Credit: John Schell
The first thing you notice about Trevor Wayne is that he’s stealthy. Despite wearing all black (with a beard to boot) in a hoard of casually dressed downtowners winding down their Friday on the Ace Hotel rooftop, he still manages to stay out of plain sight when we meet him for our interview, obscured by a grand fanback wicker chair. This is, after all, a guy who worked for TMZ for 6 years.
Once we actually get settled in and start chatting, it becomes clear that this model/host/actor, whose Instagram bio says he’s “a bit of a smart ass but far from an asshole,” is all about having a good time, but never at the expense of others. The importance of mutual respect comes up several times in our interview, and each time a waiter or waitress comes over. Wayne asks them for their names so he can courteously address them and thank them as they swing by our table during the interview. It’s an extra step that’s not entirely obsolete, but definitely not commonplace.
It’s this combination of under-the-radar expertise (did you know he has a second degree black belt?), a potty mouth, and manners that make Wayne enjoyably confounding.
Keep reading for Part 1 of our interview with Trevor Wayne, covering his craziest experience while at TMZ, his side gig as a martial arts instructor, and how he ended up in Tori Spelling’s book, Uncharted Territori.
Check back for Part 2 soon!
Credit: John Schell
Zeus Beard: Where are you located?
Trevor Wayne: I’m currently located in Los Angeles. I’ve been here for 9 years.
What is your occupation?
By trade I’m a videographer. I came up to LA to pursue the film industry and I was working for TMZ. So I got really lucky in getting the job quickly. Then, as time went on, the hair on my face grew, and other opportunities started to present themselves, which is what I’m currently exploring.
So videographer, molded into model/actor/host.
What do you host?
A lot of my work has flowed into the social media realm, where I’ve been doing creative consulting, content creation, and hosting for various companies on Snapchat and Instagram where I’m a spokesperson for a brand. Which is cool, because ultimately what I’d like to do for a living is host TV.
Acting’s fun but it takes a really specific person to do true acting. The acting I’ve done has been great, a lot of commercial work for the most part. It’s nothing too dynamic, but I like that because I’m able to play a character that I’m comfortable with.
I’m also doing independent film work. I’m pitching TV shows to production companies. I’ve got my fingers in a bunch of different creative pots and I’m seeing which one strikes the most interest. Then I’ll put all my eggs into that basket. Right now my eggs are kind of scattered, which is alright. It’s nice to dabble in things and learn what your interests are.
You moved to Thailand at one point! Tell me more about your experience there.
I moved to Thailand for the culture and the food. They call Thailand the Land of Smiles, and once you go there you’ll realize why. Everybody was so genuinely nice, it was heartwarming, and I had a life-changing experience. It was the first I had been overseas. Ever since I was a little kid I had wanted to go to Thailand or Tokyo. Thailand came up first.
Credit: Lisa B. Photography
Credit: Zach Sutton
You did martial arts, including Muy Thai, when you were younger. Do you still do Muy Thai now?
As far as my martial arts experience, I am a 1st degree black belt. I started when I was 5, got my black belt when I was 12, and I kind of retired from that art when I was 18.
It seems like it would be really hard on your body too.
That’s funny that you say that, because it is! As a white Caucasian male, after a lot of research and listening to professionals in the medical field, they say typically that our bodies are not built to do the kind of stuff that martial arts demands. At least for long periods of time.
My dad is a second degree black belt, and he just had his second full hip replacement surgery from doing kicks and various other things, like surfing. But his doctor told him the main source of deterioration in his hips is martial arts. Today I’m a little banged up but that kind of goes with it.
I got into Muy Thai after I stepped out of the tae kwon do realm because I wanted to continue practicing martial arts and my favorite thing to do is throw kicks. I’m built kind of lanky, I’ve got long arms and long legs but I don’t like being the distance you need to be throw punches, which is close. I’d rather keep my distance. I feel safer doing that. That’s where kicks come in, especially when you have long legs.
So I did research and I was watching a lot of MMA and UFC when it was really starting to take off years ago, and the announcers would always talk about Muy Thai and how it’s the most effective stand-up martial art in the world. So I found a gym in my neighborhood and I fell in love with it. That was one of the driving factors to me going to Thailand.
Do you still practice martial arts?
I train Muy Thai consistently, 3 times a week. I have friends of mine who are getting into the sport. I have opened a lackadaisical home studio where I’m able to have friends come over who are interested in getting a taste of martial arts. It’s so nice to have people come over who have never really done something like that before, and then in a 3-week span see so much growth, so much subconscious understanding of what their body’s doing.
So you’re also a martial arts teacher?
