Tanner Buchanan’s parents: Tanner’s mom quit her job to move Buchanan to Los Angeles

In He’s All That, Tanner Buchanan plays the unpopular guy who gets a makeover from the most popular girl in school. He becomes the prom king and gets the girl to fall in love with him. FYI, Buchanan didn’t have to audition for the role in the Netflix hit. 

The film’s producer, Jennifer Gibgot, loved Tanner’s performance in Cobra Kai so much that she offered him the role in He’s All That. The story of this rising star began in the fields of Lima, Ohio, where he wowed local audiences with his dancing skills.

It took a massive sacrifice from Tanner’s parents to grant him his breakthrough. 

Tanner and his mom struggled after they moved to California to expose him to better acting opportunities

Tanner Buchanan was born on 8th December 1998 in Lima, Ohio, to Marlona and Steve Buchanan. He was an active child who participated in sports and dancing. However, his passion lay in the arts. He told Wonderland Magazine:

“Coming from a small town in Ohio that circulates really around football and sports, I was kind of the odd duckling of the bunch. I was always interested in the more artsy side of things.”

Talent agents ‘discovered’ Tanner at a dance competition in New York. His big glasses and big buck teeth gave him a nerdy ‘character look’ that agents loved. “It was a nice way of putting that you’re kind of funny looking,” Tanner told The Face

“I was the Jerry Maguire kid,” Tanner told Men’s Health. “In a nice way, the agents and managers said I had a very ‘character look.’” 

Unhappy at her job and keen on exposing Tanner to acting opportunities, Marlona quit her job and moved with Tanner to Los Angeles. The pair struggled to settle in their new environment. 

They’d hoped to rent furnished houses in California, but they quickly realized that they had to purchase home fittings. Buchanan told The Face:

“So we didn’t have a refrigerator for a week. We didn’t have furniture for like a week and a half. We were sleeping on the floor. And my mom was also scared to go anywhere [outside of] a one block radius. So the closest place we had for food was Carl’s Jr. That’s the only place we would go for about two weeks straight.”

The pair had planned to stay for six months but were forced to remain permanently after Buchanan booked three national commercials within the first three months. 

Tanner wouldn’t be the actor he is today were it not for his parent’s sacrifice. He recognizes that what they did is special and considers himself lucky to have such a support system. Tanner told Wonderland Magazine:

“It feels like just yesterday I came out here and started. So sometimes it’s a little surreal because I feel extremely lucky. Most people don’t get this chance, and I was lucky enough to have parents that supported me and my dreams.”

Buchanan appreciates the exposure he got after settling in Ohio but is still appreciative of his rural roots

For Tanner, Los Angeles and Ohio seemed like polar opposites. A boy who’d grown up surrounded by farming fields was now surrounded by concrete streets and flashing lights in Los Angeles. 

It didn’t take him long to settle, however. He needed to feel at home to land the acting roles he so desired.

LA life exposed him to issues he wouldn’t have encountered in rural Ohio – issues like LGBTQ+ rights. “I do come from the Midwest and it can be a little conservative sometimes,” Tanner told Variety.

“Growing up, people aren’t exposed to the world and I was lucky enough to have come out to LA where it’s a completely different world than Midwest. And my eyes were open to that from a very young age that I was like, ‘Yeah, that makes sense.”

Buchanan has settled in California but still enjoys trips back to his native Ohio, where no one treats him like a celebrity. “They do care, but I’m no one special,” Tanner told The Blade

“It’s nice to surround yourself with people who treat you normal and keep you grounded. Everyone here is genuine.”

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