seventeen years old, got baptized, said Jesus was Lord and I made that commitment to God. So put entertainment on the backburner, because I thought that it was taboo to be a Christian and to be a model or actor. I focused on building my relationship with God and having a strong foundation with my relationship. And then, when I started dating my wife, I was about twenty-three, and funny story, I started going to the gym more often (laughs). I always had that lifestyle of working out and taking care of my body, because I was a swimmer when I was young, so I started doing even more working out, just to impress her (laughs). Soon people started telling me, “Hey, you should try out modeling,” so that’s basically what I did. I had some friends that were photographers, and I started doing photo shoots and getting my headshots, lifestyles and editorial shots done, and I shopped agencies. I was in Atlanta at the time; I got an interview with Atlanta Models and Talent a few months after I sent them my headshot, and I got started with them.
How did you learn about AMTC?
I learned about AMTC from Adam She, through a mutual friend, Speech from (the group) Arrested Development. His daughter went through their program. And then my church hosted an art and entertainment conference around 2013, and we invited Adam to be a part of it, to come be on the panel. So Adam and I built a friendship, and then one day I emailed him to see what was going on. Adam said, ”Hey, we need some acting coaches. Would you be interested?” And I was like, “Yeah! I would love to work with AMTC.”
You’ve booked leads for commercials with Chevrolet, AT&T, Rooms to Go, and even an Xfinity Comcast commercial with Modern Family’s Sophia Vergara. What is your secret to success when approaching auditions?
Every day I have to surrender my career to God, and trust Him, so my conviction is God is my agent. God is my casting director. One of the things that helps me is having that time with Him on a daily basis to make sure that I am at peace, and that I am really seeking His will for my day, including my auditions. So my secret is consistent communication with God, praying and reading His word, because that gives me peace, and takes away the anxiety, pressure and stress. It helps me to put it in God’s hands and trust that, Okay, You are my Father agent, and this audition is already ordered. He knows exactly the outcome, so I don’t have to worry about it. He knows the gigs I need to book, the sets I need to be on, the places I need to be for His mission, for that purpose.
You have worked as a print model for Coke, Bose Sound Systems, Delta, and even the Atlanta Falcons. What’s been your favorite shoot so far?
For print shoots, I loved working with Bose. It was very interactive, sort of fancy, and I liked dressing up for it; the vibe was very classy. There was a print shoot and a video shoot at the same time, and I got both aspects of it, so I liked that as well. That was a lot of fun. And then working with Sophia Vergara for Xfinity was one of my favorite commercials, because I was portrayed as a Latin dancer and I love dancing salsa meringue… I held out my hand to her and twirled her into a tango move. That was a lot of fun; I was like, “Oh this is so cool! I’m dancing with Sophia Vergara (laughs)!” She’s very professional too.
You recently had a guest-starring role on Investigation Discovery’s Homicide Hunter. What was this experience like for you?
It was magical, like the Disney World of acting for me. And I saw that you can be successful and not compromise, without taking off your clothes, without using profanity, having sex scenes, and all those things.
As a scout and acting consultant with Actors, Models and Talent for Christ what is one of the most important things you want to see performers take away from time spent with you and the crew at AMTC?
Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart as working for the Lord, not for man.” This is work. You don’t just show up in front of a camera and expect to continue to book jobs without any preparation or training. A lot of people think, Oh well, I look good, so I can be a great model. Or, My voice is good, so I could be a great actor. No. It takes daily work. Rome was not built in a day. So every day, there’s something that you can plant or water to work on your craft. Whether it be communicating your agent, updating your headshots, getting on a casting site, going to acting classes, working on your facial expression in front of a mirror, making sure that you know how your face looks when you smile, when you have that smoldering look… What’s your good side? What’s your not-so-good side? (laughs) Every day I strive to work on something that deals with my craft. You may have natural talent but you’ve got to work at it, you’ve got to refine it, and you’ve got to train and coach it. Have discipline in it. Follow through, and don’t compromise. And trust in God. Do not take things personally, because once we start taking things personally and start comparing ourselves with other people, it’s self- destructive. And that actually causes us to be more selfish, and be more prideful, instead of humble and surrendered to God.
How has AMTC shaped your career?
Well one, the photo shoot has helped me as far as booking jobs. Because how you look is how you book. And those pictures are priceless; they’re your marketing resources. Two, I think AMTC has helped me to see my mission, and the need to minister to up-and-coming actors and models and talented folks who want to do what is right in this industry. I want to help them to keep on that track of being excellent, and being shrewd, because that’s what Jesus called us to do. He said, “Hey, be wise, as cunning as serpents, but innocent as doves.” So AMTC helps us to do that.