Tristan Huff attributes his success as a model and actor to his friendly personality.
The 30-year-old was born and raised in Kelowna, graduating from Okanagan Mission Secondary, and has landed various acting and modelling shoots since he moved to Vancouver 10 months ago.
But Huff has faced many challenges in getting where he is today, working as a feature model for Ben Nye Makeup in Los Angeles, an actor in commercials for Squeaky Glass and Novus Glass as well as for scooter and candy companies.
He developed Tourette syndrome at 10, leaving him with a facial tic and a skip in his step.
“Having Tourette’s and being overweight I had to switch schools. I got bullied tons. As I got older I said ‘I have to do something about this’ and it was super hard, but I’m a huge believer in the law of attraction. With acting I had a few people shoot me down when I first moved here so I had to figure out how to control (the tics) even more,” he said.
The challenge is to not let the tics show on set, a feat made even more difficult during a makeup shoot, according to Huff.
“When I’m doing sets I really have to hold it back. When I was with Ben Nye Makeup that took seven hours so I had to really concentrate,” said Huff.
His positive attitude keeps him upbeat and he’s learned to work around the syndrome. He spent his first two months in Vancouver networking, and plans to move to L.A. in two years.
“Obviously having Tourette’s has made me who I am today, and there’s a reason why I have it,” he said.
Breaking into the Vancouver scene was difficult at first. Huff left family, friends and his car behind, and spent nearly a month sleeping in a rat-infested hostel, working for free until he could build his portfolio enough to land paid shoots.
“Three weeks ago I signed on to one of the biggest agents in Vancouver and they all shot me down when I first moved here because I didn’t have the experience or portfolio and I did a lot of stuff for free,” he said.
His persistence paid off, when agents began contacting him for roles and he managed to find a place in Yale Town with roommates.
“I love it, the vibes here in Vancouver are great. It’s where I have to be,” he said.
Growing up, Huff was involved with drama classes and enjoys performing.
“I’m like a little kid in a man’s body. I just like acting, I like doing different roles, being different people and through high school I enjoyed it,” he said. “I don’t know why, I just love being on camera.”
While in a liquor store in 2007, an agent approached him, asking if modelling and acting would be something he was interested in. He started thinking about acting seriously then, and began to pursue a career several years later when he was 26.
For the future, he plans to have a Tourette’s foundation and to educate the public on the syndrome.
“I want to definitely have some kind of foundation one day, it’s on my list. I want to talk to crowds that you can achieve whatever you want, everything’s possible.”