Photography by Walid Azami | Styling by Ilaria Urbinati | Words by Dan MacDonald
Fans of ABC's hit teen-drama Pretty Little Liars know Tyler Blackburn as Celeb Rivers, a street smart, bad-boy computer hacker. Though Blackburn insists that he does relate to the character of Caleb, he admits that they share little in common, adding, "I'm not computer savvy or technological in any way!"
While Blackburn may not be the man to wire your stereo system, he's definitely the guy you want on DJ duty. In addition to being arguably the nicest guy in LA, Blackburn has the most artfully curated playlist that you'll ever hear. As Alt-J, James Vincent McMorrow and The Black Keys blasted throughout the set, I became less concerned with our photo shoot as I began to plot a strategy to jack his iPod.
Mr. Blackburn isn't exactly a bad-boy either; determined not to become a Hollywood cliché, Mr. Blackburn believes in forgoing the fast life and opting instead for a life of hiking, surfing and music. "You [don't] have to live some sort of crazy lifestyle with clubs and that sort of thing to be successful. A lot of people go that route, but I think right now is the perfect time to really map out what kind of career you want, so if you live that kind of life, it's definitely a slippery slope."
And it appears that Blackburn's strategy is working; on April 30th, it was announced that the actor was the first to be cast in the supernaturally charged Pretty Little Liars spinoff, Ravenswood, premiering in October. With his character headed to the big leagues, Blackburn's focused on marking the right career choices and striking a balance that's often hard to achieve as a young actor.
Tyler for Naked
Q: Has acting been a lifelong dream of yours?
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an actor. I'd watch a movie, and I'd immediately want to go and reenact it. I've always been someone with a large imagination. I started doing plays at a young age, and I just knew that that was what I wanted to do. Once I actually had the opportunity to pursue it professionally, it was like, "This is it. This is it man."
Q: What kind of a career would you like to have? Whose careers do you admire?
There are a lot of careers that I admire, but I don't really want to emulate any of them. I just feel like the business these days is very different than it once was, and it's just going to continue to expand and grow. But I definitely love Leonardo DiCaprio's career, and Johnny Depp's is awesome. Even older actors, like Dustin Hoffman - his career are amazing. But, like I said, I don't ever want to emulate it - just be inspired by it.
Q: Acting's just one of your passions. Tell me about some of your other creative outlets.
I've been getting into music - mostly singing and a little songwriting. Practicing guitar a little bit. It's been a really cool adventure. I've been able to record some songs in the studio; that's been a really awesome experience. It's still in the beginning stages, but it's been a lot of fun.
Q: You're an actor and you've recently branched out into music. What makes up the rest of who you are?
I find myself to be pretty multi-faceted. I'm a pretty calm, spiritual person. I would say that's the driving force in my life, so I like to do things like yoga and hiking…I love travelling and cooking. I keep it pretty simple, but I like to go out and have fun too.
Q: What does a typical workday look like for you? Take us through a day in the life.
My schedule's all over the place, which is really kind of fun. I don't like too much of the same thing. On set itself, my call times vary; I go into hair and make up and then go straight to through to rehearsal. We shoot pretty quickly. Sometimes I'm there for 14 hours, and sometimes I'm there for 5 hours. It varies, but that's what keeps it exciting.
Q: What do you do with your time off?
I love cooking, so I’ll cook a nice dinner, and I love just sitting down and watching TV. For whatever reason, I’ll just watch a few hours of TV at night because I don’t know – there’s just something about eating and watching TV. I can’t watch anything without eating It varies. I was definitely mellow this weekend, but last weekend I partied a lot and hand a good time. So like I said, I like to have that balance. I went for a hike yesterday and had an early night - I wanted to look bright and shiny for today's shoot!
Q: Any vacations coming up? Where would you like to go?
I don't know for sure. But I definitely want to go back to Hawaii. There are so many places that I want to, but I Hawaii's the easiest and the quickest. Honestly, it's one of my favorite places. There's something kind of spiritual about it - I don't know how to explain it. Obviously, if you go to Waikiki beach, it's not going to be as cool. My favorite island is Kauai. They've created this amazing refuge away from everything LA, everything commercialized. When I go there, I don't get out of my bathing suit. I just cliff jump, surf and turn into a jungle boy.
Q: Do you idolize anyone? If you could grab a beer with anybody, who would it be?
That's a bit of a hard question. There are characteristics of so many people that I idolize for different reasons. I did just recently meet Leonardo DiCaprio, and I mentioned that I really enjoy his career, so I would love to pick his brain a little bit more, specifically with regard to acting. I think he's done some amazing work. He's made some great choices, and he's evolved from you know, sort of a young pretty boy to leading man. And that's not always easy to do. I respect him as an artist.
Q: What does it mean to be Naked?
Well, obviously there are a few definitions for the word Naked! There's just being completely nude, but I think that it also translates to being really raw, being open, and making yourself available for truth. Do you know what I mean? When someone is putting him or herself out there, feeling exposed. It might be a little scary for some. It's that person stripped down.
Q: If you could see anyone naked, whom would you choose?
That depends on which definition of Naked we're using! I guess I would say - for the definition that I just gave - that I would like to see Johnny Depp in that light. I think that he's always hiding behind these characters that are so brilliant, but you never really get to see what his personality is like, you know? I mean, you kind of do in certain interviews, but it would be so rad to just spend a week with him and see how he lives. I can't imagine Johnny Depp sitting back and watching TV. It would be kind of interesting.