April 25th, 2008 09:38 EST
An Interview with Rising Teen Star Hunter Gomez
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. "
Teen actor Hunter Gomez is a bright star in this present dimly lit universe of young Hollywood actors. His refreshing positive outlook, energy, and good nature is something we need more of when, in this current age of "look at me`, narcissism is viewed as an enduring trait of becoming a celebrity.
Here, Hunter shares with us what makes him so passionate about the various causes to which he gives his time, effort, and earnings:
Q: At such a young age, how did you become so compassionate about helping others?
I`d have to say I was raised that way. From as young as I can remember, my family was involved in helping others. We always spent a lot of time working with the homeless and special needs adults without any family. The whole family was always involved in the community, charity, animal rescue, and politics, anything really to try and make a positive difference. It`s just a part of how we live. Now that we are older my siblings and I started coming up with our own special ways to try and give back. One of many of my favorite organizations is called Compassion International. I sponsor a girl named Suwarni with my friend Kees Boer and some of the money from the film that I`m working on now called Last Ounce of Courage will go towards her sponsorship for another year so she can have a better life. She lives in terrible poverty but Compassion International gives her a chance for a better life.
Q: What do you think is the key to surviving the pitfalls of being a young actor in this celebrity-obsessed culture?
There is no question in my mind that God, family, friends and education are major factors in keeping your priorities in order. Your faith, a strong family unit teaching and reminding you of the importance of values and morals are crucial. You also have to stay focused on your education because this business is not an easy one so you have to have a backup plan in case those jobs stop coming.
Q: You are a rarity in young Hollywood. You`re a top student, a philanthropist and an actor. How do you maintain being a well-rounded child star?
Well, thank you for the suggestion that I`m a child star but really I`m lucky just to be considered a working actor. I have been really blessed with some nice projects for being in the business such a short time. I would have to say again that being from a large, close and supportive family makes the difference. We also live in Arizona where I have a small circle of really close friends and I see acting as something that I do, not who I am. So, my everyday life is just normal. My education is really important to me, my siblings are all going for graduate degrees and I know I want to follow the same path.
Q: We live in a media attention society that feeds on bad press as publicity. It seems to negatively affect real life teens and young adults. What can we do as a society to make doing what is right more popular to our young people?
So many people, not just kids but even adults have trouble standing up and doing the right thing. Kids learn by example, maybe adults and society could start by being better role models in everyday life. When even the heads of our states, churches schools etc. sometimes don`t set a good example it is easy to see why kids don`t think they have to be good either. Maybe, society as a whole needs to be more moral and follow the rules then the kids will have more positive role models to follow.
Q: The Gomez Family Food Drive awarded The Journey Begins Now a special plague for the work in preventing teen drunk driving. Drinking and driving is a leading cause of death and injuries to teens. Why do you believe so many young people, especially young Hollywood teens are not getting the message of the dangers of alcohol?
I think some figure nothing will ever happen to them. I think some are selfish, don`t care and some think they are above following the law. Then you have those that just don`t think at all. They have too much to drink and can`t think clearly at all then they get behind the wheel of a car. Drinking and driving to me is inexcusable; no one should ever die at the hands of a drunk driver. That is a preventable death and there is no excuse in my opinion. Working with MADD and The Journey Begins Now is something I`m really proud to be a part of because if we get through to even one person and make them think before driving drunk, we might save an innocent person from being killed. That is really important to me.
Q: Your whole family seems to have this wonderful giving spirit. How did your parents nurture this side of you and make it a part of your upbringing?
Well, my parents were the 2007 National Parents of the Year. A part of that award was given because they raised us to give back and to try and make a difference. I guess I would have to say they lead by example with everything and the truth is once someone shows you how rewarding it is to help others. It just becomes something that you want to do more of.
Q: Besides your charity work, you are also involved in politics. Do you have any political aspirations of your own? Why is important for people your age to become politically involved?
I think it is important for people of all ages to be involved in politics or at least informed. That is what determines the laws we live by. I encourage young people to get involved in this presidential election. This is our world and our life and it is never too early to help shape our government. We are at war and it is a very troubling time right now so we need to know what is going on because it affects our future. I wanted to get involved in this election even though I`m not old enough to vote and I decided to support and donate to Senator McCain for many reasons.
USA Today wrote a front-page story questioning my donation, which I really didn`t think was right. I work for my money; I pay taxes; I`m informed; and I`ll be 18 shortly after the next president takes office so why shouldn`t I have a right to donate if I want to? I think its funny the press never writes about the charities that I give my money too. It seems like the press often forgets to write about the good things that teens do. I donate some of every check to help others but the only thing the press wrote about was my political donation.
