David Del Rio: Let’s Have a Good Laugh

The wider perspective of God, Divine, The Universe, Source—or whatever “label” we resonate with to call our inner power—is continually flowing through all of us; it’s a lifeforce expressing itself through all our physical faculties. There is never a disconnection between the physical and spiritual; both are blended, integrated, and interwoven, allowing us to experience life. That which is Divine can’t be learned; it can only be experienced in a form of knowing beyond our intellectual understanding, inspiration, full resonance, and of course, all of it encapsulates pure LOVE.

Latinx artist David Del Rio, who stars as Ben in the new Hulu comedy series, Maggie, takes a moment to describe himself: “I am spiritual. Every time, even in those quiet moments that I have to myself, the information and the knowledge that I get from, for me, it’s God giving it to me. I’m positive, a good friend, a good family member, and a nerd. I love, love, love happiness. I love laughter. I love that more than any sort of drama or any gossip or anything like that. When I’m surrounded by positivity and love, that’s where I really, really love being around.”

Every moment is a new opportunity to look within and ask ourselves, what feels good to me now? For each of us, from our unique vantage point in life, that movement towards feeling better is incomparable to anything else or anyone else’s own growth. However, if we have a choice to complain less and appreciate more, wouldn’t it feel better? Being in the state of appreciation means flowing and directing our love towards everything and everyone around us. Life becomes lighthearted, playful, and wonderful.

“I think every day we have the opportunity to decide which avenue to take, in terms of how you react to a situation and how you transcribe or give information. And it’s in those last couple of seconds of what you decide and how you look at things and how you want to give to the world is what makes all the difference. I try to pay attention to that as much as I can. I’m the annoying guy that walks on set, looks around and goes, ‘Can you believe we get to actually be doing this?’ I never lose that child in me that’s always wanting to act. And I also forgave myself years ago from being judgmental on that, because I always would look from the outside in and go, ‘Oh my god, he sounds so annoying. Everyone’s here just to work and you come off, like you just want to play.’ But once you’re in the business of pretending, the fact is that you can take your job seriously and not take yourself seriously. I love telling people that everyone’s doing a great job. I love telling people that we are so lucky to do what we do. Because once you realize being an actor is so much smaller than the bigger picture of the project, then you let yourself to be yourself a little bit more,” shares David.

Photography // Rio Noir

Everything in nature evolves and becomes more, becomes a fuller expression of ourselves. The arts of performing, like many other professions, couldn’t be an exception. The past always shows the evolution from those seeking change; from those who wanted to experience something more. Therefore, they allowed themselves—as most artists continue to do—to express a fuller version of themselves, honoring their own desire to recognize within themselves the innate value they bring through their artistic expression. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”—Mathew 7:7.

About his artistic expression, David says, “I’ve always wanted to express myself, but I think as every kid, I did it at first for attention. I always wanted to make people laugh. So sometimes I would just go, ‘Mom, dad, look,’ and then I would pretend to bang my head on the wall. I wanted to get into acting because I am kind of obsessed with how I can make me bumping into a wall look real. It’s almost like being a magician, where you just keep practicing and practicing and practicing. That’s how I discovered that I wanted to express myself as an artist. So as a kid, I wanted to be popular and be hanging out with other kids who are talented actors. I went to an arts high school in Miami, called New World School of the Arts where there are only 100 kids graduating class, and you got to be in that school by auditioning alone. They don’t look at your GPA, which was great for me, because I was like a C+ student. Then it wasn’t until high school where I really started doing homework. I started doing research and learning history of expression about the Commedia Dell’Arte with mask theater and how actors back in the Renaissance were considered thieves, hookers, clowns and all that history up to the point where entertainment became a job that is felt and given to the hearts and minds of millions of people. That was one of the things that inspired me to do it professionally.”

There is such a vast variety even within the same cultures. The similarities and undeniable equality lie within all of us being human, whose essence is to flow love and direct that love into everything and everyone we decide to give our attention to. Everything we want in life is because we think that we will feel better or good once we experience it. We all want to be recognized and included, but recognition starts with including ourselves first.

