A fascinating new interview between Brant Pinvidic and actor Cody Christian has just come out. The 22-year-old Pretty Little Liars and Teen Wolf actor is wise beyond his years and is by far and away one of the most humble, inspirational people not just in Hollywood, but on the planet. Hear him talk about his career, fame and the impacts of social media. I’ve included some snippets from the interview below, and if you have the time, be sure to give it a listen.
Cover a lot in this interview and would really love for you guys to hear this one. Thank you @brantpinvidic for taking the time with me. And thank you @RobLowe for setting the tone in part 1https://t.co/EMh95o3Fdc
— Cody Christian (@ReallyCody) March 29, 2018
“There’s no stability in this sort of career… you’re only as good as your last performance.”
“It’s not normal… nobody prepares you for that. You’re not in it, then all of a sudden you’re in it. Even now, it’s growing ever so rapidly and every single day it’s something new, you’re dealing with the fans and the notoriety. It’s weird, it’s very very weird.” (on the crazy fame, the rush and the fans.)
When I look at that world, it’s a tough thing for your ego and so much attention in such an amazing way so quickly, that when anything happens that isn’t as good, it’s a big change, because now everybody loves me but that person doesn’t…
“Understanding the importance of what is really, like where all of this is rooted…to be able to have my sanity throughout this industry and stay focused and do what I have to do, is that aspect of like, that’s self love, you gotta love yourself, you gotta be in it for you, because if you’re not comfortable in your own skin, and you get that affirmation of truth, and you get that like gratification from other people, and the acceptance of other people, and that’s like great and dandy, but if you’re missing it here, it all just becomes this like facade and then what happens when its gone and what happens when the dark times come and you’re not prepared to deal with it because you’ve been outsourcing your sense of self. I think in this industry you gotta spend time with you, you gotta know who you are, you gotta know what you like and what you want to do. I have to know me.”
Your fanbase and the size of your fanbase is bigger and broader than the work you’ve done. And a lot of your fans are enamoured by your looks… how do you reconcile that with someone who wants it to be so much about the work… and those that are doing it because they like the way you look…
“And that’s totally fine. These people are taking the time out of their day to follow me. If I can get your attention… I’m not alone in this. It’s not about me, its not about me and my pursuit of this career, my dreams and my vision, yeah it is and that’s a small part of it but…It’s also about everybody else. Every single fan, every single person within that fanbase. And some people that are affected deeply by the work, or what I have to say, or the way I look at the world or some people say that’s a good looking dude, it doesn’t matter. I realise, its like, we’re all in this together sort of thing. That gives me the strength to keep moving forward and if I can take that responsibility of having the most minute and smallest impact on somebodys life, it’s all good. I’m moving forward, it’s all a process.”
What’s the toughest part of being a young adult in this world, making it in Hollywood?
“There’s a lot that you have to sacrifice. And that’s what people don’t understand. There’s a lot of sacrifices being made. But like it’s also how you choose to look at those sacrifices, because I know what I want in life. And to me it’s not a sacrifice… Like with the fanbase and social media. We’re in a generation now, the level of accessibility is completely different. Everything that I do, everything that I say…has a spotlight on it. You don’t ask for that, you don’t want that. I’m just doing what I love, I’m doing the work that I love to do. I’m just exploring an artform I want to explore, but now you’re put on a platform and you’re put on a stage where you get looked at, not as everybody else, you’re not just a human being anymore, you have a different set of expectations that you have to live by and sometimes it’s just, it’s a little difficult, it’s a little difficult to manage both sides of it. You have to understand, yes I am Cody Christian, this professional, this actor… but in the same sense I’m also Cody Christian, as an individual and a human being, just like everybody else. I wake up and do the same shit that everyone else does. I have my friends and my family and try to live my life, and make sure my bills are paid, and make sure mom and dad are taken care of. I do everything that everybody else does, but there’s times I’m just held at different expectations in life… It’s different, but it’s also a necessity. If you want it, you gotta be willing to put up with that. So you have the choice. You can either perceive it to be this hardship and perceive it negative and let that weigh down on you, or this is what it is and I’m gonna embrace it and find the positive in it and I’m gonna keep moving forward. It is, it’s still, it doesn’t make it easy. There are days where it feels like the world is sitting on my shoulders… The pressure is very high. I don’t know when I’m gonna be working again. Technically I’m an unemployed actor right now.”
