Connor Long & Josh Peck: A GLOBAL Bromance

The two wildly accomplished young men bond over a shared motto: “I don’t do nervous. I do excited and I do prepared.”

From Down Syndrome World Issue 3, 2023

Last year’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show brought together two celebrities— alum Connor Long and newcomer Josh Peck. Paired for a red-carpet photo shoot, the two bonded instantly and the chemistry was off the charts— the photos speak for themselves! Almost a year later, Josh and Connor remember their time together as unusually organic and an absolute blast.

“I think we could have stood there for another hour,” Josh recalls with a smile in his voice. “We asked for a couple more backdrops, but they didn’t have ‘em.”

Connor was happy to share that the feeling was mutual.

“Josh was amazingly nice and incredibly fun to be around,” says Connor, “he would be great to work with! Hint, hint.”

It’s easy to see why the two hit it off— they’re both incredibly good-natured, not to mention well-rounded, dedicated professionals, who are successful in their work. Connor is a stage, screen and voice actor, Emmy award-winning journalist, athlete, speaker and self-advocate, and Josh is a beloved actor, comedian, author, and social media influencer. While they both come from very loving environments, their upbringings were remarkably different.

Connor grew up in Maryland with his parents and sister Karlyn before moving to Colorado when he was young. For as long as Connor can remember, he enjoyed opportunities to thrive in school and in sports and employed his stellar work ethic to make the most of them. When adversity did rear its head, Connor’s parents were there to advocate on his behalf.

Josh was raised as an only child in New York City by a devoted single mother who has always unrelentingly insisted that he has “the sparkle” for show business. By age 10, Josh had an agent and was performing matinee stand-up sets at iconic New York comedy clubs like Caroline’s. He spent his teen years in Los Angeles making the country laugh on Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show and Drake & Josh.

What Connor and Josh do share, in addition to rich resumes and palpable charisma, is a deep resonance with Connor’s personal motto: “I don’t do nervous. I do excited and I do prepared.”


Connor credits that mindset as a crucial aid to his many forms of success, from performing and public speaking to competitive swimming and learning taekwondo. Lately, he’s enjoyed flexing his skills and has started to do voice work for film and public service announcements. He voiced the version of his essay in the Channel Kindness book with iconic musical artist Lady Gaga and voiced an English dub of Blood & Gold, a foreign feature film that was a global number one on Netflix. Each time, he was excited, prepared, and, ultimately, a hit. The well-rounded performer also just finished a full Shakespeare production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream with the renowned Phamaly Theater Company— an exciting project for such a big Shakespeare fan as Connor, who even visited London’s Globe Theater last year.

Similarly, when Josh was cast as physicist Kenneth Bainbridge in Christopher Nolan’s 2023 film, Oppenheimer, he was ecstatic to be working alongside some of the industry’s best. To him, hitting a home run meant blending in with the likes of Cillian Murphy, Florence Pugh, Robert Downy Jr., Emily Blunt, and Matt Damon – and he knew what would be the key to success.


“It was an opportunity to get so prepared,” he says, “and do so much research.”

It’s a tactic Josh embraced over his years in show business, though not without a healthy amount of stumbles—learning experiences—along the way. Acting and comedy was his dream, but it wasn’t always comfortable or easy. Especially not at first.



“It was terrifying,” Josh admits, “it still is. I think the only difference between now and then is that now I know if I bomb or if the joke doesn’t go over well, somehow, someway, I will survive. Because I’ve walked through that before, where I’ve completely face-planted and lived to fight another day.”

“I’ve come to realize what that fear is and how there are two types.” He continues, “When I’m prepared, it’s readiness and adrenaline— sort of a priming mechanism. And those were the times I didn’t fall on my face. That’s very different from the kind of fear and anxiety in those moments when I wasn’t prepared.”

Connor agrees that success seldom comes without plenty of learning curves and bumps in the road.

“It’s hard work developing the skills to be on stage or in front of the camera, and there is a lot of work that goes into finding and pursuing film, stage 

or speaking opportunities.” He counsels, “My advice is to be prepared and excited, not nervous. Keep a positive attitude!”

