Nico Tortorella is one of those actors who plays the guitar, writes poetry, and dabbles in photography and other forms of visual expression (see his Instagram for proof). In other words, he seems like he’s all about the art, man.
And, in many ways, he is. But, upon meeting him for his ELLE photoshoot, he comes across as more like his character, Josh, on TV Land’s hit series, Younger which follows 40-year-old Liza (Sutton Foster) as she pretends to be a 27-year-old millennial in order to achieve her dreams of making it in the writing world than a self-serious artiste.
Both Josh and Tortorella are covered in tattoos (Josh is an inksman by trade, after all); they’re both smart aestheticists whose sensitive natures are harmonized by a wicked sense of humor. They are, it must be said, both the kind of guy who, if you were lucky enough to lock eyes with at a bar, would make you flush with anxietybut as soon as you started talking, you’d be set at ease by his affable charm.
“I have a lot of friends who are tattoo artists, and I have a lot of tattoos myself, so I know that type,” Tortorella says of Josh, Liza’s on-again/off-again boyfriend, and one of only two people to know her real-age secret. “But more than anything, I know Josh is driven by the love of a woman, which I totally understand.” Indeed, that much is obvious: Tortorella and Foster’s connection is beyond palpable, and it’s a huge reason Tortorella’s intended two scenes in Younger’s pilot turned into a full-time role.
But, for Tortorella, that love drive goes even deeper: He recently started a podcast, aptly entitled Love Bomb, in which he sits down with people he has loved (like hairstylist Kyle Krieger, whom Tortorella once dated), currently loves (like Milk, a drag queen and former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, or, in a soon-to-air episode, his current girlfriend, Olesya Rulin), or may soon love. Earlier this year, Tortorella revealed he was sexually fluid. The press called it a “coming out”; to Tortorella, “this is nothing new in my life. It’s just on a grander scale now and people want to talk about it.”
Indeed we do! Thus, ELLE sat down with Tortorella for a frank conversation about modern-day sexuality, Younger’s third season, and his very open (and eye-opening) podcast.
At the end of last season, Josh and Liza got back together after having fallen out. Where does season three take that relationship?
Josh’s struggle has always been that he’s a super honest and loving person, but he’s had to keep up with Liza’s lie. It’s still a struggle this season, as well as the new love triangle with Charles [Liza’s boss]. I just saw the first four episodes of the season last night, it’s honestly the best season yet. No question. Remember the first season of Sex in the City? It doesn’t look anything like the rest of the show. That’s what’s happening with Younger. Everyone is just so comfortable with their characters now.
Did you ever worry about being cast in “the boyfriend role?”
Well, in the beginning, I didn’t really know what the role would be. After the pilot, when we started filming the series, they asked me to be a series regular, and everything changed.
Because of my relationship with Sutton because of the chemistry. We’re two totally different people, but there’s this inherent quirkiness that both of us have. She’s a dork and I’m a dork, so we just run around and play with each other.
You’ve had your fair share of shirtless scenes in the show, and we at ELLE love to flip the script, so I have to ask: Do you ever feel objectified?
Totally. Have you seen the calendar we put out? I know I have to play into it to a certain extent. If I have to be objectified in my twenties to be taken seriously in my thirties, I’m doing something right.
Was that part of the job something you were aware of as you got into acting?
As long as my work continues to speak for itself outside of what I look like, I’m okay. This is going to sound obnoxious, but I get told I’m too good-looking for a lot of roles. They don’t write roles people would think I’m supposed to play as often as they used to the rom-com pretty-boy storylines. Movies are thankfully about real people nowadays, and I don’t necessarily always look like a real person.
You seem pretty aware of how you’re presented.
One hundred percent. I wear my heart on my sleeve and live my life as openly and honestly as I can.
So in regard to your sexual fluidity…
Look, a lot of people don’t think that the way that I live my life is a real thing, that it exists, that having a broad spectrum of sexual orientation is even possible. I get told all the time on social media. God forbid you open up a Reddit article. But it comes with it, you know? I’m not trying to redefine sexuality or humanity or say that my answer is right and yours is wrong. I’m just happy with who I am. I am driven by love and I have been in love with a handful of different people, men and women. It’s like, if you go to a bookstore and you know exactly what kind of book you want, you have to look it up in the system because it’s in a specific section of the bookstore. I fit into a handful of sections in the bookstore.
Some people believe that a bi or pansexual relationship can’t be monogamous. You’re dating a woman right now. Do you believe in monogamy?
I believe in it. I am not ruled by sex. I never have been. I’m not looking to fuck all the time. I am more interested in the ability to have intimate relationships with people on an emotional level.
What’s been the industry’s attitude toward your “coming out?” Because Hollywood is notoriously-
Run by a bunch of old white dudes who say anything other than heteronormative is blasphemy? That is still sadly the case, but I had hours and hours of conversation with my entire team about how I was going to handle this, because I refused from the beginning to restrict myself to any sort of lifestyle. I think as long as you come at it from a place of positive passion, it sets the right example. And I do think it’s gotten better for actors who want to be out or open in their careers. I think, I hope, we are moving toward a tipping point.
Let’s talk about the podcast. You’re three weeks in how is it going?
I feel really great about it. It’s different than what I thought it would be.
It’s one thing to talk about love in a generic sense. Everybody knows what love is in one way or another, and everybody has an answer of what love means to them. But when two people that mean so much to each other really engage in a conversation about it. I’m just telling my story of love in a way that I didn’t even know I had.
If you missed the cast of ‘Younger’ on AOL Build’s Speaker Series today, you can check out the video below.
The cast of ‘Younger’ made an appearance on ‘AOL Build’s Speaker Series’ today (September 26). You can now check out pictures of Nico arriving at the AOL Studios, during the cast interviews and the awesome portrait shots of the cast, all over on the gallery.
Nico attended ‘The Opening Night of REFINERY29’s Second Annual 29ROOMS’ which was held in Brooklyn, New York on September 08 with the beautiful Bethany. Check out a few images of them both over on the gallery.
A newly single, 40-year-old mother tries to get back into the working world with her friends' help.HUNTER&GAME
An aspiring Catalan filmmaker captures the week leading up to the debut album release of Brooklyn-based electronic music duo Hunter&Game
Please note: I do not post paparazzi stalking pictures or post rumours. We are here to support Nico through his career. His personal life is his own business.