Fans didn’t know much about Tajh Bellow when he landed the role of TJ Ashford in a recast made necessary by Tequan Richmond’s casting in the lead role on the BET show Boomerang. It was Bellow’s first role on a daytime drama despite having a decade of roles on primetime and in film. Maurice Benard sought to remedy that with an intimate sit-down on this week’s episode of his video podcast show, State Of Mind, and the two dug into more of the actor’s intriguing background.
Maurice Benard & Tajh Bellow: Getting His Attention
Benard’s (Sonny Corinthos) passion is shining a light on mental health issues to get the information out there, literally, changing people’s lives by having guests reveal their personal struggles. And what better way to get to know his fellow General Hospital castmate than talking to Bellow about his struggle with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)?
Bellow described the early symptoms that showed up in school that clued his family in on the problem. “I would crack my jaw. I was cracking it in class because I was bored, and I was bored all the time. The teacher thought it was issues with my jaw, but no, it was really just stimulation. Like I just needed something else to happen, and someone could say that’s a compulsion, but it’s not. Do you know what I mean?” The young actor summed it up succinctly, “I can focus it’s just the inability of my body to regulate what I should be focusing on.”
He gave a more current analogy of how it affects him in everyday life. “Let’s say I have to leave in 30 minutes, so all I’m going to do is the dishes, and then I’m leaving, so I’m doing the dishes, right? This is executive dysfunction [a behavioral symptom that disrupts a person’s ability to manage their own thoughts, emotions, and actions].
“That is one symptom, and then I see something else like all the way over there, and I should do that as well as I’m doing this, but I had to finish the dishes,” he continued. “Finally, I found this thing that I lost two weeks ago it’s here, it could have been here, but it is there, and then it is, ‘Oh my God! I’m five minutes late.’ It’s just the side missions and this confidence that’s false about how much time you have to complete certain things.”
Medications like Adderall helped Bellow maintain his focus, discipline, and attention. “I just feel normal, to be honest with you.”
*Seek medical advice if you suspect ADHD and need treatment.
Tajh Bellow: His Inspiration For Not Making Excuses
Everyone has someone in their background that inspired them to grow and be better. For Bellow, it is his younger sister, Maya. “My sister is a constant light as well as a constant reminder of what I have to be thankful for. My sister is legally blind. That is often something interesting to define because she has no vision in one of her eyes and extremely low vision in the other, so she cannot operate machinery. She can’t drive. She can perceive a lot of things, but she literally tripped last year over something that she didn’t see and broke her arm. It’s a fine line.
“She’s inspiring to me because she is a writer,” he added. “She draws. She just shows me that every step she takes is three or more than I have to accomplish with anything that I do. It reminds me of what excuses I might be making to myself today. I have to tell myself, ‘You need to get up. You need to be efficient and do what you need to do because you don’t have to struggle to perceive something right in front of you.’” He lit up just speaking of her influence. “My little sister…her other senses are crazy, both spiritual and physical. She’s amazing.”
Benard was moved by his co-star’s story and excised more of his background, such as growing up in Texas, his decision to act at a very early age, giving up a career as a professional tennis player, landing roles early on in films like Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Kimberly Elise, and Role Models with Sean William Scott and Paul Rudd, and how it helped him grow as an actor.
The actor spoke of his multiple auditions for Disney shows before landing K.C. Undercover with singer/actress Zendaya, competing with her for a role in Drumline, including her audition surprise, and working on Girl Meets World with Ben Savage. Of course, the two men covered some details about TJ’s current storyline on General Hospital. Learn more about ADHD and his sister’s influence on the full episode of State Of Mind.
To find out more about ADHD, go to NIMH. Fans can follow Tajh Bellow on Twitter or Instagram. Follow Maurice Benard on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. To follow State Of Mind and subscribe go to YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest that’s been posted on GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
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