The Stage Is Set With Peter Porte

The Stage Is Set With Peter Porte
by Steven Carver

Featured in BELLO mag Entertainment August 2015 issue #80 – Download BELLO App for free

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With the world’s ethnicities becoming homogenized, appealing to a larger demographic is paramount when it comes to being in front of the camera. Having a look that can’t be defined allows for a greater connection to everyone. Peter Porte’s striking good looks (courtesy of an Italian/Polish heritage) avoid typical typecasting and allow him to partake in a range of projects. Of course, it also helps that he’s talented, professional, and possesses good timing.

In between modeling shoots (repped by the prestigious Wilhelmina agency in NYC), this graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (degree in drama and journalism) has appeared in musicals (production of the crowd-pleaser, Mamma Mia), dramas (making a name for himself on The Young and the Restless), and comedies (Baby Daddy – his co-stars Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Chelsea Kane and Derek Theler have also graced the pages of Bello).
To learn a little more about the working process of this multi-hyphenate, BELLO mag asked Porte a few questions on how he makes the transition between – photo shoot, TV and stage – sets.

What’s your preferred working medium – TV, modeling, live performance (i.e. plays) – and why?

I love live performance. It’s what made me want to be an actor in the first place. To me, there’s nothing more thrilling than having an audience to feed off of as you tell your story. The gratification is instant: you see them smile, you hear them cry. Then I discovered sitcoms. It’s the best of both worlds. It’s like putting on a new mini play every week.

Is it more nerve-wracking to act on a soap (memorizing hundreds of pages!), or in front of a live audience?

It’s not just the memorization that’s challenging, it’s the outrageous situations you need to make believable. One day you’re killing your girlfriend and stealing a baby, the next day you’re a ghost or an evil twin. You get little to no rehearsal and rarely a second take; production moves insanely fast. Most TV shows have over a week to shoot one episode; soaps have less than a day! I believe if you can survive soap boot camp you can act in anything. I have incredible respect for anyone involved in the medium.

Does prepping for a “character” on a photo shoot (diet, gym, sleep) differ from an one on TV/stage (read, read, read)?

I haven’t had the pleasure of playing many “character” roles in print. Mostly I smile or contemplatively glance out into the distance. Besides looking your best and doing a bit of research on the client, the brand, and their target audience, I just try to have an open mind and get the shot. Often you have no idea what you’ll be doing before arriving to set. “You will gallop over that hill half naked through the snow while kissing your Brazilian lover; make sure to be looking into the sunrise so the light catches your eyes” was recently expressed to me in broken English. The appropriate prepped response is “Sure… I can do that.”

With acting, if I’m lucky, I’ll get to play someone very different from myself, and I’ll do everything I can to embody that character. Besides reading the script, understanding what others think of him and what he thinks of himself, I’ll go out and experience something unique to the character. For instance, I recently played a freegan (i.e. a person who rejects consumerism and reclaims goods/eats food that has been discarded) squatter in Eve Ensler’s new play O.P.C, so I gave dumpster diving and sleeping outside a go.

Has there been a place you loved visiting/traveling to for a shoot? How about a place you want to visit?

I’m currently performing in For the Record: Baz at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. I’d never been before and it’s an incredible city. Doing a Broadway national tour was a fantastic way of seeing the whole country, a new city every week. But my favorite is when work takes me to Europe. Most of my family is there and I don’t get back to see them often enough.
I’ve been dying to visit Peru. Land in Cusco, then hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. Oh, and Albuquerque for the International [hot air] Balloon Fiesta.

How do you balance working across several – similar, but different – mediums? Patience, a good schedule…?

I really love what I do and am very lucky and grateful I get to do it, so balancing them isn’t much of a struggle. At their core, they’re all the same. You’re telling a story, and if you’re successful, you’re influencing how others think and feel. As in all things there are peaks and valleys. When it’s busy, I rely on an incredible team to get me where I need to be, and when it’s slow, I try to be patient and work on becoming [a better performer]. I think it’s also very important to develop interests outside of what you do to maintain balance. I’m taking Spanish class and learning to play the ukulele. So far I’m pretty awful at both, but what can you do. Adios!

About The Author

Stephane Marquet
Creative Director

First of all, excuse my French! … I was born in the South of France. Lived in Paris for 10 years and travelled the world until I moved to Los Angeles in 2008, because obviously recession was a great time to move to a new country! I also arrived around Halloween and was greeted at the Social Security offices by a nurse who directed to the window Number 6 so a witch could hand me my social security number. Welcome to America. I am a painter, a photographer and the creative director of BELLO mag.

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