Social media is a completely different variable that teen actors in ten years past never had to deal with.
‘It’s a different time, a different generation. It’s more difficult now than what it used to be. It’s like the sense of accessibility. Everyone is so accessible to you. They feel like they know you, they feel like they have access to you. And you feel like its a necessity to sustain this fanbase that you’ve built, and some people get so engrossed and so lost in that world, and it becomes this maintaining this, like this image, this illusion for the fans, the fanbase, their brand or whatever and that becomes a priority over their own lives. It is really difficult. Balancing the two, and like I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not as active on social media as I should be… because honestly it’s an amazing tool and I love the ability to connect with the fans, but its also like, I still have some work. You know, people don’t get that I’m not at a place where I can just sit and do whatever I want. I’m still working. I’ll be very real with you. I have bills to pay still… My life’s not gravy. I’m 22, I’m still figuring shit out. I still have to show up. I still have to work.”
Do you enjoy it? The fame?
“I think that everyone doesn’t really get it. I’m going to try and explain it very briefly. I might botch this but who cares. People want to be famous. Why do you want to be famous? People want that attention. Why do you want that attention? Why do you want that feeling of being loved and accepted by people that don’t even know you? They don’t know you. They don’t know what you do. They know the product that you put out. Why do you want that? Why do people pursue that? I really feel like you don’t spend time with yourself. You don’t know who you are. And without that, what are you? If you don’t have that what are you? I think so many people put, like and I did this for a while at the beginning of my career and it’s something that I realised. I put happiness at an end result… I’m gonna be happy when I get here or when I have this or when I reach this point in my career. But then, damn if i’m not happy now, I’m not gonna be happy there. I might be, but it’ll be short lived.”
It’s hard to not gage how successful you are by how many people are paying attention to you. By numbers (and ratings)…
“I was in that same boat for a very long time, where I would wake up and check my twitter and like check my Instagram and read dm’s and read comments and what’s this person saying and what’s that person saying. I’ve lived that man and you know what, it’s terrible. It’s absolutely terrible. And I don’t recommend it to anybody. And like everyone’s gonna have their own opinion and say what they wanna say. The most important thing is you just gotta do you. You really have to, because if you start stressing over that, you put the time and you put your energy that you should be putting into your actual work or your day-to-day or relationships or whatever it may be, if you start putting it into something as simple and as foolish as something that’s on the internet, you’re gonna lose your mind. You’re literally gonna go insane. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen people deteriorate over time. It’s tough man and its even tougher now. I feel like the generation that’s coming up now, I’m seeing it, and I think instinctually we’re all geared towards wanting acceptance and now we have a huge platform to get it. We have a scoreboard. Who I am as a human being, based off of a view or a number or a comment or a like, and that’s just not real life. Yeah it’s a tool, it’s a tool for a business… Is it important? Yes. But is it like life or death. I don’t think so.”
“When it got to that level (of a million followers on social media), that’s when I started putting, I matched the seriousness of it with like the amount of energy and time that I was allocating towards it. Then all of a sudden, like what am I doing? I’m literally getting stressed out in my living room and living with like a pit of anxiety because of something on my iPhone. This is just not conducive to me growing as an individual.” (on when he stopped checking dm’s and comments)
What if this doesn’t work out?
“I think this is where it makes me a little bit crazy and I’ll admit that. But there is no back-up plan for me. There’s never been a back-up plan for me. I see where I wanna be in life, and the only person that’s going to prevent me from being there is me. That’s it. And if you really want something, and I mean like really want it, I think in life, when you truly start living life, and you find something worth dying for… I would die for doing this. I want to do this for the rest of my life, because that’s how much this means to me. And I will find any way to make it happen. I think that people try to rush this… We’re in generation now. I’m ok with this taking a long time. I’m 12 years in. If it takes another 12 years, so be it. If it takes 20 years, so be it. I don’t care. The way I feel as a human being, this sense of happiness and fulfilment that I have every single day, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. So whatever I have to do, whatever I have to do, as a man to maintain this, to continue doing this. I will get it done.”
Interview courtesy of Why I’m Not