BELLO SPOTLIGHT featured in BELLO issue #182
written by Sam Spotswood
Since February, audiences have been thriving off the new season of Good Trouble. The second season, which continues the drama surrounding Callie and Mariana Foster’s new life in LA, includes a deeper look at Tommy Martinez’s character, Gael. Martinez, who has also starred in Riverdaleand NCIS, brings his all to his role as Gael, a dynamic character who serves as a positive form of representation for the LGBTQ+ community.
“It’s extremely important to truthfully portray these kinds of characters and sexual identities on TV because they have been wrongfully portrayed in the past,” Martinez said in regards to his bisexual character. “Times are changing and we’re seeing more and more positive portrayals of these characters, but in the past harmful stigmas on bisexuality have been reinforced. So to tell this narrative in a way that viewers across the world could relate to, help them understand themselves, and even help others understand their life, is crucial for today’s society. This needs to be talked about. I am so grateful and honored to be walking alongside the LGBTQ+ community and helping this movement gain more momentum into an even more understanding world. It’s such a beautiful opportunity.”
In addition to being a positive representation of the LGBTQ+ community, Gael’s political activity also helps inspire similar action in fans of the show. In regards to the importance of being politically active, Martinez said, “Because we are the coming generation of people who will be in control of certain decisions that affect the world and people around us, becoming more conscious of these specific political and social topics is super important for people to understand. I’m not saying that everyone in office or who has a position of power is old school, but too many people in those positions don’t acknowledge or believe in making the right choices. The younger generation is evolving into something better, and I think we will be taking more power as times passes by…and inevitably making the world into a better place.”
Martinez’s passion for this character exceeds its social importance, as Martinez has a deep personal connection with his character, citing Gael as the character he’s connected with the most over the course of his acting career. “I laughed at the character description when I first read the audition notice for Gael. A Hispanic artist living in LA, and even though I don’t identify as bisexual, I did automatically think about my experience long ago. He has a side job to help support his dream of pursuing his art, and I also had a side job to help me support my dream of becoming an actor. It was just all too funny to read. I had never felt such comfort in a characters shoes…it just felt right. Whenever I am playing him, I’m just playing myself…and there’s beauty in that kind of comfort with what you do.”
While Martinez naturally connects with Gael, he still faces a challenge of opening himself up to such a complex role. “This show helped me understand myself, and allowed my family and friends to understand as well. I had an experience with a man close to 10 years ago, and I had nobody to talk about it. I’m portraying a character that isn’t afraid to let the world know that he is bisexual. Why should I be afraid? Why should ANYBODY be afraid of expressing themselves for who they really are? I opened up about that experience at a LGBTQ+ panel with some of the cast and creators of the show. Th acceptance from the crowd and my on screen family was the most beautiful thing I have felt in a long time. So if I can add to the momentum of these stories and this movement by coming out to people about my experience, maybe more people will be inclined to do the same.”
The support he’s received from his castmates and crew members demonstrates just how close the cast of Good Trouble has become. Martinez describes his relationship with his co-stars as a family. “I can’t say enough how much of a special bond we have off screen as well. We have a group chat with all of us called ‘The Coterie.’ We either grab food/drinks somewhere around the city on our off time, meet up individually to hang out, support each other in our other jobs (Sherry is a comedian, and Emma perform live theater at Rockwell), help each other move to a new home. I’m trying to get everyone to come rock climbing with me one day. A few are keen on the idea, but we’ll see.”
Despite the cast’s close relationship, Martinez was initially apprehensive when joining a cast that included Maia Mitchell and Cierra Ramirez, who had worked together on The Fosters, the cast become the closest of friends. “The first day of shooting, I was extremely nervous meeting Maia and Cierra. I know how I actually am in person when I’m truly myself, and I think the nerves of the opportunity I was given were taking over…but as the days went on everybody was getting so close with one another that those kinds of nerves began to fade away. We all became a family, and from then on out, it was all positive vibes and complete happiness on set. It truly is a dream come true, not only because acting was my dream when I moved out to LA, but that it’s also a dream to be working with such a supportive group of human beings, knowing that we are telling stories that will change the world and the minds of the viewers.”
When Martinez is not acting or hanging out with his castmates, he enjoys a variety of creative and physical activities. “I pretty much rock climb everyday, ride my motorcycle aimlessly around the city, work with digital and film photography, hiking with my dog in national parks, BOWLING, and writing my thoughts and future ambitions into my journal.”
Even so, Martinez’s true passion lays in acting. “Ever since I stumbled into that hidden passion, it’s been my top priority since that day.”
Catch Martinez in his element on Good Trouble on the Freeform channel or via streaming on Hulu.
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Photography Tommy Flanagan @tommy_flanagan
Art Director Aleksandar Tomovic @alekandsteph
Styling Luke Funtecha @official_lukatonic
Groomer Mariah Nicole @mariahnicolebeauty
Production Maison Privée x Bello Media Group