At age 16, Hill tells his mother he wants to be model. A week later his mother finds an acting and model workshop. The acting workshop met for eight weeks at a hotel. The workshop gave Hill just enough knowledge and techniques to convince a booking agent to sign him at the workshop’s culminating showcase.
“My mother is the reason I act.” Hill continues, “My mom is the type of person once she wants to get involved into something she goes to the learning annex or finds everything she can on google.”
Hills acting career uncharacteristically accelerates. Unlike the typical tumultuous trajectory of acting careers, Hill quickly books an audition for the Video Music Awards a week after completing the workshop program. Three months later he books a supporting role on Law and Order. Then a couple months after, he books a Nike commercial.
With the quick and immediate success, he is overly optimistic about the trajectory of his career. However, reality sets, and he goes into a drought.
“It was a year and half until I booked my next project. It was like ‘Oh okay, acting is going to require a lot of patience’,” says Hill.
Acting is like baseball. As a child, Hill’s father encouraged Hill to play little league baseball. Admittedly, Hill was not good at batting, and struck out every time. In baseball, a good hitter bats .300. Meaning, the player failed to hit the ball in 70 percent of their attempts.
The same patience to find your swing is required of actors. Actors will get one yes out of 100 no’s. Hill’s stick-to-itiveness was acquired early while he kept stepping to plate.
“I think I struck out every time. Every single time I went to bat I struck out. When everyone gets on base, and you’re not, you have to deal with it,” says Hill.
In 2014, he books his most notable role as RJ on Orange is the New Black. Interestingly, he was not initially casted for RJ. Initially, he books a different role. A couple months later he receives news from the manager that the show wants to recast, but has an audition set for another role on the show -- RJ.
“It hadn’t hit me yet that I was not going to be on the show,” says Hill.
The day before the audition, Hill decides to get a haircut. He asks the barber for a number one, low Caesar. However, the barber cuts his hair too low, and Hill looks bald.
“The one little mistake with the barber switched up my look, and it ended up working out beautifully,” says Hill.
The casting team was looking for a different look, and gave Hill the role as RJ.
“Everything I have around me, I believe is a result of being fortunate enough to have a circle of people were its just greatness. When anybody is fortunate to be in that circle and surrounded by greatness, that’s why I have had the opportunities I’ve had.