Going INSURGENT with Keiynan Lonsdale

by Eric Chase


Where are you originally from? 

I grew up in St Marys, about an hour west of Sydney in Australia.


What is your nationality?

I'm half Australian, half Nigerian


Give us 5 words that you think best describe you. 

Ambitious. Optimistic. Truthful. Curious. Clumsy.


You’re a "sign" (cancer, sagitarius, libra etc), how would you describe your personality in that regard? 

I'm a Sagitarius, so we're generally described as fairly positive, honest (sometimes too honest), and philosophical. I think I fit into my sign pretty well, I love the idea of gaining knowledge & I put a high value on transparency. 


What are the recent projects you've worked on? 

"The Divergent Series: Insurgent” as Uriah. My next project is "The Finest Hours” where I play Eldon.


How was that like? How did you get that role? 

I was actually fortunate enough to get both of those roles via self tape video auditions. Working on such huge projects provided me with an amazing learning experience as an actor and overall in life. I was the youngest cast member of "The Finest Hours" by about 10 years so I really looked up to everyone.


What would you say is your best asset? 

My curiosity.


What do others compliment you on the most? 

My ambition.


How did you get started in acting?

After I graduated high school, I did a musical in Australia called "Fame" and despite acting being the thing I was least experienced in, it was the thing I enjoyed doing the most in the show. From there on I became really passionate about it.


What do you enjoy most about being an actor? 

The freedom to immerse yourself in another world and another human beings life. 


How did you land the role for the Divergent series? 

I sent in a video audition, and about a month later I had a callback audition via skype (as I was still living in Australia), then a few days later I found out I got the role! It was all very unexpected.


What are we going to expect from your character "Uriah”? 

I like to describe Uriah as a small but bright light in a world of dark chaos... that's what I tried to bring to the role. He's not blind to the fact that life isn't all fun & games, but he still chooses to live his life in a positive way. 


How do you relate to your character in your personal life? 

I like to think that I'm a generally positive person, I always make unnecessary jokes at unnecessary times. 


Let's talk about the Dance Academy, do you miss that show? 

YES. Dance Academy was such a big part of my life and I have some of my best memories from working on the series.




What do you like most: TV or the big screen? 

I enjoy both. I love that you can continue to develop a character with TV, but I also love how epic films can be & how high the stakes are in such a short amount of time. I hope I can have a career in both.


What is the funniest thing to happen to you on a shoot? 

I worked as a VJ for MTV Australia for a couple of years, and about a year in I found out I was pronouncing the word "news" incorrectly every single time I hosted the weekly update. Yes, the word "news". Apparently everyone just enjoyed the way I said it. So, it was funny for everyone else! haha


What are the top three things you like to do? 

Record music. Play video games. Relax with friends.


What are some of your hidden talents other than acting? 

I love writing songs, & I was a back up dancer for a few years which was fun!


Where do you want your career to be in two years? 

I don't really know exactly, I just want to continue working with creative and talented people. I've been so fortunate to do what I do, so I'll just keep pushing myself and see where it leads.


What is the best info you can give a new talent? 

Rejection is not failure. And failure's aren't the end of the world. Persistence, drive, and kindness actually do pay off. Also - relax :)


As an actor, what would you say has been your biggest obstacle? 

Self confidence has usually been my downfall, as performers we can be really good at psyching ourselves out & filling our own heads with doubt. I've learned that there's no point in doubting your own abilities, it only holds you back. 


If you had to walk away from acting today, what memory would you take from it? 

Walking on the set of Insurgent for the first time, was one of the scariest/most exciting feelings I've ever felt. 


If you had to walk away, what would you like to be remembered most for? 

That I learned to approach my work without fear or hesitation.



Feature: Keiynan Lonsdale

Photographer: Annie Buado

Stylist: Ali Levine