Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Interview with Revenge actor, Henri Esteve: stand up for yourself, otherwise no one else will

Please tell us about yourself and what you do?

I grew up in Miami, Fl. Raised by a strong Cuban mother. Left when I was 17 to NYC to train in theatre and pursue a career in acting. I now act for a living, and that’s an awesome thing to be able to say that I do the thing I love for a living now.

Can you tell us a bit about any upcoming projects or events that you are working on?

I recently wrapped shooting Season 3 of REVENGE on ABC. I also just finished developing and writing a One-Man Show that hopefully I can have up on a NYC stage before the end of the year. Other projects in pre-production include a Feature film Prison Drama titled Rodent. I am not allowed to say who else is attached yet though. : /

Do you find the pressures of working in your industry significant with regard to feeling the need to have a “perfect” body?  If so, how do you navigate through that terrain?

The perfect body is definitely a term or subject that is prevalent in Hollywood. I think women unfortunately have to deal with it much more than men do. I also don’t think that means men are exempt from those feelings. Me personally, I’ve been lucky enough to never have an issue with body-image. I have always wanted it to be my craft that gets me a job or gets me noticed, so my focus always came back to that, Craft. It’s something you have control over. The work you do, what you do, not how you look. I think that’s an important mind-set for everyone to have no matter the industry. Character is shown through actions not shirtless selfies so I chose to focus on action. To me strong character is much closer to “perfect” than strong abs are.

How do you “not” judge yourself when others (critics, audience members, producers, etc.) “judge” you based on outward measures?

Self-judgment is honestly unavoidable. For me, it’s always been about knowing what to do about the Self-judgment. If you’re not happy about something then fix it. It sounds very militant, but focusing on problems does nothing but waste time. I choose to focus on solutions, I choose to do things for myself. I look at everything as a choice, one choice at a time. I think that is a very empowering mindset. It’s very easy in today’s day and age, especially with technology, and social media and all this instant access to other people’s opinions to get lost in that. I remind myself, fight with myself, to stay autonomous, I think that is a never ending battle for our generation.

To follow up with that question, how do you deal with bullying or people talking negative about you? Can you give any examples of bullying in your personal life and how you handled it?

Bullying is terrible, it’s traumatic anyone who has been through it knows that. I remember when I was about 12 years old, I had just switched schools, and there was this big kid (you know the kid who looks like he is 4 years older than everyone else) and he would always mess with me just non-stop. I remember realizing that if I didn’t stand up for myself, it wasn’t going to stop. So the next day when he walked up to me and pushed me, as scared as I was I turned around and punched him in the face. Big kid went down and so did the bullying. Now I’m not telling kids to get physical, the moral of the story is you need to stand up for yourself, otherwise no one else will. Believe in yourself, I think once you trust and believe in yourself, standing up for yourself is not only easier but mandatory for self.

When I say fix it, it’s coming from the outlook that none of us are helpless. The how in this is going to be different with every circumstance. What I normally do is look for my end goal and then ask myself what has to be done to get there, do I need to get better at something if so how? Practice more? Study more? Do I need to have a conversation with some one? OK how do I want that talk to go? What am I trying to accomplish? The more questions you ask yourself, more specific your desires the easier to find ways to get them. We have too much going on around us these days to go through life generally. Everything has to be specific or our goals get lost in the shuffle.

On staying autonomous. You have to search for information. If we just mentally digest what comes up on our social media feeds we are feeding into appetitive behavior. Initiative goes a long way in this day and age.

There are definitely blogs and apps that help me find information.  So a search for info and then try to make my own decision about how I feel. I go through a 3 step process.

1) What is the nature of something?

2) What is the origin of so-called nature?

3) And then what is most reasonable to believe?

Things don’t have to be absolute that’s impossible. They just have to make more sense than everything else.

What made you want to get involved with Mental Fitness, Inc.?

Jacob Burman hit me up on twitter, sent me some info on Mental Fitness and the ideas behind it really resonated with me. They are idea’s I think the school system and adults in general should try to instill in our youth from an early age. Especially with today’s society.

Who were the role models in your life?

My mother was a huge role model for me. She is such a strong woman who taught me to work hard and that nothing is given, everything is earned. My brother who taught me the same things and helped create a man who runs on determination and heart.

What do you define as beautiful?

Anything honest and raw. I find the courage to be yourself beautiful.  Ownership of self.

How do you define inner beauty?

Inner beauty to me has a lot to do with honesty and ambition. Not ambition in a sense of making money or garnering “success”. Ambition in the sense of being a better person, evolving. To me, inner beauty has everything to do with trying to grow. Searching for growth.

What is happiness?

Happiness, for me, is being fulfilled. Feeling as if you have purpose dedicating yourself to something bigger than you. I am at my happiest when I am working to create something. It doesn’t have to be a project necessarily it could even be in the dedication to create better relationships in your life etc. Finding things more important than I find my ego often leads me to feeling happier.

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Would you be willing to take the Real Deal pledge?  Thoughts about that? (http://wearetherealdeal.com/about/the-real-deal-pledge/)

Yes, I would be. My favorite part which I think if you’re really doing sums it all up is #10. Be unapologetically myself.

How do you manage your stress levels in daily life?  Do you use music / art / dance, etc. as a coping tool?

I write a lot. Not necessarily writing for production but just writing down thoughts looking at them logically almost philosophically. I love breaking things down to their core and then taking the necessary steps to move forward. If you can break things down into small manageable tasks and questions, it’s much easier to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Other than that my Art has been a huge outlet for me getting to use my stress/pain to create something, it always makes me feel like whatever I’m going through is worth it.

Are there other things that you do to live mindfully?

Just being mindful of being mindful. Make lists, slow yourself down. Try to stay in the present.

How do you find a work-life balance — as a man, relationships, a professional — what are keys to balance?

Balance means everything is in line and symmetrical, I don’t believe that’s the case in life. I think there is room for things to be a little unbalanced at times. Accepting that is big for me. I believe everything moves in cycles, what goes up must come down. Understanding that and knowing that when it’s on the downside it will go back up, as long as you keep doing your part. That makes me feel balanced. Do your best, try to be the BEST YOU in everything you do. Know what you are striving towards being, as a man, as a partner, and as a professional. Goals help me stay in the ballpark of balance. I am far from mastering it, but I know the effort is what keeps me from losing balance completely.

Other thoughts / reflections?

Shoot the freak became my tag line in recent years because I got to a point where I felt I had a duty to fully be myself and if people were going to like it they would and if they weren’t going to they weren’t. To me Shoot the Freak meant fully be yourself, no matter if you feel like you’re being shot at, the biggest crime would be you shooting down your own personality.  So #SHOOTTHEFREAK

Also a big inspiration for me growing up was the Tupac poem, The Rose That Grew From Concrete- I won’t say what it means to me but hopefully people read and take from it what I did as kid.

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Henri’s Twitter Link

Bio:

Born and raised in Miami, Henri moved to New York to study acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. Getting his start in the New York theatre circuit, Henri has starred in Off Broadway productions of ROMEO & JULIET and DOES A TIGER WEAR A NECKTIE? as well as other plays.

Henri then moved to Los Angeles to pursue his TV/Film career. Last fall Henri was selected by ABC as one of twenty actors to take part of their prestigious yearly talent showcase. Soon after this Henri landed a recurring Role on ABC’s REVENGE. Most recently Henri has just finished writing and developing a One-man show, based on the life of Lee Harvey Oswald.

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