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Style Feature: Cornelius Smith Jr.

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SCANDAL - ABC's "Scandal" stars Cornelius Smith Jr. as Marcus Walker. (ABC/Craig Sjodin)
(ABC/Craig Sjodin)

I had the privilege to speak with the newest Gladiator on “Scandal” and get his take on life and fashion.  Cornelius Smith, Jr. hails from Detroit, MI and the historic Cass Tech High School.  He then went on to attend the renowned Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University (GO STANGS!!!) and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for Grad School.  His path to greatness was paved for many years leading up to the success that he’s currently experiencing.  But don’t take it from me, here’s what he had to say:

Beneath the surface, not what we see on television, who is Cornelius Smith, Jr?

Cornelius Smith Jr is a man of destiny.  I’m still discovering myself honestly, but to the core, I am a man of love, a man of passion, integrity, faith and action.  Simply put, I’m an individual with strong values.  I take my spirituality very seriously and am still in a process of nurturing and developing that. I meditate daily to clear my mind and start the day.  I follow that up with a workout to kick things off. I’m trying to continue to anchor in love and serve as an example/inspiration for those who operate out of fear. When you operate out of love, the universe conforms to your desires and helps you step into destiny.

Photo Credit: Brett Richards

Man that’s some great motivation right there!  Many people will remember you from your years as Frankie on “All My Children”.  I’m assuming you were fresh out of college, what did that experience do for your career?

You’re correct that was one of my first experiences out of grad school at NYU.  As my first job, it got me acclimated to the “TV world.”  Till this day, I have an incredible respect for soaps.  They are demanding, have a lot of material to memorize and you’re taping nonstop.  You have to be prepared, professional and ready every day.  It really helped to outline what it takes to be prepared and develop a serious work ethic. Working and learning from Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams was truly an honor.

I’ll be honest; my introduction to you came on Thursday nights in Shondaland.  How did you get that opportunity?

Honestly there was a combination of things.  Aside from the hard work I showed every time on set, I have to acknowledge constant meditation and visualization of what I wanted to accomplish in life.  I wanted to do heartfelt work and you’ll remember that my first episode was very impactful discussing the race issue in America.  To land the role on the show I actually won the 2014 ABC Discovers talent competition.  From that, I auditioned for a role on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but didn’t get it.  Then I was called to audition for a guest role on “Scandal” and knew I had to make a great impression.  A week after taping my first episode I received a call back to become a regular!

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Source: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images North America

That’s truly a blessing.  Alright, Olivia Pope is a fictional fashion icon in her own rights.  Not Kerry Washington, unfortunately, but Olivia Pope LOL.  I can only imagine the wardrobe selection you have on set!  Is my imagination correct to say that you walk into a wardrobe closet filled with the latest and greatest?

Not necessarily a closet, but a rack of loveliness! We have access to nothing but the finest.  Lyn Paolo does a great job in selecting the pieces.  There are some damn good suits.  The full production is the best of the best, so I appreciate the designers I have been introduced to that I have never been able to wear before.

How would you describe your style off set?

I must say I have a good eye, so my style is mixed. I like to be comfortable, but I dress up well. I’m not stuck to one thing.  I like to mix and match…colors, patterns, color blocking…I switch it up a lot. I’m not afraid to wear combinations that you wouldn’t have thought of before. With that in mind, I won’t wear anything that I don’t think is attractive.

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Source: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images North America

If you have to choose a favorite designer who would it be?

I have to say Ted Baker as of late.  Ted Baker looks good and dapper on a brother.  I can’t forget about Hugo Boss.  I prefer Lululemon for my comfortable wear.  Like I said, since I’ve been on set I’ve opened my mind up to many different brand options than before.  I think I’ll go with the Bur(berry) today hahaha!

Neckties or bowties?

Ahhhh neckties, but I can rock a bowtie. Depends on the suit I’m wearing.

Loafers or Oxfords?


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Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images North America

What do you think about LA Fashion?

Andre, it’s all about the designs and colors…pairings that you wouldn’t see anywhere else.  It’s ALL about the colors here. Very bright. Fashion is individual here. There’s a unique quality in what you’re wearing, how you’re wearing it, and the accessories you’re wearing with it. You don’t get those pairings everywhere.

Cornelius, bro I really appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to do this interview!  Any last words you want to leave behind?

Thanks Andre, I enjoyed it.  If I can say one thing, it is that obstacles are put in our life not to derail us, but for us to overcome.  Let’s push through these obstacles and step into our destiny. 

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Photo Credit: Brett Richards

I’ll take that challenge personally.  Be blessed sir.

Keep up with Cornelius Smith, Jr. on Twitter (@CorneliusSJr) and IG (@corneliussmithjr) and catch him as Marcus Walker on Thursday nights on ABC’s “Scandal”.


-Written by Andre Broussard (@MrBroussard1911)

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