Tyler Perry wasn’t impressed with her billboard advertisement, but aspiring actress Racquel Bailey doesn’t regret taking her shot.
Determined to work with the actor and filmmaker, Bailey boldly paid for a roadside billboard to advertise her acting services. The sign read: “Attention Mr. Perry/ Racquel Bailey is your next leading lady,” and included her headshot and contact information.
Her bid to capture the Madea actor’s attention worked, but probably not in the way she was hoping. Almost a month after the billboards were first erected, Perry responded on Facebook, writing, “This is not the way to get my attention if you’re looking for a role in one of my shows. Please DON’T DO THIS, SAVE YOUR MONEY!! This is the third time that someone has done this.”
He continued, “I know the message that you want to send is a positive one, but this comes across as the opposite.” He also noted that he was already aware of Bailey’s talents thanks to her performance on HBO’s The Night Of. “And by the way, you were great in THE NIGHT OF! It was my favorite show a couple years ago. I ALREADY SAW YOU!! So just audition and keep your money!!”
EW has reached out to Tyler Perry for comment.
In regards to Perry’s response, Bailey told EW, “It didn’t make me feel rainbows and butterflies. When I decided to do this, I didn’t know what the response would be. Last time, I didn’t get any response from him and I wasn’t expecting really much out of this time as well, but I had to take a chance.”
Bailey added that she tried a similar tactic over seven years ago, paying $1,400 for a billboard that never received a formal response. This time around, Bailey wanted to enhance her approach and shared that there are actually two advertisements — one large and one small — currently standing in the Atlanta metropolitan area with the same message. She says the signs cost a combined total of just over $2,000.
“This decision to put up a billboard, though it was directed at Tyler Perry, it wasn’t motivated by him,” said Bailey. “I have two beautiful children whom I love to take care of and that is my day-to-day job. I want to show them to go after their dreams, more so than tell them.”
Bailey explained that her children, a 13-year-old son and 11-month-old daughter, kept her from being deterred or discouraged. “When [my son] gets ready to go for football tryouts, when he’s getting ready to try out for rugby or the school play, he will remember that his mom got told a ‘no’ and she still went out for it. That means more to me more than anything, more than getting a role, more than a booking, more than Tyler Perry’s approval.”
While things might not have worked out with Perry, Bailey said that when the billboards first went up in the area surrounding Perry’s studio, its representatives reached out and invited her in for an audition.