Star Trek Picard's Jonathan Del Arco

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Star Trek fans went crazy when we found out that Captain Jean Luc Picard from Star Trek the Next Generation would be returning to screens. We even went crazier when we found out that actor and activist Jonathan Del Arco’s would be returning, 27 years after his first appearance as Hugh, an iconic fan favorite from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Television audiences most recently saw him as Dr. Fernando Morales, a role that spanned ten years over the course of two series The Closer and Major Crimes on TNT. Other memorable appearances on film and television include Nip/Tuck, The Sopranos, 24, Crossing Jordan, Huff, Star Trek: Voyager, Mommies, The Wonder Years, Blossom, Boy Meets World, Miami Vice, NCIS, and The Crazy Ones with Robin Williams.  

Foregoing college at 18 he joined the company of the Broadway hit Torch Song Trilogy and toured the country along with Golden Girls' Estelle Getty. Many other Broadway and off Broadway plays followed before Del Arco settled in Los Angeles to pursue work on television and film.  

As a passionate activist on behalf of LGBT rights, immigrant's rights, anti-bullying efforts, and the environment, he served as a campaign surrogate for President Barack Obama and Sec. Hillary Clinton and is a sought after public speaker. He has shared his coming out story and childhood as an immigrant and survivor of bullying and discrimination at the first pride event at FBI Headquarters, the 2012 Democratic Convention, The Human Rights Campaign, and throughout corporate America.  

We chatted with Jonathan about his experience growing up in the US as an immigrant from Uruguay, his friendship with Estelle Getty, missing a stage cue, life during the AIDS epidemic, the LGBTQ community in Star Trek, his crush on Captain Kirk, and why it's imperative for the LGBTQ community to become politically involved.   

This is Metrosourcemennis the officialpodcast to metrosorts magazine and home of short form interviews with yourfavorite personalities from the lgvtq world and Beyon quick, Fun andinformative. It's metral source on the go out in Pou Inc thousand ninehunded. Well, hello, hello, Hello! This ismetrimors miis. My name is Alexanda Redrigez and I am a tracaholic. I loveafthing Star treck. I have ha uniformss. I have the models of the books, thecomics, the fan fiction. Everything and star check fans went crazy when wefound out that COP captain, Joan Lic Cicard from star check the nextgeneration would be returning to screens. That's kept secret that wealso went our pats for for different reasons. When e found out that theactor an activist Jonathan dellarka would be returning twenty seven yearsafter his very first appearance as Hugh. The iconic fan favorite from star checkthe next generation and of course we love Jonathan from his most recentappearances, Dr Fernando Morellas, a roll that spend over ten years over thecourse of two series, the closer and major crimes on TMT and, of course welove him from Niptok, the Soprados. Twenty four crossing Jordan Huff Star,CECK, voyager the wonder years blossom, remember, blossom a boy meets wer oldMiami, vice andcis and the crazy ones with Robin Williams for going collegeat Eighteen. He joined the company of the Broadway, hit Tort Song Trilogy andtoward the country, along with our garl golden girls at still getty, and ofcourse he had many other Broadway and operateway plays that followed, andthen thank God. He came to Los Angeles. We got him here as a passionateactivist on behalf of lgbt rights, immigrants, rights, anti bullingefforts in the environment. He served his campaign surrigate for PresidentBarack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton and as a sod after publicspeaker, he had shared his coming out story and his childhood is an immigrantand a survivor of bulling for the first pride event at FBI headquarters. Hespoken at the two thousand and twelve Democratic convention, the Human RightsCampaign and throughout Corporate America, and of course he worked forBiden. We had a lot of the Star Trek personalities come together, andwe one.What up so set your fhases to studing and please welcome Jonathan delarco. That introduction not I can live up tothat youow how many years I've been waiting to introduce you I'm likethat's my boy. I WAN it. Thank you STI Mucho. I was a very sweet intro like,of course, you know, I mean huge trecky, like I said, and your personality onthe show and then having you come back. It just meant so many things to me asas a Latino as a gay man as a treky, but I want to talk about you know.We've had so much discussion and controversy over immigration in the US,and I want to know about your experience growing up in the US as an immigrantfrom Euraguay. What aspects about being an immigrant formed who you are todayand what is your take on present day immigration, we're just going to startreal, slow yeah. I would say that, coming to America atage, ten, having already formed my personality at that age, you know UYouse, O your fory personality by H, five, but by ten you're, reallycementing who you are, and so much of that revolves around your environment.Right, like the place, you grew up, ND and growing up in Odaway was soincredibly different to the US, and I had a lot of dreams in my eyes like Ithought it was going to be like the jetsons. Remember that show. Oh, my God.Yes ro e robot t at the woman who did rosy the robot. She was wer. My FendOyeah yeah. She was also the original wilmof flinstone to FYI. So I was ompletely devastated to cometo the states and find US living in a rundown apartment, building and asuburb of New York, and it was a great adjustment to thefantasy of what coming to America would...

