Austin stars are from Greenville SC

A friend in college told Bruce Stephenson to never say no to an opportunity because he wouldn’t know where it would take him.

The last chance for the 23-year-old from Greenville has won him over 40,000 social media followers as the star of a reality TV show that moved him to 3pm from his home in Austin, in Texas.

Stephenson was cast in “Twentysomethings: Austin,” a coming-of-age reality series that premiered on Netflix on December 10. The show focuses on eight 20-year-olds who move together to Austin to navigate life and love after a pandemic that in some has taken away part of their social life.

Stephenson has lived in Greenville his entire life. He attended Greenville High School, where he played baseball, and took classes at the South Carolina Children’s Theater.

Stephenson wanted to be an actor from a young age, and his family enrolled him in classes at the South Carolina Children’s Theater, where he learned eye contact, public speaking and stage presence.

These lessons with the theater translated into employment opportunities later in life as he was well equipped for an interview.

After graduating from Clemson University in 2019, he moved to Atlanta to work his dream job in front office and retail operations with the Atlanta Braves.

Then COVID-19 happened.

He lost his job and returned home to Greenville.

“I didn’t want to move at first,” he said. “I was so in love with Atlanta, and my friends are there, but I came back here and really fell in love with Greenville again.”

But then the opportunity presented itself and Stephenson was ordered to never say no. He said, as he often does: “Let’s go!

In early 2021, Stephenson received a direct message on his Instagram page from a casting director asking him to apply for the show.

He wasn’t in it at first, but the casting director insisted they schedule a phone call to see if he would change his mind.

“I was like, ‘This is so weird,” Stephenson said. “So they called me up and kinda convinced me to go ahead with the process.”

His idea was to ride the wave until it crashed. So far, this is not the case.

He continued the casting for about three months, interviewing while working in his father’s office.

“My lunch break was going to hit and I was going home to make Zoom calls with the producers and casting directors,” Stephenson said. “After a few months I got an email saying I was in the top 20, then in the top 10 … Then I got it. I was like, ‘Oh my god, the wave does never crashed! ‘”

Before he knew it, he was moving to Austin and filming.

Meeting several strangers and sharing accommodation has become the best experience of his life, he said.

“My conclusion from ‘Twentysomethings’ is that you learn to love and appreciate each other for each other’s differences,” he said. “That’s beauty. It’s a really healthy spectacle. You can watch people from a multitude of backgrounds and ethnicities come together and love each other, because we’re all here for the same reason – to restart our 20 years. “

Stephenson was offered a job with Round Rock Express, a minor league baseball team, but he ultimately refused and returned to Greenville. He wondered whether or not he was ready for a big permanent move.

“I asked myself, ‘Do you really want to move to Austin, across the country with your family? In the show, I say something like, “Once you start paying taxes in the state, you’re really there.” I would have to find a place to live north of Austin. I was sitting there like I do, “he said.

After weighing his options, he realized that he could find something that would make him happy in the South East or in Greenville because he wanted to stay close to his family and old friends.

For now, he works with his father’s insurance company, Stephenson’s Insurance on North Church Street. He’s grateful for the job, but it’s not what he imagined himself to be doing, so he keeps his options open.

You can find it at the gym or in the local bars downtown.

Tamia Boyd is originally from Michigan and covers the latest news in Greenville. Email her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @tamiamb.

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