Thick Skin, Soft Heart: Our Recent Interview with Actor Geno Segers
Geno, thank you so much for being a part of our organization’s mission of building mental fitness in all youth. Can you tell me more about your interest in this work and how it resonates for you?
I have always had a close connection to this issue as a couple of my family members suffered with mental illness. Growing up dealing with this gave me a level of understanding and compassion.
Our #RealDeal blog is body image and self-acceptance blog site — one that hopes to inspire women and men to love their bodies no matter the size or shape. As a professional performer, can you tell us whether you have experienced difficulties with body image and — if so — how you have overcome that challenge? I guess it is also important to ask if guys struggle with body image, too? If so … how?
Having played sports my whole life I built up a very thick skin for hearing comments and insults, so as for difficulties with my body image I can’t say that I’ve ever been unsure of myself or effected by what others though about the size of my body. From 360lbs to 235lbs and everywhere in between I’ve always been pretty confident in myself and my abilities. I do believe that the key is just that, being confident in your abilities, at any size should give a person purpose. I know worked for me.
One of the many protective factors that we focus on building in school aged kids is stress-management. We know that so many illnesses are compounded by stress. Can you tell us some of the ways you manage your stress?
I see it very differently. As long as it’s not life or death then it is not stress, it’s pressure. People will say they are under stress when it’s only pressure, and learning how to deal with pressure for me started with redefining stress. There may be small differences for everyone, but if a person puts limits on what they call stress, (1 or 2 issues only) then when all other things come up, take the time and put a step by step plan in place to handle it, they should be better prepared to handle real stress when it comes along.
Geno, are there any books or references that you have found particularly inspiring or helpful to you? If so, could you share a few here so our readers can find them?
The last one I read was Bob Bardwell’s “Marathons Life”
Another of the protective factors that we know can assist in preventing mental illness, is media literacy and critical thinking skills. As someone working in the entertainment industry, are there challenges you have faced with regard to these areas?
Everyone deals with being rejected differently, some say “your lose” and move on. Other’s say “the role belonged to someone else” I had problems with this at the start. I would over think each and everything and it would start in the waiting room at the audition. From the guys in the room, type of shoes they had on, color of their shirts and how tall or short they were.
CRAZY right? I had to learn to work better, be really prepared and then let it go. In the end there is always someone better looking but how you deliver the role can make looks a non factor.
How do you define beautiful?
To me beauty is anything that gives me intense satisfaction weather its an amazing depiction of a landscape, or the touch of a loved one at the right time, it’s all beautiful to me.
What is inner beauty?
For me when a person is intensely satisfied with their effort in work, personal and family life their inner beauty comes out automatically. It can’t be put on or faked. Inner beauty starts with effort.
What is happiness?
Being truly content with yourself inside and out.
Other than family members or other close friends / relatives, do you have any role models that you look up to that you could share with our readers?
The one I’ve always looked up to outside of my dad is Muhammad Ali. In all stages of his life he worked hard and stood for something he believed in no matter what the consequences.
Geno Segers is an actor and voice-artist possessing an active background in many fields of entertainment and athletics. He was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and with his athletic prowess, participated in football, wrestling and track during his high school and college years. While attending school at Western Carolina University (WCU), the 6’4″ Geno played football which later led to him playing for the American National Rugby League.
uring this time playing in rugby, Geno later moved to New Zealand where he played for Richmond Rovers Rugby League team. Geno Segers’ first taste of the entertainment field began with a suggestion by a friend to try voice-work. Possessing a naturally-rich bass quality, Geno first auditioned for voice-ads for a radio station in New Zealand.
His voice gained him attention enough to attract an agent’s ear. This led to Segers being cast in the role of Mufasa in an Australian stage production of “The Lion King”. With an intimidating voice and appearance, Geno is best known and identified with the comedic series Pair of Kings (2010) aired on the Disney Channel.
On the series, Geno plays the role of Mason Makoola, the fearsome father of Mikayla Makoola [played by Kelsey Chow]. His character, although tough and menacing at times, is perhaps one of the more comedic characters on the show and is described as a tritagonist to the two protagonist characters King Brady [Mitchel Musso] and King Boomer [Larramie Doc Shaw].
Aside from his role on “Pair of Kings”, Geno serves as a co-host for the Disney XD’s UK-aired game show Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge. Now working on Banshee and Teen Wolf.