Dior Goodjohn is an actress who is a part of the upcoming HBO Max reboot of Head of The Class. Dior is playing Robyn Rook, a snarky, sarcastic, quick-witted gamer who is the unofficial leader of the debate class. Head of The Class will drop on HBO Max on November 4th. YEM was able to speak with Dior about how she got involved in acting, what audiences can expect from the Head of The Class series, and where she hopes to see herself in her acting career five years from now.
Young Entertainment Mag: How did you first get involved with acting?
Dior Goodjohn: I guess you could say I got my start in my living room reenacting scenes from TV shows and movies I enjoyed. The serendipity of it all is quite wild. Not too long before my parents had me, my dad decided to quit acting to help my mom start her office. So with the industry being a familiar subject to them, they figured it’s could be something I would enjoy doing and it couldn’t hurt to try.
YEM: What was it like when you found out that you were going to be a part of HBO Max’s Head of The Class reboot?
Dior: If we’re being 100% honest here, I was half asleep. Literally, I was in the middle of slumber when I got the call . it was snowy and gloomy in Illinois and I didn’t have much to do given the fact I had just got there and school I was on break. So I took one of those long winter naps I woke up to nearly 15 missed calls from my mom and my team. I got on the phone all drowsy and they proceeded to ask me how the weather was, I had no clue what was going on. So I did what anybody would do would being asked about the weather… I told them it was snowing and both Stella [my agent] and Rachel [my manager] busted out laughing. They responded with “you know we’re not calling you about the weather, right?” Once I figured out what was going on, I totally lost it and ended up screaming, jumping, laughing and crying all within the same 30 seconds of finding out. My dad and I did a little victory dance in the kitchen and celebrated by free styling over Dre beats all night long hahaha.
YEM: Did you watch the original Head of The Class series?
Dior: I actually had no idea what “Head of the Class” was at the time of the first audition. I’ve never been the person to do extensive research for an audition because I have a tendency to psych myself out. It was only when I got further into the audition process and I was telling my dad about it, that the original HOTC was brought to my attention. I was telling him all about the soon to be sitcom and he stopped me in the middle of my sentence almost in disbelief and said “you mean that show Robin Givens was in???”, sat me down and had me watch the first 15 minutes of the pilot with him.
YEM: Was being on set different than you anticipated? Why or why not?
Dior: I don’t think I went into it with any expectations. Obviously I had that momentary shock the first day physically on set, but I wasn’t in a consistent state of disbelief. everything just felt right. The right time, right place, right people. I was exactly where I needed to be.
YEM: What is the hair and makeup process like?
Dior: All I can say is come Thursday and Friday you better be ready to turn up with Linda and Patricia! The hair and make up rooms are my favorite places to be besides set on shoot days. The energy is always yes work focused, yet light and fun. Patricia and Linda are practically my therapists at this point, and it’s always the best music in there. The best vibes, the best people. Our entire hair and make up team is amazing at their jobs and we all look flawless at the end of the day.
YEM: Without spoiling the show, what can audiences expect from the reboot of the original series?
Dior: What I would like viewers to know is that this is a show you can sit down and watch with your family and thoroughly enjoy together. This was my comfort project so I’m definitely hoping that this can be a comfort show for you too. And definitely watch out for love notes being passed around in the teacher’s lounge! Hahahaha….
YEM: What is it like working with Robin Givens?
Dior: I wasn’t in any scenes with her and with Covid precautions I only got to see her once on set. We were informed that Robin Givens was going to be with us that day and the whole class started lingering between the sets. We were all kind of bugging out at the fact that Robin Givens was in the same soundstage as us. However, one thing I can say is that she has such a kind heart. They were about to rehearse the living room scene with her, Brandon, and Jolie, and right before they started she came down to say hi to all of us, congratulate us on the show, and take advantage of the photo opp. Immediately I felt welcomed by her. She was lively, caring, and overall open and receptive. It’s definitely high up in my top five moments and I would love the opportunity to be able to work with her again.
YEM: What’s the hardest line that you’ve ever had to deliver?
Dior: I’m honestly not quite sure. In terms of HOTC, the show is a sitcom, so things did flow very easily. But during the pilot, we were filming a scene in the coffee shop that was a generally serious moment between two of the characters and Bill had us do an alternate take where mid scene me and Jolie have this comedic relief whisper moment, where we refer to Luke’s mom. And we could not stop cracking up at each other. I can almost guarantee you that there’s at least 10 takes of us hysterically laughing and not being able to breathe while trying to film this like, “emotional turning” point in the episode.
