Interview Q&A with Rico Suarez:

  • Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
  • Yeah, so I have a very rough background. Both of my parents migrated from Colombia in South America while I was still inside my Mother’s belly. I shared a tiny room with both of my siblings for many years. I was bullied in school for being anorexic and having asthma as a young teenager. There was always yelling and aggressiveness almost every day at my house. I rarely saw my Father throughout my childhood due to him working all the time. My entire family all lived in Colombia. My parents separated when I was in High School. I went to 4 different high schools. I always got into fights because of the bullying. I suffered from anxiety/depression. My Mother had to work 2 full-time entry-level jobs to make ends meet on top of being a single mother with 3 boys. I had multiple near-death experiences. I was in a jet-ski accident that almost killed me, which forced me to get facial reconstruction surgery. I was a victim of medical malpractice. I am a first-generation college student and graduate.
  • Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
  • It was a calling by God. All my life I was laser-focused on becoming a doctor. I felt like for several years I was crossing items off of a list; all the science courses, the volunteering, the direct patient care hours, the shadowing, etc. I did nothing else because I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Senior year of my undergraduate career I decided to expand my horizon and began modeling. I booked a few gigs such as Target, Forever 21 & JC Penney which made me see not only the money but the potential for greater creative opportunities. From there, I went to an audition for a feature film that changed my life. I was only posing for the camera as a model. I knew nothing of what the entertainment industry was like, let alone what auditioning entailed. I get a call back and actually dissected the script the day before. I performed in front of two producers and was the absolute best expression of myself and my character I could possibly be. Basically, I didn’t get the role, but the energy I felt inside of me when performing as a fictional character brought to life with my own added style to it was eye-opening to what I am actually capable of. A few months later, I packed up my belongings, got inside my car and traveled 36 hours from Florida to Los Angeles with around $500 to begin my new career as a multifaceted actor.
  • Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
  • Well, in the year and a half since I began my career, I have been to countless motels, Airbnb’s, spent many nights sleeping in my car, crying, starving, homeless. I was driving around for several months living in my car, with everything in it, clothes, shoes, printer, props. I would go from audition to audition in hopes of landing something that would help me pay for at least 1 month of rent. True story. Hundreds if not thousands of rejections left to right put me in the darkest place I have ever been in my life. I had a Bachelor’s degree in pre-med that I sacrificed to come pursue a career in the entertainment industry. My girlfriend, family, peers, all sacrificed to chase my ambitions and dreams. Getting rejected by everyone, starving many nights, sleeping in my car, maxing out all my credit cards, having negative balances in my bank accounts, I felt like an absolute failure. The second I changed my perspective on life, everything changed. I began learning to do other things. I began giving, even if it was a quarter. Helping anybody in any way that I could. Always being nice no matter my current situation. I landed a Super Bowl Commercial!! I worked on shows in big networks! Retained knowledge to pursue other endeavors! The second I became more grateful with being alive, and these life experiences God gave me to make me a more powerful human being, I became fulfilled with anything I would ever need in life.
  • What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
  • So I have a few NDA’s that I signed, and I’ve only been in this industry just under 2 years so to not mess up any of those projects, I’ll stay quiet for now. Auditioning like crazy because there are so many projects that I can over deliver as I am a multi-faceted actor. There are campaigns with high-level brands for modeling in the works. My businesses are scaling. I will probably grow them to multi-million dollar companies and sell then acquire more businesses and sell, and continue doing that, but who knows. I am very mysterious and spontaneous with everything in life, so anything is possible. I’ll be adding more rental properties to my portfolio. I have a non-profit organization that I am trying to begin, but working on getting the right crew together first. I mean, I am very well-diverse. Of course my priority and primary industry is the entertainment industry, but that shouldn’t mean that I should be solely focused on that. Life is about much more and what many people don’t realize is that having different experiences and learning other things will actually help your career and help you become a better actor.
  • We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture? 
  • Let me start this off by saying that the film industry is realizing that diversity sells. However, Hollywood still has a diversity problem. Many minorities are ignored for Academy Award nominations, lead roles, writing and directing. I do have to say that in the past 2 years, there has been a significant increase in diversity in the entertainment industry. It is very important to have diversity in film and television because well, the obvious reason to production companies is that it sells! The ideals, life experiences, visibility and buying power that minorities bring to the table is large. Being diverse in film and television allows for style and fresh ideas from a completely different perspective than what the average Joe would bring. Seeing more of this being represented in film and television helps break the paradigm that we all fell into when we were children. We all believed that only a certain group was accepted and worked in the industry and that a very few minorities that were in it were the “only exception”. Today, the industry is becoming more and more diverse which is important to see it happen because that breaks the social stigma which can have a long-lasting effect on our culture.
  • What are your “3 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
  • 1. Do not listen to the outside noise. Hollywood is ruthless. They will try and threaten to ruin your career before it even begins. Many agents, managers, etc., all threatened to ruin my career because I didn’t agree with them on certain things. Always remember that there are thousands of managers, thousands of agents, thousands of directors, thousands of projects. Keep working on your craft no matter what anybody says to you.