As an actor, David is excited and open to allow himself to explore, become, and show a new character’s angle that has never been expressed before. About it, he says, “I’m a Colombian Cuban born in Miami. I am an actor who’s living truthfully in the character I am portraying. I was blessed enough in my last show, The Baker and the Beauty, to play a Cuban from Miami. Not much acting I had to do there, I really was playing my cousin the whole time. Then doing a show like Maggie where I’m a romantic lead that’s in a love triangle, the team would ask me, ‘Can you put some Spanish in your scenes?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I would love to put in some Spanish.’ They figure out a way to spotlight that and express it to people. It was all the people who I work with, seeing the uniqueness of me, my culture and my heritage, and asking me about how we can express it on screen. But those are things that are handed to me. I’m not going out there saying that we’ve got to speak Spanish. I’ve got to represent my heritage, because my job is to pretend. I’m not always there to tell a message. I’m just there to tell a character and a story in a way that’s never been done before. That’s just basically my goal for everything. If I told my 15-year-old self that I’d be doing this, my 15-year-old self would probably say, ‘Yeah, it’s going according to plan.’ I always knew that’s gonna happen. And so my desire is to play characters and to collaborate with artists and talk to them about their projects, because that’s the only time I can talk about their worldview of film and television. I am curious about what other people think because I just want to play. I just want to act. I just want to come in and put myself in the shoes of another character.”

Photography // Rio Noir

“You can’t get it wrong because you never get it done,” says the teachings of Abraham Hicks. We are all in an eternal and never-ending discovery that leads to infinite expansion. There is no destination; there is only discovery and desire for a fuller expression. There is no right or wrong path; everyone’s choice is a valid choice. There is nothing to figure out, as we can’t even if we want to, as that would imply that there is an ending to our growth. There is only to experience the life that we consider best for us.

“My experience with playing Ben in the series Maggie made me reflect about who I was more than who I am going to be in a way. Because I think that Ben is an incredibly flawed character. And I love playing flawed characters. Ben is kind of switching between changing the trajectory of his heart between two women. I really felt icky about that at first, because I am not like that. But then it makes for a more interesting story. And what I like about this type of structure of the rom com is that we’re talking about people who are dating in their 30s. And how we always think that we’ll have it figured out by this point, and we don’t realize that life is going to continue to throw us curve balls. Then when it comes to crimes of the heart, that was something that I really resonated with in Ben. When I met my wife, I felt like I had a lot of the answers. I felt like I knew what I wanted to do. I felt like I knew what my heart wanted. I felt like I knew the trajectory of my career, I felt like I knew who my friends were and who weren’t my friends. And Ben feels like he’s figured it out. But then Ben realizes that more than ever, he’s the one that needs help from his sister, from Maggie, from his brother-in-law, to figure out how to maintain a relationship that he started in high school. And if he really wants to stay in that sort of commitment. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t relate to that. Am I ready to commit? I knew what that felt like. And I’ve never played a character like that. So I knew I wanted that. I think that’s what’s great about Maggie the show, in which Ben’s a history teacher that’s helping students reflect on the past, or learn about the past. So we can build a better present, but yet, he might be in love with someone who knows exactly what the future holds. And there’s a conflict with that in their friendship, which I hope we get to continue to explore,” shares David, and then continues, “The thing that I loved about Ben during the show was that the first time he met Maggie in the party and learned that she is a psychic, he had no judgment towards that. Ben just fell in love with the person who happened to be a psychic. You’re not defined by what you do. You are defined by who you are and that is something that Ben understood, and that’s something that I really liked about him.”

Like the life we are experiencing, a seed that becomes a flower, in the process of sprouting out, seeking to see the light, stretches its comfort to create and experience something new. We all seek for expansion, stretching our boundaries of familiarity to include a fuller version of comfort. Then eventually we will be on a quest to stretch it to become more, and more, and more…

“I think that Jesse, Ben’s high school girlfriend, really represents a sense of comfort and security, kinship and friendship. That is so deep ingrained, like a family member, that you can’t let that go. Now, does that mean that he’s keeping the relationship with Jessie because of that security? Is that love? Is that his heart? I don’t know. And then in a genuine way, and that’s why I love the second episode, where he talks to Maggie at the party. And he’s like, ‘I love her.’ Ben doesn’t want to hurt anyone. And yet, we all know secrets make no friends. But I think that Jesse really represents just a familiarity of where he is from. And therefore, it gets Ben excited of what the future holds between Jessie and him. And then I think what Maggie represents for Ben’s journey is the idea whether he should be a risk taker in his life.”