The McCain`s are friends of our family and I believe you should support your friends. My sister Ashley dated Jack McCain, the Senator and Mrs. McCain`s oldest son for years and in that time we had a chance to get to know this family very well. I know the Senator and respect him. He is a very smart man who puts our country first and so does his family. He is hard working, strong, honest, honorable, and has a great sense of humor. These are all traits that I can look up to. I don`t like war, no one does, but I support our troops and feel like we do need to finish what we started so that our enemies don`t end up coming after us here. If I need to serve my country I would want to do it under Senator McCain. These are some of my reasons for choosing my candidate.
I believe everyone needs to ask themselves what is important to them, then listen to the candidates and make your own decisions. No candidate is going to support everything you believe so you have to go with the best one for your beliefs. Once the voting is done, I think we need to support whoever wins, that is our president. America has spoken and we must stand united as a country. Don`t follow others; stand up for what you believe, even if it isn`t popular. Get involved in, politics, your community, and with our environment. This is our future.
As far as ever running for office, it is something I`ve thought about. It is a great way to really help make changes. I probably wouldn`t because it would be really hard on my family. The press and the public can be harsh.
Q: The Gomez Family Food Drive has collected over 132,000 pounds of food for food banks across the country. Many young people do not fully grasp the poverty and hunger situation in this country. How can teens take steps alleviate hunger in their community?
I think this is one of the easiest ways for kids of all ages to make a difference. You can ask your school or church to allow you to set up a food drive. All you need is permission, a box and a sign. Americans are a very giving group and if you ask, they will give, especially when you make it as easy as a food drive. Most food banks will even come pick it up. If you really want to see how it helps, go to the food bank or shelter and deliver it with your parents. Sometimes like at Ronald McDonald House they even let us stock the shelves. You get a real sense of who this is helping, especially if they give you a tour. I think kids get a chance to see they really can make a difference no matter how young they are. And of course if anyone is interested they could join the Gomez Family Food Drive next year. We would love to have them on our team!
Q: Of your many movie projects, which one are you most excited about seeing on the big screen?
I feel like I have been really lucky and have done some awesome projects. There has been something special about each one and I have some great ones coming up that will be fun to see on screen. They are all really different from each other. One is a period piece called Point In Time, another is a fun film with my sister Ashley called HAP, also a film called Krampus based on a mythological creature and one called Conditional Love about a mom and her adult kids. I even have a great TV project called Ghost Kids with Chuck Lamb, Krisondra Daigneault, Judyth Piazza and Hillary Joines (www.ghostkids.tv) that will involve getting kids interested in history. I`m a major history buff, so that will be great.
Of projects that I`ve already done though, I think the one I`m working on right now called Last Ounce of Courage will be some of my best work. Not because of me, but because of the great part of Christian that I get to play, the great script and the great people I`m working with like Marshall Teague, Jennifer O`Neill, Nikki Novak, Rusty Joiner, Fred Williamson, Addy Campbell and Jenna Boyd. This film will make people think and I think as an artist, while it is important to make films that entertain, anytime you can make a film that also makes people think about themselves, our freedom and our country, it just does not get any better than that.
Our director and one of the writers, Darrel Campbell has allowed us to really become our characters. He was an actor first; so working with him has been awesome. The writers and producers, Richard and Gina Headrick, put together an amazing group of people that all wanted to do something positive. The producers, Mr. Rodney Stone, Mr. Steve Marks and Mrs. Cindy Fukunaga, also had the same dream to make a film. The film reminds people it is important to stand up for your freedoms and not let other people stop you from expressing your rights and standing up for what you believe and that is what they have done. They have put together a fabulous team and it will really be an amazing film. One I`m very proud to be a part of.
Q: How do you see yourself transitioning from a child actor to an adult actor? What about writing and producing you own projects?
I would love to be able to transition to an adult actor, especially in film. But I`m smart enough to know the chances to make it as an actor for a lifetime career is small. It is a tough business and very hard to control your own future, so I am focused on my education. I will probably go into business or medicine. I`ve thought about different things to stay in the business and writing and producing would be awesome to do. The only thing I really know is I will always do charity work and no matter what happens. I know I will go to graduate school for something. For now, as long as the acting world continues to give me great opportunities like the ones I`ve had so far, I will keep acting because I really do love everything about it.
For More Information: http://www.huntergomez.com