Tristan Wilds began acting when he was seven years old, but only made his professional debut in 2005, in the miniseries Miracle's Boys. His breakthrough role came in 2006, when he joined the cast of the acclaimed series The Wire, as high school student Michael Lee; he joined in the fourth season and stayed until the finale in 2008.
Once The Wire wrapped up, Wilds completed several stage workshops, working alongside Phylicia Rashad. In 2008, he joined the cast of the CW's 90210, as Dixon Wilson, a new transferee who tries to adjust to the Beverly Hills lifestyle. The same year, he also starred in the drama film The Secret Life of Bees.
Wilds also appeared in music videos for Jay-Z, Wale and Alicia Keys.