WORDS BY PHIL LIMPRASERTWONG
ACTOR & SINGER, KEVIN MCHALE, BEST KNOWN FOR HIS STARRING ROLE IN GLEE TALKS TO US ABOUT ACTING AND THE IMPORTANCE OF COMING OUT.
HE ALSO REFLECTS BACK ON HIS MOST ICONIC ROLE AS ARTIE ABRAMS FROM GLEE. FIND OUT WHAT ELSE HE HAS IN STORE IN OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!
Hi Kevin! Tell us about your story. (Where are you originally from and how did you become an actor?)
I’m originally from Plano, Texas, but I’ve lived in LA for half of my life, so that’s home. I grew up wanting to be a weather man. I’d film myself for hours doing the news and giving wether reports, but I also had a passion for standing in front of the TV watching music videos and learning every dance move and singing along. From there, I started singing lessons and somehow convinced an agency to represent me (my sister worked there). Music was my first, most instinctual passion and acting quickly followed behind. I eventually moved to LA with my parents to go to high school which allowed me the geographical access to do all the things I loved.
What’s your most memorable audition story?
Usually auditions are memorable when they’re bad - at least for me. So, I’ll pick a happy one. I had a callback for a role on The Office and I was sitting in the hallway with a few of the other guys auditioning when we were told “We’ll start in a few minutes. We’re just waiting for Steve to get here so he can read with you.” I have terrible nerves to begin with and then they say Steve Carrell was going to be reading with us and I just about ran out of the building. I went in, we did the scene and somehow managed to get the part. Regardless if I had gotten it or not, I made him laugh in the audition and that felt like a damn win.
How was it playing the character of Artie from Glee for 6 years? Do you still feel connected to his character up to this day?
It was the best! He was so much more outspoken than me, though not always correct. It felt good to just say some shit that I’d never say in real life. I think that definitely carried over into my real life. I think I’ll always feel connected to him, I still have the chair so maybe I won’t let him go as long as I have it!
Out of all the characters that you have ever played, is there a character that you would love to revisit and possibly explore more?
It sort of irks me to think about going back to any character. You have your time with the character and the story that was written for that time and I feel good about that. I generally feel like less is more and I think that applies to this.
For you, how important is “coming out?”
I think “coming out” has many different forms and significances. It’s completely up to the person because everyones experience is different. I’d say “coming out” to yourself or acknowledging the things that make up who you are is step 1 and the most important. Once you accept yourself and feel how good that can feel, I think the rest of it can fall into place. I will say, being 100% yourself all the time is liberating and it’s never ever the wrong thing to do.
What’s your recipe for success?
Be a nice human being. It’s easy to lose yourself or get caught up in all of the superficial nonsense, but if you can stay focused and passionate and treat everyone with respect, you’ll be fine.
What inspires you?
Watching my friends achieve their dreams. Also, Beyonce.
What is your dream project?
I want to be in war movie so badly. Covered in dirt and crawling around in trenches with explosions going off sounds like the ‘ol Hollywood dream.
What can fans expect from you next?
Any advice you can give to any aspiring young actors out there?
The sooner you get better at handling rejection and not taking it personally, the better.
If you’re a book, what type of book are you and why?
Historical fiction by Mary Renault. Because I love some opulent scenery and a gay storyline.
If you had the opportunity to help a specific charity, what would it be and why?
I’ve worked a lot with the Trevor Project and would like to continue to. One of my best friends works on the suicide line. It’s all extremely important work. They’re quite literally saving lives.