Kyle Klaus is not your typical actor. He hails from atypical acting roots, from a sector of work entirely unrelated to the screen, that is real estate. His business acumen has lent to becoming a millionaire by the age of 30 and starting a line of successful businesses in the NJ area. This smartly provided the cushion he needed to pursue the acting career he always wanted. Since, he’s premiered in “The Blacklist,” “Billions,” and “Homeland” among others.
Klaus discusses with Cliche Magazine the intersections of his dichotomous lifestyle.
Working in real estate was your solution to avoiding the life of the starving artist, but you’ve made quite a name for yourself founding Prestige Properties as well as becoming a millionaire by the age of 30. How do you feel about achieving such success at a young age? What do you attribute this success to?
I attribute my success to an insatiable hunger and drive for greatness. You get to a certain level and you’re still not happy with it. That is because it’s not about a destination, it’s more about growth. You are either growing or you aren’t. You are either improving or not. I’ve also always known that real estate was a means to an end – meaning that if I could keep working really hard and saving up, and making the right investments that it would set me up early on at a young age for later in life. Then when the acting projects and opportunities came up – I would be able to take those and not worry about what was next, or if it was going to be a hit, or if it was going to make my career take off. I would always be able to have something else there, and wouldn’t be worried about my acting career, especially since there are so many variables to whether you get a job or don’t, or you have a successful career and are famous or not.
What are some similarities and intersections you’ve found in acting and entrepreneurship? Are there things you’ve learned working in real estate and founding your own business that you apply to acting?
Yes, definitely. Probably the most apparent is that you are your own CEO. I know people say that about acting all the time, but I don’t know if everyone really gets it. In acting, you have to make sure you understand your audience, what they want from you, and try to give them some of that. Also that your “craft” is on point. That is just like your skills or quality in business. Also – there are many other things like dealing with people, organization, scheduling, and also hiring/ outsourcing things that will free you up for better uses of your time.
What are surprises about the acting industry that you hadn’t realized before entering as an actor?
I think the biggest thing is that you really don’t need too much to get started and be successful. You really just need your talent, a headshot that represents you well, and opportunities. That’s it. People get so caught up especially in the beginning that you need some amazing reel, marketing materials, all sorts of classes, etc. There are businesses that prey on the neediness of actors.
You’ve managed to find the best of both worlds in both finance and art, two dichotomous fields. Do you have any advice for those out there who are struggling with choosing between a realistic aspiration versus a creative passion?
This is just my opinion and I may be wrong about this – but I don’t think you have to choose. I think too many people allow others to affect their thoughts and their actions. I think it’s all just BS. It’s my hope that people can start saying “F.U.” to a stereotype. I can be an artist and I can be an intellectual. I can be creative and I can be a finance wiz. I can be a computer engineer and I can be a painter. Yes, they might be different sides of the brain you use, but why not work them both. I think it makes you more well rounded and I also think that you should strive to do something you don’t think ANYONE else has done just because it’s not the TYPICAL way to do things – from what you think or have been told.
You mention to Authority Magazine that you worry about the socioeconomic effects of wealth disparity on vital financial literacy and knowledge. How do you think that we can work towards solving this issue? Do you have any specific plans?
I really don’t yet. I know that I grew up not learning ANY of that stuff, and just through my own reading and learning have learned more real-world things that many of my friends that went to school for finance or economics or business have. With all the resources we have handy these days, I actually believe that people can learn and become experts in anything they put their minds on. Take for instance YouTube. Years ago we didn’t have this thing that we could just type into a search bar and find tips on ANYTHING you wanted. I know a lot of guys on there, including myself, teaching real deal type life financial lessons and I just hope that people that need it, find it. I mean – I just found a video last summer on “how to clean my gas grill” because I didn’t know and I figured I would just “youtube it” – sure enough, I found a perfect video with visuals. It’s out there and basically, anyone with internet access can watch it.
Are there any future endeavors – anything at all – that you hope to accomplish post-Corona?
Well, I really hope Corona goes away really soon for all the reasons possible, especially for acting. I miss so much being on set. I really have a lot of things I want to accomplish there and it hasn’t been easy and productions haven’t been going on as much because of corona.
Lastly, to paint a more humanizing portrait of you, I would love it if you could speed run through a couple of “favorites” so that readers get a better sense of who you are.
- Favorite book: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
- Favorite piece of advice: Don’t talk about it, be about it.
- Go-to Musical Artist/Album: Empire of the Sun
- Favorite food: Porterhouse Steak Medium Rare
Is there anything else that you would like to say to Cliche readers?
You only have one life and there is an UNLIMITED supply of information out there at your fingertips. Whatever it is you want to do, but you may be feeling like you cannot do it – find ways to overcome those obstacles and focus on how to bring your dreams to life. Once you figure out how to overcome yourself, you can do mostly anything.
This article has been lightly edited for clarity.