We had the good fortune of connecting with Bryan Michael Nunez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bryan Michael, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking?
Well, I think about risk every day. Whether you’re grinding hard at what you’re really trying to achieve or you’re letting negativity make you still, to take no action at all, you’re risking it. That being said, I’d rather work hard with my head down and ignore anyone or anything that doesn’t support or believe in me, rather than risk my mental health, my happiness or my success simply because I did nothing at all out of fear. Risk brings us reward and I think deep down we all like a little risk, a little competition y’know? That feeling of accomplishment. Every single day and every audition is a risk for me in this industry. In other fields of work, you have an estimate more or less of when you’ll become your occupation, while in mine it’s never quite certain. It can happen in years, or over just one night, maybe just one job and even then a place isn’t guaranteed to you, it might not air or you might not make it into the final cut of the project haha, it’s happened to me.
There’s a scary part about all of that just as much as I find it highly exciting. Maybe it’s because I don’t see failure as an option and because deep down I’m not doing it just for me. My goal is to inspire people from my hometown and Imperial Valley area to take risks, that we can make it out here too and that there’s a place for us in any industry. Whether that be Latinx or LGBTQ+, your hard work and persistence matters more than what others think or say about you. It’s time for us to break the cycles and boxes we’re told or convinced we’re confined to.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I would say that my team and I poke jokes at myself about how much effort I put into my auditions. The script says he’s got pink hair, my hair is going to be pink for that taped audition. He has a scar, I’ll make myself one with make-up. I run lines with my long time friend, Laura, and we go back and forth as I walk around my home, making it conversational and easy. When I’m not set on a specific way to play it, I have a go-to coach, Aleks over at Stan Kirsch Studios that is my holy grail, he has a way of making me excited for the part, making me let go of the stress and pressure of it all and just be me and have a good time doing the read. Auditions should be fun, don’t make them stressful or psych yourself out, casting wants you to be you. I often forget that myself and need reminding.
“Getting to where I am, today? Geez, first off, where am I? haha. No. Well, it wasn’t easy but it wasn’t on purpose either. I was led into it by a friend Dylan I met and he kept telling me to audition, at the time I was working at Armani Exchange and so I did it, I thought I’d go into retail but I started to gain traction and the attention of agents so I stayed. I don’t really want to give any advice other than genuine persistence and self-care because in this industry it’s kind of an always learning, always growing and ever changing piece, and that’s why I love it. But persistence, I believe the universe has a way of rewarding those with an unyielding persistence in something they truly believe in and continuously work towards. Do the work, the genuine work, make the sacrifices even if nobody understands it or you and cut off anyone or anything that doesn’t serve you at your best self. At the end of the day you’re the one that will suffer, not them. Be smart, listen to your gut-feeling and surround yourself with people that uplift you and want to see you shine just as much as you do them and are there for you if you’re burning yourself into the ground. Because as High School Musical said, “we’re all in this together” haha.
I just…I want the world to know that good stories still exist, a movie or show can still cut deep into you, break down your walls and make you feel something, perhaps have you leave the theater or your TV or laptop feeling inspired, re-thinking your choices, having a good laugh or escape you needed or making you just feel less alone in your struggle.
I want people to know everywhere more importantly that it’s completely possible to mess your life up, man… in so many ways and still come back from it no matter what anyone says and still recover what you lost, still make something of yourself. Don’t waste any more time, let me show you all an example of that with my story, you got this!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is like the best question to ask me, and it’s kinda funny because people I went to high school with or family would message me things like “I’m in LA, great brunch spots?” and I’d send them my Yelp Bookmarks lol. I’m a food fanatic and coffee shop lover, it’s why Koreatown in LA is so amazing. So we’d start off with brunch maybe at “The Alcove” or “HOUSE” which have outside seating that has a backyard feel, touching on backyard there’s a sweet coffee spot in Koreatown called “Cafe Hyeri”, it looks simple walking in but if you ask to be seated in the back, it’s covered in trees and plants, has a fountain, blankets and firepits. It’s great for meetings, dates or game nights with friends. There’s a Japanese curry chain called “CoCo Ichibanya” that I got my family and friends hooked on, you have to get the keema chili cheese fries. I had my mom & pop restaurants I’d frequent for Korean food.
Before I type paragraphs, I’d say to check out “Boba Guys” and “Pine & Crane” that my friend Justin took me to and I’ve been a fan ever since. LA is full of diverse people, and with that, their food with its authenticity or with their own twist on it and I love it. Don’t be afraid to try out something new or support local businesses, you’d be really surprised how unique and flavorful a lot of them are. For hikes, everybody goes to Runyon so I’d recommend “Los Liones, Canyon” in Pacific Palisades. The walk is very long but you get to the top and there’s a bench and you can see all up the coast of LA to the mountains in Palos Verdes and it’s so refreshing to the mind and soul. Do it!
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?
I’d have to say my parents, my sister and brother and my close circle of friends that I’ve had for 15+ years…Laura, Greg, Roberto, Lorena..you know who you are, haha. I mean because just 2 years ago, I lost myself completely, in every way possible because I was tired of being told no, feeling beat down or my kindness taken advantage of, my light being a mocked and well, I had given up on not only the industry but myself, I didn’t recognize myself anymore and it scared me. It was really tough, especially with eyes on you and people rooting for you out of love when you’re questioning whether any of it is worth it and feeling so humiliated and broken. I was feeling like I could never go back to how I used to be, be happy, be comfortable around strangers or re-connect with friends I had pushed away out of fear.
I let go of my pride and sought out therapy, took personal vacations, learned and practiced meditation and sound bath frequency healing, began writing poetry and dancing again, channeling all the hurt, shame and anger into something good y’know? My friends and family took me for rides out in the country back home, just sat with me while I would cry to release my fear from my apartment, my space, well my privacy really being invaded in every way and y’know, the mistakes I made, the way I had begun to hate and abuse myself because I started to lose the heart I worked so hard to protect. They gave me weeks of personal space with no contact that I requested or just let me be when I didn’t show up at family functions or birthdays and I know it was really hard for them and they felt helpless at times. But this allowed me to process my traumas, be open about it all, communicate, set personal boundaries when needed. Because of this I was able to heal myself and then begin to heal the bridges of those I had mistakenly pushed away in the process. Y’know, I’m very open about talking about mental health, my mistakes and my past because I know it’s something we all deal with and yet nobody wants to talk about it or feel that they can’t change or forgive themselves and others but you can. I promise you that you can.
But you’re not alone, and you won’t get anywhere by stifling it or pretending you’ve got it all together when I promise you that none of us do and that’s completely okay, it’s okay to not be okay sometimes. More importantly, I give credit to me for not giving up on myself through it all and coming out still my goofy, loving and hopeful-self..choosing to be infectious with hope rather than fear. I also thank my manager, Mike, my agents Mike, Garry and Rochelle and assistant Matt over at my phenomenal talent agency and my hard-ironed faith that stood firm the many nights that I could not. I’ve got a long way to go but I’m not going anywhere and I’m nowhere finished yet.
Other: Tiktok- @bryaneats77 @skincaretips77
Personal Photo- Photographer Eugene Powers – Bryan at the premiere of the film “Low Low” at Sunset Towers, Hollywood CA.
All Additional Photos- Photographer Roberto Gaxiola – taken specifically for you guys over at VoyageLA Magazine. Thank you!