What are your ident(ies)?
Well, being from the Dominican Republic, I strongly identify with being Afro-Latino and everything that that entails, meaning I identify with my blackness, my Latinidad, and the intersection of the two.
Tell us about what you are working on.
Well, I graduated from Boston University’s conservatory program recently, so I’m primarily getting settled in Los Angeles which is where I decided to move after college. That said, I do have a personal project up my sleeve that I’m currently working on. A good friend of mine—Danielle Amero—and I are currently in the writing phase of a musical comedy web series titled Dammit David that is loosely based on my current life experiences. It explores the tension between leaving one’s home and culture behind—I grew up in a majority Latinx and black apartment complex, or rather, the projects—in order to pursue one’s dreams and live as truthfully as possible. On paper, it sounds very political and boring, but it’s actually quite hilarious. Some of my most embarrassing moments are adapted into it.
Why do you act?
I’m an actor for a variety of reasons. Growing up, I was, for lack of a better word, a troubled kid. I had ADHD and got in trouble a lot at school. I just never felt as if people understood me. Eventually, I found an ease through drawing and pursued the visual arts for a while. Unfortunately, I had too much of a personality to stick with that. That said, when I discovered acting, I suddenly felt like it was a way that I could make people understand me, as well as a tool that I could use to understand others. So, that’s how I got into it I guess.
When it comes to what makes me an actor today, however, my answer has definitely evolved. I think fighting for accurate representation in film, television, and theatre is an incredibly important aspect of engaging in activism that promotes racial equity. I remember watching Joh Leguizamo’s Spic-O-Rama and listening to the In The Heights soundtrack when I was little and being amazed at how relevant those two works were to my everyday life. I had never really seen myself in the media to that capacity before and it was truly life-changing to do so. I want to be able to give others in the coming generations that same feeling one day.
What advice do you have for Black, Latinx and Afrolatinx theatre artists?
I don’t really have advice for Black, Latinx, or Afro-latinx artists at the moment. Truthfully, I am so young and while I’m proud of my accomplishments thus far, I have so much further to go and I don’t think I’m qualified to be handing out advice to people in my industry who are twice my age. If anything, as cliche as it sounds, be yourself and fight for what you believe in no matter who tells you you won’t get a job because of it. It’s the one thing I remind myself to do everyday before I step out of my house.
How can people find your work?
Well, Dammit David won’t be in production for a while, but I try to keep myself busy and if there’s something I’m working on at the moment or soon, anyone who wants to keep up with me should be able to find it on my website: www.davidjosecastillo.com. I am also always on twitter—like always—like it’s a problem. So, if people want to read my opinions in poorly written comedic form, I encourage them to follow me on twitter!
What has been a challenge in this career?
An actor’s biggest challenge is, in my opinion, always her or himself. The amount of courage, strength, and determination it takes to pursue an acting career is ridiculous. So, of course, I’m pursuing an acting career.
Thank you for sharing your story. We look forward to all of the amazing things you are and will do!