YEM: When was a time where you faced a challenge in acting and how did you overcome it?
Dior: Being an actor is a challenge in and of itself. You’re faced with such challenges from the jump and they never necessarily stop, so you’re constantly having to work through something. However, there was this one time, I want to say a month and a half before receiving the HOTC audition, where I felt totally burnt out and wanted to go cold turkey with the whole acting thing. I was just so frustrated because when I tell you I’ve been auditioning my entire life it’s true. I set foot in this industry at nine months of age and never stoped never stoped auditioning. Starting in the third grade, there were times where almost every day of the week I was getting picked up early from school to drive all across LA for multiple auditions, only to not book anything. I always put my best foot forward and slapped on a smile but after seven years of consistent pushing, I was just tired. I could never condense exactly what it was that kept me going into a simple sentence so I’ll give you this instead. I don’t know what it was that made me continue to push, but every time I would consider giving up there was just some thing inside me that wouldn’t let me stop. It wasn’t a guilt thing or fear of throwing away progress but more so me calling my own bluff, because I knew I could never stop even if I wanted to. It is who i am. It was my way of expression when I felt like I couldn’t trust the people around me, not even my family, or myself for that matter with my truest emotions and traumas. inside of the script was the one place I was allowed to be completely honest about what I was feeling was no repercussions. I could release it into the void, and be applauded for what I was the most fearful of within myself. acting was a constant in life, so even if I wasn’t booking auditioning was a way for me to keep my sanity (counter intuitive, I know) and maintain stability.
YEM: Who is your biggest role model and why?
Dior: My biggest role model would have to be my mother. ( *gasp* how cliché of me hahaha )
My mom has been put through the ringer. Each time things would seem to get better the universe would test her but she continued to persevere. Even while being a single mother and losing the people she loved the most, she stayed strong for me and refused to give in. The respect I hold for her not just as my mother but as a human being is through the roof. I admire her strength and aspire to be as resilient as her throughout my life.
YEM: If you had the opportunity to play any Disney or Marvel character, who would it be and why?
Dior: Definitely either Black Widow, Rogue, or Storm. I think I could relate to Storm in the way that she carries herself to where she doesn’t have to do a lot for people to respect her or understand when she means business. She’s kind, strong, and playful but can x you out in the drop of a hat and somehow make it look regal. Rogue would be cool to play considering she’s one of the very few female Marvel characters that gets to step into the role of both hero and villain. Her duality as well as her adaptability is what intrigues me the most. And I think it’s safe to say anybody would jump on the chance to embody Black Widow if they could. She was the first female superhero I watched on screen so it just holds a special space in my heart. She’s always cool and collected no matter what bind she’s gotten into, and I think it’s pretty dope she’s able to use that dark feminine energy to her advantage.
YEM: How have you grown as an actor from your first acting project to now?
Dior: One thing is that, my mindset about acting has changed. Obviously I enjoyed acting from the get or else I wouldn’t be here but I allowed it to get toxic at a certain point. I would worry and stress over the stupidest things like what shirt I was wearing doing the audition and if the way I did my hair would affect me getting a call back or not. I stopped caring about impressing people or being the most competitive/sought out person in the waiting room and I started acting for myself. As long as I’ve put my best foot forward and was happy with my own work, I’ll be good. And as soon as I stopped worrying about the material things and let the universe guide my success, that’s when the opportunities started to become clear in front of me.
YEM: What is the best acting advice that you’ve been given?
Dior: To act for yourself and because you love doing it not out of fear or out of greed.
YEM: Where do you hope to see yourself in your acting career five years from now?
Dior: Five years from now I will have been in 3 major motion pictures/ blockbusters. One of which is an action film the other two are academy award nominated and have broken records for box office ticket sales. I am an executive producer on two single cams in one sitcom, all of which are Emmy nominated and two of them are multi Emmy winners. “Head of the Class” is on its last season and I’ve been offered the opportunity to Direct a film which I have created.
YEM: What does it take to be an actor?
Dior: To be an actor takes drive, self-love, utter dedication, and copious amounts of faith in yourself and what you do.