Anthony Keyvan, of Hulu’s “Love, Victor,” and Netflix’s “XO, Kitty,” has been acting since before he can even remember.
As a child, he was cast in “Lost,” “iCarly” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Now, in his early 20s, he’s become known to young adult and teen audiences as an ensemble cast member on Hulu’s “Love, Victor,” where he starred in the show’s second and third seasons, and most recently as a cast member in the Netflix series “XO, Kitty.”
“I originally auditioned to play Victor in ‘Love, Victor’, and I’m actually glad that didn’t work out for me, and Michael Cimino was amazing in the role,” said Keyvan to WWD in an interview that took place before the Screen Actor’s Guild went on strike. The actor was invited back to play Rahim for season two and later invited to audition for “XO, Kitty.” “After many audition tapes and notes from directors, I got the role of Q and had to turn around and fly to [South] Korea as soon as possible,” he added.
“XO, Kitty” is a spinoff of the Netflix film “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” The series was recently renewed for a second season after receiving high viewership on the streaming platform, but it’s unclear when the second season would begin filming with the SAG and Writers Guild of America strikes.
Although Keyvan has worked everywhere as an actor, from Vancouver to Atlanta, “XO, Kity” was the first time he got to immerse himself in an international culture while he worked on a project.
“I never thought my career would take me to Seoul,” Keyvan said. “Although while I was filming there, Korea had become one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic so that left me with very limited things to experience. However, many members of our cast were Korean and so was much of our crew, so I got the opportunity to experience and be exposed to Korean culture through our incredible team. I saw it as better than just being a tourist in a big city.”
Keyvan had a very seamless transition from child actor to acting professional full time in his early 20s. He was originally scouted when his dad took him to the Los Angeles Auto Show by someone who had an acting studio. He begged his parents to let him do it and he was able to get an agent through an acting showcase. From there, he started modeling and doing commercials.
Many of his roles, when he was young, were guest spots, which he was grateful for as it gave him time to still go to school and lead a more traditional life growing up.
After graduating high school, Keyvan’s big break came with “Love, Victor,” which was one of Hulu’s most-watched streaming series. His character Rahim was groundbreaking for LGBTQ representation on television as an openly gay Middle Eastern teenager. Keyvan’s character Q on “XO, Kitty” is also an out gay teen.
“I loved playing both Rahim and Q, and they are so wildly different from each other,” Keyvan said. “They are different in how they communicate with their friends and the way they dress and present themselves. One thing I particularly love about playing Q is how easy it is for him to be openly queer. It wasn’t a struggle for him to be himself, and his friends at school don’t treat him like it’s anything different. We’re so used to traumatic coming-out stories that are true for a lot of people, but aren’t always true for others. It’s important when we tell these kind of stories, we show different facets of the experience.”
Keyvan said if there’s one thing he’s learned from playing both Q and Rahim it’s how to dress better. He also greatly admires Q’s moral compass as a teenager and how he’s so thoughtful and considerate about all of his friends.
In the long term, Keyvan says he’s hoping to get to play more dramatic roles and more independent films. His ideal next role after “XO, Kitty” would be in an action film, whether that entails playing a superhero in a Marvel or DC franchise or playing a spy in “Mission Impossible” or the “James Bond” franchise.
With many years in the acting business, Keyvan said if he could tell his younger self and younger actors one thing it would be, “Buckle up. Your life’s going to change. You might feel a lot of imposter syndrome, but you’re meant to be here. You’re here because people like you, and you can calm down.” He added, “Rejection is one of the biggest obstacles you’ll face, and no one really prepares you for that. You will see a million nos before you hear a yes, but you’ll learn to be OK with it.”
Outside of acting, Keyvan is also a major advocate for mental health awareness. While he realizes how social media can have negative side effects on mental health, he also feels it’s made it easier for younger generations to have platforms to discuss mental health issues and connect with each other. “Visibility is a big thing,” Keyvan said.