You are enough and worthy of great things.
Talk less, listen more.
Your self-worth is not tied to how productive you are.
Be kinder to yourself. If you wouldn’t say it to someone you love then you shouldn’t be saying it to yourself.
As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Kyle Matthew.
Fresh out of USC’s B.A. acting program Kyle Matthew has written, produced, and acted in two Youtube sketches with over 100,000 views combined. He most recently can be seen starring in a short film called “UNINVITED” which premiered at the Burbank International Film Festival. He also can be seen in a short that hit the festival circuit and made its world premiere at SXSW Film Festival, entitled “Charlie Hughes”. Kyle is in advanced classes at the groundlings and is currently studying with Lesly Kahn, Graham Shiels, and Amy Chafee.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Of course, thanks for having me! I was born and raised in Dallas, TX. I’m the youngest of three kids. I went to the same school, Greenhill School, from K-12, which is where I officially caught the “acting bug.”
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Growing up, I actually was pretty set on being a professional basketball player. I wore NBA sweatbands every day to school, was obsessed with the Lakers, and even had my bar mitzvah theme centered around basketball. It wasn’t until the 8th grade when I decided to officially make the jump from the court to the screen and stage. This was around the time when I won best actor on “Shakespeare Day” at my school and also realized my chances of being over 6 feet were slim to none.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
One of, if not the most, “interesting” audition experiences I’ve ever had was when I was 15 & auditioned for the first job I ever booked, a choking victim for an American Heart Association training film. For the audition, I only had one task…pretending to choke.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first started auditioning in high school, my pre-audition ritual was drinking a whole can of red bull and eating a whole pack of starbursts. That ritual didn’t last very long because I learned real quick that it was arguably one of the worst things I could have done before a task, like an audition, that required me to be present & calm. Basically, all it did was make my “audition jitters” a million times worse.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I just finished filming a guest appearance on Disney Channel’s Bunk’d. While I, unfortunately, can’t currently discuss any specifics about the role, I can tell you that it was an incredible experience. The entire team on Bunk’d couldn’t have been kinder and more welcoming to me. The other project is a feature film that I also, unfortunately, can’t discuss but that I had an awesome time filming and met a lot of spectacular people. I’m very grateful and can’t wait for everyone to see both projects when they are released.
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?
Increased diversity in the entertainment industry is paramount. It’s hard to limit it to just three reasons but I will try my best.
1. Not only does art imitate reality, but reality also imitates art. So, if the only portrayal of underrepresented communities on screen is either in a limited way or in a way that just reinforces stereotypes, then it will result in people’s perceptions of those underrepresented communities being limited & often misinformed, especially as it pertains to the underrepresented communities a person isn’t exposed to or interacts within their daily lives.
2. As a straight white male, I’ve never had to experience turning on the TV or being on a set & not see people that look like me. Most people, who don’t identify similarly, cannot say the same. More diversity in the entertainment industry is a significant step in dismantling the systemic oppression against underrepresented communities.
3. Simply from a storytelling perspective, having more diversity, inclusion, and representation that challenges stereotypes is necessary for projects to be fresh & inventive. It also represents hope; hope to be better than we were yesterday as individuals and as a society.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- You are enough and worthy of great things.
- Talk less, listen more.
- Your self-worth is not tied to how productive you are.
- In the words of one of my favorite Instagram accounts, @werenotreallystrangers, “your anxiety is lying to you.”
- Be kinder to yourself. If you wouldn’t say it to someone you love then you shouldn’t be saying it to yourself.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Remember that you chose to do this because you love it.
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. 🙂
I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a person of enormous influence, but I’m sure my parents will be pleased to hear me referred to as such. Rather than inspiring a new movement, I have great aspirations of using my platform to shed light on the harm of diet culture along with continuing to de-stigmatize openly talking about mental health and that seeking out help is arguably the greatest form of self-love.
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?
Fortunately, I’ve had SO many people who have had an immense impact on my life up to this point. I’m eternally grateful for all of them and I try to let them know often. Unfortunately for this question, there’s no way I could ever narrow it down to a particular person. That being said, shout out to my incredible manager (Kim), my awesome agent (Chris), and my spectacular publicists (Heather & Hailey).
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I’m all about “growth mindset,” so, as a result, my “favorite life lesson quote” is constantly changing (sometimes within the same day). Right now, I would say it’s the following quote from one of the best actors of our generation, Denzel Washington when he said “ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship.” In an industry and in a life where so much is out of our control, these wise words bring me great comfort.
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. 🙂
Steve Carell, 100%. When you tag him, please ask him if he’s free next week! I have a gift card at Starbucks that is about to expire.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!