My number one inspiration was my mother. She worked two jobs and had breakfast and dinner prepared. I essentially called my mother, The Lion. She's fierce and she's proud. I'd like to think some of that rubbed off on me.
The advice that I can give anyone wanting to be in the biz: do all the work, learn your craft. There are no shortcuts. If you stay with it, you will get an opportunity.
Movies, TV, sports, come and go, but what you stand for is what people remember. Mandela, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy are people who really stood for something and were willing to die for it. You don't see a whole lot of that any more.
Whether you make the most of an opportunity depends on if you are prepared. Learn your craft, every aspect of it. Eat it, drink it, sleep it, then when you are the most prepared, you can make the most of it.
I've always known I wanted to be an actor. It never crossed my mind to be anything else. I think I probably decided for sure when I saw 'Sounder'.