Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Actress Troy Byer

TROY BYER

The Heartbreak Surgeon



“Troy is a SUPERHERO of healing people with heartbreak.”  Steve Harvey





By Belinda Trotter-James



When we speak about our trailblazers in the entertainment industry, one lady that is definitely on the ‘A’ list is American born actress, author, screenwriter, director, producer along with being a heartbreak recovery expert… Troy Byer!  You know her work from appearing in such films as Francis Ford Coppola’s, “The Cotton Club” and was a regular on ABC’s prime-time soap opera “Dynasty”.  She went on to appear in other films such as Disorderlies, Weekend at Bernie’s II, Eddie, The Gingerbread Man and John Q just to name a few.  She wrote the film B*A*P*S followed by writing and directing “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “Love Don’t Co$t A Thing”.  Those bold moves made her the first woman of color to write and direct a studio-released film.  If you remember watching Sesame Street, then you probably have seen Troy.  It was the beginning of a brilliant acting career.



“Yes it started with Sesame Street,” says Troy.  Who would have thought Sesame Street would be on the air this long!?!  Troy knew…  “Oh absolutely I did because I knew the creative team of Jim Henson, Lisa Carr and all those people who worked on it.  They were very clear on what they were doing and that’s providing education for children,” explains Byer.  “As long as we have children, we’ll have education.  It was a match right out the gate.”  Troy asked me if I remembered the show, Zoom.  I did and automatically started singing the theme song in my best tone death voice.  She immediately figured out my age since I knew exactly what she was referring to with the show.  Of course we laughed about playing the, “How old are you” game.  She would have been great on Zoom.  “I wanted to be on Zoom”, says Troy.  “That was a good show.”



Aside from her acting Troy has jumped into the female screenwriting and directing pool.  Sometimes when you don’t see your favorite actors all the time, it’s not because they have stopped working or retired.  We find that they are exploring and experiencing life with other areas of hidden talents that they have decided to tap into.  Troy shares how she got sucked into the pool… “I started writing because there weren’t enough good roles for actors,” starts Troy.  “I didn’t like the stuff I was being offered so I started writing.  When I wrote B*A*P*S, that was my first piece.  They didn’t hire me; they hired Halle Berry which I’m grateful for because we got the movie made, but I originally wrote that for myself… that was the whole intention, but I didn’t have enough of a ‘name’ to get the movie made and so after that I felt that if I want to hire myself not only do I have to write it, I have to direct it because the director decides who gets hired.  So my writing and directing was all about my commitment to provide a better role for myself.”  As my momma used to say, ‘If you want something done, do it yourself’ and that’s exactly what Troy did.  The next film she wrote and directed for herself was, “Let’s Talk About Sex”.  “I played one of the leads.  I played the role of Jazz,” says Troy.



Now that Troy has the acting, writing and directing notches in her belt it was definitely time to tap into her talent as an author.  Her best selling self-help book is an insightful look in healing heartbreak called, Ex-Free: 9 Keys To Freedom After Heartbreak.  For the past few years ladies have been listening to Steve Harvey to get over their relationship problems.  However, we find that Troy has been giving a woman’s perspective on relationship issues and what to do about them.  She has been featured on Steve’s show a few times.  He states, “Troy is a Superhero of healing people with heartbreak.  This book is a must read for anyone who’s ever had an EX.”   “Steve already had his show on the radio”, says Troy.  “We started doing relationship tours together which was really fun.”



