The “Glee” star shattering expectations

From a MySpace audition for a reality competition, to a groundbreaking TV role as a transgender teen on "Glee," to headlining on Broadway, Alex Newell, has, at the age of 25, already had a career unlike any other musical star. He joined "Salon Talks" to talk about his show-stopping role as Asaka, Mother of the Earth, in the stage revival of "Once On This Island," a performance the New York Times calls "ferocious."

Yet just a few years ago, Newell's dreams seemed far out of reach. After applying to multiple university musical theater programs, Newell didn't get an acceptance to any. "Not a one," Newell told Mary Elizabeth Williams on "Salon Talks." "I have no idea," he added, saying, "I think it's because I'm not the cookie cutter type. All these conservatories and schools, they have a mold that they have to fit kids in and then train them to be that type. I didn't fit in any of them. I walked in and they didn't know what to do with me."

Watch the video above to hear how an influential mentor changed Newell's outlook and his advice for other aspiring artists who don't fit the cookie cutter mold. Tune into SalonTV's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage", daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon, Facebook and Periscope.

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