MORE THAN A MONTH! LOVE + PRIDE 365! THE ALCHEMICAL ACTOR: NICO TORTORELLA
EDITOR IN CHIEF: COREY GUEVARRA
PHOTOGRAPHER: TIMOTHY SMITH
WARDROBE: MICKEY FREEMAN AT THE ONLY AGENCY
WARDROBE ASSISTANT: KYNDAL DAY
GROOMING: EVY DREW FOR EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS
Nico Tortorella is one of those beings that understands existentialism in a way that many, quite frankly, may never find the bandwidth to behold. Casting a light in this 3-D world while also not being of this 3-D world is a feat that he seems to be mastering with an added ability to inspire soul-level intrigue, awareness and awe! It’s no surprise that throughout the course of his life, it’s been important to experience fluidity in almost all of it's fathomable forms. While many may initially meet him at his ‘artistry of acting’ face value, if you know, you know that there’s so much more than meets the eye to this altruistic, alchemically magical creative! Talking timeless pride, first time fatherhood and his most recent return to screen via Apple TV's 'City on Fire', we are extra proud of ALL of it that is him, the truly thrilling, incredibly intrinsic; Nico Tortorella!
NICO, WHERE ARE YOU FROM & WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
My physical presence may be rooted in the north shore of Chicago, but the essence of my being transcends geographical boundaries. We are all products of our environments, shaped by the people, experiences, and cultures that surround us. However, the true concept of "home" extends beyond a mere physical location.
In the grand orchestration of existence, I consider myself a citizen of the world, a wanderer of the human experience. I grew up not only in the tangible spaces of my upbringing but also in the intangible landscapes of ideas, dreams, and emotions. My true growth, the nurturing of my spirit, occurred on the stage, where I discovered the power of storytelling and the profound connection it forges between souls.
TELL US ABOUT LITTLE NICO…WHAT WAS HE LIKE?… WHO DID HE WANT TO GROW UP TO BECOME?
Little Nico, with his spirited nature and insatiable curiosity, navigated the world with an intriguing twist—a stutter that danced with his words, a delicate synchrony of mind and mouth. It was as if the universe had orchestrated this intricate rhythm, a reminder that communication transcends the mere mechanics of speech. The stutter became a gateway to introspection, a silent dialogue with the vast depths of existence.
In the midst of his struggle, little Nico discovered the profound power of language. Each word, carefully selected and courageously uttered, carried a weight that surpassed mere sound. It forced him to pause, to savor the spaces between syllables, to truly listen and embrace the profound connections that reside in the silence. The stutter, far from a hindrance, became a conduit for deeper understanding—a testament to the intricate dance between thought, expression, and the ineffable mysteries of being.
Growing up in the vibrant atmosphere of bars, Italian delis, and antique stores, I soaked up the rich tapestry of life around me. Emotion ran deep within me, and I was drawn to the arts like a moth to a flame. From an early age, I had a sense that there was something more out there for me. I carried a knowing within me that I was destined to discover. I possessed an unwavering belief that I would grow up to become someone who made an impact, someone who delved into the depths of human existence and brought forth stories and emotions that resonated with others. While the specifics of who I wanted to become were not clear-cut, the essence was always there—a seeker, an artist, a catalyst for change.
Even now, as I reflect upon my journey, I realize that the essence of little Nico still resides within me. I am still that curious and passionate soul, unafraid to dive headfirst into the unknown. I am driven by an insatiable desire to explore, to push boundaries, and to continue evolving as an artist and as a human being. No matter where life takes me, I remain steadfast in my pursuit of truth, beauty, and the endless possibilities that lie ahead.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BE AN ACTOR?
Picture this: a young, Italian, impressionable, Nico with a stutter, under the lovingly coercive guidance of my dear mother, being thrust into the auditions for "The Wizard of Oz." Little did I know that this seemingly innocent act of maternal persuasion would become a pivotal moment in my existence. I was cast as a munchkin in that grand community production. Everything changed in an instant. The world opened up before my eyes like the majestic Emerald City itself. Possibilities unfurled like the yellow brick road, and realities shifted like the shifting sands of Oz. From that fateful moment, there was no doubt in my mind about what I was destined to do. I get to play make-believe for a living. Can you imagine? It's a life where the boundary between imagination and reality becomes delightfully blurred. I step into the shoes of diverse characters, breathing life into their stories, and creating moments of connection that transcend the limitations of everyday existence. It's a job that allows me to dance in the realms of magic, vulnerability, and pure artistic expression. Trust me when I say, there's nothing better.
WHAT WAS THE LAST “JOB” YOU WORKED BEFORE ACTING FULL TIME?
I worked at an auto shop in high school and managed a raw food restaurant when I move to LA. Both very important distinct sides of my personality.
SO MANY HIDE THEIR IDENTITIES IN FEAR OR HOW THEY THINK IT COULD AFFECT THEIR CAREERS, WHAT LIBERATES & INSPIRES YOU TO LIVE WITH SUCH AUTHENTICITY?