Photography // Rio Noir

The most important relationship we can have is with our Divine perspective. Regardless of our faith or beliefs, we all can tune into our inner guidance and ask for assistance. It’s always us, within us, and it’s for us. We are the ones experiencing frustration when we complain or resent someone. We are the ones experiencing love and joy when we appreciate someone. It’s nice to be nice. Feels good to love. And feels empowering to know that regardless of any external circumstances, we can choose the way we want to react, therefore experience life for ourselves.

David says about his relationship with God, “My wife and I live in a Christian house. So basically, that puts God first and that’s our relationship. Then it’s our spouse second, and our French Bulldog and the rest of the world. I think that the relationship with the higher self and my relationship with God is the relationship that inspires me to live to the fullest. Because the quest in Christianity is to live like God. And there are a lot of people out there that think they’re Christians. And yet they spread hatred and violence, which is something I just don’t really understand. The relationship with God—it’s so deep. Higher being is probably one of the most important relationships you can have.”

David and his wife Katherine Del Rio created a production company Theater Row Productions, which made its first feature The Big Feed. About his experience in making the film, David says, “The film The Big Feed was fun to make. It was one of those films that I had to remind the crew that our 14-year-old selves always wanted to do this because it’s fun. And we did that first film for dirt, dirt cheap. Our goal was to make it look like it wasn’t. I produced it, and I co-wrote it with the director, Fernando Ferro, and it stars my wife, Katherine Del Rio, and Ivana Rojas. A really nice assembly of a cast. It’s about two friends who get hired to do a cleaning service for a party, and then they realize that they’re cleaning for a house of vampires. The thing that was really important to us was to talk about the story of the friendship between them. And everything else was kind of like spectacle, gore, and comedy. They have to survive the night fighting with what they have, which is brooms, sprays and all the cleaning supplies they brought with them. So how do you basically survive that? It was our first collaboration as producers, between my wife and I, and we kind of looked at each other, ‘Oh, my God, we can do this together. That’s great.’ It’s fun, but what I hope is that filmmakers who are in our tier of filmmaking, which is not above a $200,000 budget, they know that it’s possible to do a film with that amount of money. We made sure that our cast and crew are fed and hydrated, and also that they are appreciated, because we filmed a lot of nights. Then in the wide audience, I want them to have fun.  It’s a film that really makes you turn off your brain and look at the friendships and think to yourself, ‘Man, if we were in that situation, how would we survive? Oh, you’d grab the broom. I grabbed the spray. You do this I would do this and actually fall in love with the incredible chemistry between Katherine and Ivana.”

How often do we ask ourselves, what is the next thing I can do that is fun? Everything can be fun, but sometimes we bury ourselves in responsibilities expressed through action, which with too much focus, can overstimulate our intellect. Therefore, the action becomes overwhelming and not as fun anymore.

Photography // Rio Noir

David created a fun game for himself where there is no moment that feels dull to him. He says, “There’s a certain way that I live my life. I’m probably the only one who does it. So for example, I have a number system in my life. So the clothes that I’m wearing were picked from a number system that I have. For example, when I’m not working in the production company or working on tasks that I have to do, I have to keep our life moving. But in those downtimes, I have a list of 170 different things I can do during that time. And that includes reading, coloring, watching a TV show, etc. Because I’m so distracted, sometimes I randomly point to the list of things I have and I pick something. And then that’s the thing that I’m doing today. It makes life fun and spontaneous. Like, I have about 11 different categories for exercise. I would land on one that day based on my number system. And whatever I land on, that’s the exercise I’m doing today. So are the clothes that I’m wearing. This is the coffee that I’m drinking, this is the food that I’m eating. It’s a very fun game to play. It kind of gives me a little bit of a jolt on my day off. Like, ‘Whoo, what’s going to happen today?” So it kind of balances things out where I don’t have to play video games all the time, be on social media all the time, or watch TV all the time. So I think that’s a little unique thing that I can only describe as something that I do, which is something that’s just the way I live my life.”

Having a good laugh at ourselves when we start to feel too tense, releasing any resistance attached to the circumstance we are observing, is so good for our souls. From this lighthearted perspective, we are more keen to be proactive and less reactive. About his love for humor, David expresses, “I don’t think there’s anything better than a good sense of humor. I think a good sense of humor encapsulates you as a person, because I think that if someone with a good sense of humor also has a good understanding of boundaries, and when those boundaries are crossed, then also can laugh at themselves, first and foremost.”

Like David, when was the last time you did something fun and laughed in ecstasy? Life can be as good, fun, and lighthearted as you make it.

Photography // Rio Noir
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