When and where were you born? Where did you grow up? What was it like?
I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. It's a brilliant place and I am so happy I grew up there. My family and I lived in the same house my entire upbringing, and I had this really traditional Alaskan upbringing. This meant fishing and playing soccer all summer, running on trails with my parents and sisters year-round, downhill skiing throughout the winter, and shoveling a bunch of snow to clear the driveway for nine months of the year. It was humbling, it was strange. I look back on my Alaska days with nothing but fond memories.
Who has been the most important person in your life? Can you tell me about him or her?
I have several, but I think the most important person was a girl I met in college. She and I acted together, and on the surface she seemed so put-together and polished. She is a terrific actor and and kind soul, and we connected immediately. The more I was around her, the more layers were uncovered, and what was revealed was not at all what appeared on the surface, but something even more beautiful. She has truly lived. The stories she told me and the things she has been through are unbelievable and tragic. These events really shaped her into this compassionate, provocative, and commanding woman, and she's used the hardships of her life as lessons to learn from, nothing more. The more I grow, the more I try to be like her.
Are there any funny stories your family tells about you that come to mind?
Oh, there are so many. I think the one that comes to mind first was during winter in Anchorage. Downtown, there's this beautiful historic stationary train that acts as a sort of playground for bored Alaskan kids. I decided to play on the train with my father one day when we were in the area (I was probably 5 or 6). I remember the snow on the train looked so fluffy and clean, so naturally I decided to take a lick of it. Immediately, my tongue got stuck on the train and the scene turned tragic. After many attempts at calming me down, Dad just bit the bullet and pulled me away. I was inconsolable and demanded he take me to McDonalds to make it better. After downing a happy meal, I asked him where the local television news team was. I really thought this event was alarmingly newsworthy, and I wanted some fame and publicity for all the struggle I endured. I think that story really encapsulates what a drama queen I was/am.
When in life have you felt most alone?
Probably when I first moved off to college in Oregon. I remember leaving my family was incredibly hard, and even though I was excited to begin this new chapter of my life, they were (and still are) my best friends, and leaving people that like was something I had never encountered before. I remember I sort of forgot how to make friends too (I hadn't had to work to establish new relationships really since kindergarten!), so the beginning of college was surprisingly strange for me. This loneliness ended up being incredibly transformative for me, and I turned into this super social animal later on at school, but the first two months or so were definitely the most lonely I've ever felt.
How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?
It's been different in every way imaginable. I think a lot of us have a plan when we're young about acquiring a fulfilling job and finding the perfect partner and living out every dream we've ever imagined. Of course, my life is not that, but I honestly like it better this way. I never in a million years thought I'd be dancing professionally. I NEVER thought I'd be living in Texas. I never thought I would make the connections I've made, or be privileged to meet the incredible people I have surrounded myself with over the past few years.
Who were your parents? What were your parents like?
My parents were (and still are) pretty rad folks, although I never would've admitted that before college. Dad (Kevin) worked for the government and is a health nut. He would always wake up before anyone else in the house, make coffee, go off to work all day, and still have time for marathon training somewhere in there. Mom (Teresa) was a seamstress and always made sure my two sisters and I had our lunch packed and were super stoked for school. She would always make our Halloween costumes (two sizes too big, so we could wear snowsuits under of course) and our spring and fall jackets from scratch. I remember I was crazy obsessed with Harry Potter (some things never change) and she made me this fleece jacket with lightning bolt patches all over it. I felt like the coolest kid at Lake Hood Elementary. Between my dad's work ethic and my mom's incredible love for everything, I was a very lucky boy to grow up under their roof.
What did you look like?
I looked so silly! I remember I had the longest hair, and I refused to cut it until my senior year of high school (right before graduation). My two front teeth were huge, and quite separated until I got braces late in high school, and I refused to wear anything but sweatpants and ringer tees throughout elementary and middle school. I was also really short. I didn't hit my growth spurt until late in high school, so between the height, the haircut, and the braces, I was hardly recognizable at graduation.
How would you describe a perfect day?
I'd wake up with the sun, make myself a strong cup of coffee, and be around the person I love most in the world. We'd go exploring around a beautiful city, and run into other people who we know, sharing and receiving true and honest love. Share a meal with someone here, go on a run with my sister over there, just surrendering to the world and seeing where it takes us. Eventually, we'd return back to a quiet place, slow dance until it got dark, and fall asleep in each others arms.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I really, really, wanted to be a detective. I watched movies like the Great Mouse Detective and really felt drawn to that lifestyle. Although my dad definitely isn't a detective, I totally thought he was when I was little, so I mostly just wanted to be like him. I remember in elementary school I painted this portrait of my dad in a black trench coat and a magnifying glass in hand, and I wrote something like "I can be a detective too!" on it, so that kind of describes how excited and prepared I was for my career in forensics.
Do you plan on retiring? If so, when? How do you feel about it?
Oof, I'm not sure how I feel about retirement quite yet. I get so bored so quickly, so I really don't think I'd be good at retirement. My dad (who is also easily bored) just retired and immediately took up a small side job that passes the time when he's not traveling with my mom. I think if I ever do get lucky enough to retire, I'd travel everywhere. I'd try to breathe in as much of the world as I possibly can, because right now I'm already feeling the urge to get out and explore more of the world.