  • 2. Everybody that fights you is not your enemy and everybody that helps you is not your friend. Many people in this industry are only interested in you if you have something to offer them. There were many instances when people would offer to do photoshoots for me, invite me to events, buy me a drink, etc., and after an hour, ask if I can introduce them to my agent, my manager, my friends in the industry. The person that’s above you within your industry who criticizes you from a perspective of wisdom is not a bully nor an enemy. Just listen to people and they will show you who they are.
  • 3. It’s true. It’s unstable. Do other things. Don’t just do acting or you will be struggling for many years. Thankfully, I have only been in this game for about a year and a half and learned this 6 months in. I came to LA after getting my Bachelor’s in pre-med, left that behind for a career in entertainment. For several nights I starved myself, slept in my car and cried. I quickly realized that I needed to learn other things. Now, aside from my primary career in acting, I have several sources of income from a few online businesses, rental properties, investing, etc.
  • Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
  • Balance. There is no such thing as “perfection”. There is no magic potion for greatness. There is no one way to do things. There is no right or wrong. There is no now or never. Society is influencing the most absurd ideals to people. It’s brainwashing. These paradigms have been occurring since we were 2 years old. Mostly everything we’ve been told as kids was a lie. There is no certain way to do things. There is no “it is what it is”. There is no “certainty or stability”. There is no “only the greats can do that”. I say everything is about balance. Feel sad, feel happy, feel right, feel wrong, feel motivated, feel lazy, feel smart, feel dumb. Only feel this way if it is actually true. If you are actually sad, don’t lie to yourself and say you’re not. Tell it as it is. If you are “burning out” in this industry that is very vague, artificial, exhausting and filled with rejection, remember to always tell it as it is. If a director tells you that you suck, if you do not feel nor believe that, then why does what he/she says matter? Carry on. If you do feel and believe you suck in a certain area, do NOT lie to yourself. Admit to yourself that you suck, and work on not sucking. It is so simple. If you are auditioning too much, if you are working too much, if you feel you have no free time at all, make yourself free time? Tell your agent, you can’t go to that audition, or do not want to take that job and go to the beach for the day or go have a drink. Life is simple when you balance things.
  • You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
  • Why thank you, I try to be. I can and will inspire a movement in the near future that assists underdeveloped communities have easy access to healthcare. Holistic service mission trips. Health services delivered abroad will consist mainly of holistic practices. People use Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for an array of diseases and conditions such as musculoskeletal conditions, arthritis, depression/anxiety, ADHD, etc., so Biologically-based therapies (herbal remedies), Manipulative body therapies (chiropractic, osteopathic), Mind-body therapies (yoga, meditation), etc., all will be practiced, overshadowing traditional medicine and will minimize medication side-effects and surgical error/death. Not only that but we will also build schools because aside from healthcare I believe the other most important quality you must have in this world to be great is education. We will also be instilling faith in the hope that everyone discovers themselves as something greater than themselves. This all ties into one another as practicing mind-body-spirit for everyday fulfillment.
  • None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
  • God. I say this because while thinking I’ve been alone throughout this whole journey; God has always shown me I haven’t. I left Florida a year and a half ago along with my family, my girlfriend, my peers, everyone. I came to LA alone. I gained “friends” who made me feel even more alone. Agents, managers, directors, mentors, etc., after a while, all left me with nobody to speak to or confide in even though I’ve always checked up on everyone. The only person who has always reciprocated unconditional love is God himself. Through moments of crying, homelessness, starvation, rejection, fear, self-doubt, God was there guiding me and continues to do so. So yes, without God, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Grit, Gratitude, Grace.
  • Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
  • “Just because you lost me as a friend, doesn’t mean you gained me as an enemy. I’m bigger than that, I still want to see you eat, just not at my table.” – Tupac Shakur. I can’t tell you how many times I have gained and lost friends, family members, girlfriends, acquaintances, etc. Back then, I had my girlfriend cheat on me with my “best friend”, family members having the worst intentions for me, peers who spoke badly of me to others, the list goes on. I held all this resentment towards them all inside of me for so long, it got in the way of my happiness and my focus in life. You spend a great deal of energy when you carry around resentment. I claim to be this good person, yet couldn’t let any of that go. Tupac’s quote struck me. Ever since I allowed myself to stop hating those who did me wrong, and changed my perspective by just moving on, focusing all my energy on my successes and those whom I love, everything changed for me. I no longer carry resentment, even to those who do me wrong today. I still wish everyone the best and hope they’ll be the best version of themselves that they can possibly be. However, day by day, I have a smaller table I am eating at, in which I am more than okay with.
  • Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
  • Skip all that, I’ll take Selena Gomez to dinner. She is a pure Woman. A sister in Christ. One that I need in my life. She isn’t like these little girls in LA or within the music and entertainment industry that have such bad intentions in life. No. The lyrics in her music is authentic. Her message is profound. The most attractive quality about her though is the impact she makes and wants to continue making in this world. Beautiful is an understatement. She is beyond it. Inside and out. I would love to cherish her for one night abroad at … Well, that’s a surprise. Regardless if it’s romantic or friendly in the end, I would still have enjoyed taking this Woman on the most romantic date she’s ever been on so I can tell her how special she is and discuss theories, causes, global impact, etc., things that interest us both.

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