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He's All That: Meet Rising Actor Brandon Delsid

Meet rising multi-hyphenate talent, Brandon Delsid. The Fresno, California native plays the piano, sings, and has performed in countless musical theatre productions. In his most recent project he shows off his acting chops on Amazon Prime’s This is Me…Now a musical film alongside Jennifer Lopez, playing one of her best friends. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Delsid is passionate about advocating for safe spaces and queer rights not just for the arts but in general. We had a chance to talk to Brandon about the new film, working with Jennifer Lopez and lots more in our exclusive interview.

 Sarodj Bertin

Interview: Angel Neal

Photographer: Chris Jon Photography

Growing up in California, you were somewhat surrounded by exploring creative arts. When did the acting bug first hit you?

Oh my gosh. I mean, it's so funny. I feel like my parents really tried to make soccer work. But it just wasn't happening. Around the age of seven I was like, you know, kind of looking for my thing. And I found it when I was eight years old, my grandma took me to a musical. And I just kind of fell in love. I was different from that moment on. I felt like it was one of those  moments where you find your thing and I think the universe is always giving us signs like that. When we're younger, I think we're almost more sensitive to seeing things like, oh, my gosh, this is my thing. Like, this is what I want to do with my life. And so I just kind of never looked back. And I continued to perform a lot of musical theater, I think is why I do what I do now. I grew up in a community full of musical theater, and getting to perform with actors who were, you know, a lot older than I and I looked at them, like mentors. Actors in their 50s and 60s when I was just 15. And I kind of tried to learn everything I could. But it really was my grandma who got me into it.

Speaking of musical theater, do you remember your first cinema memory? A show or film or musical that resonated with you? 

I feel like the movie I remember having the big biggest impact on me as a child was Hocus Pocus. I remember watching it as a kid and I would just grab blankets and pretend I was a witch and fly around the room.  I was such a crazy theatrical little kid. But I love that movie, the musical aspect of it. If you know the film, there's musical numbers and it kind of lends itself to that it was directed by Kenny Ortega, who is like a huge musical theater buff. I loved  the comedy of it and the cinematic musical aspect of it. In addition, the actors are just so top notch, and that movie really stayed with me. I would say Disney obviously had a huge impact on little Brandon.

So you play the piano and you sing. Although, like you said, you're not new to the musical theater scene. It's always something new and interesting going on in film now with the live adaptations, for example The Color Purple. Would you ever want to be a part of more live musical action films? 

Yes. Oh, that would be the dream. I would say this film This Is Me Now is kind of like a conglomeration of all of my loves. It's a movie that's a musical that's streaming on television, on Amazon Prime. So it's kind of a mix of all of these worlds. I feel so grateful because musical theater acting is my first love. You know what I mean? It was what got me into it. So I'm really hoping that it continues in that direction. I'd love to do more musical films and films with a message like the Color Purple and This Is Me Now, films that are deep and meaningful and stand the test of time.

 Brandon Delsid

So speaking of This Is Me Now you play the character, the lover. Basically, you’re like her muse in a sense. Women sometimes tend to gravitate towards our gay best friend. We're inspired by their fashion, beauty and their attitude of telling it like it is. But in your own words tell us about your character.

Oh, well, I love that description you just gave. I want that on my resume. I think I essentially get to play her gay best friend in it. And, you know, it was an honor to kind of get to step into that role and she's a huge LGBTQIA plus advocate, you know, she's one of the strongest I think we have. To get to step in those shoes was a big undertaking, but I love that my role in it is not like a classic niche, gay best friend, you know because I think being in any, you know, marginalized community also being you know, Latin X and Native American, it's like you can get put into boxes. And so I kind of love that in this role I got to challenge gender norms and got to wear makeup and fabulous outfits. In the final scene, getting to kind of live my like JLo glamazon dream,  getting to wear a bow, and glitter and so I felt like they were really open to change and to modernizing, what the gay best friend means. I do think it's funny you say our muses, I think we're kind of like, yeah, the Greek chorus and the movie goes in all these different directions. And I'll never forget, she kind of said early on, we were kind of the grounding factor in the film, that all these things happen in life, but then you kind of come back to your friends. And so I kind of liked that we were bookmarks in different parts of the movie, and then at the end, it shows you know, your friends are your ride or die, like they're the people who should be around you forever. I thought that was so smart. You know, she co wrote it with Ben Afleck, and so she really tried to infuse I think a lot of her own life and friends into the film. 

