We had the good fortune of connecting with Anthony Cotoia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anthony, what’s your definition for success?
We often set goals for ourselves and when we “achieve” them we might feel a sense of success, but to me the internal process (going through the experience) is as important as the outcome. Making sure I’m doing everything in life with kindness, gratitude and generosity, so I find myself in deep connection in all these things is the ultimate goal as I also reach for specific outcomes. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” The thing is that even the way we go about the most mundane and menial tasks is to some degree going to dictate how we express ourselves in the greater picture; being truly kind and loving on myself has the potential to become resonant throughout me so much so that it can guide me into a greater space of kindness, generosity, love, etc. for those around me. It’s funny because I want to love others more, and it seems to be the first step is to allow myself to receive loving kindness first from the great divine, and then from myself, and from there I am given the freedom to go on to care for others throughout the day.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Like many an artist, being patient has definitely been one of my weaker points. In other career paths there is usually a clear trajectory that you can reference to some degree, and that can be a tangible thing to help keep calm and patient as you continue down your path. However, for most artists, it’s really difficult to gauge when the next step will come or what that step should even be. You often run into uncertainty of what to do, how to go about it, when to start and when to finish it, and of course from there not knowing what will happen next week, and often not even knowing what tomorrow will look like. Of course, we share with most people the uncertainty of tomorrow’s promises as that is a natural part of the human experience, but it feels as though it’s even more true for artists. The beautiful thing is that as an artist, I have been positioned in a place where I had to learn internal balance is key. In these circumstances, I’ve gotten better at learning the balance of my drive/self-belief with the advice of others. Sometimes people don’t fully know where you are in your journey when they advise you, or they share what they saw worked for them, but on my part it took a bit of maturity to learn how to balance that with trusting my intuition.
Early in my career I was advised not to join the actor’s union until I was a “full package.” I’d be losing out on opportunities to groom my image and that I would drown in competition against more established actors and big names. Now I’m working on some bigger film projects and finding greater success because I trusted my intuition while hearing the advice sent to me. So I don’t necessarily agree because you will always find the opportunities that are right for you if you’re listening inward. Some people feel as though this industry is always a competition, but it really is outside of our control; there are so many factors that even the most brilliant people couldn’t take care of. So I consider everyone as part of my community, in hopes of us supporting one another. When I tell people I’m an actor sometimes they say “Oh, wow, it must be so competitive!” But I maintain that it’s not the truest perspective. There are so many circumstances that are out of our hands, so it really all comes down to being at the right place, at the right time, and so on. And the best way be what you need to be is to connect intimately to God and listen there to what is spoken into your intuition. And respond accordingly.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love the waves at Manhattan Beach because that space is distinctly calming. Surfing, breathing, gazing. It’s all good there. The richest food comes from Doubting Thomas. Hands down. It’s in Filipinotown and I am biased because I go there at this point almost daily, Hae-Jang Chon (best Korean BBQ), and Grand Central Market has amazing pupusas and an unstoppable vegan ramen (I’m not even vegan). Sofitel Hotel on Monday nights has incredible jazz/soul nights that I hope they will continue once the rhythms of the city begin to hit again.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Calico and Kali are two amazing friends of mine that have helped me so much with clarity in my acting career, while also encouraging me to be constant in who I am. I have other friends and family, of course, that have supported my life in a variety of ways: Ken Chen, Andrea, Andres, Micah, Colin, Maggie, my Mom & Dad, and my three brothers. My Grandma and my Mom fled the civil war in El Salvador, so as the son of an immigrant, I’m thankful to be in a place where I am afforded so many opportunities that can seem like a dream.