“I think it’s shocking that you have somebody like me even having these conversations in the first place,” says actor Nico Tortorella on a recent weekday morning. “I’m not supposed to be talking like this. I’m not supposed to be revealing all of this about myself, or even interested in having these conversations with other people.”
The actor is most known for his role opposite Sutton Foster and Hilary Duff on “Younger,” which returned June 28 for its fourth season on TV Land. Earlier this month he played opposite Courtney Love in “Menendez: Blood Brothers,” which told the story of the 1989 murders of entertainment executive Jose Menendez and his wife, Kitty. But what he is most passionate about is his podcast “The Love Bomb,” which explores topics of love, sexuality, gender and identity — all particularly relevant topics, he says, to discuss during Pride month.
The second season of the podcast — which Tortorella describes as “the soul of the work right now” — began earlier this month with none other than Love as a guest star. As Pride month winds down — and the new season of his show begins — Tortorella explains his passion for the podcast’s themes.
On the origin of the podcast: “I’ve been working on other people’s projects for so long and I’ve always wanted to do something on my own, and there’s been a version of this brewing for two-and-a-half years now. I’d been having these intense conversations with people in my life about love and sexuality and gender identity and relationships for so long, I was like, ‘I can just record these conversations, blast them into the ether and have them exist on that platform.’ And I had no idea it was going to take off like it has.”
On how his voice has evolved: “For the first generation of the podcast, the first idea was ‘let’s focus on different labels in the community, of all sexualities. And let’s make each of them so it empowers a specific label.’ And I think I learned so quickly that you can’t box people into one specific thing.The real magic is giving platforms to people who don’t have platforms.”
On what he’s learned so far: “This podcast has been a real study on the human condition and it’s so much more than sexuality. I think sexuality really is a byproduct of who we are; it’s not all of who we are. But I think it’s an interesting place to start the conversation. Why do we only view love as one thing? I love people, and I’m even more in love with their stories. I think the goal for this podcast, and the goal in my life really, is to normalize the abnormal, to give a voice to people and stories that aren’t usually told. And if I’ve learnt one thing from the podcast it’s that every single person in the world, no matter your race, religion, sexual identity, or whatever, every single person needs to be treated as an individual.”
On shying away from modeling, after having been signed with IMG: “The modeling industry has changed so fast, and models for the most part are treated like cattle. In doing internal work, I just realized very fast it’s just not what I am focusing on. If certain brands want to link up to my voice at this point, then yeah absolutely let’s make it happen. But I’m not chasing the campaign just for the campaign. The more I’m unapologetically myself, the more attractive it is. So the stronger my voice is, the stronger the desire it will be for other people to link up with it.”