Ladies, we've seen him as an actor playing Calvin Payne in Tyler Perry's House Of Payne.
We've seen him behind the scenes as a photographer of his very own, I Turn My Camera On series. And most recently, we've seen him as Maurice Jetter in Fox's Star. But regardless of what role it is Lance Gross is playing on any given day, it's pretty clear he's earned a permanent sweet spot in all of our hearts.
From acting to photography, Gross has been actively pursuing his passion since his graduation from Howard University in 2004. With over 10 years of industry experience, Gross has remained authentic to his craft, all while being a positive representation of the black man; not to mention also being delicious eye candy in the process.
But while he's recognized as a heartthrob to millions, with tons of sexy scenes to prove why, Gross has made it a point to be more than a sex symbol as he evolves in his career. In the early years of his career, fame and publicity wasn't quite what he envisioned it to be and he realized early on, the fame and money wasn't at all what he was after.
As he grew in his professional life, his private life matured as well once he fell in love with his now wife, celebrity stylist, Rebecca Gross. The two married back in 2015 and now have two beautiful children, Berkeley and Lennon Gross. And while Gross has played many roles in his lifetime, he shares his role as husband and father is by far his favorite to date.
From his entrance to our lives on various Tyler Perry Productions, to now, Gross continues to show consistent growth in his life and career and proves to us all that you can indeed be eye candy and soul food. Not too shabby for a kid from Oakland! Here's what else Gross had to say.
Who is Lance Gross?
Lance Gross: I'm a cool dude (laughs). It's weird describing yourself, you know. I'm a family man, passionate, I'm a motivated forward thinker. I'm very optimistic. I'm passionate about my family, about my friends. I'm a hopeless romantic. If I could sum it all up (laughs), I'm a positive dude. I don't like drama. I'm a people person. I'm very laid back, very easy to get along with.
What made you want to pursue a career in acting/photography?
For acting, it was something that sparked at a very young age. I would just sit in front of the television and just be amazed at what actors do; how you could see one person play a lawyer and then you would see that same person playing a fireman on something else. It was just sort of a sky is the limit type thing, and I was always intrigued by it. But, I grew up as a shy kid, so it's something that I really never saw myself doing or being open to. I really feel like I got the acting bug when I got to Howard University. I had an Intro to Acting class with Professor Bay, and she just allowed me to spread my wings and really pursue it. That's when it really became something that I had to do.
As far as photography, that was something that has just always been a part of me. I was just the one on trips with a camera, just taking pictures of my friends. I always have to capture the moment. I would say after college, that's when it really took off. I studied it a little bit in high school and college, but after college, I was on hiatus from House of Payne and I would do interviews and people would ask me, "If you weren't an actor, what you be doing professionally?" And I would always say photography, and then it just dawned on me...why not? I got this down time, I'm on hiatus. Let me get me a studio and start really doing this.
What has being a Black actor in Hollywood for over 10 years taught you about yourself?
It's all about growth! When I started out, and was doing House of Payne, I was doing what I love but I was so young, you know? I was blowing through money, I was intrigued by the fame and all that stuff, and that was the wrong thing to do. Now, it's like I've reached the stride. I've matured, I'm not jumping at the same type of roles that I would've jumped at when I was young.
Now, it's more about the work for me. I could care less about the fame, as long as I'm getting rich beautiful roles that push me as an actor. I'm good with that. It's definitely not about the fame no more, I'm not jumping at every single role. I take my time. I want to be someone that young black men can look up to so it's different now. I don't always want to play a thug or something, you know?
"It's more about the work for me. I could care less about the fame."
What changed your perspective of what you want out of this industry?
So many things. The maturity. Being in the industry for so long. I don't feel like I have to rush to the next job I can take my time, I've established myself in that way. You know, I'm still hungry. I still have the same hunger but now it's different, I have family.
You've since evolved from sex symbol to husband/father, how has your latest role as father and husband changed your life?
It is the best acting role I can have. It's the best job I can have. It's my new passion.
I get to go home to my wife and my children, and it's just.. I don't know it's hard to explain unless you have a child. Nowadays, I don't want to be out. I'll rather be at home with them, playing with my daughter. It's different now. I'm looking forward to the future. I love watching my daughter grow and discover herself and discover new things. And I love watching me and my wife's love grow. It's a beautiful thing.
Lance Gross' Instagram
"I love watching my daughter grow… And I love watching me and my wife's love grow. It's a beautiful thing."
As someone who loves fatherhood and is such a great representation of the Black father, what are your thoughts on the representation of Black fatherhood in society?
I feel like we need more positive representation in the media because they're out there. I have a bunch of friends that are great fathers but you wouldn't know if it's not showcased. I mean, it's showcased now since we have social media but if you take away social media, you don't see it that often or hear about it. There are so many good fathers out there, all my friends that are fathers are GREAT fathers, they inspire me and I can only hope to inspire them.
What would you want your legacy to be?
When it's all said and done, I just want people to say, "Job well done." I work hard, I may not be the best at what I do, but I work hard to be the best that I can be. A reason why I got into photography was because I feel like that's the one thing that I can control and that I'm in full control of it. I'm the director, I'm the writer, I'm the producer, and the finished product is my work. As an actor, you're working off of somebody else's script under someone else's direction, so as far as the photography, I want to leave something beautiful behind. As far as an actor, I just want people to see growth. I feel like I've grown a lot since House of Payne and I have so much further to go, so I'm looking forward to that.
I want to be remembered as someone who inspired others. I want to be a role model to the young black man. Man, I'm from Oakland, California, and Oakland sometimes gets perceived as being the hood. That conditioning plays into the mindset of our youth to the point they may think they can't make it out. So, every time someone makes it out of Oakland, like the Ryan Cooglers, myself and so many others, that means something! I want to be an inspiration for those that don't think they can make it. You can, it's just a mindset.
"I want to be an inspiration for those that don't think they can make it."
You can check Lance out on Fox's Star, Season 3 of MacGyver, as well as an upcoming season for I Turn My Camera On in collaboration with MACRO and ESSENCE Magazine. Keep up with his day to day by following him on Instagram.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity; Featured image by Erik Umphery