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Tasos Hernandez

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Fans of “The Bachelorette” will recognize Tasos Hernandez as one of the romantic hopefuls competing for Andi Dorfman’s heart in season 10 of the popular unscripted series, but since leaving the rose ceremonies behind him, the Denver native has been focusing his creative energy on acting. He can soon be seen opposite Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones in the feature film “Just Getting Started,” due in theaters December 8.

We recently sat down with Hernandez to discuss on-set chair positioning, how appearing on “The Bachelorette” prepared him for a career as an actor, and why it forced him to take stock in his life and put himself on an exciting new professional path.

TrunkSpace: Being in a film with Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones is nothing to sneeze at. What did the experience shooting that film mean to you and your career as a whole?
Hernandez: Man, it was just overall an amazing experience. I look up to Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones. Just having the ability to be on set and working side by side with them was something that I’m going to take with me for the rest of my life. It was just an amazing opportunity. We had a lot of fun. It was very creative on set. We got a lot of opportunities to improvise. It was one of the best moments of my life.

TrunkSpace: When you’re working on a film of that size and scope, do you show up to set on the first day with a bit more nerves than you normally would?
Hernandez: So my experience, they took me to set and they were getting me ready. They had my actor’s chair ready and as they’re talking to me, breaking things down, I see them bringing a couple more actor’s chairs next to me and one has the name “Freeman” on it and the other one has “Jones” on it. As soon as I saw that, I was just freaking out. It was only our three chairs there. It wasn’t a group of chairs.

TrunkSpace: And it turned out to be Bob Freeman and Gary Jones. (Laughter)
Hernandez: (Laughter) Yeah, like a backup just hanging out. I’m like, “Oh, not the Freeman and Jones I was thinking about. Okay.”

TrunkSpace: What a surreal experience though, finding yourself book-ended by two legends of the business.
Hernandez: Yeah, it was fun, especially, like I said, since it wasn’t a group of chairs, it was just an isolated room and there was just my chair and their two chairs and my mind just started racing that I was going to be alone in a room with Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones and we were just talking about the set.

TrunkSpace: Did you get to keep that chair?
Hernandez: No, I wish. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: So in terms of your character, where does he fall into things and what’s his journey?
Hernandez: Salvador has a close relationship with Freeman’s character. Basically Morgan Freeman is the head honcho at this, I guess we’ll call it a golf club for lack of a better word, but he is an ex mob boss so he has that personalized relationship with everybody who works at the actual golf course. I’m his point of contact every time he goes in and out of the golf course. He has his own nice little golf cart that he drives around. We were doing some things back and forth in Spanish. He was asking me about my family, so that was the relationship.

TrunkSpace: We know that you established yourself with television viewers by appearing on “The Bachelorette,” but did that experience in the unscripted world force you to work twice as hard establishing yourself as an actor in the scripted space?
Hernandez: Basically, when I came back from “The Bachelorette,” my thought process was, I wanted to be taken seriously as an actor, so I didn’t just go out there and start promoting myself as a reality TV star trying to be an actor. I took it seriously. When I came back, I started taking courses at AEC, which is a local studio here in Denver, and I started doing workshops and connecting with the acting community here because I really wanted to work on the craft rather than say, “Hey, I was on a reality TV show, now I feel like I have the liberty to go ahead and be an actor.”

I wanted to make sure I knew everything behind the scenes and worked on making sure that I came off as a professional and as a confident actor. That’s how I started approaching acting when I came back.

TrunkSpace: Do you think that being in the unscripted world prepared you at all for how the industry works when you started your journey as a professional actor?
Hernandez: Yeah, 100 percent. Something that I wasn’t aware of when I started doing “The Bachelorette” was set etiquette. I did notice that a lot of the other gentlemen on the show maybe were disrespectful to the crew or were not aware of the time frame that they work on, so I was very aware of that going onto a television set where you have to make sure that you’re coordinating with everybody and being respectful to everybody because they each have a job that they’re responsible for. That definitely helped me as far as set etiquette.

Then, as far as unscripted things, a lot of things on set are improvised. There are certain situations where you can’t foresee, so, “Hey, we’re going to try it different this way,” or, “We’re going to try it different this way.” To be valuable and flexible in that environment is crucial.