...have been like. It was also like a corner stone of me,realizing that being different was going to be mylife. You know I wasn't identifying as gay at that age, but I knew I wasdifferent. I know I like boys and being an immigrant was just made meeven more of an outsider, so I had this sort of thesort of like I like to describe it as like the little match: Girl, perspect,walk past the windows and she's selling matches, and not quite being in theroom like not quite being a part of the clubs in a part of the the groupsof kids. That would be friends because I was so I was such the other. You knownot speaking the language being a feminate at the time. You know there was just a lot of obstacles andit turned out to be really formative in my creative process, an n creating being an actor, and that's always my key. How I open the door to a lot ofcharacters is is, through my outsider perspective, it's kind of how I ioulife in general and it's it's been a real gift, and so over the years I have you know, I was fortunate that my dadhad privilege when he came here. He came here legallyand for a long time I kind of kind of hung. My hat on that and saying likethere's a difference between coming here with papers versus not and then,as I matured as a person, I realized how a privileged I had actually been interms of the immigration story, Rit Large, and how much more courage reallyhow much more of a desire for the American dream it takes to come herewith nothing to swim across the Riogrand to walk through the desert tofind an American dream. You know that is that's way more courageous than howmy family came here, and that is the foundation I think of what thisdemocracy and what this country's about. Is that idea that we are a place thatis a beacon of hope, ideally, a place where people that have been left behind can come and work hard. Imean I look at how hard immigrants work in this country. You know. I know I live in California, and I knowthat so many of the harder jobs that are the least payin jobs are happilyhappily done by immigrants, and so I have you know: I've become I've, become muchmore of an activist for immigration and and really for you know not justopening the doors in the courts for people to tell us why they want to livehere, but also treating people with dignity at the border. I think thatthat is a key piece that really went the way of Hell in thispast administration to such an extent. So I'm very relieved that I got to be asurrogate for biton Harris and I am overjoyed that they that they won theelection caus a loenonts answer. Sorry, no n! No that's! You know, that's AlRight, my family also immigrated from Mexico or from Mexico, and they cameover legally and it was always taught to us. You know always say that we camehere legally becaue there're such a stereotype and such a stigma againstpeople that do not but you're right coming here, with literally nothing ontheir person leaving family members. Behind or losing family members on theway that it's in itself is almost an...

...unsurmountable challenge that it doestake some courage and then to learn the language to become involved in society. You know the more stories I think wehear from immigrants of all different races. You know the more. We really canrealize that we are all in this together and hopefully the next fouryears we can rebuild relationships and build some bridges well on AfricanAmerican, if you're, not black and if you're, not native American, you have. Your familywas an immigrant, sorry, acke right, yeah, no other way. Basically, everywhite person in American is an immibrant from Sam right I en cudingand most recently, including our first lady lady anyway. I want to talk about. You know time forcollege came and you're like screw college. Let's you know, let's be anactor. I know with that. You know you wouldtake yourself to New York and you would take the classes an Ajistan Bein castin such an iconic show, and you know the word iconic is thrown around somany times, but port song trilogy is truly an iconic piece of theater and apart of the LGBT history being so young in the business and Takin on such a bigshow and then taking it on the road. You know I travel shows on the road andI made my mistakes because you're young and you're in different citiesexperience in different people. What early actor mistakes did you make,whether it's like on stage or be or behind the scenes? I have a a realwopper oyeahthink about it. I was in one of the pructions. I mean one of thecasts of the original Otrilogy, so I was just watching boys in the band andYep. You know some of these tidents we went to hadn't had a gay play performedsince boys and the band, and if you know boys in the bands, a very darktake and being gay and Torch Song was a really positive take of. Actually, Ithink Harvey was prophetic in the creation of the gay family because headopts a teenage son, which is my character, and I got to work with aStug Eddi, who you know by all all judgning, you could say, is a gay iconand fe bud and we used to walk to thetheater together. So I I got introduced t gay culture in a very deep way at avery young age. My biggest mistake was there is a moment in the end of act.The Third Act, which is the one I'm an toward the end when the you car, thetwo mail characters, are professing love for each other and I'm supposed tointerrupt a kiss and people back then, like you, didn't have gay kisses onstage. Even then, even in a gay play, it was unusual and I was chity chattingup a third floor with it pell. I think up the third flight of a big oldtheater in Chicago, and I heard my q just like a weird echo and I was likeOh shithere's, the guys that already Kisse they moved on creating otherdialogue. I got a lot of fit for that. It's like Oh, that's how they move tothird pase Wys like what's going on down here boys, but doing that show it kind of helped.You come out right. Yeah, my coming up process was really different from everyeveryone's got, a different process. I mean that show helped me realize I was gay right. I mean Ialready knew at the point, but it gave me the courage to pursue relationships,and then I was in a relationship with a guy for about four years and sadly hegot sick and died nat. The time I wasn't out as an actor, so you know a new yor theater. Everyoneknew he was my boyfriend, but when I moved to La to pursuietelevision I wasn't out after he had died, so it wasn't really. My officialcoming out I's just the very it's...