I told Troy that my sister-in-law was dating a guy for seven years.  When she realized he had no intention to put a ring on it, she terminated the relationship.  We knew she did the right thing because after all those years, he didn’t come after her because she was not the one.  He loved her but not enough to put a ring on it.  Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger says a man should know in one year if you are the one.  However, everyone has their own story and Troy had two eye popping tales…  “Well, with my first marriage you’re talking to someone who dated her husband for three weeks and married him”, remembers Troy. “With my second husband we dated for two weeks and got married.  So when you say wait for a year, sheesh! That’s a lifetime to me.”  We both laughed.  
 I dated my husband for a year and we eloped in November of our second year.  I thought I had Troy beat but, she blew me out the water.  “Yeah, I won’t do that again,” says Troy.  “First of all I don’t think I’m getting married anymore if I can help it.”  If you guessed that Ex-Free is a book based on her relationships, you’re right.  “Some of it, yes it is,” admits Troy.  “Because my first and second… Wow I can’t believe I’m saying my first and my second husband… With my first husband our divorce was very amicable and we really had a wonderful divorce. I mean the experience was great.  I got to know him better and it was really cool.  At that point I thought, ‘Wow, maybe I can write a book to let people know that you don’t have to be angry or suffering.  So it was partially from experience and partially from my training as a psychologist.



Getting married again after a divorce is something that is so personal and individualized that there is no right or wrong answer.  After two marriages Troy hinted that she may not do it again.  Her mother was married eight times.  Maybe her hesitation has to do with not wanting to outdo her mom.  Troy responds, “Oh I definitely don’t want to beat her record.  Make no mistake about that.  I don’t want to be married again because there is no reason for me to be married.  My son is grown, I don’t need to be married for money thank God and I have my house; I have my life… What would I get married for??  With my last husband I did it because he really wanted to get married and I really liked him, but I wasn’t ready to marry him.  I shouldn’t have married him.  He’s a great guy.  We would probably still be together if we did not get married.”


 With both marriages Troy did not have the traditional wedding with the ‘must have’ white wedding dress along with the long months of planning and inviting guests.  She eloped with both marriages.  “I eloped both times because if I would have had a wedding my friends would have said, ‘STOP THE WEDDING!!! So, I eloped,” reveals Troy.



When it comes to love, relationships, heartbreak and starting over there is a never ending story to tell.  There are millions of stories to write and relationships to experience.  Troy’s next code to crack is the subject of being, “Between Husbands” which is her next thought provoking book.  “That particular book is going to be a five year process”, says Troy.  “I’m collecting essays from women who are between husbands.  I’m looking at what they are experiencing now that they are not married and how they get to experience things all over again like having that first kiss again. What would your first kiss be like? So I will be looking at stuff like that.  I am collecting some really great data so don’t look for the book for at least another four years.”



Now that’s going to be a good book worth waiting for.  Actually Troy should turn it into a movie.  There are lots of women between husbands who are still hurting five years or more later.  It’s something that has not been addressed enough.  It’s just like labor pains… After the baby is born, no one bothered to mention that you may still have labor pains!!!  Stop keeping things to yourself.  Life has many, many layers and the only way you are going to peel through some of life’s layers is to find out from others who have gone before you how to get through the fire without coming out crispy.  It’s okay to be a little scorched, but no one wants to come out crispy.



The next question I asked was very telling of how some women handle breaking up, then going back to an ‘ex’ and then calling it a mistake.  Troy broke down the word, ‘mistake’…  “The thing about a mistake is if it produces a result that disempowers you,” says Troy.  “There are no mistakes if there is value.  So if you go back to an ex to have sex, there is value in that; it’s just taking care of business. There is nothing wrong with using each other.  However, I don’t want you to misuse each other.”


So what I found out in speaking with Troy is that I have been using the word mistake to identify an experience that wasn’t really a mistake.  It was just an experience.  Therefore, our vocabulary and the definitions of words have to change.  When I was growing up the word ‘mistake’ was always used for something or some situation that went wrong.  Then Troy asked me to think about the time when I was eight years old.  Girl, I can’t remember what I did yesterday.  However, she asked me if I made a mistake when I was eight years old?  I would guess that I did.  “When you were eight years old, you probably made a mistake”, analyzes Ms. Byer.  “Words stick with us around eight or nine years old. That’s when it happens.  That’s a word that probably stuck with you when you were about eight or nine.  I’m not trying to analyze you but, that’s probably where that word lives in you.”



