If you are familiar with the Ellis family on Instagram then you know Devale Ellis, but what you may not know is his career didn’t start on Instagram.
Ellis was a professional football player for four years and was also an actor before his IG fame.
Ellis, who now plays Zac on BET’s Sistas, sat down with AfterBuzz TV’s Sistas after show panel Wednesday and opened up about his upbringing.
Ellis and his family began to gain popularity on Instagram in 2016 and since then his page has grown to have close to one million followers. Most of those followers know him as the funny dad from IG, but that’s not what everyone knows him as.
“Well it’s kind of funny. People really don’t know like the full story. I started in the NFL. I played four years in the NFL. I retired in 2010 and I was acting since,” says Devale.
He has had roles in the hit shows like Power, Gotham, and The Blacklist. So what made him turn to Instagram if he was already getting work as an actor?
Devale shares with us it was his son’s reaction to all the characters, mainly criminals, he was playing that made him want to create his own narrative.
“I remember my son, Jackson, at the time saying, ‘hey daddy, you always going to jail,’” said Ellis. “I told Kae at the time, I said, ‘yo, I want to write a sitcom based on our family and what we’ve been through retiring from the NFL.”
Ellis started to do 15-second clips of his family life, and one clip took off.
“I had posted a video of me and my son and I was just venting and it got over 100,000,000 views on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. It got over 130,000 shares and then a bunch of people kept coming to my page for content,” said Ellis.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Make sure you watch the Sistas after show on AfterBuzz TV at the link above for the full interview.
You can catch Devale on Sistas Wednesday nights at 10/9c on BET. You can also follow him on IG, @IamDevale.