Show Us What You Workin’ Wit! Actors Who Were Video Vixens
By day, they are actors, but by night these 15 male stars could be seen on the small screen moonlighting as one-time video vixens.
Terrence Howard has been working in front on the cameras playing different roles since 1992’s Jacksons: An American Dream. He may be best known for hit movies such as Crash and Hustle & Flow but he also has a few music video roles under his belt. In Ashanti’s “Foolish,” Howard plays her criminal minded ex who gets caught cheating. The video earned three MTV VMA nominations in 2002. Howard also played opposite Mary J. Blige in her “Be Without You” video where she just couldn’t be without him.
In the early 90’s he was the Afro-centric, socially conscious Shazza Zulu on “A Different World.” Gary Dourdan also played Janet Jackson’s lost love in her 1993 music video “Again.” Jackson reminisced about Dourdan as flashbacks of their time together played in her head and on the screen while she wrote in her diary in the video, which was directed by her then-secret husband Rene Elizondo. For eight seasons, Dourdan played Warrick Brown on CBS’ “CSI” before his character was killed off.
By the time he began his relationship with Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck was already an award-winning actor and writer with an established career in Hollywood. But that didn’t stop him from starring opposite J. Lo in her “Jenny From The Block” video. Audiences were shocked to see the straight-laced Affleck palm Lopez’s famous derriere while cruising the Mediterranean on a private yacht. Their whirlwind romance ended before the two could walk down the aisle.
Djimon Hounsou was born in Benin but emigrated to Paris as a young teenager and a chance meeting with a photographer changed his life. Establishing himself as a model, Hounsou was introduced to the U.S. audience as the buff love interest in Janet Jackson’s “Love Will Never Do” video. But singer/choreographer Paula Abdul grabbed Hounsou two years before Jackson got her hands on him and cast him in her “Straight Up” video in 1988. The 49-year-old has gone on to star in numerous films picking up several awards for his roles in Amistad, In America and Blood Diamond.
Antonio Sabato Jr.
Djimon Hounsou wasn’t the only shirtless Calvin Klein model that appeared in Janet Jackson’s “Love Will Never Do” music video. Before he followed his father’s footsteps into acting, the younger Sabato made a living as an underwear model. Two years after starring in the 1990 video, Sabato Jr. moved onto acting by snagging a role on ABC’s soap opera “General Hospital.” He also starred in “Melrose Place” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.” The model turned actor most recently appeared on an episode of ABC Family’s “Baby Daddy.”
Before he became one of Black Hollywood’s go-to stars, Michael Ealy was just another actor trying to get as much work as he could. In 2005, he was cast as the love interest in Mariah Carey’s “Get Your Number” video. Set inside a nightclub, Carey slipped her number to Ealy one digit at a time. Four years later, the For Colored Girls star would also play Beyonce’s boo in “Halo.” He was also asked to star in “Irreplaceable” but turned it down because he did not appreciate the theme or the concept.
For five seasons, Boris Kodjoe starred on Showtime’s “Soul Food: The Series” playing the love interest to co-star Nicole Air Parker. But well before he became a regular on cable television, a young Kodjoe was cast in TLC’s “Red Light Special” video. Left Eye played a female pimp with the future “Real Husbands of Hollywood” star as one of her male prostitutes. Kodjoe also played Faith Evans’ love interest in her 1999 “Never Gonna Let You Go” video but the two never appeared on the screen at the same time together.
Madonna is no stranger to sparking controversy. In fact she’s been doing it for much of her career. While her antics would barely make someone bat an eye now, in 1989 her “Like A Prayer” music video caused quite the uproar. At the core was an interracial love story but it was shrouded with religious overtones. Actor Leon Robinson was cast as a saint inspired by Martin de Porres, the patron saint of biracial people and all those seeking interracial harmony. There was a public outcry from religious groups across the country and world calling the video blasphemous. Pepsi, who initially agreed to have Madonna and her song featured in a commercial, also caught some flack and caved into the pressure and abandoned the advertising campaign.
Before he joined the cast of “Grey’s Anatomy,” actor Jesse Williams modeled part time to help pay for college. His good looks helped him win the role of Rihanna’s love interest in her 2009 video “Russian Roulette.” In the video a gun is placed on a table between the Bajan singer and a shirtless Williams and the two take turns holding the gun up to their own heads. He ends up committing suicide at the end of the video. Williams also starred in Estelle’s “Fall In Love” video.
He may not have played the love interest of the artist, but actor Eddie Murphy still starred in Michael Jackson’s iconic “Remember The Time” music video. The nine-minute short film had a slew of cameo appearances including Iman, former NBA star Magic Johnson, Tiny Lister, Jr. and The Pharcyde. Murphy played a Pharaoh who gets jealous when his partner, played by Iman, is serenaded and then seduced by Jackson. John Singleton directed the groundbreaking video with the choreography done by Fatima Robinson.
Wentworth Miller brought his mysterious good looks to Fox’s hit show “Prison Break” but they also came in handy during not one, but two of Mariah Carey’s music videos. Brett Ratner directed the pilot of “Prison Break” and Carey’s “It’s Like That” and “We Belong Together” and decided to use Miller for both videos. The biracial actor was a party guest in “It’s Like That” and played Carey’s partner in the other video. Most recently Miller made headlines for coming out of the closet as a gay actor.
Zac Efron shot to stardom with Disney’s High School Musical franchise. He also met his girlfriend while on the set. Vanessa Hudgens and Efron began dating in 2005 and were together for more than five years before calling it quits. During their relationship, Efron played the love interest in Hudgens’ “Say Ok” music video. Hudgens decides to have a girls’ night out with some friends at a bowling alley where she meets Efron who joins them for the rest of the night.
Before he was known as Vincent Chase on the hugely popular HBO series “Entourage,” Adrian Grenier appeared in Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy” video. Blink and you may miss the boyishly handsome Grenier working alongside Spears at a club-type atmosphere mixing drinks and looking longingly at Spears who barely pays any attention to him. Grenier is gearing up to reprise his role as Chase in the Entourage movie.
Keanu Reeve began his acting career at the tender age of nine and it was the sleeper hit movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure that winded up becoming his breakout role. Two years later when the sequel hit the theaters, Reeves was also appearing as the love interest in Paula Abdul’s “Rush, Rush.” Taking on a much more serious role than the airheaded Ted, his relationship with Abdul in the video was inspired by James Dean and Natalie Wood in the 1955 classic film Rebel Without A Cause.
Jeremy Renner earned an Oscar nomination for his role as Sergeant William James in the 2007 war film Hurt Locker. But in the 2003 “Trouble” music video it was pop star P!nk that put a hurting on him. Set in the 1800’s, P!nk played an outlaw who was arrested, carted off to jail and locked up. She used her seductive powers to convince the guard, played by Renner, to set her free. Thinking he would be rewarded with a little bit of loving, P!nk flipped the tables on him by handcuffing him to the gate before fleeing.