We had the good fortune of connecting with Matthew Rivera and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matthew, how do you think about risk?
I think risk has always been the foundation of my work. I have always struggled from wanting to do everything all at once. It could be my self/undiagnosed ADHD, or my overly ambitious nature, or my general impatience for things to happen or come together, but I have dabbled in many different hobbies and career to see which one would happen first.
I was told once, “Oh honey, you can’t do everything”. At the time I found that to be incredibly insulting, because I thought, “how dare you”? But as I matured I found that you have to really hone in and focus on one or two particular things to really foster those skills to create a career.
I have always been driven and motivated by challenges and diving into things that otherwise terrify me. I think it’s the best way to learn and grow and figure out what you truly want to do and pursue.
In my chaotic search for a career and a passion, I have tried everything from acting, public relations, fashion, entrepreneurship, production, marketing and various entertainment-related industries. I knew that I wanted to be in entertainment, but I had the hardest time picking just one.
But in sampling these different careers, I was able to truly see what it is that I want, and what I don’t want to do. I have found my strengths in public relations as a means to sustain myself day to day financially, while discovering my true passion to pursue a career in acting. These two careers have always been at odds with each other, because I still thought I had to choose one or the other, and at times they still can conflict and fight each other for balance in my professional and creative life. But I have found a way to make both things happen so one can support the other.
If I did not embrace risk (mainly acting), I wouldn’t have been able to accept that I am not exactly one or the other, but rather I am both sides of the coin. Both a publicist and an actor. And that has brought clarity and focus on what I need to do, and what I want to do.
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.
As an Asian-American actor, I would say we are now in the best time than ever to be at the forefront of representation and opportunities.
I still think we have a long way to go, but the tides are shifting and we are seeing more visibility for talent and more diverse stories showing the world the different dimensions and colors that make up the community.
It is far from perfect, but I think it is exciting to be around during this time of creativity and seeing others in my community climbing the ranks and seeing their own success for the first time. I am excited for the opportunity to share that success and be a part of this dynamic shift in the entertainment industry.
I think I still have a long way to go. I have technically achieved and done more in the PR space than I have in acting, but I have also been diligent enough to work my way to a place in life where I can now devote more time to my acting craft and put my all into it. There are challenges everyday when it comes to acting and staying motivated and focused, but I think the only thing I can do and know how to do is to keep trying. I think it would be a colossal waste to give up now, and I believe the ones who end up making it, are the ones who really stuck to their guns and made it a priority and a mission to succeed.
What I want the world to know is that, while we still have made excellent strides in diversity and representation, I challenge Hollywood to challenge itself and look for talent outside of the box. Because there are diamonds in the rough that might need some polishng, but will ultimately shine the brightest if given the opportunity.
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 say that for as long as I have lived in LA, I have lived a few different lives and in that have experienced so many parts of the city and its various enclaves. Every part of LA is unique and therein exists something for everyone.
I used to always be in search of fun and excitement, and have had my days getting up to no good around town. But these days, I would say the best parts of the city are the places you can sit down and share and discover food events and restaurants.
I would definitely hit up a few spots in Ktown, Woo Hyang Woo is a new fav. Also Love 2 Eat Thai Bistro in Hollywood which is Michelin rated. It’s been a while but food events are coming back like Night Markets and Smorgasburg. I also really want to try Silog Torrance’s Kamayan feast. You can also never go wrong in the San Gabriel Valley for food.
I am also an East Side boy at heart after having lived in almost all parts of LA. So some favorite places are Akbar in Silverlake, Edendale and Osen Izakawa on Sunset.
You also can’t go to LA without stopping WeHo to be a hot mess, lol.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I think I wouldn’t have been able to stay the course this long in LA without the support of good friends. I discovered a very tight circle of people that have really made the hustle and the struggle worth doing.
As far as acting, I would say my biggest support has been my friend Devon Bostick, he has been someone I have always looked up to and have been able to trust when it comes to creative, personal and professional advice. I have to also shoutout my friend Ivan Leung who has been a very supportive and active part of my acting life.
As far as PR, I would have to shoutout my PR partner Kaila Yu, a true maven of many talents whom I share my company Hello Drama PR with. She has been the reason I was able to fully pursue a freelance life, something I always wanted and to be able to be accountable for my own clients and my own success.