While growing up in the small town of Waxahachie, Texas, Donny Boaz had absolutely no aspirations for the Hollywood scene. Through and through, he was dedicated to sports and used that as his motivation in life. In 1999, at the age of 18, Boaz walked through the doors of a Navy recruiting office with the intent of signing enlistment papers. As fate would have it, life opened another door of opportunity for him: he was offered both a football scholarship and a modeling contract. The decision to pursue those opportunities would not only lead him around the world, it would also eventually lead him back somewhat full circle, in a way, and back to the Navy.
After moving back to the United States from Paris at the age of 23, a hesitant Boaz signed with multiple acting agencies and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly he landed the role of Pfc. Patrick Miller in the television movie, Saving Jessica Lynch. Preparing for that role and the rigorous training required struck a chord with Boaz and he fell in love with acting. After spending a few years building his resumé with independent movies, Boaz won a role on the drama series, Queen of the South. Unfortunately, his character ended up being cut from the show but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He completed a taped audition for an upcoming series and five days later, he received word he had won the role of portraying Beauregard "Buck" Buckley in SIX on the History Channel, based on Navy SEAL Team Six.
Preparing for the role of Buck was no easy task. Boaz and his fellow actors were required to participate in real-life Navy SEAL training. Although Boaz considers himself a seasoned athlete, his years of athleticism still could not prepare him for the rigors of Navy SEAL training. "It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life," said Boaz. "Absolutely nothing compares to training for twenty-four or sixty-eight hours straight of training." Navy SEAL training is not about being the best athlete, it is centered around the motto "leave no man behind" and to work as a team.
For him, Boaz said the hardest thing to overcome was the fact the mind wants to give up before the body. He had to remind himself mentally to keep going and keep pushing. Regardless of the brutal training he and his fellow actors endured, Boaz says the best part of it was the fact that the six actors entered the training as strangers and came out as brothers. This sentiment, if often echoed among our nation's military members and brothers-in-arms, are often referred to as brothers for life.
Throughout his life, Boaz had built up Navy SEALS to be like superheroes. But Boaz is proud that the series SIX shows the human side of the Navy SEALS as well. "You don't just see the hero side," said Boaz. "You see the everyday stuff they deal with, like worrying about tuition costs, and paying bills." With three million viewers last week during the series premiere, SIX has already reached out and touched many members of the military including active-duty, veterans, retirees, as well as spouses. Boaz has had several people reach out to him and express their approval at how the series represents the Navy SEALS. With several members of his family currently serving in the military, including his sister, who has been in the Navy for 15 years, Boaz finds himself humbled at what our members of the military are willing to put on the line.
Boaz hopes that viewers will continue to enjoy the series, SIX but more importantly, he hopes that this series will also help shine a light on the national crisis regarding the care of our veterans. Before filming the series, Boaz was unaware that an average 22 veterans commit suicide each day. This fact is something he finds unacceptable and is passionate about seeing changes made. "We need to start taking care of our veterans," he said. "A soldier doesn't always agree with why he's fighting, but he does it for the person on his left and his right."
While Hollywood may not have been in his life plan early on, Hollywood sure came calling. Boaz's acting skills have allowed him to taste the world of the Navy SEALS and the opportunity to portray the best of the best on television. An opportunity that Boaz finds himself extremely grateful for and proud of. Be sure to watch Donny Boaz in the television series, SIX, on the History Channel on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m.