TRACY “TWINKIE” BYRD

Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd is a Brooklyn-born and raised casting director with more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Madonna, the Black Eyed Peas, 50 Cent, Prince, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Katy Perry are among the artists who have counted on Byrd to find talent who can bring their songs to life on the small screen. Byrd has the vision spot actors who can bring complicated and nuanced storylines from page to motion picture . Her work on Stomp the Yard, The Blind Side, Notorious , Ju mping the Broom, FillyBrown, Sparkle, Black Nativity and FRUITVALE STATION prove as much. Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd has spent decades channeling her super power of finding the perfect person for every character.

Byrd not only brings names to her projects, she seeks and develops talent. Byrd gave Tika Sumpter her first movie role – before Gossip Girl. She picked Naturi Naughton, formerly of 90s girl group 3LW, to play the hard-core rapper Lil Kim in NOTORIOUS. Byrd is responsible for introducing the masses to The Blind Side’s breakout star,Quinton Aaron. Her insight put Laz Alonso in Stomp the Yard and Jumping the Broom, before he joined the cast for the hit series Mysteries of Laura. She took Jordin Sparks from American Idol to Hollywood star for the film SPARKLE. “It’s a gut feeling,” explains the veteran casting director.”Iget tunnelvision andIcan feelthe actor in a role.”

Byrd’s gut feeling translates to magic on the screen. When Sparkle hit theatres last August, Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd proved once again that she knows films, gets actors, and she understands characters. “It is my trifecta,” she says of the film that she calls one of the most amazing experiences of her life. “It is a musical, it is a period piece, it is a remake.” Terrence J and Derek Luke will share the screen, Tika Sumpter will continue her road of success and the film marks the last time audiences will see the amazing Whitney Houston in a major motion picture. It is another casting about which Twinkie had no doubts.

Her eye for raw talent, one of her keys to success is her belief that no project is too big or too small. She has worked on a number of independent and student projects including Ryan Coogler’s Fig, which appeared on HBO and currently Cast his Hit Feature Film “FRUITVALE STATION”. With her feet planted firmly in multiple worlds, Byrd often surprises producers and directors with her spot-on casting and leaves them exclaiming, “Where’d you find this actor?”

Today, actors and producers alike are drawn to Byrd’s warm spirit. While she notes that people ultimately work with people they like, it is her hard work, attention to detail, and demand for quality that has sustained her in such a tumultuous industry for more than two decades.

Passionate, charismatic, and tough Twinkie Byrd has built a career on relationships and dedication. She went from casting child look-a-likes for album covers during Bad Boys heyday and the Notorious B.I.G.’s “One More Chance,” video to choosing Jamal Woolard to play the late MC in his biopic. The fact that her career is packed with full-circle moments is attributed to her great work personality, but also her amazingly strong work ethic. Lastly she is tackling Television with her Breakout hit Being Mary Jane, for BET along with The Gabby Douglass Story Aaliyah: Princess of R&B /With This Ring for Lifetime Television.

Producing is next on Twinkies Agenda and if she is as focused on Producing as she is with Casting, there willbe many more Hits to come.

“I demand the best from myself and I want the best from others.”

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