Telling Deeply Personal Stories With Artist Ser Anzoategui

Ser Anzoategui is most widely known for the role of Eddy in Starz series, VIDA, which won a 2019 GLAAD for best comedy. Ser was nominated for a 2019 and 2020 Imagen Award in supporting actor category following a LATimes Op-Ed and Deadline guest column about gendered award categories. Most recently, spoke to Brian Welk for The Wrap about their advocacy for gender neutral categories.

Their solo theatre soccer show ¡Ser! was penned and performed by Ser for 10 years. The world premiere was at Los Angeles Theatre Center in 2013 with original music by Louie Perez of Los Lobos, performed to sold out crowds and raving reviews, receiving five LA Weekly nominations, including Best Solo Play and won two for music in 2014.

Catch Ser on Dec 8th in Apple TV’s Little America Season 2, Yoshiko, playing baseball and soon in Season 2 of With Love on Amazon. They are proud to voice the role of non-binary, queer character, Wren, in Apple TV’s PineCone and Pony.

Ser aspires to publish their writing and develop their scripts, they currently have a pilot ranking on coverfly. Ser regularly performs stand up comedy.

Goldie Chan: Hello Ser, thank you for joining us. What has your career path been?

Ser Anzoategui: I’ve had to carve one for myself. I came out queer while I was first doing theatre at 19. I’ve had to self-advocate for a long time and write my own roles in order to work on my acting muscles, getting to perform and be produced as a playwright. Writing and performing my stories opened the door for me in TV and landed a role on East Los high on Hulu and have been one of the first representations of trans masculinity on TV. My work in the Boyle Heights community informed my role as Eddy on Vida and I am proud to have been part of a groundbreaking series. I know our worth, I know my worth. I have so much more in me, ready to offer and more cooking!

Chan: What has been your favorite project or show that you’ve worked on?

Anzoategui: With Love on Amazon created by Gloria Calderon Kellet, an incredible person and artist. She is a multi hyphenate creative and producer who creates an environment richly filled with good energy. You walk onto that set, everyone on the crew and performers are overflowing with love. It is such a beautiful experience when the showrunner infuses her whole creative team by uplifting each of them and in so doing, models by example that you can create TV and a wonderful working environment at the same time.

Chan: How would you describe your personal brand?

Anzoategui: Unique because I’ve been trailblazing. I suppose that would be my authentic self. Always evolving, renewing. Self love – there are so many layers to uncover and I am excited to continue getting to know myself. I have been vulnerable online because that’s part of how I process, sometimes being so raw is better for my process although it may make others, and myself, uncomfortable when I state my in-the-moment truth.

Chan: What is your personal motto?

Anzoategui: Be my own parent. The kind I always wanted for myself. Kind loving, merciful when I make mistakes and understanding it is all working towards my purpose. Trust the universe, trust your intuition. Let go of the ego. Let go, let flow. Live your purpose. Stand up for my rights. Resist hate. No tolerance for bigotry. Follow the fun, follow the joy. Keep my peace under all circumstances. Have compassion. Be true to yourself and never dim your light to help make others comfortable. Be uncomfortable and be okay with it. There are no mistakes, only opportunities.

Chan: What are you currently working on?

Anzoategui: My writing. I always wrote and performed – performing my one person solo shows and now, doing stand-up comedy. The instant gratification of trying out jokes that I just wrote in front of a live audience thrills me. I never stopped writing jokes. I have a couple of dramedy pilots and writings. I’m adapting my one person solo show about soccer into a book, perhaps it could work as a film or tv series. Autobiographical essays.

Chan: What is a dream project you’d love to work on or a collaborator that you’d love to partner with?

Anzoategui: I focus on working with genuinely good people and the rest falls into place. I’d love to develop a show from my stand up comedy sets. Cast in an all trans re-imagining of a classic story/ franchise. Work with Effie Brown. Real Women Have Curves was monumental for Latin communities that felt they could see a reflection of themselves and their families on the big screen. I was homeless in Boyle Heights, producing/writing/acting/directing theatre and living at the theater on the DL, since my family immigrated back to their home countries around the same time. I’d look up at the big film poster with America Ferrera, too, and imagine working with her, imagine, dreaming the reality of my one person solo shows being made into a film and produced by Effie Brown. She also advocates for equity. She’s a badass. Work with Ilana Peña. Her exuberant spirit is wonderful and she’s super smart and talented. I hope we can collab on some level! I’d love to work with Jodie Foster. She is a wonderful director. Watching her work growing up was one of the few times my mom and I bonded by enjoying Jodie’s films. Watching her perform in film showed me a master class in acting. Then finding out she was queer like me, truly made me realize how we connect; on some level we see ourselves in her without her having to come out to us. That’s deeply powerful. Play a superhero – you bet I’m writing it! I want to show my physical strength and abilities. Being trans, every day is a beautiful unfolding of my body’s capabilities and I want to honor it. Animation with Jorge Gutierrez, celebrating our indigenous ancestors! My voice range is a beautiful thing to contain. I feel like I can voice an array of different characters on the gender spectrum now. Work with Norman Lear! He has advanced our representation so much and would be an honor of a lifetime to develop a project with him. My family would finally respect me. Work with Mindy Kaling. A comedic genius. I love her sense of humor and the humanity she brings to her characters and stories.

Chan: What changes would you like to see in your industry?

Anzoategui: Gender-neutral awards and or truly equitable awards. Non-passing, non-binary representation as well as more people of color in lead roles and in positions of power such as Executives. Allow our Latine shows to have enough seasons to build audiences, being more eligible and likely to win awards, and allow it to create more content due to the success of our shows. The Latine shows could reflect the variety of our people: transgender and non-binary, indigenous and Afro Latine, thick-bodied people as leads and creatives. A-Listers to include inclusion of marginalized artists hired in their riders so productions can hire trans, non-binary (nb), and more including in front of the camera and behind the camera. Queer characters depicted in TV and film to be varied in gender representation versus how producers etc want to see us. Non-passing trans and nb artists hired for other projects not only trans queer projects. LGBTQ+ artists to be hired on non-queer related shows.

Chan: What makes a story come alive?

Anzoategui: When creatives are hired to reflect the characters on the page and screen. Executives that deeply understand the importance of the stories being told. When reading the story, the reader feels the beating heart from the page pulsating in our imaginations and we cannot escape being fully immersed in the world of your characters. Nuanced storytelling makes stories come alive like corn kernels popping into popcorn; each person may have varied reactions to the work and connect at a particular moment and then another person experiencing the story will connect at different point where another audience member may not get the lived experience and that is okay, you’ll ‘get it’ anyway.

Chan: Any branding or career advice for this new year?

Anzoategui: Be grateful for what you have more than focusing on what you haven’t accomplished. Enjoy life. It’s not always about to-do lists however treasure the present moment as we only have it once and exists to make your dreams come true. We are all creators. Take each rejection like direction and renewal, something innate in our human nature. You got this!


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