Two of the most popular shows on streaming services this year are Showtime’s Yellowjackets and Netflix’s Firefly Lane. While both shows are vastly different—one a ‘Lord of the Flies’-esque thriller, and the other a wholesome drama centred around a lifelong friendship—what they share is both feature Calgary Academy alum, Khobe Clarke, in important roles.
Khobe attended Calgary Academy from Grade 7 to Grade 12 and was actively involved in the Calgary Academy culture. From participating in athletics, serving on the student leadership group, and actively mentoring younger students, Khobe was a vibrant member of the student community. He participated in drama classes and performances during his tenure at CA, notably, in the 2018 production of Sweeney Todd, and as the male lead in the 2019 production of The Wedding Singer.
Graduating in 2019, he immediately went to work supporting his acting dream with practical landscaping while auditioning as an extra in and around Calgary, doing “anything to get on set.” He took some time off to go on a once-in-a-lifetime motorcycle trip across Mongolia with his father (chronicled by the CBC), before moving to Vancouver to seriously pursue his dream of being a working actor.
“The hardest part about acting is committing to it. Acting is the only thing I’ve wanted to do in my entire life.” – Khobe
Khobe made the move knowing he had no work lined up, no headshots or agent, and nothing but dedication. He took on unpaid work as an actor in student filmmaker projects and immersed himself in acting lessons, working to hone his craft. Along the way, he supported himself by bartending, working at a golf course, and doing a small gum commercial. The harder he worked, the luckier he got.
For his birthday, he was gifted a headshot session. The photographer posted some of the photos of Khobe on his professional Instagram, which caught the attention of an agent who had not yet seen Khobe act. One phone call later, Khobe had both headshots and formal representation from an agent.
Next came getting a job. Khobe reflects that “getting your first job is 1000 times harder than your 100th job.” He auditioned for roles like “School Boy #4,” knowing that the number of speaking lines wasn’t the priority, getting seen by casting directors was.
Then came the role of Kyle for a new show called Yellowjackets.
In the post-COVID-19 world, gone are the days of casting rooms and lining up alongside your competition. Auditions are now done via recorded video or on Zoom. For Yellowjackets, Khobe recorded himself saying his lines, sent in his clip, and two days later, he’d booked the role.
For the role, Khobe spent about eight hours on set filming one scene, and it was a major moment in his life.
“To be paid as an actor, to get a jacket with your character’s name on it, to have a trailer and a chair with your name on it… It really was the most rewarding feeling. I thought to myself, ‘I’m here. If I never get to do this again, at least I got this.’”
Luckily, he later learned his character was being written into the second season, and that he’d be back.
But first, he had another audition coming up—for a role on his mom’s favourite show, Firefly Lane. The competition was fierce—most of his peers in his acting class were also auditioning for the role. After worrying about butchering his take—which involved reciting Shakespeare—Khobe put his head down to do an actor’s least favourite thing—wait for a callback.
Soon after, he got the call from his agent that he has booked the role of Coop and would be featured in three episodes of the Netflix show.
Quickly, three episodes were expanded into five episodes, and the result was 25 days on set, where for the first time, Khobe got to be quite involved with the cast and crew, forming friendships, and building a sense of belonging to something bigger than any one person.
“As an actor, you can never get complacent or comfy. I did Firefly Lane and it was amazing, but then it ended. I still had responsibilities, so I went right back to the golf course.” – Khobe
Khobe continued to work on his skills, using everything he’d learned on the sets in his classes, and continuing to audition for anything that aligned with his growing portfolio.
Then came his most significant project to date—the role of Jimmy in a V.C. Andrews four-part movie series—and four months of full-time work. This upped the ante from a role in a show to one of the lead roles in a movie series. The first film, V.C. Andrews’ Dawn premieres on July 8 on Lifetime.
Next up, Khobe has just been cast in the television reboot of Cruel Intentions, which will begin shooting this summer. With Khobe’s ever-growing career, his Calgary Academy family will continue to watch and stream his shows while celebrating his early accomplishments of what will be an incredible career.
Follow Khobe’s career on Instagram at @khobeclarke.