[GO-GETTER] L.L. Burrell – McDonald’s “Turtleneck Tommy” to Hollywood’s Next On-Screen Star


Courtney “LL” Burrellaka L.L. Burrell, is a 27 year old model and actor. He has a broad perspective on the world and what it has to offer, which can be largely contributed to his constant travel as a military kid. However, somewhere in between cities, LL Burrell realized that he was destined for the bright lights of television and movies.

In 2006, LL Burrell embarked on a new journey. After remarks from friends and his former manager at Boston Market, LL Burrell decided to take a collection of photos and upload them to the popular Model Mayhem website. Surprised by the number of hits and positive feedback by other models, he took control of his modeling skills and started getting better and better.

It wasn’t until a stranger spotted his pictures online and contacted him that his modeling career took off. LL Burrell states, “They called me for a catalogue shoot for a Stacey Adams ad. The whole photo shoot was like 8 hours. That’s where I got my first break in professional modeling.” This happened almost two years after he posted his first picture online.

LL Burrell has since used modeling to propel his career into acting. His most recent success was his participation in a visual advertising campaign for McDonald’s. In the commercial, the Philadelphia-native played the role of “Turtleneck Tommy”.  In addition to the McDonald’s gig, the talented model/actor has starred in several television shows (i.e. BET’s “The Game” and “Let’s Stay Together”). He’s also snagged a commercial gig with Nissan Maxima and Nike’s Skateboarding initiative alongside professional Nike skateboarder Paul Rodriguez.



LL Burrell’s natural talent and faith in accomplishing the unknown continues to be his fuel. “My mission was, basically, to use modeling as a stepping stone to get into acting. I always wanted to be in front of the camera since I was like 5 years old,” says LL Burrell. With his sights focused on the future, LL Burrell understands that nothing comes to a dreamer without hard work. But it is apparent that he’s ready for the challenge.

STACKS Magazine had the opportunity to talk to LL Burrell and find out what inspires him, his thoughts on self-entitlement, future goals and more. Read our interview below:

Did you look up to any top models for inspiration?

I took a look at Will Smith. I took a look at Tyrese. You know how Tyrese broke into the industry with that commercial, the Coca-Cola commercial. That’s basically how he revealed his talent. He started out modeling at first.

You got to have a blueprint before you do all this stuff. What do you want to do? Then just go for that goal. Never stop until you get there, basically.

What are some of the obstacles you’re facing while pursuing your dreams?

Finances. It’s a lot of stress on you when you’re doing something that you love to do. But, you know, everything is as long as the cash. That was something I was going through that I wanted to fix and have a balance in my life.

I practiced The Secret a lot, which is the law of attraction. I started writing down things that I wanted and believing it with all my soul. I started doing that and I made a vision board. I specifically put it on my laptop. Every time I open it up, my subconscious mind can be soaking all that up. It’s always in my mind, what is your mission? You are going to accomplish this mission. You are going to make this mission a reality. You don’t know what’s going to happen, how it’s going to happen. But you are going to go out there and make it right steps and meet the right people. Don’t worry about your talent. You got skill. You are naturally talented, but you are skilled. You know what you bring to the plate and you have personality. No one have your personality. That right there is a whole trinity. That’s a full package.

How was the experience doing the McDonald’s commercial?

It was a great experience. Overall, great vibes and great people with talent. The director was so cool. His name was John. I forgot his last name.

My name was written all over this before I had it [gig]. All the people that were on the set, I had to perform in front of all these people before they even knew me. That was the call back right there. They were already familiar with what I do and everything that’s funny and all this new stuff. So I kept the vibe going and made the day go by much quicker and much smoother.

What type of advice would you give a model who feels self-entitled and feels as though they look good enough to get paid?

Don’t be afraid to take on free jobs. You have to develop the love for what you are doing. You will do it for free and/or get paid for it at times. When you are just starting, you have to build a foundation. You have to plant your seed. You have to wait your turn, wait your season. Right now, you are just blossoming. And you’re going to blossom into a nice beautiful flower, once you take the time and the steps you need to take. I’m learning as I go. I don’t know none of this stuff. I’m developing. I’m learning. I’m taking all the lessons and things that’s going on, I’m learning from and building my character as I go.


What are your thoughts on models on social media (i.e. Instagram)? Do you think this helps?

It can hinder you or it can help. You have to learn how to do it the right way and not in an agitating way. It’s repetitive. You have to develop a routine. When you wake up in the morning and you post something, put it in the back of your mind that their watching. You always want to have your name in someone else’s.

Any advice to up and coming models/actors?

Yes. Develop that confidence and self-esteem. A lot of people lack it. Mind you, this stuff isn’t easy. Nothing is placed at your feet. You actually have to go out there and get it and want to want it. Don’t get discouraged when things don’t happen your way the first time.

I heard so many stories of people coming out to L.A. and getting right back on the midnight train back to where they came from. I don’t want to become that trend. I’m looking at starting my own trend. Like now, I just want to be motivation and an inspiration to others out there. Follow your dreams. Love what you do and do what you love.

What are your next steps?

 I know that I’m getting some lead roles in a television show and movies. I know that for a fact. I have some billboards and magazines. I’m doing some charity work for the homeless.

To learn more about LL Burrell, visit his website at www.llburrell.com and/or follow him on Twitter/Instagram @LLBurrell !