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A Starring Role for CFA Alum

Recent grad Ryan Sypek (CFA’04) finds Hollywood success on the series Wildfire.

Photo by John Russo

Forget waiting tables. Just three months after heading west to sunny Los Angeles, Ryan Sypek (CFA’04) got his big break — a lead role in ABC Family’s hit series Wildfire. Sypek plays wealthy bad-boy turned soul-searcher Junior Davis on the drama, which centers on the life of troubled teenage girl Kris Furillo (Genevieve Cortese), who works on a horse ranch after she is released from juvenile hall.

Originally from Wayland, Mass., Sypek moved to Hollywood shortly after graduating and got a job parking cars to make ends meet while pursuing an acting career. When Wildfire auditions were announced, Sypek arrived to try out for a different role, but network execs were so impressed with his audition that they created a new part for him.

For Sypek, acting every day was an invaluable part of his education at Boston University. He enjoyed the professional atmosphere at CFA, and its conservatory style program was just the right fit for him. “I feel like coming out of the gate I had a real good work ethic, and it just improved my confidence that I could do this,” he says. At the University, Sypek performed in classics such as Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. He also played Jack in The Rose Tattoo for the Huntington Theatre Company.

Now, Sypek splits his time between Albuquerque, N.M., where the show is filmed, and Los Angeles. “Going to the beach year-round is a dream for me,” he says, although he misses Boston’s first bout of warm weather each spring, when everyone wears shorts. He had always wanted to learn how to surf, so his first paycheck went to a surfboard and a wet suit.

When the show began, Sypek thought that he and his character were nothing alike — Junior, he explains, used to be more of the spoiled playboy type. “I like to think of myself as a nice guy,” he says. “But the more that he changes during the show and tries to better himself, the more I can relate.”

Brittany Jasnoff can be reached at bjasnoff@bu.edu.