TrunkSpace: Being on “The Bachelorette” helped you amass a very impressive social media following. Do you think having that kind of influence in the social media space helps an actor career-wise?
Hernandez: You know, that’s a tough question to answer because unfortunately, in current times, that does make a difference. A lot of television shows are coming out and you see all the new platforms that are able to create new television shows and they need viewers. If you already have an established following, that can help increase their odds of continuing with their television show or their program, so I hate to say that it defaults to that, but sometimes. I have heard situations where that will help enhance your career, so when I speak with other fellow actors here in Denver, that’s always something I encourage, is to really pick that up and create a following because that will not hurt your chances. It’s only going to help better your chances.

As far as relying on your acting abilities solely based on your social media, I don’t think that should be something people fall back on as well. Work on both. Work on your social media, work on your craft, and build them together.

Photo By: Sara Harris Photography

TrunkSpace: It becomes another tool in your toolbox?
Hernandez: Absolutely.

TrunkSpace: We read that you have a BA in psychology. Does that help you in an industry where you have to deal with so many different personality types?
Hernandez: Oh, man, 100 percent. It’s funny because when I graduated, it was a conversation I had with my family where if I want to be taken seriously as a therapist or as a psychologist, I had to continue on with my education and I had to go to additional schooling, so I was nervous when I didn’t continue with schooling afterward and how I would apply my degree. They call it show business for a reason. This is a business. You have to know how to communicate effectively with a variety of people and not only do you apply it when you use it in business, but as far as acting, you have to be aware of your body language. You have to be in touch with who your character is and what kind of mannerisms they might use or what kind of defense mechanisms they may use, so it’s very applicable through a wide range of what I do as an actor.

TrunkSpace: You’re a musician as well. Which love came first, acting or music?
Hernandez: It is acting. I did get some negative feedback from my peers when I was acting in high school and middle school. Actors weren’t terribly popular back in the day, so I decided to become a rock star instead because that seemed like the path of least resistance. (Laughter) I really fell in love with the music component. I’ve always been a big fan of music, but more so with the performance component. Every time I was on stage, I let loose. I felt more in touch with myself and I did not feel judged. I felt welcomed.

So it was acting, and then that passion floated into music and live performance and now, it’s back into acting and it’s been very successful.

TrunkSpace: What helped you find the confidence in yourself and your abilities as an actor again?
Hernandez: Honestly, it was my time on “The Bachelorette.” Before that, I was very focused on work and making sure that I was accomplishing my goals, but less on my creative side. When I was on “The Bachelorette,” they seclude you from the rest of the world, so you have no phone, no computer, no television, no newspaper. They basically make you interact with the gentlemen in the house and they make you face yourself and who you are and what you really believe in, so during that downtime, I brought my guitar with me and I was writing lyrics. I was writing poetry and I was writing short stories. I was finding things around the house to write about and be engaged with. I really enjoyed the aspect of telling the story in front of the camera, so when I came back, I didn’t want to lose touch with that.

To me, it made sense that I had that experience on set and I still have a passion for acting and that I wanted to still tell a story in front of the camera, so I just meshed all three. I had saved up some money before I went on “The Bachelorette” because they basically take you away from your personal life, so you have to have a savings. I took that savings and I just reinvested that back into myself and really pursued that career actively.

TrunkSpace: Life is crazy like that. Had you not done “The Bachelorette” and opted not to go on that journey, you may not be pursing your acting today.
Hernandez: Yeah. I might have still been working a nine to five job and wondering and wishing on what my life could have been if I could just set some time aside and do this. That was basically my excuse beforehand is, “I don’t have time for it and I got to make sure I pay the bills and I got to make sure I pay the rent.” Once you have that goal in mind of where you need to save money and you need to take a risk on yourself, that’s where you’re forced to go outside of your comfort zone and really be creative with how you’re going to spend the next few months of your life, and the rest of your life, for that matter.

Just Getting Started” arrives in theaters December 8.

