Sheldon Bailey Tells Uinterview About His Role In 'Shameless' [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
In September, Sheldon Bailey auditioned for a small part on the Showtime hit series, Shameless. Before Bailey returned home from the audition, he learned he had landed the role.
“I started off with what I felt was a pretty short audition and I booked it,” he told Uinterview exclusively. “It was probably the quickest job I ever booked. I booked it before I even got home and I thought it was just going to be a one episode thing and it’s turned into a pretty heavy role throughout the season with eight episodes.”
Sheldon Bailey Has Fun Behind The Scenes Of Shameless With Co-Stars Emma Greenwell and Noel Fisher (Photo: courtesy of Sheldon Bailey)
“I went in and did my thing and then literally on my drive home, which is probably like 40 minutes from Burbank, I got the call from my agent and she was like, “they want to book you” and was like, what, that’s crazy, I just left.”
On Shameless, Bailey plays Kenyatta, a love interest for Mandy Milkovich (Emma Greenwell). The two hook up while Lip Gallagher (Jeremy Allen White) is away at college and things could get messy when Lip returns from school. Initially, Bailey’s character was only scheduled to be in only one episode. However, the producers kept writing his character into more episodes throughout the season. His role just kept getting bigger.
“Shooting at Warner Brothers and going to the sound stage every day has kind of been like a dream come true,” Bailey said of his first role as a reoccurring character.
Sheldon Bailey On Set Of Shameless (Photo: courtesy of Sheldon Bailey)
Bailey said that his “coming out party as an actor” takes place in the ninth episode of this season, "The Legend of Bonnie and Carl," which airs March 16.
“That’s my biggest episode with my character,” Bailey told Uinterview. “Everything that I’m doing. There’s a lot of action. It gets intense.”
Sheldon Bailey's Basketball History
Bailey, a former college basketball player, played high school ball with Amar’e Stoudamire and Jarrett Jack at Mount Zion Academy in North Carolina.
After attending college at Florida International University (FIU), he played professionally overseas, including a stint for the Shanghai Sharks, Yao Ming’s former team.
Unsurprisingly, Bailey stood out a bit while in China. (He’s 6’6’’, even though he’s only listed as 6’5’’ on his IMDB page.)
“Being a big black guy in China, you get a lot of eyes. We caused a lot of bike accidents,” he said.
“I remember I was walking and his head was glued on backwards and he crashed into the median. He was OK though,” Bailey said of a specific crash.
In addition to having a passion for basketball, Bailey is a poet. He has been writing poetry for more than a decade and first started during his sophomore year in college.
At FIU, Bailey became the residential poet of sorts and introduced and opened up for special guests at the school, including Maya Angelou.
Sheldon Bailey And LeBron James (Photo: Doogie Benisch)
Before his turn on Shameless, Bailey was best known for his work in commercials. He has been a body double for numerous athletes including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, who Bailey said is particularly nice, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Calvin Johnson and Kobe Bryant.
Fans can watch Bailey on the final four episodes of season four. New episodes of Shameless air on Showtime on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST.
– Matt Castello