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St. Thomas High School Student To Guest Star On National TV Series ‘Bull’ Tonight

NEW YORK — It’s going to be quite a special birthday today for Kaden Hughes. Not only did he represent the U.S. Virgin Islands in the national Poetry Out Loud Semifinalist Championship, which streamed online Sunday, he is also a prominent guest star on a segment of the CBS series “Bull” to be aired tonight.

The 16-year-old Antilles School sophomore, a member of the school’s International Thespian Honor Society, is no stranger to acting. While in an elementary school production, he heard about a community theater and started honing his skills.

In the years since, he has been cast in many local TV commercials and projects for clients such as the Tourism Department and FirstBank. He has starred in several independent feature films, including “Who Framed Tommy Callahan” and “Heaven’s Hill,” as well as landing a lead role in the television pilot “Cherri RED Sweet Escape.” He also currently serves as a host on the local teen talk show “Graffiti Street” on WTJX.

Although acting is the career he plans to pursue, Hughes also sees a future in directing.

“I very much look forward to continuing to hone my craft and develop my acting skills and can’t wait for what opportunities may lie ahead. I feel acting is where I want to be at the moment, but later on in my life, directing is probably what I want to pursue,” he said.

Signed with CESD Talent Agency, Hughes had been auditioning through the use of “self-tapes” sent to casting directors. The one for the “Bull” episode was “almost a last-minute thing,” but Hughes got the call two days later to tell him he landed the part. He said it took approximately four weeks from beginning to end to fly to Queens, N.Y., set up a tutor and shoot the episode, which airs at 10 p.m. on CBS.

“We flew out at beginning of March and as we got there, the first thing we had to do is get a COVID test. To be on the set, it was a ritual every day. You had to get a COVID test. Shooting took around a week and change. One of the people on the episode was contact traced. He didn’t have COVID, but he was around someone who was, so that kind of postponed our shooting a little bit.”

“Bull,” starring Michael Weatherly, centers around Dr. Jason Bull, the charming and cocky founder of a successful trial consulting firm. Bull and his team of experts employ psychology, human intuition and high-tech data to understand jurors, lawyers, witnesses and defendants to construct effective narratives to help their clients win court trials.

In Monday’s episode, Kaden takes on the role of Callum Hartwell, a young dreamer living in a low-income area where bright futures can be tough to obtain.

“My character is a diamond in the rough,” Hughes said. “While people in the background are rapping and playing basketball, it’s a close-up of me writing poetry. It’s a very powerful shot of me not focusing on the other distractions and focusing on my poetry, on what I want to do and what I want to be. I’m excited to be able to represent the Virgin Islands on screen in this way. It was funny, because they told me I needed to read poetry and I told them I had just won the district Poetry Out Loud Competition, so it kind of worked out perfectly.”

And not only did Kaden win at the district level, he presented Nick Flynn’s “Cartoon Physics, Part 1” and Carl Sandburg’s “I am the People, the Mob” on Sunday to become one of nine finalists who will compete on May 27 for the national Poetry Out Loud title.

“I’m really excited,” Hughes said. “I’ve been working at this for a while, and although COVID is going on and a lot of bad things are happening, I feel like a lot of good things are happening as well, some stuff that isn’t always easy to see. I feel like God is throwing down a little bit of a rope for me.”

By LORI ABBOTTS/The Virgin Islands Daily News

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