Yeah, it’s very much a part of my background and molded who I am today. I think little kids should take martial arts because it gives the kids discipline, it forces them to adhere to the rules of the studio and respect the individual in front of them.
I’m a part-time instructor. It’s actually something I’ve considered doing full time.
I’ve seen your Instagram and it definitely doesn’t show your martial arts skills.
It’s nice to have that sleeper element, like a fighter. It’s nice to have the skill if and when it ever needs to come into play.
When you were 21 you came here to get into the entertainment industry.
A buddy of mine who lived up here a year before I did said, “dude, if you want to get into the film business you just gotta pack up your s*5# and move to L.A.” And being from San Diego, it’s really not that far of a move. So I said f&*^ it, let’s do it.
I packed up all my stuff, got in a truck, and moved up here. I didn’t know anybody other than my one friend, who helped me by introducing me to a bunch of people, acting like a launch pad here in LA.
I got lucky I was able to score a job working for TMZ 3 months into moving up here. That career lasted 6 years and it changed my life.
Credit: Lisa B. Photography
Any crazy stories?
In Malibu I would run into Tori Spelling all the time. She was really sweet. My office gave me an assignment to cover a story that had come out about Tori Spelling. She had a feud going on with her mom. They told me to ask her about the feud so they could continue an article they started.
I see her, it’s Sunday, and she and her husband had ridden their motorcycles to the country mart in Malibu. There were all these people, little kids, grandmas, looking for photos with those two. And they’re smiling and I’m like, ugh, I’m not about to go, “oh hey Tory, what’s going on with you and your mom?” So I decided not to.
I just didn’t feel it was the right time and I wasn’t going to get the reaction that I thought could have been caught in a different setting. So I decided to hold off.
Back in Malibu I ran into her again. She was holding her 3-year-old daughter. So I asked her what was going on. Tory looks down at her daughter and goes, “what’s he talking about? Are me and grandma fighting? I don’t know what he’s talking about.”
She looked at me and told me everything between her and her mom was fine.
For me, it’s all about how you treat people, how you respect one another, that’s what brings people together. Long story short, I ended up going up to Tory’s car before she pulled out of the parking lot. I didn’t have my camera in my hands. I knocked on the window, showed her I didn’t have anything in my hands, and she rolled down her window.
I go, “my name’s Trevor, I work for TMZ. I was supposed to ask you this question last Sunday but I didn’t feel it appropriate considering the amount of people around. I hope I didn’t offend you. I just wanted to let you know that it’s not my intention to piss you off.”
Before she rolls up her window she says, “that’s the nicest thing anyone in your position has ever said to me.”
Credit: Zach Sutton
She actually writes about these experiences between her and me in a book she released a few years ago called Uncharted Territori. In this one chapter, she talks about New York vs. LA paparazzi. In New York they’re really aggressive and they’re really close to you. They don’t care if your kids are crying, they need to get their shot. In LA they’re a little more laid back, more respectable, and keep their distance. Then she narrows it down to the guys in Malibu, where I was. She said, “these guys are like ninjas. They blend in to the surroundings, they wear surfer shorts and flip flops. They’re cool, they have a different demeanor.”
I would see her repeatedly once a week for the next month and this one day I pull up and she had pulled into her beach house. She didn’t recognize my car so she sat in her car for a while. I get out and wave my hands, like “hey, it’s me.”
I told her, “look, I’ve seen you driving around the last four or five days and I haven’t shot you. My office is crawling up my ass and I need to shoot something today. Maybe you can hook me up?”
She sighs and goes, “ok, fine. But you have to do me a favor first. Help me unload the groceries from my car.” So I put my stuff down and grabbed what I could.
So I went into her house and in the book, she describes the scene as being a mess. I don’t even remember it being messy to be honest. I just remember going, this is surreal, and when things are surreal, they happen so quickly. I was trying to take in the fact that I was in the kitchen with Tori Spelling, unloading her strawberries from Ralph’s.
Afterwards we shot something really fast. We went outside and I told her I would ask for her favorite hangover remedy.
I walked outside, made it look all natural. I said, “Hey Tori, what’s up? How are you? Yo, real quick, Tori, it’s Monday, your boy was a little slow getting up from that raging he was doing. What’s your favorite hangover remedy?”
She said, “sex.” I’m like, Jesus! I said, “sex, really?” And she said, "yes, every time I’m hung over my husband and I just have sex.” I was like, okay, um…stop recording. Thanks a lot. I’m not even turning it in. But they (work) thought it was hilarious.
She and I formed a relationship. I was pursuing independent TV show creation at the time and her husband was a producer. He’d meet me in the Valley and give me advice.
Follow Trevor Wayne on Instagram @TrevorWayne.