QUEST Alumnus Delante Desouza in HBO Pilot

After graduating with a Computer Science degree in 2016, Delante Desouza (Cohort 22) went from working as a software engineer for the university to working as a digital marketing specialist for a house flipping firm and then as a founder and CEO of his own digital marketing company. However, it is his most recent pivot that definitely renders itself slightly different from the rest. Desouza has a role in an untitled HBO pilot that showcases the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers.

Delante Desouza’s Professional Headshot

For Delante, theater has been a favorite hobby since he was 14, when a cousin first got him involved with the Arena Players Theater Company of Baltimore. Once at UMD, he was involved in a variety of clubs and campus groups, specifically the Kreativity Diversity Troupe. Although his interests focus mainly on dramatic plays and shows, the expression and creativity of theater overall has always been a priority.

“The key to staying motivated is really just deciding that you’re here for the long haul. You have to be so passionate about acting that you feel like it’s part of who you are. The ones willing to put years, and sometimes decades, into being an actor and grinding constantly until they get their big break, if it does come, are the ones who become successful,” Desouza told me.

It’s safe to say his persistence in the pursuit of this passion has ultimately paid off. HBO has released that Desouza will star as Michael Cooper, an NBA player with a knee injury that caused him to delay his career and start as a Lakers rookie alongside Magic Johnson. Although the pilot is untitled, it is allegedly based off of Jeff Pearlman’s nonfiction book, Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. Whether you are a basketball fan or not, this is an amazing opportunity for Desouza and the QUEST community is certainly ecstatic for him!

Desouza is a QUEST alumnus doing incredible things, not just within his expected concentration. Although QUEST prides itself in educating through the intersection between CMNS, the Clark School, and the Smith School, above all we are a community that fosters innovation and expression in whatever fascinates you. When asked about any advice that he had for QUEST students, Delante emphasized, “Just go for it!”

“For some reason, we tend to think that we can only do what we went to school for and studied, but the truth is that you can have it all if you want! You don’t have to completely stop what you’re doing professionally to pursue a career outside of your degree; you just get the opportunity to find a way to make it work for you. For me, it was working professionally at a job that let me set my own hours and work remotely so that I could still do my job while on a 3-hour bus ride to New York City for an audition. You only live once, so why not go all-in on your dreams?”

Don’t get caught up in doing what you feel you should do in college, but rather focus on where you want to make an impact. Speaking from personal experience, it’s easy to forget about all of the other awesome avenues out there for exploration. Kudos to Desouza for making it happen, and be sure to keep an eye out for him on HBO!

Just a final reminder that QUEST alumni are definitely willing to answer questions or provide perspective and advice. There are people out there who share your passion and are happy to help!

If you’re interested in learning more about the pilot, click here:

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