A tattoo artist, a teenager in trouble, an aspiring singer—these are only some of the many characters Nico Tortorella has portrayed on TV and film. For years we have witnessed them, a pronoun Nico prefers, portray characters by other people and only until a few years ago did they prove that they are more than just what we see on TV. Nico, an artist, has a lot more to say and they’re only beginning to say it now.
All Of It Is You
Recently, Nico has visited the Philippines for their ‘All Of It Is You’ tour and anyone following Nico for the past years would know that writing was only the next step for them. No walls confine them from doing what they love—from acting to reality TV, and even podcasts. “I have grown into my own being and education,” they share.
More than a struggle, they see writing as a challenge. Figuring out which of their words made sense at the time being is the biggest of them all. Whether it’s writing for their podcast or their next book, they would always find room to let writing live. “There’s a speed at which my brain moves and at which my mouth speaks, and there’s a space between the two where my writing lives.”
For the past ten years, Nico has been doing other people’s work. They have been portraying characters written and thought of by others. Until they have come to terms with their own and “everything opened up” for Nico. “[T]he second I put my work ahead of other people’s work, everything changed. And it became so much more important to me.” Now, they have been doing their own craft on stage performing their own words in their own sound and music.
More Than Tolerance
Nico’s arrival in the Philippines couldn’t have been more timely. Love, life, sex, and sexuality have been parts of a constant discourse among people, yet they’ve been circumscribed. With Nico’s words that could be way too explicit for many, their art has immediately taken center stage in many of their conversations. A realization struck them during a private dinner they had in the country. Approaching conversations about love and sexuality in a relatable manner has begun a discussion that has been silenced since forever. “The fact that it took me to come in and bring this conversation to [a certain group of people] in a pretty conservative country was one of those moments when I was like, ‘Wow, this work is actually so much more important than I even realize’,” Nico adds.
And there’s only one goal for Nico: for a conversation as such to be normalized. “It’s more than tolerance,” Nico states. “This needs to be something we can talk about comfortably and not worry about the church, or our parents, or our programming, or our country, or politics.” Holding on to the fact that everybody has their own gender identities, sexual orientations, and relationships, they leave us with one question: “Why can’t we talk about it, freely and openly?”
Looking forward to the future, they seek for a normal conversation between parents and their children about life and sex. For Nico, it would have been easy to have learned about love and relationships through everyone’s first teachers—their parents. Yet, it took Nico their whole existence to learn.
No End In Sight
Reaching a wide audience is probably one of the many reasons Nico has plunged into different art forms. One way or another, they will have to find a way to get their messages across—from using fashion as a form of activism to their continuous contribution to literature.
The world has a long way to go before we arrive at the future Nico sees for us. But with their plans involving politics and teaching experimental curriculums, it’s safe to say that they have a lot more means than we think to put the word out.