Actor, model, and host Fazon Gray is burning up the social game. The entertainer has accrued nearly 70K followers on Instagram. Aided by appearances on The Today Show and Why Am I Still Single? on VH1, Gray has secured endorsement deals with brands ranging from Sperry to 50 Cent’s Revolution Wear to C4 Energy Drinks. He was also featured as a model in an article on Hollywood trainer Corey Calliet in Athleisure Magazine. Though you wouldn’t know it from his confidence and natural charm, his route to Internet stardom has been a circuitous one.

Gray grew up in Harlem when the neighborhood was still plagued by gang violence and initially had no desire to pursue a career in entertainment. First discovered over a decade ago at his then-girlfriend’s uncle’s fashion show, the entertainment world was foreign territory. Encouraged by friends and family, he posted some subpar professional pictures online and waited to see what rolled in. The photos sat there for several years while Gray made his living working construction and other odd jobs. Then, one day, he checked the hits on his online model profile and began landing gigs. “I actually ended up getting booked for three or four in a week. I got paid more for those jobs than for three months working construction,” he exclaims.

This kicked off a new chapter in Gray’s life. His strikingly unusual good looks and friendly demeanor struck a chord with casting directors in the States. And as it turned out, his charm translated internationally as well. A vacation to Turkey turned into ten modeling jobs when his talents came to the attention of the fashion industry there. Still, this was before the social media explosion and required hustle on the ground, feet to the pavement.

Gray is savvy to the benefits of Instagram and other platforms but strikes a cautionary note. “It really takes so much work to get to that point,” he warns. This is what sets him apart. He emphasizes that bringing substance to a social media presence is essential to the success of the project. While he continues to land brand endorsements, Gray explains that his ultimate goals run deeper.
Having grown up around people in trouble, he is intent on using his reach to draw attention to their problems. Among the charities he supports is Good Shepherd, which is dedicated to helping the homeless. His public service work dates back to high school when he accompanied a mentor to Africa. The continuation of that work is the foundation of his public presence. Through a combination of fitness, awareness, and connection-making, he hopes to make the sometimes-shallow social world a force for good.
“That’s my goal,” Gray confides. “To be the big name that’s able to give back to the community. To show people what really matters.”

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