Megastar and jack of all trades Michael B. Jordan might seem like an overnight success to some, but he has been constantly working on his craft for the better part of 20 years.

The Santa Ana-born, Newark-raised thespian began his career with brief single-episode roles on Cosby and The Sopranos, later earning regular spots on HBO’s The Wire, All My Children, and Friday Night Lights. However, Jordan’s breakout role wouldn’t come until 2013 when he starred in the Sundance darling Fruitvale Station, a film about the events that led to the murder of an unarmed man at the hands of BART police officers in Oakland, CA. Outside of launching his career and earning him accolades, this film would also mark the beginning of Jordan’s collaborative relationship with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler.

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Photography by Cory Tran

Fast forward to 2018, and Jordan is more than hitting his stride. Cast as a supervillian for the very first time, Jordan plays Erik Killmonger in Marvel’s Black Panther, which premieres this Friday. Accustomed to projects that require a healthy physique (see: 2015’s Creed), Jordan hit the gym, the dojo, and the streets to prepare for the role, putting on 20 pounds of pure muscle in the process. The role consumed Jordan, who says he worked out two to three times and ate a whopping six meals a day to bulk up.

It might seem that he wouldn’t have time for much else, but then again, Jordan is no ordinary man. He’s earned endorsement deals with Nike, Acura, and Piaget, and in 2016 Jordan started his own production company, Outlier Society Productions—named after the popular book by Malcolm Gladwell. The noted author labels outliers as those who don’t fit in to the normal standards of achievement as they find opportunities and put in relentless work. Jordan calls Outlier “a multi-platform media company offering digital content as well as scripted film/TV content.” His company is currently developing a reboot of The Thomas Crown Affair, as well as an upcoming Netflix series Raising Dion that centers around a single mother bringing up a superhero.

If success is a dream that’s earned, let’s just say Michael B. Jordan has more than put in his time.

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Photography by Cory Tran