Infinite Space Between All of the Binaries
“I want to direct, I want to produce, I want to write, I want to star, I want to sleep. I want to meet incredible people. I want to fall in and out of love. I want to make art. Art has the power to change everything, and as long as I’m creating art, I’ll be creating myself,” says Nico Tortorella. It’s mid-April and still a bit chilly in New York City.
Born in Wilmette, Illinois, Tortorella began professional theatre work when they were in seventh grade. They moved to Los Angeles at age 18 to pursue their dreams of becoming an actor. Although now known for portraying heartthrob and tattoo artist Josh on TV Land’s hit series Younger, throughout this journey, they have learned the art of healing and the art of storytelling through playing other people. That in itself has really helped them understand what it means playing their unapologetic and truest version of themself. “As I continue to read scripts and look at different projects, I definitely have a more direct eye on the type of messaging involved in any given script or story. I’m not about to go play a white supremacist or a Nazi or like a murderer right now just because it’s a great role. I don’t need to do that,” they affirm.
Becoming an actor has given Tortorella a platform to be an extraordinary activist for the LGBTQ+ community (on May 31, they accepted their role as Los Angeles’ first ambassador for LGBT month, which was June, and May 31 of this year was also dedicated as Nico Tortorella Day). They identify as gender non-conforming and polyamorous pansexual, and in recent years, they have been interested in their own education and educating others, too. They are for all ends of the spectrum and say it is up to us to decide the terminology and language we want to use. We can choose to be labeled or label-free when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity. “In the fields of social justice, particularly, we have a tendency of getting really caught up in the words we use, like, ‘This word has more weight or more value than another word.’ I’m at a point in my own self-actualization where I’m more interested in how we are feeling rather than how we’re describing who we are,” they share.
Along with their acting career and activism, the 30-year-old creative soul is also an author. Last year, they debuted a 256-page book they wrote in 45 days entitled all of it is you.: poetry. They explore “all of it,” from the smallest cells in our bodies to the outer limits of our universe. “There’s something super esoteric and existential about the poetry, which is beautiful in its own right. It’s a celebration of the singularity of this divine frequency of love that unites us all,” describes Tortorella, who was eventually inspired to write a long-form memoir Space Between: Explorations of Love, Sex, and Fluidity (which will be out on September 17th). It is a narrative and exploration of love, sexuality, gender identity, addiction, and harm reduction as they wanted to create something that could be consumed and understood by the world. “There really is a fast, infinite space between all of the binaries we have set up in this world, whether it’s male and female, gay and straight, Republican or Democrat, progressive or liberal. When we’re hearing stories or telling stories, we have to pick one side or the other most of the time – and that doesn’t have to be the case,” they elaborate. “Things are a lot more multidimensional and dynamic than we’ve all imagined them to be.”
Writer: Dylan Worcel
Photographer & Videographer: Matthew Borkowski
Photographer Assistants: Mike Vitelli & Silas Vassar, III
Stylist: Raven Roberts
Stylist Assistant: Kamilah Bryan
Grooming: Laila Hayani (for Exclusive Artists Management – using Davines)
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Editorial Assistants: Leonye McCalla & Olivia Walker
Special thanks to Park South Hotel (@parksouthhotelnyc – www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/new-york/nyc/park-south-hotel) & Sarge’s Delicatessen & Diner (@sargesdeli – sargesdeli.com) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)