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Courtesy of Twan Kuyper.

Meet the Creator: Twan Kuyper

Twan Kuyper has been at the mega-influencer level for a long time now. But even with such a longstanding following, the creator could not have been more down-to-earth when he virtually sat down with Casting Networks. Between discussing the similarities of therapy and acting class — he studies with Ivana Chubbuck — and his excitement over the first movie he’s ever made, Kuyper opened up about his journey from Vine to YouTube to producing the upcoming drama feature Rule of Thirds. Keep reading for a window into the person behind all the work, and you can also check out the video version of our interview below.

Twan, thank you so much for being with us, and I would love to hear a bit of the @twan “origin story” that led to your current status as a mega-influencer with more than 6.3 million followers on Instagram and 3.4 million followers on TikTok [at time of interview].

Well, thank you so much for having me, first of all. I appreciate that. And [about] my origin story — I’m originally from the Netherlands. I lived there for 17 years, and then I came to Florida. I lived in Florida for two years, and then my social media career started. Vine came out, and I really liked that [platform]. I was just like, “Wow, there is so much potential with this.” Lele Pons is a really good friend of mine — one of my best friends — and we started making videos together. Things just started so quickly, and we were basically on the For You page — the comedy page — every day. I had like a million followers in 10 weeks or something like that. It just went so fast. Then I moved to LA and got into all these other areas of life, so many things I never thought I would do like acting.

It’s funny because when I was a kid, I had a chance to play in this one movie, and I said no because I was scared. And that haunted me for so long — I hate missing opportunities and saying no to things. But back then, I just didn’t have the willpower to step over the fear. It’s so funny that then life put me on this path, and now I have all these new opportunities coming in and am not going to say no to anything. My mentality when I started my career was like, “I’m just going to say yes to everything that makes sense and that I like doing. Even if it’s scary, if it’s something that’s interesting, I want to try it.” So, that’s kind of how I got to where I am today, with many different things. I mean, social media has brought me so many interesting stories and also just an unbelievable, successful career. I’ve been so blessed.

Amazing. Thank you for sharing that, and I love your fearless approach to living. I feel like that can be inspiring to people, no matter what area of the industry they’re in. And I would love to hear more about your role as an actor. You’ve appeared in films like Woman on the Edge and starred in series such as Date of Honor. Can you tell us about your approach to acting, whether it be in your own projects or others?

I fell in love with acting once I was on set for my own stuff every day. It was something I was really scared to do in front of other people at first. Then I started loving playing someone else or being a character or just really letting myself go. I started studying with Ivana Chubbuck and have been with her for a couple of years now. I’m still in acting class every single week and am not planning on stopping. I’ve read countless books on acting and just became truly obsessed with it. I’m so happy with where I’m at now as an actor compared to a couple of years ago. And yes, I’ve had a couple of cool projects that I’ve done. Date of Honor was actually something I created, myself, for Facebook at the time. It was so amazing to be really, truly challenged as an actor in that, and I feel like I learned a lot from it. It was kind of like putting myself through school in a way. And Woman on the Edge was a fun movie to do. It was one of my very first ones. There’s so much that has happened since, and I have a brand new movie coming out right now called Alone at Night.

Very cool! Going back to Ivana Chubbuck — that’s a huge name in the world of acting classes. And I feel like acting class teaches you so much about yourself as a human.

Don’t even get me started. I feel like I’m constantly going through childhood traumas — it takes you back so much. I’m calling my family like, “I think I finally understand why I do this [thing].” It’s crazy, but I love it.

Neat! I’d also love to hear about your process as a creator, including projects within the digital space and projects outside of it, such as Rule of Thirds.

So, I obviously started as a creator, making six-second videos. Then from six-second videos, it went to 30-second videos and then into one-minute videos. Then I went to YouTube and started making this rom-com kind of YouTube series. I started one called Evil Little Brother that became extremely successful and got over 10 million views on episode four. It built an entire audience on its own, just for Evil Little Brother, which was amazing. As I was doing it, I got truly inspired to keep going. I was like, “I would love to make a movie.” I read [the script for] Rule of Thirds and thought it was unbelievable. It’s written by Will Hirschfeld, and he did an unbelievable job. I called him and was like, “Let’s make this.”

That was the craziest time of my life for sure. I had never done film school — or anything like that — and just jumped into a full feature that was funded 85 percent by myself. That wasn’t the plan, but I didn’t want to fail, so I just decided to keep going. And I’m so extremely proud of the outcome and the film. We’re in the selling process right now, and I think we might have found a home for it. It’s truly something — it’s my baby at this point! I’ve worked on it for years, and it’s about to come out soon. I can’t wait for the world to see it.

That’s huge. Congrats on that, and before we wrap, I want to ask what you hope people take away from the work you create.

I want to inspire people to do what their dreams are and to go after them. Because, at the end of the day, I grew up in a city in the Netherlands with 125,000 people. And when I had the chance to move to America when my father moved, I had to leave my mom behind — my parents are not together. I was 17, and I told her, “Mom, I feel like there’s more out there for me and bigger opportunities.” I had no idea what they were, whatsoever. But, I made the jump. Sometimes if you don’t do something, you wonder, “What if I did it?” And I hate that feeling more than anything. So, I hope my content, my achievements and everything in my career inspires people to just go after their dream. Because, no one’s going to believe in you but you at the end of the day. And everyone’s going to think you’re crazy until they think you’re brilliant.

From all the time he’s spent in acting class to the years he’s poured into Rule of Thirds, it’s safe to say that Kuyper has put in the work to get to his current status as a creator, actor and budding filmmaker. Those interested in keeping up with the multi-hyphenate’s career — in front of and behind the camera — can find him on IMDb.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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