We had the good fortune of connecting with Mason Kennerly and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mason, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
I definitely think that if any affirmation were to ring true throughout my life, it would be “Be Here Now”! I first heard the phrase from my favorite spiritual seeker and teacher, Ram Dass, and both this being and his wonderful words have completely transformed the way I walk this journey of existence. Although it’s such a simple concept, in any and every situation these words remind me that all of the weird thought patterns, anxieties, and projections into the past or future are just a symptom of the beings that we are. It’s like being able to just completely zoom out of whatever narrative you’re putting on your life and see it just as it is, an interesting part of conscious experience as a human being. Being an actor, these words are especially potent. Each and every moment of life has in it all of the tools we need to come to a place of peace and love. All we need to remember is to be here now, and trust that we have all we will ever need when the present moment arrives. Whether that present moment is filled with joy, hurt, sadness, peace, anger, love, or shame, it’s all just the way it needs to be. It’s all right even when we feel like it’s wrong! I constantly recognize this while I’m doing my craft, as genuinely connecting and being with another person on stage or on screen can only be done with absolute presence and allowing the moment to be how it is. All in all, I feel like these words have given me a new lease on life!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I recently started working with my first agent and manager, so I’m currently in the midst of auditioning as much as I can! Graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts last year, I felt like learning from such wise and experienced mentors gave me a great foundation for being an amazing actor. I honestly surprise myself every day with how much I retained from my training, but even more so with how much I tend to adapt and change the way I do it and think about it with each day. It can feel challenging to be doing this craft without someone pushing me or helping me to grow, but not having someone calling me out all the time has actually given me such a fresh perspective. It’s really forced me to take all the technique I’ve learned and really dive deep into the heart of what doing the work is all about. It was never about doing it because it should be done, or doing it so I know what to do when the moment comes to live in it. It’s always been about building a playground for myself and allowing myself to then play in it. It always strikes me how I still evolve in this so constantly, even with nobody watching or pushing me.

This ability to spurn inspiration and realization in my work comes directly from the way that I naturally live my life. I was really deep in thought about this the other day. I was thinking about how interesting it is that in so many other paths, like being an athlete or chef, there are clear, tangible things one can do to practice and hone their skills daily. Yet there are no real activities I can do by myself that allow me to practice deeply connecting, listening, and empathizing with others. I honestly felt like I didn’t really work on my craft that much when I thought about this, until I remembered why I actually love this craft in the first place. I didn’t realize until then that the gargantuan amount of work I do on myself as a being has always directly affected how I am able to deeply connect to ideas of realities on a page. I spend nearly my entire day every day exploring my own consciousness, as well as deep contemplation about the nature of reality and the human condition. Through things like meditation, I feel as though I can connect to the flow of energy that lives within every being, creature, and material on this plane of existence. Every day I become more conscious of how and why humans become so lost from this energy and the things that drive us towards or away from it. It dawned on me that exploring self-realization is like lifting weights for the actor! I wouldn’t say I’m passionate about acting as much as I’m passionate about life and the nature of existence, but this is why acting is the only path I want to be on. It’s always so poignant how intertwined acting and our realities as people really are. The more I learn about either one the more I learn about the other.

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 think when someone first comes to LA, they should be introduced with a nice little appetizer! The first place I would take them is probably the Grove, only because it kind of has a slice of all the enchanting things about LA in it. You definitely can’t beat those twinkle lights. The next spot to go for me is the picnic area right next to the LA Zoo. This park is absolutely beautiful and lively when the sun’s out, and I’ve spent a lot of different fun adventures here with all kinds of friends! After the adventures, I’m sure we would get a pretty hefty appetite, so I would head to my favorite spot to eat. Now I’m not a very fancy guy, I actually enjoy the simple things a bit more, so I would take them to Shakey’s for a true LA experience. I’ve honestly spent a lot of time just hanging out at Shakey’s by myself over the years. There’s something cozy about the ambience there. As the trip starts to wind down, I would have to take them to Venice to really see the southern California in full effect. We could enjoy a nice joint and check out all the interesting characters and art along the beach! Of course I have to save the best for last, so my parting gift would definitely be taking them to the Arboretum! This place has a ton of sentimental value to me, and is the most peaceful and soul-enriching place to go in LA. Plus you get to walk next to beautiful peacocks! 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?
First and foremost, I would love to give a massive shoutout to my mom, Lynn! From the day I came into this crazy world, she has instilled in me the utmost compassion, love, and empathy that has brought my life so much joy and peace. She has unconditionally loved and supported me through making a lot of painful mistakes to taking piledrivers as a pro wrestler to now being my reader for every audition I get. Without this wonderful support system, I wouldn’t have the stability in my life to do anything that I love to do, and trust and love who I’ve become. Along with her, I have somehow stumbled upon some of the most wonderful individuals in LA! I feel so fortunate to have been able to meet people that I hope to be flowing love and support with for the rest of my journeys in this lifetime. I’ve never felt such unconditional love from friends before I got to LA and started this new life, and I wouldn’t trade any of the highest highs or lowest lows for the world. Every moment was worth the connections I’ve made with the lovely people in my life. I also want to shoutout genuinely every person that I’ve ever had an interaction with in my life, because every person I’ve ever met came with a teaching or moment of reflection for me. Through everyone else, I can see the ways in which I keep myself from being open. Doing that work and learning about myself from others has brought me to a place of deep inner peace. Finally, I want to again recognize how influential Ram Dass and his guru, Maharaji, have been in this journey for me. It’s been a long process of unfolding into deeper humanity and oneness that have completely transformed me as an individual, and therefore completely changed what I’m able to do as an actor. Without the love and compassion of these beings, I wouldn’t have any of these treasures within me. Thank you all!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m.a.m.a.k.222/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP10hOzG9vfwKLHug15lNew

Image Credits
Leesie Pinto Anne Greene

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