We had the good fortune of connecting with Esteban Gast and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Esteban, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’m fascinated by my own relationship to risk. I recognize that, for the most part, I have gotten to where I have because of my willingness to dive into risky endeavors. I mean Los Angeles may be defined by people who are bound together by their high tolerance for risk tolerance. By moving to LA and telling stories I am signing up for financial risks and some social risks (confused friends and family) but I refuse to compromise on existential risk. At this point in my life, I would rather have a full and meaningful life here and now I won’t be able to afford a house for a little bit. But that’s ok. Like a DJ changes the levels on a mixing board, I’m picking and choosing risk.
I think there’ something to that: I find myself brave in certain aspects of my life and terrified in other aspects of my life. I find myself willing (and even excited) to confront the risk of a career in entertainment or the risk of running my own business. Yet, sometimes I find myself sweating profusely and sometimes to the point of nausea before I perform, or before I have to show up in a space as an entrepreneur. Facing risk is exhilarating or exhausting depending on the mindset you’re in.
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.
The thing I most worried about is also what sets me apart. I taught high school, I taught college, I ran this off-the-grid study abroad program all before I moved to LA to work in entertainment. I spend a lot of time thinking “oh no, all these people were creating art while I was in a classroom in the Midwest for years” and then I remember that spending time in a classroom is precisely why I can tell some of the stories I do.
For example, I created and hosted this series called “Nothing Is Boring” on SoulPancake. I hosted a road trip travel show in an electric car and talked about sustainability. I wrote this mini-musical on Pluto the (former) planet. I mean all of these have former teacher all over it.
An upcoming project is a Spotify Original podcast called “Identity At Play” about cultural identities and belonging. It’s coming out later this summer! That deal came through as I was sitting there thinking “oh no, I should have studied writing or acting or something other than sociology.” Then BOOM Spotify is like “hey, this idea that (very clearly sociological) is what we want to do. Let’s move forward.”
The lesson I am learning and re-learning is to recognize that there are many paths and my path is just as valid as anyone else’s. I think our perceived weaknesses are our superpowers all along.
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 would take them around West Side. Eat at Great White and Gjusta. Eat at El Huarique on the boardwalk for the best chicken. Eat at Window on Rose. We’d go to Red Rock Canyon Park in Topanga cause that’s a hidden gem. We’d go to Real Coconut Kitchen in Malibu and get their vegan quesadillas. We’d jump on bikes and bike the whole boardwalk at sunset.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have friends that feel like family. I’m thankful for that. I’m also lucky that they all are truly and genuinely kind and silly people who happen to be pretty darn successful.