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TV-Star Nico Tortorella on polyamorous relationships and the power of love

by David Baczyk for Vangardist

Photography by Bronson Farr

Its been an exciting couple of years for actor, writer and activist Nico Tortorella: after starring in the hit TV show Younger, created by Darren Star (who you might recognize as being the creator of the iconic series Sex and the City), Tortorella also released a poetry collection All of It Is You, which came out in April this year. Always being outspoken about LGBTQIA+ related topics, the 29-year-old has brought issues like gender fluidity into the spotlight. Tortorella is using his platform to educate people around the globe about polyamorous love, bisexuality and self-love. We got the chance to meet up with the actor during our exclusive cover shoot for this issue.

Hey Nico! I just got your book the other day and read through it would you be so kind as to sign it for us?

Sure! You like the book?

Yes I do! My favourite poems in it are God and Cities. Do you have a favourite?

It changes every day, lets see let the universe decide.

(Nico puts his palm on the cover of All of It Is You and opens the book to a random page.)

God How crazy is that? You know, the god thing is so interesting because god is such a heavily weighted word. Everyone has their own relationship either with or without god. When I was putting this book together I knew god was the only piece in the book that I wanted in each section. Because for me god is so much more than a religious belief. God is the complete and utter physical, emotional and spiritual manifestation of yourself. And that is just the most beautiful thing for me.

So you play Josh on the TV show Younger, which was created by Darren Star

speaking of god…

Haha, exactly, Darren Star. So can you maybe tell us about the plot of the show for our readers who dont know Younger yet?

Yes, Younger is about a woman named Liza, whos in her forties and struggling to get back into the workforce of New York City. She decides it would be easier to pretend to be 26 in order to get a job because of all the ageism and sexism that exist in publishing in New York or, actually, in every field. So she does a full makeover and gets the job. She starts to make all these new friends, my character Josh included, whos a tattoo artist in Brooklyn and the story kind of unfolds from there.

THE BIGGEST SECRET IN A RELATIONSHIP, TO MAKE IT WORK, IS TO FIND SPACE TO BE ALONE WHEN YOURE TOGETHER.

In an interview you once said that Hollywood is still run by a handful of old, straight, white men. When did you realize that you need to be this outspoken about sexuality in order to change something and how do you want to break these norms?

When I got sober from alcohol, I just really started to take my life super-seriously. It just opened up so much space in my own identity, my own expression and fluidity. Ive always been a champion of the LGBTQIA+ community in one way or another. I had a podcast called The Love Bomb and in this podcast I was able to share my own story while also sharing those of others. Just getting these conversations started and putting them out there, because of my privilege, because of what I look like, because of the colour of my skin, my socioeconomic status, I have a voice. I have the ability to affect positive change in the world. The idea of the book All of It Is You is that theres this divine frequency of love that runs through every single one of us. The more we see, the more we hear, the more we start to believe.

You just got married to your longtime partner, Bethany congratulations! Why did you choose to wear gender-bending clothes to your ceremony?

Weve been together in one way or another for 12 years. Weve been together, weve been separated, weve been best friends, weve dated a handful of other people in the meantime, but weve always stayed really close. We have always done things our own way so when it came to our wedding there was no way we were going to do something traditional. I mean there were a lot of traditional elements, but the outfits are a representation of who we are and what we represent to each other. We are equals in mind and spirit and our outfits represent that. Funnily enough, my ex-boyfriend actually designed those clothes.

How did being married change your relationship?

Well, we live together now. Actually, we moved in together last week. We still have a house upstate and one apartment in the city, so we still try to find time to spend apart from each other. But I think the biggest secret in a relationship, to make it work, is to find space to be alone when youre together. That is so fucking important. As much as marriage is a legal matter recognized by the state, it is a spiritual union. Theres a reason why its the most prized union that exists on this planet.

So true. You are also living polyamorously. What do you want to tell the people who think its just an excuse to have sex with anybody?

For me, theres so much weight put on the word sex in our world and I dont think I really look at it like that. Sex is a byproduct of love. I dont have sex with just anybody. I need to be emotionally invested before I can have sex or that energetic and physical exchange with anybody. Polyamorous is like an umbrella word. It means to have the ability to have more than one love in your life. For Bethany and me, we just allow ourselves to have space to fulfil each others desires. In whatever way. Were still figuring it out. Were no experts or anything, but I think we both recognise that we cannot be everything or everyone to each other. I want her to have everything she ever wants in life and she wants the same for me and thats the definition of a polyamorous relationship. Its not about sex, its really about emotional space. Intimacy for us is holding hands, lying in bed with each other and talking about our dreams.

You said you need some time alone every now and then is this how you find the love within yourself? Self-love is so important, but nowadays its so hard to do it.

It is one of the ways, for sure. I think self-love needs to be found in every single thing that you do, whether youre alone or with a hundred people. I love being alone. When Im alone I get to play in my own mind. Its like my favourite place to be. But its not always great, and Im not perfect. I still have moments where Im fucking stressed out or annoyed about something or struggling with my own identity and self-expression. People think I walk through life and am just, like, singing in the rain all the time, but this isnt the case. At the same time it is very beautiful. I love feeling everything, from the worst to the best and thats like the real definition of self-love. Appreciate every single emotion that runs through your body. There are so many people out there that dont feel anything. Just thank god that youre feeling something. Thats self-love.

Why is it so important for you to be so outspoken in the LGBTQIA+ community and to represent bisexuals all over the world?

There is so much beauty in the community, so much love and that needs to be celebrated. God bless every single person that worked so hard to get us where we are, but theres still so much work that needs to be done. My sexual orientation is so important to me because in the media there hasnt really been a positive or especially a male representation of it, ever. We exist. So many people think our identities are not valid. That we are in between going one way or the other, but this just isnt the case. I use the word bisexual because the B in LGBT has been fought for so long in the community by so many other people and I respect that.

So what was your inspiration to write this book?

All of it and you. I wrote the whole book in 45 days. And even today I still find parts in the book that are so foreign to me and thats my favourite part, the practical magic in it. I can pick it up and read it all over again and learn something new about ourselves.

So, for our love issue, were gonna ask this question: Do you believe in love?

Oh my god, yes! Even more than that. I think we all are love. Everything about us is love.

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‘All Of It Is You’ Poetry Book


A debut poetry collection from actor Nico Tortorella exploring “all of it,” from the smallest cells in our bodies to the outer limits of our universe.

Amazon USA   Amazon UK

The Love Bomb
Actor Nico Tortorella explores love and the labels associated with it. An At Will Radio Production.
  iTunes        Photos        Official
Current Projects
Younger

Role: Josh

A newly single, 40-year-old mother tries to get back into the working world with her friends’ help.

Fluidity

Role: Matt

The story of ten millennials living in New York City whose sexual lives intersect in the age of social media – where likes, impressions, and virtual “connections” threaten the very notion of personal relationships and human intimacy.

Affiliates
Chad Michael MurrayJay RyanMarie Avgeropoulos

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