Hi Bryan Michael, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Hi Bryan Michael, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Growing up in a rural farming community in a small border city called Brawley, CA there really wasn’t much room for me to explore creatively, let alone the comfort of feeling as if I could completely be myself. My parents were always supportive but whereas most kids played sports or went to parties to drink, I played board games with my friends, online computer games, read books, watched Discovery Channel, painted and I’ll even admit I would put on costumes and fight the trees (villains) in my backyard with my bow and arrow and staff (any long & trusty branch lol), I’ve always had a creative mind and a wild imagination, a knack for making others feel included and keep them engaged and come to think of it, I remember dancing to Selena in my living room for my mom and her friends just to make them laugh, I was born an entertainer but the thought of the industry never once crossed my mind, until the fall of 2010.
I had just graduated, moved to LA, honestly only because my sister Casaundra was there at the time in cosmetology school and I was in Brawley with still with no desire to go to school just yet, so I figured I’d move there in the meantime and work retail, which I did at Armani Exchange at The Beverly Center, then Michael Kors at The Grove, I also at one point was working at MK and then would drive for Uber and Lyft at night with no sleep, I mean I did all I could to stay afloat and at times it still wasn’t enough. Man, there were days in LA I had no food in the fridge and the first money I made I had to gas up for Uber, my car ate before I did. It was really unfair! lol. But I refused to ask for help from my family so that I could steel myself and try to learn to be more time-efficient, responsible and dependable on myself… something I should have done a little less strictly, I was a little stubborn, I admit that looking back now.
In 2020, I had a co-star role with only two lines turn into a 6 episode booking on Ron Howard’s comedy and military show “68 Whiskey” and a co-star on the comedy “AP Bio” just a week later, I had a callback and hold for a pilot show, it was going well and all moving so quickly…and then the pandemic happened. I had almost lost myself during this time while I was also battling a depression and was burnt out from the industry itself already, had you asked me in March of 2020 about acting or LA despite my wins, I would have said to stay away as far away as possible, I had become bitter and if you’re in in the industry, you know how many times we get told no with specific reason as to why to possibly improve on, so we have to just suck it up and move along but it might catch up to you after a while if you don’t give yourself the time to process, let it go and heal from it and that’s exactly what happened to me. Thankfully, I found myself again with the help of my boyfriend at the time, my family and childhood friends back home and later was cast in two big projects at the tail end of 2020. One of those being top of show guest star along with my first show single card on the CBS second season of the hit show “All Rise” that aired January of this year 2021 and have a 4 episode arc on the Emmy-award winning, longest running and final season of Amazon’s hit crime show “Bosch” set to air later this year in 2021.
I mean, there isn’t a day that I’m not planning some kind of photoshoot for myself, a dance video, just some type of content to market myself while possibly making others laugh or entertain them in the process. I’m always researching ways to improve, new skills/languages under my belt to improve my range and essence as a working actor. I have big dreams of getting more well known, inspiring others while doing it and booking jobs at a larger scale, and I know it will happen, I’m beginning to trust not only the process but trust myself and it feels so right.
Thinking about what keeps me going as an actor, I’ll mention that growing up in a small community as well as during my industry grind in LA, there wasn’t really an openly gay Latinx actor or successful while openly out male around my age range for me to look up to and if there was at the time, all the industry might have handed him was cliche LGBT roles that although were inclusive at the time, restricted LGBT actors to one creative box. I have stayed true to myself in and out of the audition room and have kept my head up despite multiple setbacks and whispers in the ear to adhere to the toxic masculinity or “machismo” type personalities of most Latinx actors in and out of the industry and well, I said no haha.
I have since then gone on to book roles both as straight and gay male types and find it amusing that a straight actor can be nominated and/or win an award portraying an LGBTQ+ actor and yet some viewers often find it hard to see an LGBTQ+ performer in the light of a straight character at times but LGBTQ+ inclusion on film has come a long way and I’d be honored to be a part of that movement because it takes just a few stones to ripple the water and I will gladly be one of those stones. I’ve overcome many obstacles in life not just before Los Angeles but mostly while living here that I used to sharpen my edges rather than dull them. I plan to use my platform not only to uplift and inspire but to break a few barriers along the way. I’m human, I’m far from perfect and I know I still have many mistakes to make and lessons to learn but rather than walking away feeling defeated as I used to, I’m walking away stronger and with peace. Fear can be infectious but so can hope.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Had you asked me a year ago, I would have said not to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. I was exhausted in all aspects of being told no, getting my hopes up just to hear nothing back, and feeling like I constantly had a lifestyle to prove in Los Angeles while also trying to find a potential love interest. I find it easy to try and keep up with the hustle of others, feeling inadequate despite one’s successes and working your butt off just to pay rent in a building that might not even be your ideal, let alone has parking, HAHA. But like, the more I spent time back home with close family and friends and the more time I spent alone with myself to process and heal what life throws my way, the more I began to appreciate the little things I had begun to overlook while in LA. The simple and yet warming memories with childhood friends, the small comfort in spending some time in a coffee shop alone or with others just to get out of my home, going on walks and sightseeing to new and previous places, trying new restaurants, going hiking or to the park.
