The following is an excerpt from our Spring-Summer ’22 issue.
Javon Walton (@onwardwanna) is a young man in sports who found his way into acting thanks to the matchless global success of the HBO Max teen drama Euphoria. In this worldwide hit show, he portrays the ruthless, mysterious, fearless, and audiences-favorite Ashtray, a young boy of few words but loyal to the bones.
But that is not all because I am almost sure that I was not the only one who gasped: «this boy is gold!» the first time he appeared on the screen while watching that TV show, one of the most iconic of the current generation. As season one was over and season two began, our love for him increased as his character started to be this kind of savior with the ability to show up in the right moments. Nevertheless, I could also state that just like me, many fans, followers, and viewers are still biting their nails at everything that happened at the end of the second season.
But let’s have a heart and be patient; there is more of Euphoria coming in the way and so much more of this fierce gem we are celebrating in this SS22 issue.
Get your Spring-Summer ’22 Issue HERE!
Among family and friends, this athlete, and now actor, is known as Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton, a moniker that, just like the epithets of the most ferocious and bold heroes of the epic Greek and Roman literature, became part of his nature, determination, and courageous spirit.
So, since you love Javon Walton as much as we do, or even more if possible, we invite you to read this exclusive interview we had with him only for Vanity Teen. That was an excellent opportunity in which we were able to know the person behind the talent, the young man with fire in his eyes who throws punches that remind us of one of our classic heroes, the incomparable Rocky Balboa. Yes, that everlasting character immortalized by the living legend Sylvester Stallone, another great person who saw in Javon Walton the same force of nature we did.
Therefore, do not think about it twice! Keep reading to know him better, understand his connection with Stallone, discover his newest projects, and find out why, when we talk about Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton, we should join him and say: never put limitations on me!
Never put limitations on me
VT: Boxing and gymnastics seem to be your first passion. So, how did you get involved with those activities?
JW: I started boxing at age four. My pops is a huge boxing head, and my parents never missed a fight on TV, so it was always on, and I was glued to the TV and punching couch pillows between rounds.
When I started training, I was hooked, and it’s been my passion ever since.
My sister started gymnastics very young, so I grew up watching her in the gym. I would come home and teach myself how to do the flips, and by the time I was five, I walked into the gym, and the coach put me on the team after I did a bunch of back handsprings in a row.
VT: What are the best things you have learned from your preparation in sports?
JW: Your work ethic has to be there in order to compete at a high level.
Natural talent will only take you so far. The other thing I’ve learned is that you never lose if you learn. So I always try to learn from every experience to get better.
VT: Would you like to share with us the origins of your nickname ‘Wanna’?
JW: My dad told me from a young age to never put limitations on me, and I took that to heart.
At age four, I was training at the gym next to grown men and often outworking them.
I never wanted to be treated like a kid, and I wanted to be pushed. So after me telling my pops, I ‘wanna’ do this, or I ‘wanna’ do that, he was like you ‘wanna’ do everything champ, OK, ‘WANNA.’ So, it stuck.
My first scene, my first time ever acting, was with Zendaya
VT: Euphoria was your first big project for TV. How has that experience been to you?
JW: When I got the call to read for the part of Ashtray, I had never even considered acting. Memorizing the lines came super easy to me, and I was able to connect with the character without any coaching.
My first scene, my first time ever acting, was with Zendaya. And just like with boxing, I became a sponge and wanted to be the best. I learned a lot from watching Zendaya on set, and Sam (Levinson) gave me the confidence and support to shape Ashtray as I saw him.
VT: Talking about Euphoria, how has your life changed ever since?
JW: While filming Euphoria, I wanted to know what was next in acting. I found out I loved it and wanted to continue on the journey. I got an agent, and she sent me sides for a new Amazon project called Utopia. I read for the part and got it.