What liberates and inspires me to live with authenticity is a combination of reaching a point where I don't give a shit about others’ judgments, embracing imperfections and being true to myself no matter what. Even if that changes, additionally, becoming a parent has motivated me to be an example for my children, showing them the beauty of living authentically. Showing them what to do and definitely what not to do. All of it is valid. All of it is you.
SUIT: LANDEROS, SHIRT: DIOR, SHOES: LANDEROS, JEWELRY: DAVID YURMAN
WHAT’S A DAILY CONVERSATION, MANTRA OR AFFIRMATION YOU HAVE WITH YOURSELF?
"All of It Is You" of course ;-)
SO MANY OF US MET YOU ON ‘YOUNGER’ & HAVE BEEN FANS EVER SINCE! TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEWEST SHOW 'CITY ON FIRE' ON APPLE TV+
This captivating series, helmed by the creative geniuses Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, who famously brought us the beloved "Gossip Girl," draws inspiration from the equally captivating novel by Garth Risk Hallberg.
Set in the early 2000s in the aftermath of the transformative events of 9/11, our story unfolds against the backdrop of a restless and vibrant New York City. It's a time of uncertainty, of rebuilding, and of profound introspection.
In this mesmerizing narrative, I step into the shoes of William Hamilton Sweeny III—a character who encapsulates the complexity of a queer, drug-addicted rockstar artist. William is a captivating soul, fueled by a burning desire to not only fix himself but also to mend the very fabric of the world around him. Through William's journey, we delve into the depths of his artistic genius, his struggles with addiction, and his unwavering determination to make a difference. It's a tumultuous exploration of self-discovery, redemption, and the unyielding pursuit of truth.
DO YOU HAVE AN IDEAL/DREAM ROLE OR CHARACTER NICO?
As an actor, my ideal or dream role is not fixed to a specific archetype. With the influence of parenthood, my focus is on continuous work and taking on challenging roles that push my artistic boundaries. I am particularly drawn to collaborations with talented individuals who are venturing into innovative and unexplored territories. I remain open to any roles that come my way, embracing the excitement and uncertainty that accompanies the ever-changing nature of the industry. As we move forward, who knows what the landscape of the entertainment industry will truly look like? The potential impact of AI on storytelling, production and even the nature of acting itself adds an extra layer of anticipation and curiosity to the path that lies ahead. It's an ever-evolving realm that keeps us all wondering and embracing the possibilities that await us.
SUIT: KARUNAS, SHIRT: DRIES VAN NOTEN, SNEAKERS: VHNY, JEWELRY: DAVID YURMAN
YOUR MOVEMENT & BOOK ‘ALL OF IT IS YOU’ CONTINUES TO RESONATE & LEAVE SUCH A HUGE ECHO, WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM & WHAT LED YOU TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER TO PUBLISH?
The idea behind my movement and book, 'All of it is You,' stems from the profound realization that our existence is intricately intertwined with the world around us. It speaks to the interconnectedness between our consciousness and the experiences we encounter. By embracing this wisdom, we embark on a journey of self-discovery, intertwining our individuality with the cosmic dance of existence. It is a call to engage with the world consciously, cultivate self-awareness, and embrace the profound interplay between our own being and the vast universe.Stumbling upon this life mantra at a relatively early stage has been a profound and transformative experience for me. It has allowed me to navigate through life with a sense of purpose and contentment, constantly reminding myself of the interconnectedness of all things. In a world that often urges us to chase after more, this realization serves as a grounding force, reminding me to appreciate the beauty and richness of the present moment. It poses the question, "Is this enough?" and in doing so, challenges the notion that fulfillment lies solely in the pursuit of external desires. Instead, it encourages a shift in focus towards embracing the inherent abundance within ourselves and the world around us. It is a reminder to cherish the here and now, finding solace and fulfillment in the interconnected tapestry of existence.
CONGRATULATIONS ON BECOMING A PROUD PAPA!
HAS BECOMING A PARENT CHANGED THE WAY YOU DESIRE TO NAVIGATE THROUGH THE WORLD IN ANY WAY?
Becoming a parent has truly been a transformative experience, altering the way I navigate through the world in profound ways. It has unlocked a new level of understanding and connection within me. I find myself tapping into ancestral parental wisdom while simultaneously experiencing a renewed sense of childlike wonder. My priorities have shifted and I am now less concerned with pushing identity politics and more interested in exploring the complexities of emotional dynamics. Parenthood has prompted a deep examination of our biological vessels, challenging us to redefine our roles and responsibilities. It is a journey of self-discovery and growth, embracing the profound changes that come with fatherhood and motherhood. It is an unconditional commitment, where questions fade away, and the sheer joy of nurturing and guiding a child takes precedence.
