Growing up in Texas, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS’ Donny Boaz (Chance) admitted to Soaps In Depth that he was completely focused on sports. “I had such blinders on — that was my life. In high school, I went from cross-country to football, basketball, baseball, tennis — rinse and repeat.”
It wasn’t until he landed a scholarship playing football at a small private college that his world took an unexpected turn. While making money on the side as a personal trainer, Boaz was approached by a woman who suggested that he try modeling. “I told her that I wasn’t interested, and she was like, ‘How about I pay for 10 personal training sessions with you; will you let me take you to the modeling agency then?’ I was like, ‘You know that’s $600, right?’” he laughed at the recollection. “So, I trained her, and she achieved her goals, and she brought me to a modeling agency in Dallas.”
That didn’t go exactly as one might think. “The first thing they said to me was, ‘Kid, you’ve got a good look, but your ears stick out,’” chuckled Boaz. “There’s a stubborn side to me that doesn’t like being told no, so all I did my freshman year was grow out my hair! Then I took some pictures, went back to the agency, and they were like, ‘This is you?’ They got the paperwork and said, ‘Sign here, here and here!’” Boaz’s first job was an ad for Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. “I had to sit on a couch and smile, and they paid me $150 an hour for two hours. That was more than I made in a whole week as a personal trainer!” With that kind of incentive, the hunk balanced college with modeling for such fashion powerhouses as Abercrombie & Fitch and Calvin Klein.
Yet when his Calvin Klein underwear ad caused a brouhaha with college higher-ups, he decided to ditch academia for modeling and runway gigs around the world. “Between the ages 19 and 25, I went to about 33 to 35 countries. There were times when I was on seven flights in seven days!” Much like how he got into modeling, an acting agent approached Boaz, urging him to try out for a role in the movie Saving Jessica Lynch. “I booked it! And the thing I really fell in love with about acting was the training,” he shared. “I had a week-long training in military weapons, vehicles… I was getting to learn really cool stuff! Afterwards, I went out on my second, third, fourth and fifth casting call, and I booked all of the roles!”
The films were shot in Texas. “I moved to L.A., thinking I’m this badass actor with my whole five credits,” he recalled with a laugh. “I quickly realized that I was a minnow in an ocean! I ran out of money and went back to Texas with my tail between my legs. But I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t wait on other people to make it happen. You have to make it happen yourself!” To that end, Boaz buckled down and “went on hundreds of auditions, anything I could get my hands on — student films, feature films, whatever! Over the course of two years, I ended up booking like 20 projects. Then I came back to L.A. with a real resumé, and doors finally began to open!”
In fact, the Texas transplant had already booked a Western film when he got the call to audition for Chance — and 24 hours later, he’d landed the juicy role. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little tear in my eye!” Boaz admitted. “I don’t know if it fell, but I was really happy! Chance is such a badass. He’s James Bond meets Jason Bourne! What I like about him is he is a really cool guy. On a scale of one to 10 of being a good guy, he’s an 11! I really like this guy. He always wants to help. The frivolous things in life — money, cars, fame, fortune — don’t mean anything to him. He just wants to make an impact in somebody else’s life. He will always wear the white hat!”
At least, so he thinks. But Boaz said that he’s prepared for any soap twist that may be ahead. “When I get the next script, it feels like I’m unwrapping a present,” he marveled. “What’s going to happen next? I have no idea, but I’m looking forward to the journey!”
For more from your favorite Y&R stars, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine