Their character "Rafa" explores relationships, sexuality, and coming-of-age in the acclaimed Brazilian series for HBO Max.
It's amazing to think that you've been in the industry form just the age of 14. How would you describe your experience regarding your first role in the play Peer Gynt?
My character was “Dr. Begriffenfeldt,” he was a man, head of a hospice in the middle of the desert, basically lost (or found) in his ego. Playing this character at 14 years old was a challenge, it was intriguing, because at that young age, I wouldn’t mostly understand rationally what the character was about, but the feeling in his words, the place he occupied in the story, and of course, rehearsing, made me possible to dive in. And I think acting is about that: living these characters that challenge us to go deeply into the emotions, thoughts and expressions that they provoke or call for.
As a non-binary actor, what advice would you give to other young non-binary actors that are new to the entertainment industry?
My advice is: be smart, be aware and always keep truthful to yourself. The entertainment industry is tough, especially for people like us, but when we realize where we belong, what we believe and what we want, we can find the ways to get there without losing ourselves.
And also, I think it’s important to point out that non-binary actors don’t have exclusively to play characters that are non-binary. It’s important for an actor to explore their possibilities of expression and have the freedom to perform several kinds of characters.
You star in the new HBO series called "Todxs Nós." How would you describe the theme of this show?
In Todxs Nós (He, She, They), Rafa is a non-binary 18-year-old, who just finished high school and runs away from their father’s home in an inner city and goes to São Paulo, the biggest city in Latin America, looking to finally live their life the way they desire, with freedom.
They goes to live with their cousin Vini, a white gay cis man (Kelner Macedo), and Maia, a black straight cis woman (Julianna Gerais). And the show is about these three young personalities and their experiences in a day-by-day basis. Their life and romances in the big city.
You also earned your B.A. in Social Sciences to help you better understand your characters. How difficult was it to juggle school and work as an actor? Would you recommend doing this to other actors?
I would suggest this degree to other actors, and to everyone in this planet hahaha. I think we all need to understand deeply the structures of the society we live in. But in acting-wise, this knowledge of society really gives a lot of layers to work with, and that is, in the way I see, the best material to work as an actor, these several and complexed layers that together builds its individual subjectivity.
I would suggest this degree to other actors, and to everyone in this planet hahah. I think we all need to understand deeply the structures of the society we live in. But acting-wise, this knowledge of society really gives a lot of layers to work with, and that is, in the way I see, the best material to work as an actor, these several and complex layers that together build its individual subjectivity.
Knowing the society deeply, means knowing the human being who inhabits it. Making movies is telling stories of human beings. And for us to tell truthful stories or stories that do justice for people who lived it, it’s necessary to understand all the context around it.
You played the lead character "Estela" in the major film "California." What was it like working with such a talented filmmaker like Marina Person? How was this movie role different from previous roles you had in the past?
Estela was my first role in a movie, and it was amazing. At the time, I was almost the same age as Estela, and I had just gone through the dilemmas that the character lives in the movie, that was interesting because having your first roll in the movies, as a lead character, can be very frighting, So having this proximity with the character, the script being realistic and sensitive, and Marina as a kind and focused conductor, provided me with a safe and encouraging place to face the challenge.
What is something fans may not know about you?
That’s a difficult one, (lol). But I think that something that is important to share, is that it took me some time and courage to accept me as a non-binary person. When I started to realize how uncomfortable I felt as a woman, I was really afraid to admit to myself that I would have to make an entire review of how I felt during my life, how I felt about my body, open the possibility to understand if I would like to change things in my body, having to face family, friends, neighbors, etc. All that can make us feel small and fragile. But once you accept how you feel and who you are, you realize you have the strength to fight it all, and that it’s not a matter of choice, it’s just what we have to do if we want to build a living where we have the freedom to feel comfortable in our own mind and body.
Watch Todxs Nós on HBO Max. Follow Aren Gallo via their Instagram.