Secrets Uncovered: Wesam Keesh Talks ‘Awkward’ and Developing a Feeling of Brotherhood within the Acting Community
Wesam Keesh admits he can be kind of a weird and awkward guy, and that might just be what helped him land his first recurring role on a television series.
The quirky actor, born to immigrant parents, relocated from Oklahoma to pursue his dreams in Los Angeles, CA, where he has been weathering the ups and downs of trying to make it in Hollywood — putting his resilience to the test.
But since the summer of 2011, Keesh has gotten to channel his inner quirks and weirdness in what can be called a breakthrough role of sorts — portraying the very eccentric Kyle Cohen on MTV’s critically lauded high school drama, fittingly titled Awkward.
Kyle is not a huge role, though a memorable one. He’s someone who has unabashedly announced he has a passion for staying indoors, tweezers, and smelling dead things. One time he had a dream he ordered sushi with human flesh in it…and liked it. Then he woke up and the bed was wet.
Despite his bizarre tastes, the character oozes a refreshing and endearing authenticity with a happy-go-lucky charm — in contrast with his peers, who are often writhing with anxiety or insecurity as they deal with the hormonal trials and tribulations of being teenagers.
Kyle is introduced in season one wearing a “Jenna Lives” T-shirt as he stalks the star of the show, the angsty and initially unpopular Jenna Hamilton played by Ashley Rickards.
The T-shirt’s slogan is in reference to Jenna’s accident when she breaks her arm at the very beginning of the series — an incident the student body has misconstrued as a suicide attempt, a scandal thrusting her into the spotlight.
“In the beginning, he was like stalker weird,” Keesh says of his role. “Second season he was like nerdy weird. Third season he’s like sexually weird. His stages and phases — it’s like any high school student.” Keesh can be seen in the fourth season of MTV’s Awkward, which premiered on September 23.
And when he’s not getting into character, Keesh hosts an interview-driven podcast dedicated to providing encouragement and enlightenment to fellow actors. After all, landing roles in Hollywood is not a competition to him.
“If I go into an audition room, I’m not going to try to be Tom Cruise or Tom Hardy,” Keesh says. “They’re them. I’m Wesam. Nobody can do me better than me. That’s impossible. So why compete? Everybody is different.”
“If you’re a true artist, then you’re thinking about this character and living truthfully in this moment. That’s where the real artists get separated from the people who just want to be famous. Living in the moment truthfully… that’s where the real special things in life happen.”
In the podcast below, Keesh shares with GALO his secrets to getting in character and how he hopes to foster increased brotherhood within the acting community.
You can catch “Awkward” on MTV at 10/9c on Tuesdays. In addition, full episodes are available on MTV.com. || Featured image courtesy of Benjo Arwas.