Immigrating to the United States at the age of nine, Alvaro pursued an unconventional career path according to his family’s standards – acting. Recently graduating from drama school in New York City, he realizes there is still an arduous journey ahead, but he’s determined to realize his hopes and dreams. Check out his story below.
Say hello to Alvaro:
Where are you from? Where have you been?
I am from Peru – born and raised there until the age of nine when I moved to Pennsylvania with my father and mother. I haven’t traveled much out of the States, but I have currently been living in New York City for the past two years.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
I live in my favorite place in the world – NYC. Why? Simply because it is the city where anyone can achieve anything, and once you make it here, you can make it anywhere.
What sparked your passion for acting?
I have always loved acting, but it took me a long time to take the first step toward it. Coming from a Hispanic family, I didn’t think it was the “appropriate” career choice. Movies let me escape from the real world and have an impact on me as it has on many others. If I can have that effect on others through my work, then that’s what matters.
Having recently graduated from drama school, how has life been? Are you constantly auditioning for roles?
It’s always a scary thing graduating in this career because you typically don’t have jobs lined up upon graduation, so it’s up to you to go out there and begin submitting yourself. It is challenging, but exciting at the same time because you now get to use the tools you have worked on in the “real” world. At first, I wasn’t getting auditions, and now, I am a bit more frequently. Although they are small projects, I am happy to be doing what I love, and it helps me build my reel and resume.
How does acting influence your modeling and vice versa?
Acting has allowed me to feel comfortable in front of a camera, which has helped me in modeling. The camera can see right through you – if you are uncomfortable, it will show. Therefore, you have to know what your frame is and work with that, and of course, working with great people behind the camera helps too.
Do you have any projects you’d like to show off?
Currently, I am waiting on footage for projects I shot a few weeks ago. Keep an eye out! 🙂
Have you experienced any embarrassing situations while in front of the camera?
Yeah, but it wasn’t too bad. I shot a short film a few weeks ago, and during the scene, I forgot my line and the actor playing opposite of me tried to save it and forgot his line in the process. We both looked at each other and broke characters and said “fuck it, this take can’t be saved!” It was embarrassing, but we all laughed it off, including the whole crew so it turned out to be fine.
What’s been the most challenging aspect in pursuing a career in acting and modeling?
The patience you have to have is incredible. Nothing comes overnight, so you have to wait and wait. I am currently waiting for sides for an audition, and I have been waiting for a few weeks now, and it is driving me crazy not having it yet (you can tell I have to work on my patience, haha)!
What is the best thing a photographer can do to bring out your personality?
Make you feel comfortable. If you see how much dedication they put into their craft, it projects on to you, and therefore, you feel comfortable to perhaps try new things you normally wouldn’t do. That’s when the work gets real interesting.
What are the top 3 tips you have for aspiring actors?
For actors, I would say get an education in it. Acting is not something you just wake up and do, it’s an art and you don’t want to be that person on set making yourself look dumb, so know your craft! Second tip, I would say be consistent and have a routine where you are submitting yourself everyday to new projects whatever they may be, because there are tons of people doing the same thing everyday. My third tip would be have patience – nothing comes overnight, so you have to pay your dues (which is what I am doing now).
What do you want people to remember about you after a shoot?
That I was easy to work with, fun, and prepared. Relationships are vital in this industry so those are top characteristics one should have.
If you could model anywhere in the world, where would you go?
New York City. Like I said earlier, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
What advice about modeling/acting do you wish you had when you first started?
Be willing to try new things and allow your body and mind to go to new places you have never thought about going.
Who’s your biggest hero in your life?
My father. He was the man I can only dream about being. If I can grow up to be half the man he was, I would be content with that.
What’s one of your biggest fears?
Letting people down.
Who do you want to give a shoutout to?
I would give a shoutout to my girlfriend, Hollybeth Gourlay, who is an Actor/model. She motivates me and pushes me, so what more could you ask for in a partner? Photographers, I would say Leandro Mars – he is easily one of the best photographers I have worked with, because from the minute you see him, you can tell how much he loves his craft and he loves to have fun with it.
What fashion trend do you wish would come back?
I wish men would wear suits everyday, everywhere, like they used to back in the day. I would love that.
What do you think is your best feature?
Oh man… umm, maybe my hair.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I guess being a little taller wouldn’t hurt, but I am content with who and how I am.
What are some struggles you’ve overcome and some that you’re currently experiencing?
Current struggle would be surviving in NYC as an upcoming actor/model. Growing up, it was a struggle to leave my family in Peru and come to the States, being an only child. A struggle that I’ve overcome is experiencing a loss.
What is the most life-changing event that you’ve experienced?
Losing my father at the age of 16 changed my life, and I started seeing things a totally different way and that shaped me into the person I am today.
What’s your greatest achievement, and how has it shaped you?
Graduating, because I proved to myself and parents that I could do it, that the reason we came to this country was done for my education (even though I want to keep learning).
What was the happiest day of your life?
Watching my mother so happy when I graduated – that was priceless.
For anyone that wants to get in touch with Alvaro, here’s some contact information:
Alvaro, thank you for sharing your story with us! 🙂
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Also, remember to download the FStop app for iPhone here!