The outfit choices and visuals are also what people are gravitating towards, when mentioning the film all the fabulous fabulousness in there. Do you have a favorite look from the film?

Oh my gosh, I mean, the fabulousness is on another level. It really is true. I've recently been comparing it to the film Dune meets Moulin Rouge. It's just a spectacle, you know, and every sense of the word. I have quite a few favorite scenes. You know, I really love the final scene where we’re at the final wedding that we all attend. And we're all kind of glammed up. And it's kind of this boho wedding. And I love that it highlights the message of the whole film, I think, which is, radical self love for yourself. Loving yourself unconditionally at all moments when you feel bad when you feel good when you're having an off day when you're having a sleepy day. I think this is a love letter for everyone who needs to hear that, so I would say that final film number, which is a midnight trip to Vegas. But then I also love our confrontation scene with her where we're all just screaming at each other in the living room telling her that she's a sex addict. Because that was so fun. And we got to improv a lot during that scene. She'd say, let's do it as written and then she'd say, let's just play around and just throw things at me. And so that was incredible, obviously. 

Going through the script and filming the project did you learn something new about yourself or take away any gems JLO may have dropped? 

I mean, just being in proximity to her and the incredible cast we had, you know, there's Jane Fonda and Sophia Vergara and Kim Petras and Ben Affleck and Trevor Noah, just an insane ensemble, just being in proximity to those people, you felt a little bit like, whoa, like, this is kind of magical. Like I need to journal about this today, just soaking up how this energy is around me. It was just inspiring. But to get to see her work,I think I was really inspired by how loose and playful she was. As an actor, she was able to really play. And I think that's what acting is at its best, being creative, it's like getting back to that childlike playfulness. And so I love that about her. I love that she was like, you guys. We did it as written and the script. And now let's just riff off of each other. And let's see what we got. And a lot of that stuff ended up making it into the film, which is neat to say.

 Sarodj Bertin

So you're an advocate for the LGBTQIA+  and Latin X community. Do you feel the entertainment industry is moving in the right direction when it comes to representation for both communities on screen?. 

I do. I think we're heading in the right direction. But I think we still have mountains to climb. For a lot of these communities and more marginalized communities, you know, I think it all starts with the writing. And like writing shows, writing movies, with all sorts of diverse voices in mind and not pigeonholing it in one direction.I feel like there's stuff being written. I love stories these days about queer joy, and Latinx joy, stories about people winning and not so much always about the trauma, stories celebrating us. We're not just a gay best friend, you know, we're doctors, we're husbands. We're CEOs, and I think there's a long way to go. I recently went to an event, and they were talking about how only 4% of leading roles are played by Latin X performers in the world. So it's still a really small number. But it's growing and I think continuing the conversation and sharing our stories like this is what continues to move the needle.

 Sarodj Bertin

You touched on something I was going to say, because usually, when we do see a LGBTQIA+ character in films, they're usually the fashion person or  beauty expert. Sometimes the character development can be a slow progress. What’s your thoughts on that?

I'm grateful for this role that I play. I do feel like it challenges norms, but I think there's a lot more for our community out there. There's so much more, and I think it's coming. We deserve to tell diverse and well written stories and characters.

Now, from the outside looking in, for people who are not a part of either community, what can we do collectively, to support and empower our peers who are in the industry?

That's beautiful. I mean, I think it's this stuff. I think it's us having real talks with each other. I think it's communicating and reaching out. And also, I think it's a superpower to create your own work, and to create spaces for yourself as a performer. Start showing the world and your peers that you're serious about it, and you're creating spaces. That's one of my main goals  going forward, finding scripts, and creating projects for myself and others that  highlight diverse voices in that way. And like I said, I mean, I think it starts a lot with the writing, but I would say be curious about each other. Get curious, again. I feel like sometimes we're so trapped in our own bubbles. We're not curious about other people's struggles. Because we think we're struggling so much that it can be easy to forget about other people's struggles from other communities. I just hope we all stay curious about each other and realize that we elevate together, a win for someone else it's like that energy rubs off on you.

