Brenda Sands was the first person to notice that her son Brian Gibson’s behavior was always exaggerated and designed to “make show” before an audience as she puts it, and she said he has been this way since he was a youngster. She encouraged him –and now – Gibson has quite a few commercials to his credit.
Gibson who resides in Toronto, Canada, has starred in commercials for brands such as Re/Max, Downy, Cheetos, Google Fiber, Bud Light, Budweiser, Toys “R” Us, Royal Bank of Canada, Facebook Games, and Hanes Underwear.
Gibson said acting affords him the “opportunity to play” as he finds joy in playing characters and presenting their stories.
“When I’m [on] set, I don’t feel like I’m working. Everyday I’m learning something new,” said Gibson whose goal is to land a role in a television show.
As a primary school student at the defunct St. Bede’s Catholic Primary School, Gibson was introduced to the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival, a national competition for music, dance, art and drama. As a primary school student, he entered the singing and acting categories, but it wasn’t until he was a student at St. Augustine’s College and having joined the drama club that he entered the acting and poetry sides of the competition.
Gibson recalls it being a thrilling and exciting experience.
“I remember feeling euphoric performing in front of people who were judging me. If I recall correctly, I think I won a few of the poetry performance categories. I even entered the singing category once and ranked high. It definitely reinforced my interest in the industry and confirmed that I had talent.”
His former high school drama club director, Sophie Smith, describes her former student as an enthusiastic performer.
“He loved everything about the craft,” said Smith. “When we performed ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ he played Walter Lee Younger – he brought the character to life. Brian was a director’s dream! He listened to directions and improved my vision on many an occasion.”
When he graduated high school, he didn’t let his love for the arts fall by the wayside.
While studying culinary arts at the University of The Bahamas (UB), he was a member of the “Track Road Theatre” production group and it is with Track Road that Gibson was introduced to performing in front of a camera. They also performed plays, some of which were staged at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts.
After leaving UB, Gibson enrolled at Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada to study recreation and tourism management. He graduated in 2010.
But the “acting bug” would not let go of him. He booked his first gig in 2015 as lead principle in a Cheetos commercial.
His older brother, Racine Sands, said when he saw his brother in the commercial, he couldn’t believe it.
“I remember – my family and I had seen the Cheetos commercial several times, but none of us even realized it was ‘BJ’ because no one knew that that’s what he was doing at the time. He was more into technology and computer games [when we were growing up], so it was really surprising to see the ‘BJ’ I know – the quiet, technical one, in a commercial.”
And now that Gibson has been in so many, Sands said he can’t keep track.
But in the world of acting, the jobs can be few and far between, and as a result, Gibson has two jobs to supplement his income. He has also realized the dream of entrepreneurship with his island inspired beverage bar in Downtown Toronto called “The Palm”, from which he sells drinks like smoothies and pina coladas.
“As an actor, it’s a bit of a roller coaster. You can have a year where you book a lot of gigs, but most actors have what we refer to as ‘Joe jobs’. It’s something to get you through until your next job. I’ve always worked in the restaurant industry as my ‘Joe job’. I’ve worked as a manager. Last year, with restaurants shutting down because of the pandemic, I said, ‘you know what? I’ve always wanted to own a food company’. I think now is a good time to do it and things worked out,” said Gibson.
He, along with his younger brother, Byron Gibson, who was in Canada at the time for school, did the renovations for The Palm.
Gibson is living the best of both worlds he enjoys. He’s pursuing his passion for acting, as well as using his restaurant experience to earn a living.
Gibson also stepped up to assist after Hurricane Dorian ravaged Grand Bahama and Abaco in 2019. He connected with other Bahamians living in Canada as well as the Bahamas High Commission in Canada, to organize a relief effort. He established a donation center where people could bring non-perishable items. He used the restaurant he was employed with at the time as a drop-off location to make it as convenient as possible for people to donate.
“It was a crazy time for all of us, so I wanted to try and do what I could with as little as it may have been,” said Gibson.