Interview with TOMMY MARTINEZ | Belief is Everything
Most of our beliefs are created unconsciously. We have habits of thought patterns influenced by the environment we are experiencing and what we focus on. Thoughts flow to and through us emanating energies that become our emotional reality. These emotions affect the way we see our existence and that makes us do and act in one way or another. Beliefs that support and inspire actions in us leading us to live the life we want for ourselves, always feel good. Hence, our belief system is an indication of what we are creating within ourselves, which will ultimately reflect in our physical reality.
Actor Tommy Martinez seems to agree as he affirms: “Belief is EVERYTHING. If the love is genuine and true…believe, believe, and believe. A positive mindset can get you so far.”
This talented actor, who can be seen as Gael in the new Freeform TV show Good Trouble, has an inspiring story behind his successful ever-expanding career. His love and passion for what he is doing are felt through each word in this interview. Tommy is able to interpret his characters beyond a mere role, he believes that by portraying another person he is adding to his personal growth as a human being, hence to the world he is living in.
- Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Tommy Martinez?
My name is Tommy Martinez. Born in Venezuela, raised in South Florida. No ambitions growing up and mentally lost for the majority of my life. I just wanted to have fun, be with my friends and family. I’m a wanderer at heart who wants to explore what my soul is capable of… seeing beautiful places and people along the way. Big into photography so I can remember all of the sweet and bitter moments and soak them in to become a more emotionally intelligent human. I aimlessly ride my motorcycle around and out of the city just to breathe and see. I rock climb frequently to feel the adrenaline rush through my body. When I love, I love deeply. I have been, mentally, through hell and back. Eternally grateful for it all, and it’s what makes me who I am today.
- Did you have a pivotal moment when you felt, I want to become an actor? If so, please describe your emotions.
I was in college, failing all of my classes because I wasn’t pursuing anything that I loved. My friends and everyone else I knew had a direction. Thoughts rushed through my head and I put myself in a dark place… some sort of an early life crisis. A few weeks later I was asked by Herbert Felix if I wanted to take part in his short film. He asked, “Have you ever considered acting?”. I always admired actors and how they play with characters, but never thought of it to be possible, nor did I ever think I would act. It seemed like a fairytale. He then asked if I wanted to meet up with him to try reading some lines. We did, and then he proceeded to tell me that I’d be perfect for the role. “Want to mess around and create some art?”I said yes, and we began shooting for a month. The first day of shooting, an undeniable feeling came over me. “Holy shit, this feels so good.” I became invested in the short film, trying to pull off what I could. I thought to myself, “Maybe this is it… maybe this is what I’m meant to do.” I dropped out of my classes that were getting me literally nowhere, and I looked up the theatre program at Florida State University. The BFA acting program is what caught my eye, but I missed the deadline and wouldn’t be able to audition until the following year. Three more years of being in a college town where I had already spent three years. I told myself, I needed to get out. I dropped out of college, went back home for a year to make a little bit of money at a full-time job at Home Depot. I packed up all that I owned into my little Jetta and drove across the country towards Los Angeles to risk it all for this new-found burning love I have for acting.
- How does your personal life journey contribute to your creative path as an actor?
I think that with all the good and the bad that I had experienced in my life, I could pull from the range of emotions that I had felt throughout the years to my benefit. Putting myself in the shoes of the characters that I would later play.
- Before your first professional role, while you were taking acting classes in LA, you were modeling for two years. Did your experience as a model in any way enhance your skills and mindset as an actor?
Modeling taught me how to break out of my shell while around a large, new group of people. I’ve met some truly inspiring souls along the way that only added more fuel to my fire for this career. Most of the jobs that I had to be fortunate to book were lifestyle jobs. Lots of videos and photos, so we had to act natural beings, maybe in love, maybe just friends… but it had to be authentic. In the videos, we had to converse with one another, even though there wouldn’t be any audio. It was a wonderful practice for improvisation.
- Although, there seem to be more and more opportunities in the entertainment industry, how does your belief in yourself affect the outcome you desire?
Belief is EVERYTHING. If the love is genuine and true…believe, believe, and believe. A positive mindset can get you so far. It’s almost felt like magic to me. I just knew that I was meant to do this and I knew that it would eventually work out. Even if it took me more years than I had originally thought. You never know when that one “yes,” that could change your life, could be right around the corner.
