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Daniel Kyri is bringing the heat with his role on CHICAGO FIRE. Connecting to his character on the show, mirroring his growth, the talented actor finds his confidence and comfortability expanding more and more. Throughout his life, he has experienced poverty, institutionalized racism, lack of resources for education, and more. However, all those hardships have pushed him to keep bringing love and encouragement to the table. Pushing forth change and positive progress, Danel Kyri uses his platform for the greater good and we love it!

Do you recall your first scene ever on set of CHICAGO FIRE? Can you describe it to us?

It was my first day and I had a few scenes to do, but the most memorable was the stairwell scene with Christian Stolte where Ritter freezes up after taking a fireball to the face… it was a thrilling introduction to the show. The day was an example of such ordered chaos I think I was a bit in shock. Suddenly I was living my dream and there was smoke everywhere and unbearable heat and four cameras in my face and Stolte was my lifeline. We were in the moment together and everything just kind of clicked and the world started to make sense. I did my part and went home feeling like I gave all I could. It was such a moment of triumph for me I actually went home, had a good cry afterward, and then went on to perform as Hamlet at the Gift Theatre.

From that first scene to today, how has your character evolved? How have you evolved as an actor? 

Ritter has grown in confidence and capability. He has developed into an impassioned and damn good firefighter and has revealed himself to be a nuanced heart-on-his-sleeve type of guy. As an actor, my growth trajectory mimics Ritter’s. My confidence and comfortability on the job have expanded exponentially. I think I have Ritter to thank for that. I’ve learned so much from playing him.

What originally drew you to the series? 

Haha. The offer of consistent work.

Tell us more about how you work to end the issue of diversity within the industry and work in general. 

When I can, I prefer to focus on and tell stories that place the often-marginalized identities in Hollywood at the center of the narrative. I try to do this in my writing as well as my acting career.

What kind of obstacles have you faced and how have you overcome them?

I have overcome poverty, lack of resources and access to education, institutionalized racism (ongoing), and homophobia with the support of my community and family. Without community we are nothing. When we can stand together in support and fight back we find success. I am a product of my community in Chicago and around the world. They pour into and encourage me and I do the same for them. Being determined and ambitious doesn’t hurt either.

Do you have any stories you would like to share in which someone belittled you for your sexuality? If so, how did you face it?

I have been made to feel unwelcome or small more often because I am Black than because of my sexuality (though I have experienced homophobia as well)–on an individual and institutional leveI face it simply because I must. The world we live in offers no other recourse. I find the strength to face it because I know who I am. Either I change or the world must and I don’t plan on it anytime soon.

How can others help push forward change? 

We have to challenge others when we witness wrongdoing. We have to find courage in community and understand that we cannot survive without each other.  Risk something for what you know is right and let yourself be uncomfortable in your own learning process. That is how we generate and foster change.

What do you believe your purpose is?

My purpose is to be.

What comes next?


Talent Daniel Kyri @danielkyri
Photography Alexus McLane @alexhazelstudios
Interview Alexandra Bonnet @alexbonnetwrites