kalama epstein @kalamaepstein
Photography by Maries Danila @maries_danila
Makeup by Ana Etaryan @sa_etari
Hair by Ira Tarrell@iratarrell_hair
Styled by Eghosa Ehigiator @ifysagz
Interview by Ashira Provost @_ashiraprovost
What originally inspired you to take on an acting career?
I grew up spending a lot of my time both at the movie theater and watching films at home. I fell in love with film at an early age and knew I wanted to be a director from around the age of 7. I got a flip camera for my birthday, and started to make little shorts at home with my friends as the actors. That love for filmmaking only evolved through the years, and eventually I asked my parents to start taking acting classes. From there I only fell in love with acting more and more, and proceeded to start auditioning for local projects in Hawaii.
What are you proud of?
I just finished a 1,416 piece Lego Star Destroyer set. I’m pretty damn proud of that.
I am also incredibly proud of the Netflix original show I’m currently shooting, No Good Nick. We have an incredibly talented cast and crew, and i’m so proud of what we are creating.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Well.. there are a good amount! Some are people who have affected me more recently, like Julia Ducournau with RAW, and Ari Aster with HEREDITARY. But to name a few others…
Tom Hardy, Oscar Isaac, Stanley Kubrick, Christopher Nolan, Robert Eggers, Keith Buckley, Quentin Tarantino, Jeremy Saulnier, Christoph Waltz, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Edgar Wright, Ari Aster, Gareth Evans, Adam Wingard... and a lot, lot more. Those are a collection of Actors, Writers, and Directors who have had the biggest effect on my life and, I’m really sorry for sounding like a pretentious d****e, my “art”.
Do you have anyone you admire and would love to work with in the future?
Refer to the list above!
Working with anyone in the above list would be an absolute dream come true. If there was one, It would be Christopher Nolan. His filmography is one of the biggest reasons I have fallen so deeply in love with cinema.
What were the biggest struggles you had to face to get to where you are?
Well, since I’m writing this in Pasadena, the 210 was probably my biggest struggle, and the 134 was... OH, you mean career-wise?
The biggest struggle is, as my friend Austin likes to put it: “The overwhelming drive to continuously throw spaghetti at a wall until you book something”. It’s really the constant no’s and disappointment you have to battle. I was very fortunate enough to have an incredibly supportive family and incredibly supportive friends, and I would not be here if not for them.
What kind of music do you like?
I grew up on a healthy dose of classic rock and a lot of different types of music. Over time I was exposed to some heavier music and then was turned into a raging metal head. I listen to a lot of film score as well. Hans Zimmer is specifically my favorite composer, as just today I was crying on the way to work listening to his live album… and I also listen to a lot of rap. I’m open to a lot of everything. I love music in general, and I love music as an art-form.
How do you stay in shape?
I sit and play video games when I’m not working or hanging out with friends, so if couch potato isn’t a shape, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Just kidding. Kind of. I love snowboarding and wish I was able to go more often, and I spend a lot of time bodyboarding and bodysurfing when i’m back home in Hawaii. I’ve gotten back into Parkour and Free-Running, which was a pretty big hobby of mine when I was younger! It’s a good way to stay active, and is a lot of fun.
What do you do on your free time?
I play a lot of video games, binge watch Netflix with my girlfriend, watch a lot of movies, and surround myself with my close friends! I also play a hefty amount of Dungeons & Dragons on the weekends. Pretty crazy, I know.
Don’t worry, I’m just as surprised at the girlfriend thing as you are.
How was it growing up Hawaii?
It was awesome. It’s such a gorgeous place to be raised, and will always be a part of me. I am part Hawaiian as well, so it is a very special place to me. You gain such respect and appreciation for the ocean, the `āina (land), and the incredible nature you’re surrounded by. It’s something that will stay with me forever. It’s a childhood I would never trade for anything else.
Tell us about your character for the Netflix's new mulit-camera comedy "No Good Nick"?
I play Jeremy Thompson, an over-achieving school politician who quickly puts his paranoid detective shoes on when Nick, a 14 year old foster child comes into his life and his family. He’s a know it all who cares deeply about his family but covers it up with a conservative exterior.
Are you and your character alike in anyway?
We are very different, but the one thing we do share is how much we care about our family and the people we keep close.
Also like him, I am super smart. Super. Smart.
Tell about your character on the The Fosters how was it playing an openly gay teen?
It was a wonderful experience on The Fosters. I loved playing Noah, and getting to bring him to life was absolutely incredible. Getting to play an openly gay teen, especially one who was involved heavily in a church community, was a great opportunity that I am very thankful for. Especially getting to tackle his past, in which he had struggled after coming out in his church community. It was a beautiful role, and I’m very fortunate to have been able to play him.
What goals do you have for 2019 ?
My goals in 2019 are varied! I completed my first short film last summer, so I would love to shoot and finish at least 1-2 more before the end of the year. Besides that, I’m looking forward to finishing the last half of No Good Nick season 1 strong! And once we finish filming that, I’d love to audition and work more throughout the rest of year.
Also I was really hoping to do a cover shoot and interview for Avante Magazine, so this worked out perfectly!