We had the good fortune of connecting with EJ Neri and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi EJ, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
One of my favorite film quotes is from Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974), “Forget it Jake. It’s Chinatown.” Meaning you can’t change things regardless of how much you try. Sometimes it’s just the way things are and the way they were meant to be. This quote ultimately ties up the entire film but on a personal level it liberates me. I can try so hard at something but if it’s meant to be it will be. In the film, we see J.J. Jake Gittes, played by Jack Nicholson, try so hard to help out Evelyn Mulwray, played by Faye Dunaway, and ultimately leads to a failure. The amount of effort Jake puts in was inspiring and heartbreaking to say the least.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As an person, I can’t just narrow myself to being an “Actor.” I pillar my avenues of success in multiple directions. I work in business, entertainment, and entrepreneurship. If I just narrowed my drive to acting and kept getting rejected for roles for long periods of time, which I have, that ultimately gets at you mentally. But since I opened up my “avenues of wins” I can feed off the success from one industry to the next. I believe success is transferable from industry to industry within reason. It is about getting the right mindset and constant rejection with no success isn’t going to change my outcome.
Full-Time I work at a car dealership in Beverly Hills. I earned my Bachelors at Southern Connecticut State University studying business administration with a concentration in management, which is the reason I work in sales. Mark Cuban, American billionaire entrepreneur, television personality, media proprietor, and investor, said, “Spend time with things you’re good at. The more time you’ll spend the better you’ll get…That’s where you’ll be successful.”
I entered the entertainment industry at 17 as a model turned actor through my years attending university. I’ve always had a passion to work in film and to be able to take on roles that excite my creativity. But, I am realistic, I was not born a naturally talented actor and I have to work on my craft every day. I am naturally good at sales because I love to help others. I feel good about myself that I helped give a product/service to someone who wanted it or needed it. Evoking emotion, preferably positive unless the role does not call for it, is what I love to do in both acting and in business.
I’ve learned that no matter how confident and hardworking you take on an audition sometimes you just weren’t “the right shade of paint” a project was looking for. There are exceptions, but in most cases that isn’t so.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I favorite spot in California is Neptune’s Net in Malibu. I bring all of my family and friends who visit from back east coast there.. LA is great and all, the clique locations, but I love Orange County. It is a breath of fresh air. I especially love Brea and Fullerton very fun relaxing environment. I go to Orange County if I need to step away from LA.
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 like to confirm, I’m no success story, I’m still an aspiring actor reading for his place at the metaphoric dinner table. But, I would love to give a “Shoutout” to my parents that raised me with the courage, integrity, and relentlessness to pursue this career. Especially my friend/producer, Thiago Oliveira, who always pushes me to work harder and Alexander Hartel, friend/director, at Pineapple Pictures.
Peter Mellekas, Chris Solorzano, Alexander Hartel & M.P. Murdock, and Ashton Rae.