Interview with KALEN ALLEN | Creation and Joy are One, Being Me is My Calling
Have you ever noticed that when you do things because you love it and you are having fun during the process, things start to align? We all are born with talents and the potential of creatively expressing them in unique ways. Many of us look for our calling, but perhaps our vocation is not just a physical action, but how we feel while doing it. When we can reach those emotions that feel better, we will allow our creativity to flow through us. In that state, our receptivity to new ideas and solutions will always appear in front of us.
Actor Kalen Allen was never fully aware of how the events of his life would unfold, he simply followed his passions. The Universe surprised him; he skyrocketed from a college student making videos for fun to an online sensation to a regular on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, covering coveted events, acting and soon to be writing and producing. For Kalen creation and joy are one, and that is his calling.
- Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Kalen Allen?
Well hello there, I’m Kalen Allen and I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams!
- How did you discover your passion for the pop culture and decide that you wanted to use it as your creative expression, so to speak?
I am a very inquisitive and nosey person! I never miss a beat, never have! I would also call myself somewhat of a social anthropologist! I just love studying people and how they operate and navigate the world! People are the seasoning to the Earth. We give it life and that is beautiful to me in and of itself. So, I love analyzing, examining, and of course critiquing the human race! We are the culture.
- What was your path to consciously realizing that comedy is your calling?
I don’t think it actually set in until I started at Ellen. I always knew I was entertaining. Even growing up and doing theater I was constantly cast in comedic roles, so that was also a clue to my soon-to-be calling! But I think I am the funniest when I am not trying to be. It’s just who I am, how I talk, and how I view things.
- The celebrity interviews you do are filled with joy and enthusiasm. How do you embrace your authentic self and exuberant personality in an industry where you are always in the spotlight?
In my life so far, never has my personality made me lose anything. In fact, I’ve gained more than lost. Also, I put my happiness and peace at the forefront of my priorities! I will never sacrifice who I am for the comfort of other people, because that has nothing to do with me but everything to do with them!
- You were ‘scouted’ by Ellen DeGeneres after she saw your famous Kalen Reacts videos, in which you poke fun at the viral food trends so often seen on social media. What was the experience of having your self-produced videos picked up on a national platform?
I was honestly completely flabbergasted because it was all by accident. When I decided to do the videos, I was just doing it for fun. Never in a million years would I have expected to be moving to Los Angeles. Let alone, working at the Ellen DeGeneres Show! I knew that my big break had come, and I was ready and willing to do what it took to build a career from it.
- When you first started working on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, you were still in college. How did you balance getting your education while expanding your career?
Well luckily my school, Temple University, had a study-away program and one of them was in LA. Since I was a theater and film double major, I was able to complete my credits through that program. So, after being offered the opportunity, I called Temple immediately and told them everything and we made it happen. So, I was going to Ellen during the day and class at night. I was basically living a very Hannah Montana life!
- Having a prominent presence on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, what is it like collaborating with such an admirable person, comedian and host and what have you learned from this experience so far?
I honestly have a one-of-kind experience that probably no one else in the world has ever had of anyone even close to her stature. I have gotten to know her on a level that the world hasn’t, a personal level. I am literally learning from the icon herself, first hand! I can’t even explain into words what that is like. I have learned how to tell and deliver jokes better, how to be more personable, how to be a person about their business.
- On the Kalen Reacts platform, you’ve covered coveted events such as New York Fashion Week, the Met Gala, and the Royal Wedding, as well as the 2018 Billboard Music Awards red carpet as Ellen’s correspondent. How do you think your artistic expression works as a form of bringing lightened energy and inserting humor into situations that are often taken too seriously?
I approach everything from the public’s eye. I have an advantage because I am not too much removed from the general public! I know what people like and want to see and that is simply relatability. In order to create content that is shareable, the experience also has to be shareable! That way you’re creating content that is three-dimensional. I always aim to only make statements that I feel the majority will identify with as well.
- On OMKalen you continue to share your comedy talent with the audience. Making yourself and those around you laugh, is one of the easiest ways to have a positive impact on someone’s day. How would you describe the connection with your following and what’s the feedback you received about your influence?
I think one thing that is important to me is that people still find me relatable. But not only that, I hope they see me as their friend, their neighbor, their family. I read all my comments, I respond, and I never make anyone feel less than me! For the most part, I feel as though everyone feels that energy from me.
- You are about to make your acting debut in Seth Rogan’s Untitled Pickle Comedy for Sony Pictures, which follows an immigrant worker who is accidentally pickled and wakes up 100 years after his time in modern-day Brooklyn. How much fun was it to act out such a fantastical storyline?
It was actually hilarious! I naturally love stories like that, and I also believe that those type of stories make for great comedies! Seth is absolutely brilliant and so down to earth. You would honestly forget how outrageous the plot was, mainly because he was so real about it in his portrayal, which was great for me acting as if I didn’t know he’d been gone for 100+ years.
- Brandon Trost, the director of Untitled Pickle Comedy, also directed the comedy The Disaster Artist. What was your experience of working with Trost’s comedic style while expressing your own improv-comedy essence?
Like I said before, the story, even though it sounds outrageous, was very real. But that’s what makes the best comedies. I like comedies that don’t try to be funny, they just are through situations and circumstances. I am also very good at improv, so it was very comforting for me to be able to have opportunities that we would go off-script.
- Having been taken on many areas within the entertainment industry, now including comedy and acting, what do you aspire to create next?
I am very interested in writing and producing! Especially stories that, to me, have deeper meanings and more substance. I am always looking for ways to make an impact and be better than I was before. So, hopefully, I’ll start a podcast or write my own scripted series. Honestly, anything is possible at this point.
- You are so successful at such a young age. How do you balance the experiences of growing, learning, and becoming yourself with the exposure you have as a comedian?
I allow myself to make mistakes and I never allow pride to get in the way of my growth. I am a very self-aware person and I am never too good for growth. I also keep very close ties to my friends from college. I am all about surrounding myself with the people who knew me before. I will say, though that this experience has pushed me to face my fears and insecurities in ways I’ve never had to before. I had a lot of growing pains at first. But once I became receptive to the changes, everything started to fall into place.
- Are you involved in any charity organization or humanitarian cause you would like to mention?
I am always eager and striving to be the representation I can be for the LGBTQ+ community. Especially those of color. There are not a lot of people who look like me, who identify like me, and are of my age that stands at the front lines or are given such a massive platform. Therefore, I find it to be my responsibility to be that representation.
- The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is The Essence of a Joyful Living. How does Joy during the creative process affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
Creation is just that for me…joy! When I need peace of mind, I create. When I need to breathe, I create. Creation has saved my life many times. It is the best and the only medicine I will ever need. That source and ability of expression are unmatched and beautiful in their own right.
- When you hear: “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words from the Abraham-Hicks teachings, what is your take on such a statement?
I completely agree with that statement, but I think I would add to the end “as long as you put in the work.” Without the effort and the work that it takes to be, do, and have anything you want, you won’t get or achieve anything.