We had the good fortune of connecting with Zeus Ley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zeus, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
My favorite quote comes from this old MTV show I grew up watching. It goes, “you think you know, but you have no idea.” It comes from the MTV Diaries artists did back in the early 00s. For anyone reading who doesn’t know about this documentary-styled show, it covered what goes on behind the scenes on a daily basis of an artist’s work life. This quote has made an impact on me and stayed with me for many reasons. It is multifaceted as it reflects on an outside view, an inside view, and a close and/or personal perspective about anything it is applied to. Not just only about working in the film industry. For example, I thought I knew about construction because my family is in that work field. It wasn’t until I started working there as a teen that I realized that I actually had no idea what it actually entailed. Needless to say, this quote definitely applied to me before I decided to become an actor full time. People will always have a different image of you. How they perceive you is based on the different versions of yourself you present depending on the person you’re with. It doesn’t help that it is human nature to assume. This means people truly only see the tip of the iceberg. Some people do take the time to appreciate and realize the effort I put into my acting career. Though some people around me make wrong assumptions as to how I book my notable acting jobs. Others think it is easy. “If he’s doing it, I can do it and I can do it even better.” Countless of people around the world pack their life and come to LA to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. In reality no one has an idea of how we will actually get there. There is no guidebook we can follow. We also can’t try to emulate someone’s path to success because it will not lead to the same results. Some learn as they go and persist. Some accidentally discover and fall in love with an unexpected career and focus on that instead. Others realize the industry is not for them and leave. Others still don’t. The best thing we can all do is give it our best shot. Whichever field you’re in, always keep learning about the craft and constantly invest into your career monetarily, emotionally and of course, invest time.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am an actor, dancer, host and model with work that is televised, released, in syndication and published. What sets us all apart is our uniqueness. I fall under the industry profile category known as “ethnically ambiguous.” Due to this, my Greek name, life experiences and neutral American accent, I am told I am somewhat of a wildcard. People never expect me to speak perfect Spanish, let alone read it or write it. Also, I grew up watching Mexican soap operas and Mexican comedians which is where a lot of my humor and acting background comes from. My career has been possible due to the groundwork laid by my high school and college acting teachers. My career has elevated to the next level once I was signed by my agency, Avant Artists. They present me with amazing opportunities I would not have access to if I were still doing this on my own. I have been very fortunate to book some of these opportunities. Said bookings have been becoming bigger than the last, also helping to escalate and shape my career. Again, this would not be possible without the efforts of my amazing team at Avant Artists. I am very proud of what I have achieved so far. The travels around the world this career has allowed me to embark on, the amazing people I am meeting along the way. Whether it’s huge household names I look up to or behind the scene names who are just as important. But I am most excited for what’s yet to come! During the beginning there were many challenges I had to overcome. At first, I was not confident with my English. Later on, there would be productions who had other motives or gigs which were only beneficial to others and not me. Another challenge was when I was a new kid in town. I had only commuted to Los Angeles for jobs before but when I first moved here, it felt as if I had never been here before! I had to get into a certain rhythm and learn the ropes as I went. What I would like people to take away from my experience is that you can do anything you set your mind to. This applies to any career under the sun. I am “ambiguous” but there was a time I was only being cast as the dumb jock. If there are actors out there who feel like they are only being typecast, don’t feel discouraged! There will come the chance for you to prove yourself and that you can play other roles. In the meantime make the best of this situation and represent your culture the best way possible!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend from Palm Springs, my hometown, was coming to visit, this is what our day would look like. We would wake up and head for a light morning hike in Pasadena. After the hike, we would sure be hungry so we would then head to my favorite fresh smoothie place for a smoothie bowl. We would then grab some quick lunch at my favorite Chipotle. Then we would head to the beach. Malibu beaches are my favorite. Depending on the weather and time of the day we would either do another hike by the Malibu beach, or the Hollywood Sign hike. Or we would hang out at the Santa Monica Promenade for dinner and froyo and to enjoy the street artist performances. This would be day one. The rest of the week would definitely include us going to a live taping of a sitcom, probably at Warner Bros because we would definitely take the tour to take pictures at Central Perk. We would also fit in Universal Studios for some butter beer and Krusty burgers. For food, we’d probably just make quick stops at the cafeterias in the establishments to save time. Though I would make sure we eat my at favorite spots, Thai 27, IndiMex Eats, and Tacos El Guero. Lastly, for the rest of the week, we would hit the most iconic places, like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Sunset BLVD, Griffith Observatory and the museums!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate this shout out to my mom! It is a bit unorthodox to look back and realize my mom was not a typical “stage mom.” Like, not at all actually. In fact, I would ask her to enroll me into our community theater group when I was 7 or 8, or I would ask her to let me participate in after school activities involving the arts. Her answer would always be the same: “no.” This was the case for everything from asking to go play soccer to asking to go over to a friend’s house. I wasn’t overprotected, she was just very selective of the people she allowed in our lives. She does however always tell us that if we want something enough, we will find a way. When I was younger I would always complain to her, “you never let me do so and so when I was little, I missed out!” Now as an adult, I realize that this definitely helped pursue acting more. It may have been a classic case of a child doing something anyway because they were told no. Once I could, in high school and college, I started taking the available theater, acting, and film classes. Right at 18, I was able to make my own decisions and started going to acting and modeling gigs. Then it began snowballing from there! I do have to say that once my mom was certain I can make a comfortable living out of my career of choice, there was no doubt in my mind she supports me 200%. Parents do always want the best for us. If anyone reading this currently feels unsupported by their parents, try to explain to them your point of view. Maybe they know nothing about your career choice and they need you to paint them a picture; educate them. Trust me, if you’ve made the right decision and you got your parents on board, it’s all smooth sailing from there.
All photos provided were taken with my personal cell phone camera by me and by my friends.