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Wingman Wednesday

Kathrine Herzer

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Photo by: Jacob Jonas

Kathrine Herzer is one of the coolest people working in television. Want to know how we know? Because we ruined “Game of Thrones” for her and she did not hang up on us. In fact, after our uncomfortable awkwardness subsided, the conversation went smoother than an Arya Stark execution as Herzer shared amazing insight into her career and her work on the hit television series “Madam Secretary.”

Seriously. We completely screwed the White Walker pooch on this one. (So be warned… SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD!)

We recently sat down with Herzer to apologize profusely, to discuss how she learned so much from her talented costars, and to discover why you’d have to proceed to fisticuffs in order to keep her from working towards positive change.

TrunkSpace: We saw on your Twitter page that you are a “Game of Thrones” fan. Thoughts on a White Walker dragon?
Herzer: Oh my god! I’m not caught up!

TrunkSpace: Oh no! We are so sorry! Nooooo!
Herzer: (Laughter) Oh my god! Spoiler alert! (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: We take it all back. That never happened. Totally rewinding this conversation.
Herzer: (Laughter) Oh my god! It’s already burned from my brain.

TrunkSpace: Seriously… so sorry!
Herzer: It’s okay. I already don’t even know what you said. I don’t even remember.

TrunkSpace: We’ve actually never seen “Game of Thrones,” so we don’t even know what we’re talking about.
Herzer: You had a dream last night and that’s what came to you.

TrunkSpace: That’s right. All a dream!
Herzer: (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Soooooo… moving on to the non-GoT portion of this conversation, you’re still at such an early stage in your career and yet you’ve already experienced playing the same character for over 60 episodes. What has that experience been like for you, essentially growing as two people in front of an audience of millions?
Herzer: It’s so cool to see how someone develops over that amount of time. Three or four years with someone, they change so much, especially at this point in my life and this point in Alison’s life. I’ve really loved the moments where our lives have crossed paths, like when I’m struggling and I’m feeling down and it just so happens that episode is written the same way and I get to bring so much of my own life to it.

At the same time, Alison and I are completely, completely different people. Sometimes she makes me slow down in my real life and say, “Maybe this isn’t as black and white. Maybe it’s not as simple.” Because she looks at things from a not-as-jaded perspective. She’s really willing to look at things and learn about things and it’s a really nice contrast to me as a person. I love to learn too, but I’m a little bit more stubborn. (Laughter)

Photo by: Jacob Jonas

TrunkSpace: You mentioned bringing yourself into the character on those days when you’re feeling down, but does it ever work the other way around? Does something that Alison is going through ever carry over into your life?
Herzer: Definitely. It’s hard because when you have such a fun set, and I love all the people that we work with… the camera guys are like my best friends as are the wardrobe people… we’re all so close that we joke around so much, so sometimes when I have to come down and get into a more calm state or a sad state it can take a minute for me, but they’re also really supportive and everyone’s really respectful.

Most of the time we’re laughing and we’re having fun and that’s usually easier because the environment is so great. Even when I’m having a hard day I go to work and I love it. I see people that care about me and I care about them so much. People always say, “Sets are like families” and I just can’t imagine that anyone’s family feels like mine, but I guess everyone feels that way.

TrunkSpace: The great thing about your set is that it’s filled with all of these iconic actors and industry veterans. There must be a sense of, “This is not just a job, but also an education?”
Herzer: Oh my god, absolutely. My greatest education comes from Téa and Tim and just seeing how they work and seeing how they deal with material and people. That was the great part about the first year. I got to watch and learn and see different styles, and then the older I get I get to incorporate it more and become my own person and see how it fits with me and learning how to take on all of these different things I’ve learned from all these incredible people.

Like Bebe Neuwirth. She’s just such a legend. She was one of those people when I got on the show that I was just like, “Ahhhh! I can’t believe that I’m going to get to work with her because she’s just such a talent.” And she was one of the first people that just made me feel so good about my work and so proud of myself. I’m so sad she’s not coming back this season.