- The entertainment industry is bursting with a diversity of choices for viewers. In your opinion, what does it take to create a TV show or a film that is memorable to the audience?
I think that emotions are at the foundations of what makes us human. The yearning to be with other people is so incredibly powerful. If for just 25 minutes, an hour or two hours… we can be with those people in the stories they tell… That’s what it’s all about, and will stay with the minds that followed the stories.
- In the new Freeform TV show Good Trouble, you play Gael, a Latino bisexual man who is pursuing his dreams as an artist. What did you feel when you first read the script?
“F%&k, this is me.” A Latino man following his dreams, balancing the ability to do so with another job in Los Angeles. Gael being bisexual opened up thoughts about what it would be like to grow up in a Catholic household where identities like that may not be entirely accepted. I fell in love with the idea that I would be helping other people, like Gael, learn to love who they are and that they aren’t alone in this world. That there are people you can talk to so they can come out of the shadows without fear of not being accepted.
- How do you think the story behind the relationship between Gael, Callie and Mariana could positively impact the audience?
Communication is a key factor in any kind of relationship. With that, I believe you can work through most situations, like the scene where Callie admits to Mariana about sleeping with Gael. Now, in terms of Callie and Gael… I think that shows the acceptance someone could have about another person who identifies as bisexual. Accepting them for who they are, and if they want to be intimate with them, I think that’s where we come back to the whole communication aspect.
- How was the process of studying Gael and empathizing with him? Please, elaborate.
It really just felt like my own life, so there was more introspection for myself than anything. Thinking about the situations that Gael is put into… How would I go about that while still delivering the lines that were written for him? I saw so much of myself in Gael. It truly was such a joy to find out more about him and myself at the same time.
- Beyond the desire of Gael making a living as an artist, what do you feel the artistic expression means to him?
One of his lines while explaining his sculpture to Callie was, “the idea was to find a sense of stillness in the midst of chaos.” Him not coming out to his parents just yet, but open with everybody else, and also the trouble that his transgender sister, Jazmin, has to go through… It seeps through his mind and into his art. His art IS his life, and that’s not just saying that it’s his passion. His life is being spoken through his work.
- As an actor, you have become a diversity of personalities. How has portraying someone else opened the possibility of exploring yourself?
The biggest thing that I have learned from my role as Gael, is the world of the LGBT community. A community that I wasn’t really exposed to where I grew up. Having had my own experiences and thinking that I wouldn’t be accepted for my past. It allowed me to look deeper into my own shoes, and for anyone who has been pushed into the shadows. Our stories are told to change lives and perspective, to help our fellow humans. That is the best feeling I have ever felt in my life. This opportunity has changed my life entirely.
- What other projects do you envision to be part of in the future?
I’ve always loved a good psycho-thriller. So maybe I’ll reprise my inner lunatic persona from Riverdale into a film. But honestly, I’m here to make art and tell stories that’ll last and challenge the minds of the viewers. Time will only tell!
- Do you have any habit or practice you come back to when you want to reconnect with yourself?
I tend to drive off into a national park. Feel that beautiful land beneath my feet, breathing the mountain air, and staring off into views I dream of daily. I also do a ton of rock climbing. It truly helps release any kind of tension I have within my mind or body. These two are my forms of meditation.
- Having both cultures, Venezuelan and American, is exciting and enriching. In that sense, do you think you have to choose one or the other background, or you can be and feel both at the same time?
I feel both at the same time! I’ll never forget where I came from and proud of both of my homes. I always say that I was born in Venezuela and raised in Florida. Gotta stick to your roots!
- Are you involved in any charity organization or humanitarian cause you would like to mention?
Charity: Water. Such a beautiful cause by helping bring water to those lives who need it. We have a right to live, and if we can donate even just a dollar…that makes a difference.
- The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is The Essence of a Joyful Living. How does Joy during the creative process affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
I think belief for me goes hand in hand with joy. A positive mindset while believing is setting the tone to live a jovial life. I believe that’s what really pushed me through this industry when I moved out here. I had an undying belief that this would work. Of course, there will be down times. I’ve had many dark clouds that loomed above my head, but forced myself to come out from under it.
- When you hear: You can be, do and have anything you want, words from the teachings of Abraham – Hicks, what is your take on such a statement?
I’ve said it many times. If the love is genuine and true…never stop believing in that dream, and it will come true.