Straight from Euphoria, I headed out to Chicago to film Utopia. Then I found out about a project with Sylvester Stallone. I grew up watching Rocky and binging them before big tournaments, so this was a project I definitely wanted to be part of.
I got the lead role of Sam, and that drops this August. I went on to voice Pugsley in The Addams Family 2 and then film season 2 of Euphoria. It’s been a crazy ride so far, and there is so much more to come.
VT: On a hand, Euphoria portrays values, needs, strengths, and issues current generations face. But on the other, it is a show for mature audiences. Therefore, how are your parents supporting you during this moment of your life? Have you watched the episodes with them?
JW: In season 1, I was only 11 years old, so I wasn’t allowed to watch it.
When season 2 dropped, I was 15, and I watched every episode. It was exciting because Sam (Levinson) didn’t let the cast know what was going to happen to the characters, other than your own character, so we were all watching it in real-time.
And, yes, teens deal with a lot of the same issues we see in Euphoria, but Euphoria is definitely an exaggerated version.
Addiction is real, so I’m glad that Sam addresses it in this show.
Keep myself grounded
VT: Samaritan is one of your upcoming projects, and, in this film, you are staring with the one and only Sylvester Stallone. What can you tell us about it?
JW: Samaritan is about the bond between Joe (Sylvester Stallone) and Sam (Me: Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton). Sam has been in search of a superhero who went missing after an epic battle twenty years ago, and he believes the superhero is still out there.
I recently saw the film, and it was a little strange seeing myself on the screen because I filmed it three years ago, so I look so young. But I think people are going to love it; you can’t go wrong with Sly!
It was an honor to work with Sylvester Stallone and definitely a check on my bucket list.
VT: Both of your careers are physically and mentally demanding. So, how do you stay sane and in shape?
JW: I think the key is balance, and even though I’m super busy, my parents always stress to me the importance for me to have time just for me. I’ve learned the importance of mental health and work on breathing techniques and meditation.
I keep myself grounded with friends I had before all my success and make time to just be a kid.
The staying in shape part is easy for me and key to my mental health. Boxing is a release for me and a time for me to be in my own head. I look at it more like an art and am constantly working on my foot and head movement. I lift a little with my dad too. Also, I keep up my cardio, which is my least favorite part.
VT: What message would you like to say to all those who want to pursue a career in sports but may be struggling with the what-ifs getting their minds?
JW: With hard work and dedication, anything is possible. Don’t set limits on yourself, and don’t let losses shake your confidence.
Let the fire keep burning
In the same way that ancient generations did their best to preserve fire, there is another flame we should keep burning bright. I am talking about the fire we see in the eyes of Javon Walton, a sort of fire that comes from the thirst for achieving your dreams and fighting your battles with honesty and your sight set on the goals you have chosen.
He has never stated that he wants to be a role model whatsoever, but, as we can appreciate, his determination is undeniable. With his work, he has been showing that the best is yet to come because, no matter what, he pretends to keep pushing himself to be the best version of the man he might be.
As he said, there is more boxing in his plans for the future; also, Samaritan will be available everywhere, and, as you already know, he joined the cast of The Umbrella Academy. So, let us accompany him in his career and enjoy all of his projects.
Just remember, like Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton, never let others put limitations on us; let us keep the fire of our volition burning hard like the sun.
SS22 Issue. Javon Walton: “Never Put Limitations On Me”
Photography & Creative Direction: Najah Mansur @najahmansur @munglassy | Makeup & Hair: Blake Johnson @blakejohnsonmua | Wardrobe Stylists: Blake Johnson & Brea Williams @blakejohnsonmua @brea.williams.styling | Set PA: Amani Mansur @vervevibe | Wardrobe: Saks Fifth Avenue Atlanta & Neiman Marcus Atlanta @neimanmarcusatlanta | BTS Photographer & Videographer: John Dierre @johndierre | Studio: UWM Atlanta Studio @uwmatlstudio | Retoucher: Najah Mansur @najahmansur @munglassy