TrunkSpace: And the series also always has such great guest stars and directors.
Herzer: Morgan Freeman! I worked a lot with him in the episode he directed for season 4 and the first episode. That was the most time we had spent together. He’s just so full of wisdom and just being around him, being in his presence, you feel it. He enters a room and the hairs on your arm stick up. I don’t know how else to describe it, but he really is this presence and you know it. Téa’s is the same way. She walks into a room and she commands this force. I don’t even know how to describe it.

We have a powerful group of people that care about the world around them, so I’m getting to hear all of these really interesting conversations because of what’s going on politically and how that’s reflected through our show. Barbara (Hall) does such a beautiful job of feeling the pulse of what’s going on in the world and figuring out, “How can we make this digestible?” We have so, so much going on today in politics and I love that our show is giving people just a glimpse of hope.

TrunkSpace: And that’s the amazing thing about the world right now. You’re on a fictional drama about politics, but it’s probably grounded more in reality than the actual reality we’re living right now.
Herzer: Exactly! We talk a lot about “fake news” and I can’t wait for our audience to see that because it is so hard. It is so hard to figure out what’s real and what’s not in this political arena and it feels like such a game. I hate watching the news at this point. I am so sick of all of the bullshit that’s being thrown at me that I can’t even do it anymore, so I can’t imagine someone that maybe doesn’t enjoy it as much as I do or isn’t as focused on it as I am.

Photo by: Jacob Jonas

TrunkSpace: And therein lies the current draw of scripted television. Escapism. We can get away from everything that is terrifyingly real.
Herzer: Totally, and our show perfectly works with that because you’re not totally out of it and you really get to learn something. You have a full toolbox after watching our show to figure out the world that is the real world.

TrunkSpace: Obviously the buzzy place for viewers to land is cable and streaming platforms, but “Madam Secretary” is proof that networks can put out content of equal quality and draw a committed audience.
Herzer: Yeah, it really is an honor for us and especially because our show really gets better and better every season. We gel so much and it just becomes more and more every year. The writing gets better. We dive into the characters more, so it’s a shame to see all of these other shows that are getting cut so early because maybe if they had the same time that we got, things would have been different.

I love hearing how many young people are watching our show now. All of the time I get stopped and girls my age, guys my age, they say, “I love your show. It’s so fun.” There’s so many different elements, so it’s important not to brush-off network TV. I think network TV is still really the heart of television. Yeah, we love “Game of Thrones,” but we love it so much and that it…

TrunkSpace: We don’t even know what you’re talking about. What’s “Game of Thrones?”
Herzer: (Laughter) You’ve never heard of it.

But at the end of the day, we’re hitting a lot of people. A lot of people are watching our show and it’s very cool, especially now with the reach of Netflix. We’re getting the best of both worlds.

TrunkSpace: Has being seen by all of these people via the series altered your social life in anyway? Has it made things difficult, particularly when you hit college?
Herzer: It’s funny because I never put that upfront. I’m never like, “I’m on a TV show,” so it’s afforded me a lot of freedom. I get to experience a really normal college life for the most part because people don’t expect to see anyone. It’s a big campus. It’s a lot of people. I’ll be a parties and it’ll be like, “I was just watching TV and then all of a sudden I saw your face.” I feel very grounded and in a very normal world. I don’t feel like anyone’s watching me or anyone knows who I am or looks at me differently. I’m very lucky for that.

TrunkSpace: You star in a show about politics. You’ve previously interned for Al Gore. You’re involved in community programs. Is there a future for you in politics? Do you anticipate being drawn to trying to spearhead change?
Herzer: I think you’re going to have to fight me away from not trying to help and bring some sort of change. I’ve always been a really hands-on person. It’s so funny because I feel like a lot of people shy away from the word “activist,” but that’s such a shame. I think it’s the same sort of stigma that goes with calling yourself an “actor” or calling yourself an “artist.” Even if you paint, no one wants to say, “I’m an artist,” but everyone calls themselves, “a golfer.” That’s something we talk about a lot with the Creative Coalition that I work with.

I am absolutely going to do whatever I can, and I hate the news right now, but I’m not going to stop watching. I’m never going to stop watching and I’m never going to stop talking about what I feel like is injustice and what I feel like I can do to help.

Season 4 of “Madam Secretary” kicks off October 8 on CBS.

Feature image by: Jacob Jonas

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