Fault Magazine Exclusive photoshoot and Interview With Maliq Johnson

Photographer | Alex Hopkins
Fashion Editor + Creative Director + Producer | Chaunielle Brown
Grooming | Emily Amick
Videographer | Yohance Barton
Fashion Assistants | Lindsay Morton, Megan Hollis, Nem Fisher
Behind The Scenes Photographer | Amber Nicole @amberink
Special Thanks | The Williamsburg Hotel & Fabbrica Nyc

Words: Miles Holder

Grand Army has proved to be one of the most influential shows to release on Netflix last year. It’s hard, yet rooted in realism take on teenage life has been praised by viewers and critiques alike, and one reason for such high praise is the exciting young cast who will no doubt go on to even greater things. One cast member in particular Maliq Johnson captivated audiences with his performance. We caught up with Maliq to discuss his time on the show, acting process and of course, his FAULTs.

When you were filming Grand Army, was there a feeling on set that you were all creating something as meaningful as the project ended up being?

Absolutely. We all put 110% effort into this project because while it was an unspoken condition, all of the cast felt how important the show was. For specific stories, like Dominque’s, it felt so real to all of us and seemed really important that we all got behind that character to support her when she needed it. We all supported each other, and it couldn’t have gone better.

Because Grand Army is grounded in realism, did it make it harder for you to leave Jason’s character on set each day?

It still feels like I got Jason with me. His story is not too different from people that I know. The only difference is that he wasn’t aware that he’s a young black man in America at such a young age; he was hidden from it.

With the emotional toll from playing roles so rooted in reality, would you prefer your next part to be something further away from home?

I’m down for anything, but the real-life stories feel especially important in this the time that we’re in. People have a good time watching projects less rooted in realism, but it won’t stick with you as much as Grand Army does. I get messages from people about how the show inspired them and how it changed their lives, which is really important.

With the success around Grand army there has been a lot of fanfare around the cast – do you feel added pressure to live up to the hype?

I don’t really feel any pressure – I feel incredibly blessed. God’s not going to put me in a position that I can’t handle. As long as I focus on the task at hand, I feel like I can do anything – it’s just about how hard I work at it. At this point, I don’t know how else to explain it. Not in a cocky way, but I do feel like I can do anything that I put 100% effort into.

What’s the most challenging hurdle you’ve had to overcome on your acting journey?

Focusing and telling myself that I need to go 110% and take it seriously if I want to do this. I used to get distracted with wanting to play sports and do other things, but when you sat back and really thought about it, I told myself that acting was the right path for me.

Neon Jacket | Tri Collective
Velvet Long Sleeve | Dirty Pineapple
Gold Cross Necklace | Maliq’s Own
Silver Necklaces | Harlin Jones
Shorts | Alife
Socks | Hanes
Boots | Dr Martens

If you could go back and leave yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Believe in yourself. That’s really what I had to do in order to push the envelope. I didn’t believe that I could do it, which is why I wasn’t going as hard at I could have, but then once you find the confidence to take that first step, the journey becomes easier.

Stripe Suit | Rowing Blazers
Velvet Long Sleeve | Dirty Pineapple
Gold Cross Necklace | Maliq’s Own
Silver Necklaces | Harlin Jones
Boots | Dr Martens

What would be your dream role?

Miles Morales! I could definitely see myself doing that. When I watched Into The Spier Verse, I fell in love with his story. I’m looking at this black kid with a curly fro who is also so layered and just felt like “wow, I could play him.”

What’s something you’ve done to protect your mental health?

2020 brought me closer to God; I worked on my relationship with God, which brought me a lot of peace because it helped me take a step back from a lot of my problems that I thought were really big. It turned out that my problems were minimal, and it helped let go and brush it off. That’s also helped me focus more on my craft, so it was a huge deal for me.

What is your FAULT?

I can check out from time to time if I’m in a social circle the first few hours I’m all game, but then I check out and might miss what everyone’s talking about.