Josh also stresses the importance of maintaining a healthy love of the craft itself.

“The results— like booking a role— are so out of our control.” He explains, “But if you love the process of acting, the preparation, the execution, getting to tell a story— if it really turns you on and makes you excited, then I think you’re in great shape.”   

Connor knows exactly what Josh means— it’s his passion for storytelling that led him to join the Denver 7 News team as a contributing reporter alongside fellow self-advocate Hannah Atkinson. Their hard work and magic touch earned them each an Emmy, making them the first-ever people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to earn the award. The Emmy trophy that resides on Connor’s mantle reminds him of the reports he and Hannah delivered, and that there are many more stories to tell.




Self-advocates who have been formally recognized for their work hold the door open for fellow performers with disabilities. Thanks to talents like Connor, Zack Gottsagen, Jamie Brewer, and Madison Tevlin, just to name a few, viewers are finally getting to experience the creative capabilities of people with Down syndrome. Josh, for one, deeply appreciates the diversity, depth of knowledge and insights actors with different abilities bring to projects.  

“I love watching honesty,” he says, “like when performers with disabilities bring their experience, which is so unique to them. When that comes out in a performance, it really draws you in. The more of that we see, the better.”


Often, we can trace the inception of our favorite artists, activists, and role models back to the support they received for their dreams early on. The multi-talented Connor Long is no exception.

“I’ve had so many teachers, therapists and advocates support my interests and encourage me to give my time and energy to important causes.”

And the number of organizations and causes that Connor supports is impressive. He’s spoken at the US Embassy in (pre-war) Moscow, New York University, the Arc Catalyst Awards, and many times throughout Colorado. Dedicated to making a difference for his community, he draws from his lived experiences and pays it forward. For example, Connor, like many people with Down syndrome, considers himself a late bloomer when it comes to his cycling skills. At 16 years old, he participated in a specialized learn-to-ride camp with ICanBike. He honed the skill one year before GLOBAL launched its Dare to Ride cycling initiative, which raises funds and awareness for the Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Ten years later, Connor is a Dare to Ride Courage Classic team captain, clocking hundreds of miles in training before completing 30+ mile rides in the name of Down syndrome research and medical care. He received the GLOBAL Community Service Award for this important initiative.

“My dad/riding partner and I have helped raise more than $500,000 for various charities and I always look forward to playing a role as a volunteer.”


The Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show is perhaps a perfect avenue for anyone with a knack for showmanship, like Connor and Josh, to engage in high-impact advocacy for Down syndrome research and medical care. When Josh took the Be Beautiful Be Yourself stage for the first time alongside models Timmy Frazier and Sinai Alexander, no one could suggest he was remotely unexcited or unprepared! The three men lit up the stage in what became one of the most memorable runway walks the event had ever seen. Josh brought infectious energy that funneled the spotlight onto Tim and Sinai, serving as the perfect hype-man by engaging the crowd and acting as the models’ personal paparazzi. No surprise they received a standing ovation.

“When you’re working with teenagers, you never know how comfortable they’re going to be in front of a crowd,” Josh says, “to see how hard they worked, how down they were to just ham it up,

 and the way I was able to capture all these great videos as we were doing it— it was such a fun and memorable experience…I think we gave Paris Fashion Week a run for their money!”


What’s up next? Josh is fresh off his promotion of the massive hit film, Oppenheimer, and is spending time giving back by speaking at Southern Illinois University and other educational institutions. He’s also circulating funny photos and posts about how he nearly was cast as Edward Cullen in the Twilight franchise.  

Connor has been busy as well. His voice lessons have paid off and he’s singing the national anthem at various Colorado sports events including Denver Nuggets games. He’s also wondering (hint, hint) when Josh will help him get his first big Hollywood part!

Connor and Josh prove every day that when you approach challenges as opportunities— when you’re excited and prepared— there’s little you can’t accomplish. And the benefits of this life philosophy are always clearly visible in their beautiful and authentic smiles.  


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