We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Byers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I’ve always looked at risk taking as a way to conquer my fears. When I was in high school my senior year I decided I wanted to try all the things I was too scared to do the previous years. I loved to sing but hated doing it in front of people. So, I joined chior. I auditioned for solo pieces and ended up getting 2 solos and was featured at the solo night concert. I tried out for every play, auditioned to do the morning announcements, in which I succeeded!, got cast in the talent show, participated in our ‘Mr. and Miss Mesa’ pageant my school threw. I auditioned to host rally’s and got to do a couple! I was terrified and exhilarated all at the same time. I realized I had so much to share with the world and held back for so long cause I was so afraid of not being good enough. Turns out I was all along. It really taught me that the best way to get over your fears is to face them head on. Our fabulous pianist Beth Syverson once told me, when I was expressing how anxious I was to perform this big song for our voice performance class, that nervous and excited are the same physical feeling. Your hands get sweaty, your heart rate picks up, you get shortness of breath, and so on. So, maybe you’re not nervous. You’re EXCITED. Anytime I get nervous to try something new that I’ve been wanting to do or a career opportunity I’m really nervous for and feel like I’m gonna psych myself out. I remind myself of what she said and push forward. It’s been really helpful in helping me advance in my career even though I feel terrified most of the time. haha!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m an Actor first. I also, illustrate my own cartoons, make YouTube videos, customize jackets, hats, pants, etc., and more recently started getting into customizing dolls. I love having so many different outlets to express myself through. If I’m lucky enough to make money doing it? Then why on earth would I say no to an opportunity that can make that happen.
I recently just got signed to my first agency EVER! BiCoastal MGMT. I am under their commercial market. I am now going to be modeling, acting, and doing VoiceOver. This is such a big step for me and I’m so excited for my future and all the great opportunities that will come my way! But, let’s get some back story.
I started acting when I was 14. As one does in high school. I fell in love with playing pretend and breathing life into these people that were once just an idea in someones head. After high school I started taking private acting classes. One in particular that I stayed at for 3 years. It ended because I was confronted at my college by the management team that our acting coach had. They sat me down in a rehearsal room and asked if I minded if they filmed this. I thought I was gonna be put on the management team but it turns out… They confessed they were involved in an investigation involving our acting coach. Turns out we were in a cult. We were brain washed and me and 6 or 7 other guys were being sexually/mentally abused. We were groomed and manipulated. Upon discovering this my career was doing really great. I was driving to LA from Orange County 3/4 times a week for auditions. I had 3 short films under my belt and one I had just booked on the way. I finished that last film and stopped acting for 5 years. My world was shattered and EVERYTHING triggered me. I would have full on breakdowns, wild mood swings, and a lot of pent up anger and sadness I didn’t know where to place.
With a lot of therapy, internal shadow work, the support and love from my friends, and the idea that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, a value my mom had instilled in me at very young age, got me to where am today. My acting teacher now knows my history processes with me if I feel triggered. I’ve really found a positive, healthy, safe space with him. That’s ultimately brought me back to a place where I can enjoy the thing I love doing most in the world.
Due to all these events and having to be so open and honest about all of these feelings and experiences I’ve found that I really enjoy listening to others stories and learning from one another. All of this has opened this deep deep empathy I didn’t have before. I’m really able to feel with people on such a connected level. Because of this I’m really able to feel for my characters in a much more complex way than I ever have.
I feel what really sets me apart in all my mediums of art is that I bring this honesty, I’ve learned a lot of people are too afraid to express. I feel when I see honest vulnerability from people it gives me a sense of security in my own feelings and thoughts. It encourages and reminds me that it’s okay to feel those darker feelings. To be vulnerable. That’s been the stepping stone for me in finding inner peace and joy in this insane time we live in now.
I’ve been able to connect to my audience the most when I bring that to the table. I’ve been graced by people and their stories. We help each other through our experiences and that strength and support you find in numbers is one of the best gifts I think we get to have.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, let’s hope its summer! In this instance it is. I’m an OC native so I would first take them to the OC fair. Watch shows, drink, go on rickety rides, eat fried food, and end it with a Ferris wheel ride over looking the city. The beaches out there are probably the best. So, we would stop at my favorite spot in Huntington Beach called Bonsai Bowl. Get an açaí bowl, grab some boba from Milk and Honey and head to the beach. If we’re feeling up for it, snag a bonfire pit and have smore’s and play good music to highlight the day.
Now if we are in good ‘ol LA we HAVE to go to Highland Park and explore all the vegan food. We could hit up Wolfie’s Hot Chicken, Donut Friend, Joy, and of course Magpies vegan ice cream. If we are lucky enough we could catch the vegan Mac n Cheese truck. I’m not vegan myself. But, I’m forever intrigued on how people craft these meals without animal products.
I’d have to take them to my favorite boba spot in DTLA called Milk + T. If they want coffee and pastries we would go to Blume and Plume coffee. They’re black owned and a fabulous local business with the CUTEST merch you can actually wear without looking like a billboard.
I would have to find one of the many interactive art exhibits LA always has going on. Lastly, but certainly not least. we would have to hit up the amusement parks. Disney, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, to name a few.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh my goodness. There are so many people, groups, and shows that have helped me get where I am today. First, this book called ‘The Defining Decade’ by Meg Jay. It really changed my perspective on life and offered a lot of tools on how to make the last few years of my 20s really worth it. Being honest with myself, asking difficult questions, and in turn having the courage, motivation, and belief in myself to follow my dreams even though I’m terrified 90% of the time.
My Acting teacher/mentor/friend Arthur Ross. He’s really helped me find joy in acting and performing again. My family for being the biggest supporters. They are all my biggest cheerleaders. Especially my recently late Grandma Judy. She would tell me how proud of me she is and how she was so thrilled that I was doing the thing only people dream of. I feel so incredibly lucky to have that. All of my wonderful queer friends that have guided me in exploring my creativity. My therapists. HEYYY LADIES! I’ve always been a very introspective person and these women have really helped me find myself and really understand who I am and my emotions. Lastly, my friends. Old, new, those no longer. They have all helped shape me and bring out so many beautiful things in me. They inspire the hell out of me to push myself, hold myself accountable and most of all support me. They celebrate the highs and hold me in my lows. Forever grateful.
Other: tiktok: @chrisbyerzz