After wrapping up his final moments as Jude on The Fosters, Hayden Byerly reflects on the five years he spend on the award-winning show—including that historical gay kiss and how playing Jude changed his life. Plus, we find out what he’s working on next in our Summer 2018 issue.
What was your favorite part about playing Jude?
I don’t think I had a favorite part. I learned so much from him and the show. I grew as two people and experienced so much in a short time. I’m just happy about all of it. There’s not a bad thing I have to say. It all made me extremely happy.
Looking back, what did it mean for you to play the youngest gay character to kiss on national television?
It had such a huge and remarkable impact on so many people. I am incredibly proud and honored to be a straight ally and hope that people never forget Jude.
What do you think it meant for the LGBT youth that watched?
It’s important for our society to accurately and respectfully portray how things actually are. Especially for us to use the media to promote positivity. It reaches out to so many people and can drastically affect and change their lives. I hope that they found comfort in Jude and because of that they are proud to be who they are.
What will you miss the most about filming The Fosters?
I’ll miss everything. Nothing is ever the same. Every experience is different. I hope to continue to work and grow and do more in my career. No matter what, nothing will ever be like The Fosters. It’s unique and special. I won’t forget the countless memories and lessons I learned.
The Fosters was a show that strived to open minds and teach valuable lessons. Can you tell us one thing you learned from the show?
I learned to focus on trying to understand people and to not be afraid of the unknown. You never know what someone is going through. Just be compassionate and help the people who need it. It doesn’t take much to change someone’s life for the better.
So there’s a spin-off happening. Will Jude make an appearance?
I think that we all know you can never really get rid of Judicorn. Even when you move around, grow up and change, your family is still your family. Think about all the holidays in a year or family vacations. You never get rid of your family.
If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing?
I don’t know what I would be doing if I wasn’t acting. It just seems so weird to think about doing anything else. This is what I love and I’m passionate about. It makes me unbelievably and incredibly happy, so I’m going to keep doing it as long as I can and try my hardest.
What’s your dream role?
I don’t really have a dream role. There’s so many things that I would love to do. There are so many characters I want to play and so much I want to experience and broaden my range as an actor. I can only hope to be good enough to do so many different things and be so many different people.
Who’d you like to work with?
I think the fun is not knowing who you’re going to work with next. I’ve met some remarkable people from the set of The Fosters that I never thought I would. So, I cannot wait to see what crazy people I find on the next set.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on a lot of things right now. I am trying to produce a show, I’m trying to pitch one that I have created, working on Hayden’s Hope Totes, and I just recently released a clothing line that I created. With the help of a company called Department of Good, I was able to partner with I Start Change and launch seven graphic designs that I created with a very talented artist. I’m really just trying to stay busy, and of course, I’m out and about auditioning.
STORY DARREN BRIDGES
PHOTOS JERRY MAESTAS
Read more in Volume III, Issue No. 003 – Summer 2018.