In an industry with so much competition, how do you stay uplifted and motivated and even aspire to continue to push through and maintain your happiness by also cultivating necessary relationships? 

The best advice I've ever heard about this was the way you cultivate your career is important, but it's even more important the way you cultivate your life outside of your career. So I try to cultivate a life outside of auditions that is full of food, travel, and fabulous experiences. I make time for friends and family and quiet moments, and loud moments and dancing. But I try to cultivate life outside of my career just as intricately and beautifully as I cultivate my career. So take on your life as big of a project as you take on your career.

So let's talk about the role fashion plays in your life because, I feel like you slay any type of red carpet you hit and your makeup is always flawless.Do you have a natural love for fashion?

I do. I'll never forget how I've always loved sparkles and glitter. My mom has this story she tells about how I was helping her decorate for a baby shower at the age of four and I just grabbed glitter, I don't even know where I got it. I just threw it o)n the table. And they were like where did Brandon get that glitter from, but I thought it was just helping glitter(fire) the party. So I've always just loved all things glam and sparkle. But thank you for everything you said. I mean, I love fashion. And I think this film also has helped me step into that more. I mean, I feel especially, this year I want to take on outfits and choices that are not, you know, gender norms or societal norms. I love pushing boundaries. I love makeup. I've always loved makeup. And even when people told me that I couldn't wear it. It kind of made me feel like I wanted to do it more. I would look at some of the most beautiful people in the world, and they were playing with it. And I was like, why can't I play with it too? So it just felt empowering. And yeah, it's, it's become a really deep sense of self expression for me.  I think when you look good, you feel good. And so I'm loving playing with fashions. I love the outfits I've gotten to wear recently. They were amazing moments. I feel like my little gay self was like, Whoa, this is kind of a coming of age moment, you know. And I'm excited for some crazy looks to come. I've got a couple wild ones planned for the next couple of weeks for some events. 

Brandon, did you ever pursue modeling because you definitely have a face card?

I did modeling when I was in New York a bit. So yeah, I mean, modeling was always part of it. But I think acting was always the love, it was always kind of the number one thing, Plan A.

So for many to get to where they want to be, they have to be comfortable in there now of who they are. Is self love a practice, a destination or something else in its entirety?

I am a huge advocate for radical self love. And I think it's a practice, I don't think it's a destination. I don't think it's somewhere you reach, I think it's daily, moment by moment. Not every moment is going to be perfect. But I think it's trying every day to love yourself, when you're not feeling good, when you're not feeling beautiful. You know, it's funny, as beautiful as, like you were talking about some of those red carpets, loos, there were photos, sometimes that would come out just in my experience, you know, where I'd be like, I don't love that angle of myself, or I don't like how I look at that to be real, you know, but it would have to be a practice where I would look at it again. And then I'd be like, No, you are glowing. And this is a moment that you remember how you felt in the picture. You know, and, and put that aside, because I think we all are so much harder on ourselves than others are. And so I think radical self love is a daily practice. And I think our film This Is Me Now  is ultimately about that, I think it's about Jennifer thinking she would find love in a man and realizing all along the journey was to fall in love with herself. And along the way. It's the Wizard of Oz. Right? When you love yourself along the way the right people show up. Maybe a guy shows up, maybe the right people show up in your life that you need, you know, and I think that's what our movie is about. So I'm really proud of that, the movie is about loving yourself no matter what. 

So every year forces us to work harder in our passions to become more clear about what we want out of life. What's next on your tackle list?

Well, I'm a big manifester, and I'm big on dreaming and putting your dreams out there. Writing them down has been like a big thing for me in 2024. I've noticed it to be really powerful writing down what you want. But I think you know, what's next on my tackle list is I'd love to do another film like this. I'd love to do a film with a message similar to this film, you know something deep and that stays with people and something kind of timeless that you could watch in 100 years and that message is going to ring true. But further than that, I want to pursue projects that highlight diverse communities and people of all walks of life. I think even though we're doing really well in that department, there's a lot more that we can do. And I hope that there are more opportunities like that. And I, you know, would love to create something for myself that also includes other people. I'm working on a pilot script that I've been working on for a year. And that's kind of my dream is to continue to develop it with other people and other communities and continue to open other doors. 

Keep up to date with Brandon's whirlwind of projects and journey as an actor.

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