“As time marches on, as the human race goes through evolutionary change, we’re heading towards destruction…”
photography Maarten De Boer
Vegetarian, Humanitarian, All American Stud
Milo Ventimiglia’s a bit of a conundrum—meaning, everything is just too right with him.
Growing up in a vegetarian household, abstaining from meat simply fits with his lifestyle in sunny Southern California. But it’s not just meat that he stays away from—drugs and alcohol are also on his No Can Do List, “I’ve always been focused and engaged with the things that gave back to me more than the things that put stress and strain on my body. I felt that it served a better purpose.”
So many children today are introduced to addictive substances at an early age and wind up sliding down a slippery slope. But Milo refuses to take full credit for his personal accomplishments. “I was lucky enough to have two great parents who hugged and kissed and loved me, but also instilled some really great principles and respect in me that I think created the guy you’re talking to today.”
Like many of us, Milo started on his path to self discovery in high school. “I never felt like I was as smart as the rest of the kids, but I worked twice as hard as they did.” He also acknowledges that high-schoolers today are receiving an entirely different social experience than he had. He grew up in a generation where the only friends you had, were the friends you played with in the street. But now, you have kids whose biggest concern is with how many Facebook friends they have.
“I think there’s something disingenuous about social media interactions.”
It’s not hard to see why. With everything in Milo’s life being completely organic, from his vegetarian diet to his career as an actor; social interactions solely online, would be the equivalent of ‘Junk Food Friday’ every day of the week.
From vegetarian to humanitarian, Milo takes advantage of the unique opportunities that come with being an actor. He is an active member of the United Service Organization, making numerous trips to the Middle East to bring some momentary relief to the men and women serving their country. “As an actor, you initially just think about working and performing; and then with the successes you have, opportunities are presented to you—the opportunity to shake a few thousand hands in a war zone, and bring a little rest to some people in some tough times.”
His loyalty lies in his family tree. His grandfather and his great uncle both served in the military, “I admire the men and women who served back then. And I admire the men and women who serve now.” A humanitarian at heart, Milo wishes that war didn’t exist, but at the same time understands it’s existence. “It’s human nature to fight.”
Milo believes that cultural acceptance begins in the classroom. Having a mom as a teacher, he understands the struggle people go through in order to form independent beliefs, especially with an array of competing influences. “As time marches on, as the human race goes through evolutionary change, we’re heading towards destruction. We’re going to continue to learn. But I think there has to be openness to that.”
But seeing the world from an alternate perspective is nothing new to Milo. “My mom handed me a camera when I was a kid and I would go and take pictures, and see the world through those pictures.”
Perhaps it is a new found perspective, perhaps it’s his dedication to ambition, but something sparked a shift in his career path. For nearly a decade, Milo has been stepping behind the camera to create quite compelling content. DiVide Pictures, his production company with partner Russ Cundiff, is not all about the great big brass ring that is associated with making award winning feature films. “Content is content. If you’re telling great stories, some one’s going to find a relative moment.”
Their most prominent show, Chosen, is entering its third season on Crackle. Developed independently by way of brainpower from Ryan Lewis and Ben Key Times, the show started out as a single stream of consciousness sparked by the question, “What if…?”
Chosen takes place in a “hyper reality,” as Milo describes it, where random people are given a weapon and the photo of the person they must kill, unaware that someone else is given the same items, except with their picture in the photograph. “Everyone wants to think they’re a superhero, but when you’re actually faced with real stakes, who’s ultimately able to handle the pressure and who’s going to lose their lives?”
DiVide Pictures develops movies, web content, visual content, comic books, and designs video games. “We’ve done a lot, but I still feel like we’re scratching the surface with what we could do as a company.”
Comic books hold a special place in Milo’s heart, as does Comic Con, which has become an international fantasy phenomenon. But Milo doesn’t have to put on a costume to get in character, “I’m always a character, I’m always myself.”
But stepping back into reality, Milo’s most recent character is Rupert Allen, the notable press agent of Grace Kelly opposite Nicole Kidman in Grace of Monaco. He believes that publicists play an important role for prominent figures in society, especially with the vicious paparazzi who can spin a story in the blink of an eye. “There’s a level of being a public figure where people feel like they know you, and they know what they know of you based on what’s out there to learn of you.”
But despite his notoriety and his personal accomplishments, Milo is incredibly humble.
“Whether you’re known or not known, you’re an interesting person if you’re true to who you are.”