On HBO’s “Euphoria,” Javon Walton convincingly plays the underage drug dealer “Ashtray,” but on Dick’s Sporting Goods’ runway Wednesday night, he was all about being an ambitious athlete.
Composed and all-business in an Under Armour sweatshirt, turtleneck, basketball shorts and untied high-tops, the young actor wasn’t faking it. A Junior Olympic boxing prodigy, the 13-year-old started working with the athletic label at the age of eight. His endorsement of Under Armour can be seen in a commercial with The Rock. Accustomed to two daily workouts totaling four hours of exercise, Walton seems to have parlayed that athletic discipline into his acting skills — with a little help from the “Euphoria” star Zendaya.
After his runway debut, the Georgia-born Walton lived up to his “Wanna” nickname in an interview, while his father listened in from the wings.
WWD: When did you first start working with Under Armour?
Javon Walton: Man, I got picked up for the Under Armour Next team when I was about eight years old so our relationship just grew from there.
WWD: Do you know Under Armour’s chief executive officer Kevin Plank personally?
J.W.: I don’t but I’d like to meet him.
WWD: Is this the first show that you’ve done?
J.W.: “Euphoria,” yeah, definitely.
WWD: Actually, I meant the Dick’s fashion show. Were you nervous?
J.W.: [Laughs] This is the first fashion show that I’ve done. I wasn’t nervous at all. It was just a really exciting and awesome moment to be here. I loved working with Dick’s Sporting Goods and I’d love to work with them again.
WWD: How was the experience on “Euphoria”?
J.W.: It was awesome. I learned a lot from the cast members such as Zendaya. She’s a very talented actor who was always in character. I learned a lot from that, to always be in character on the set.
WWD: What was it like to play a drug dealer, when you lead such a healthy life personally?
J.W.: I thought of it as a really fun acting opportunity. It’s really cool to play somebody different than what you actually are.
WWD: How did you research the role?
J.W.: I didn’t really research it.
WWD: How can you be so convincing?
J.W.: [Laughs sinisterly.] I’m so convincing, because I’m always in character on the set. I’m always in the role.
WWD: Were you concerned that your acting might make drug dealing seem cool to people your age, because you did such a great job?
J.W.: No, thank you very much. I wasn’t really concerned because I don’t think kids my age would say, “Oh, I need to become a drug dealer because Ashtray makes so much money.” They all know that it’s just fake and kids my age shouldn’t be watching the show any way.
WWD: How much time do you spend in the gym?
J.W.: I spend a lot of my day working out. I try to do a morning session and an afternoon one. Working out is really important to me and it keeps me really fit. Plus, boxing is my favorite thing to do. Of course, I will compete for a very long time. I love boxing. I really want to go to the Olympics. My goal is to a win a Golden Glove and to turn pro.
WWD: Which Olympic Games do you hope to go to?
J.W.: 2024 [looking toward his father, who nods approvingly.]
WWD: Do you still compete in trampoline and tumbling?
J.W.: Yeah, it helps me with my air awareness and my awareness overall. It’s such a fun sport. I hope to win a gold medal for that one day, too.
WWD: What would people like to know about Zendaya?
J.W.: People would be surprised by how much of an amazing actress she is. I learned so much from her, like I said before. It was such an honor to be able to work with somebody so amazing.