The way the conversation was going meant that my spirit was talking to her spirit.  I didn’t think she was analyzing me.  I knew that she was helping my spirit pull off one of the layers of my humanness.  As I was typing this section, I do remember being about eight years old coming home with my mom and brother.  We lived in a walk up which was about five flights of stairs.  I ran ahead and was waiting at the door.  It seemed like they were taking forever to climb the five flights so I yelled FIRE!  Wow! It worked.  They were up the stairs in record time and I got the tongue lashing of life from my mother because there was no fire.  I made a mistake in yelling the word ‘fire’.



This is why it’s so important to read books by Troy and others regarding insights to your situation.  You have to learn that you are a spirit walking around in a human body that makes mistakes.  Until you start peeling back the scares that may plague your life, you can walk around the earth feeling like something is wrong and not know how to fix it.  Once you get a chance to speak to someone like Troy or Steve, you will be able to free yourself of those heavy layers of issues that make life seem lonely and unbearable at times.  The combination of Troy Byer and Steve Harvey is a lethal injection on how to gain insight on how to get over the heartbreak of an Ex or how to know if he is ‘the one’.  The powerful principles they reveal through their books, workshops, films and Steve’s television show is priceless. 



Troy thought I was going to end the interview so that she wouldn’t be able to go deeper into my layers.  However, I knew that she has been busy earning her doctorate in psychology. I know and recognize when answers start to appear in my life.  I have learned to sit still for a few minutes during my day to go within for guidance.  So I was very grateful for her insight.
 As I was telling Troy about my spiritual journey, she revealed to me that she is coming out with meditation tapes in the spring called “Psychological Meditation”.  “It’s therapy on demand”, explains Troy.   “If you’re going through frustration, you can go to the tape on frustration and it will explain what frustration is and how it impacts you psychologically and then there is a guided meditation to do.”  Most people feel that there is nothing to help you get through life smoothly.  However, I find that the guidance one seeks is within themselves.  People always rush outside of themselves to fix a problem when the answer is always within.  All you have to do is sit still. That’s what the story of The Wizard of Oz was all about.  I know it sounds crazy, but you have nothing to lose by trying it for yourself.  With Troy’s meditation tapes I know you will be able to peacefully go through the fire.  Remember how diamonds start out as dirty rocks that are put under intense heat only to emerge as beautiful, strong, brilliant diamonds.


When you are able to live life on your terms, you find the time to help others.  Troy has been very active with the Penny Lane Organization which helps with foster care, homeless children and transitional youth.  “I do work with youth who have aged out of the foster care system, but are not quite prepared to take care of themselves yet”, explains Troy.   “They are between the ages of 18-23.  What I do is something like a sponsorship/mentorship program.  Right now I have one specific girl that I am working with and we are helping her get a driver’s license.  I find a project for each of the kids I am working with and together we find out what they want to accomplish and when.  We help them manage their lives and let them know that they are not alone.”



Troy’s next film is due out April 15, 2015.  You can celebrate tax day by seeing the film.  She wrote and directed it based on her book Ex-Free called “I Really Hate My Ex”.  It stars some of our most talented actors which include the one and only Troy Byer, Chris Spencer, Leon Robinson, Darrin DeWitt Henson, Shari Headley, JD Lawrence, Bresha Webb, Ernie G, Daphnee Duplaix, Tomiko Fraser Hines, Christopher Bailey and Michael Bernard Beckwith.

Fans can keep up with Troy on Twitter and other social media networks as well as her website www.troybyer.com Twitter https://twitter.com/TroyByer and on her Youtube Channel  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPt-Lk-pnN8cwVlh1ne5lhQ
 Remember to pick up your copy of Ex-Free: 9 Keys To Freedom After Heartbreak available now in paperback, kindle, Ebook and audio.  It also includes a 21 day Freedom Action Plan!  Enjoy! http://www.troybyer.com/books/

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