Love perusing through social media to find out what your favorite influencers are up to? Get a closer glimpse into how they spend their time in Atlanta with “ATL Closeup,” a new AJC feature that explores the leisure lives of some of the city’s most notable personalities as they go from work to play mode over the course of a typical weekend —from their favorite places to dine to the little-known spots where they find retreat.
For our inaugural edition of “ATL Closeup”, we chatted with actor Terayle Hill, who grew up in Moreno Valley, California, but now calls Atlanta home.
Since making the big move to the city a few years ago to study film at Clark Atlanta University, he’s appeared in dozens of movies and televisions shows. From “SuperFly” and “Love, Simon” to “The Quad” and “Being Mary Jane,” he’s been dominating the big and small screen. The second season of his latest project, “Step Up: High Water,” is premiering on YouTube Premium on Mar. 20.
“Acting gets me up in the morning,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s genuinely a passion that’s unmatched. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. The validation is in the amount of work I’ve gotten, and I’m grateful.”
When the laid-back thespian isn’t in front of the camera, he’s carving out time to hit up some of his favorite spots. Here’s where you’ll likely find him on any given weekend in Atlanta.
Hill loves True Food Kitchen and Negril Village, but he said Big Daddy’s Kitchen in southwest Atlanta gets his top pick.
“I love that place,” he revealed. “When I go, I get the smothered pork chops with macaroni and cheese and yams.”
Although the Southern soul food spot doesn’t quite fit his healthy regime, he sneaks in a hot meal every once in a while. And with other menu items like the juicy fried chicken, slow-cooked oxtails and homestyle meatloaf, it’s no wonder other celebs like T.I. and Mike Epps also visit the hidden gem.
“The food is delicious,” Hill raved.
If you go: Big Daddy’s Kitchen, 3085 Campbellton Road SW, Atlanta. 404-629-0535, bigdaddysthrncuisine.com.
The 24-year-old doesn’t frequent clubs and bars, but you might catch him at Midtown Bowl or Topgolf on a Saturday night.
“Me and my friends go there to have a good time,” he said. “It’s not even necessarily about winning the game. It’s about being around good energy.”
Plus, the good grub doesn’t hurt either. “When I first went,” he said, “I wouldn’t have imagined it would be so good.”
The CAU alum is in good company, too. Topgolf has played host to many of Atlanta’s notables, including artists Ludacris and Jazze Pha and Atlanta Hawks player Kent Bazemore, socialize there.
If you go: Midtown Bowl, 1936 Piedmont Circle NE, Atlanta. 404-874-5703, midtownbowl.com.
Topgolf Midtown, 1600 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW, Atlanta. 404-475-4000, topgolf.com.
When it’s time to unwind, home is the best place to be for Hill.
“I’ve worked at making my house peaceful,” he explained. “I keep the environment cool and calm. I like candles and sage, and I have crystals around the crib. Your home is your sanctuary. I think that if you can regulate the energy in your house, it will always be a peaceful retreat away from the world.”
Hill isn’t big on shopping, he admitted. He keeps it frugal and simple, which means you’ll likely find him in sweatsuits on most weekends. However, the bargain shopper does spend a little weekend time perusing the deals at what can be a clothing gold mine — Goodwill.
“Goodwills all throughout Atlanta have a crazy selection of joints you could check out,” he said. “I also dig the sweats section at Walmart. You can’t beat $7 sweats.”
When Hill has to dress up, which he said he hates, he knows how to personalize a blazer and a pair of slacks.
“I’ve never really been into suits,” he said. “So if I have to wear my church clothes, I’m still wearing my basketball shoes and possibly a bandana that matches.”
Acting isn’t the only type of art that’s caught Hill’s attention. He admires murals, too, and Atlanta has hundreds of them painted on factory exteriors, highway overpasses and retaining walls.
On some weekends, he likes to stop by a couple of his stand-outs, which include the Colin Kaepernick mural displayed on the side of the Braids and Beauty Unlimited building and the Community Roots painting, both located near the Atlanta University Center in the West End.
“The AUC is responsible for developing and educating many of our most popular public figures, political activist and cultural heroes,” he said. “It’s the perfect home for a mural of Colin Kaepernick. He’s definitely inspired me to be vocal on things I think need change, and I hope to have a conversation with him one day to thank him for his service to the community.”
If you go: Braids and Beauty Unlimited, 996 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta. 404-752-6880.
Community Roots mural, 450 Nelson St. SW, Atlanta.