Through the lens of fatherhood, I have discovered a newfound relationship with music. When my wife Bethany and I found out we were expecting, I started dreaming in songs, melodies and lyrics. It sparked a creative fire within me, and now, a year later, I have been immersed in the music studio, crafting an album set to release this year. The experience of making music has become an incredible gift, second only to the joy of having my child. It has become an essential part of my existence, and I cannot imagine a life without this artistic expression. Becoming a parent has reshaped my perspective, redefined my aspirations, and infused my life with immense love and inspiration. It has expanded my understanding of what it means to truly navigate through the world, and I am grateful for the transformative journey that parenthood has brought into my life.
SUIT: AKNVAS, JEWELRY: DAVID YURMAN
WHAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU THINK OF PRIDE MONTH NICO?
When I think of Pride, I'm reminded of the essence of authenticity and growth. Pride is not confined to a single month or represented solely by rainbows or lines at target or customized beer cans. It goes beyond that. Pride is about knowing and accepting who you are, embracing your journey of self-discovery, however flawed, and allowing yourself room for growth and evolution no matter what.
Pride is about actively seeking new experiences, stepping into environments and situations that challenge and expand our understanding of ourselves and the world. It's about pushing boundaries, embracing diversity, and celebrating the richness of human expression. Pride is not stagnant; it's a continuous process of self-reflection, learning, and transformation.
Pride goes beyond the individual; it encompasses the collective. It is about building a sense of community, creating spaces where everyone feels seen, heard, and respected. It's about recognizing the interconnectedness of all beings and honoring the diverse experiences and identities that make up our society.
In essence, Pride is a celebration of the multifaceted nature of life itself. It's a recognition that we are part of something greater—Pride is family. Pride is evolution. Pride is god. Pride is my baby laughing. Pride is the rainbow and... Pride is the earth, the water, the sky, the wind, the flame the stars the blood and the tears. Pride is all of it. And all of it is you.
THINKING ON YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF NICO?
When reflecting on my entire life, there are two things that I am seriously proud of. First and foremost, I am incredibly proud of my family. My wife, Bethany, has been by my side for 17 years, and I genuinely cannot imagine my life without her. She is my mirror, my confidante, my teacher, and my inspiration. Together, we are whole. And now, with the birth of our first child, Kilmer Dove Meyers Tortorella, our family has grown even more. The fact that there is a person in the world who is a blend of both Bethany and me is simply mind-blowing. This child is pure magic, and I am immensely proud of them, despite only having known them for a few months.
When I consider the future and how rapidly technology and artificial intelligence are transforming our world, I experience a mix of excitement and nostalgia for what has already passed. It's as if I am an old man looking back, proud of what we have accomplished amidst the chaos of our times. The art I have been able to create, amidst the ever-changing landscape, holds a special place in my heart. Art has always been and will continue to be the driving force in my life. It is the outlet through which I channel my emotions, thoughts, and perspectives. Art has the power to transcend reality, bending time and space. It is a conduit for self-expression and has the ability to shape the world.
So, while I am proud of what my children will achieve and the art they will create in the future, I am also proud of the art that I have yet to bring into existence. It is a constant source of inspiration and motivation for me. As I look back on my life, I see a journey filled with love, family, and the transformative power of art, and it fills me with a profound sense of pride.
SHIRT: INF, SUIT: GARÇON COUTURE
OVER THE YEARS WE’VE HEARD THE MOST FASCINATING ANSWERS, EVERYTHING FROM TIME, TO THINGS, TO EFFICIENCY. NICO TORTORELLA, WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF LUXURY?
My definition of luxury is rooted in the essence of life itself. It is the profound realization that the very act of existence is a luxurious gift. Each morning when we wake up and embark on another day in this dimension, we are experiencing the ultimate luxury. We are magical beings, pure energy, temporarily inhabiting human forms on this remarkable planet called Earth. We have the capacity to feel deeply, to love passionately, to endure pain, and to ultimately face our mortality. This, in itself, is the epitome of luxury. However, luxury extends far beyond material labels and external possessions. It is about embracing life wholeheartedly, seizing every opportunity, and living authentically. Luxury is the thrill of the chase, the exhilaration of seeking and discovering what truly resonates with our souls. In the realm of fashion, luxury is not confined to designer labels or extravagant price tags. It is the ability to explore, experiment, and create our own unique style. It is about finding garments and accessories that align with our individuality and giving ourselves the freedom to embrace the unknown, to venture beyond the confines of convention. Ultimately, luxury is the celebration of life's inherent abundance and the appreciation of the journey. It is about embracing the magic that surrounds us, daring to live boldly, and finding joy in every moment. True luxury lies in the pursuit of authentic experiences, the cultivation of meaningful connections, and the unwavering commitment to self-discovery. It is a reminder to savor the beauty that resides within us and all around us, for life itself is the ultimate luxury. Luxury is the ability to take life by the horns and fuck the shit out of it. Have fun kids, this is all a simulation anyway, get weird.