See, when you visit LA, it seems like you can’t get enough of it, there’s so much to do in so little time and yet when moving there, one may become so obsessed with work or image that they may lose sight of how blessed they are to even be able to be in a place surrounded with so much opportunity in the first place. One might forget the small things, the beauty in the flourishing city and the people around us there who are just trying to live out their wildest dreams and/or survive, just like we are.
I used to be silent on my shortcomings and how lonely or inadequate I felt in LA when spending time with others but now I fully speak my truth and notice how others begin to do so as well, to find commonalities in other humans well, it’s how it should be. I mean we’re all a little messed up in the head let’s be honest *laughs* but it’s when you’re messed up in the heart, I think that’s what defines you.
I guess that my advice to those currently in the industry and those interested in entering LA in general is that: …I’m beginning to do all I can to salvage the light in me and refuse to keep blaming “Los Angeles” as the reason because me, well we, the residents of LA, are the sole reason, every single day we all have the opportunity to turn our lives around if we would just actually get up and try, take action instead of just talking about it. If we stop living vicariously through others online and comparing yourself or tearing others down that are going after what they want, simply because we are too lazy or unfocused to do it ourselves, maybe we wouldn’t find so many things to be negative about throughout the day, I feel like that negativity is a cry for self change and it’s hard to admit. We all have the tools to succeed at our disposal every single second of the day and we can make a million excuses but at the end of the day, don’t let the only reason someone else beat you is because you beat yourself first.
Stay in it, stay focused and keep that love and hope alive in you because just as lonely as it might be at the bottom, it can be just as much on the way to the top and most days after it all and from personal experience, you might only have yourself to rely on, so make sure you’re patient and kind to yourself and that you’re surrounding yourself with people who uplift and spark/support your goals and wins rather than belittle them and that you’re most comfortable with being your true self instead of them mocking you, trust me you’ll be far more at peace. Nothing that is meant for you will pass you. I know I sound like a dang fortune cookie but remember that you’re not where you might want to be just yet but you’re also not where you used to be. I seriously think the world doesn’t need more successful people necessarily, it needs more peacemakers, problem solvers and lovers of all kinds.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m most proud of just being true to who I am. People often comment “how do you know how to do so many things!” or the colors I wear and content I create. My parents never restricted our ideas or interests or made me feel like I had to be a certain way or do certain things as a Latinx male and because of this, I ended up breaking the family cycle and I have so much fun while doing it, haha, with no worry as to what others think or might say. Because at the end of the day, we can all get the dream job, the dream house/car, etc. that we’ve always wanted. We can have money or be “successful” if we truly try but what we fail to realize is that if we aren’t true to ourselves and those we surround ourselves with, we will never fully reap what we sow and enjoy life to the fullest. I don’t necessarily need to leave this Earth being successful or famous, I just want to leave it being me.
We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Yes. I learned to stop wasting the time given during the pandemic to complain and instead use it to work on myself, my past baggage with relationships and life in general and to pick up skills that I had always wanted to try and do. I began to heal and forgive myself for my past and current mistakes and learned to practice being more grateful. Well because, it’s easy to point out what we don’t have but we don’t really take the time to point out all that we do have. I find it better going through life speaking from the heart as it will always do you better than speaking from the head and that when they say life is short and time passes you by, you really start to see it. You won’t have room to fill your head and your heart with new/better things if you’re holding onto things from the past, piled up in the corners that you claim to “be over.” It’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to need and ask for help, we’re all just trying to do the best we can with what life throws our way.
Be more empathetic and kind to others because everyone is still healing from things they don’t speak about and with that said, I’ll leave this interview with a mantra that one of my favorite acting coaches once told me that stayed with me, “It’s not always rejection. Sometimes it’s redirection and sometimes even, protection.”
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