...change through period through time,ther ther used to be different layers of coming out. There was like comingout to your friends coming out to your family coming out to the world: That'skind of no longer the paradigm. I don't think I think people just come out nowvery early, and everyone knows- and I think back then I was is different. Youknow it was a different generation. To be honest, Andi do want to talk about your loss,it was you know, during kind of the AIDS epidemic, and it's not somethingthat our younger generation of the LGBT community has experienced first hand.What do you want the new generation of our community to know most about thattime period? Sure I think the most valuable thing, themost valuable takeaway, I'm so plad, these kids had ton have to live throughthat you know there. This was to sort of contextualize it to get atHIV diagnosis in the early s or in the s was ostensively a death sentence. Youknew you were going to die more more likely than not from this disease, and so we lived a in fear of that. We alsolived in fear of being not allowed into society. So I was, Iwas negative, but my partner was positive and sick and the created this weird chasm right. I just don't think it's. I don't thinkTay Young Gay people today can really comprehend the notion that yourboyfriend or you R or you'R, or you there was no husband at the time, butyour significant other, your lover as we used to call it back in the day, wasdying that you as their partner, even though that person had said this is theperson I want to make my decisions. You could be kicked out of any hospital outof any out of any hospital room by family members by a distant cousin.Anyone else that had any blood relation to the patient. These are the kinds ofrights that I think are younger Ltbtq, not all, but a lot of our younger l,Gbtq community members kind of don't get that there are kind of new rights we haven'thad them for that long, they're vulnerable to being tossed out overrules litigated into law. I don't think young LGBCQ members kind of get thattheye're still not equal protection N in terms ofemployment in this country as a gay person. So none of that becomes more apparent thanwhen you're dealing with a life and death situation. Where you could loseyour job, if your partner had aids, you could be kicked tout of your apartment.If your partner headaches, you know, you could be denied, you know beingfede or restaurant. If your part, I have known people that were kicked outof restaurants, because there they were there with a friend or some of that hadcarposis or coma, or you know we're leaving through a pandemic. Now soimagine that level, but totally targeted just to your community. It wasa brutal time and I just I liked for our younger generation to educatethemselves on it, because you know history can repeat itself and that'ssomething don't want to happen. So exactly I want to talk about star Truks, that'sthe first time I came into contact with you. You know I was. I was a young boylike yourself, Hugh, has become one of the most beloved guest characters inthe Star track franchise. What do you think it is about Hu that fans haveresponded to so strongly? I thought about that a lot since I cameback to the show,...

...because you know I had to revisit whatwere the key pieces of this character and what why why? First of all, why didI? Why was he getting to come back and not three hundred and fifty other gueststars that did next Gen right yeah? And so I did a lot of deep diving intothe eyborg episode, which I think is a beautifully written piece and one of the things I really sort of stuck out to me. The reason Ithink he really resonates is that the character taps into somethingincredibly shared a shared in common experience called loneliness, and youknow, there's he old, saying you come into the world alone. You leave theWorld Ofon, every human being has experienced a level of lovelinesswhether it be disconnection from your your family. You can feel you know.Certainly people in the gay community felt disconnected from their family Hohad that aspect of being disconnected from the collective, so I think it struck on a nerve onloneliness and he says it to Guynan. You know what you ere saying is thatyou are lonely and that's exactly the core of what he's about he to his deathon the cube on the card still was lonely still was alone, theENDOF I yeah, so that I think that that's. Why he'sreally resonated, and I think that I, as an actor coming off that great loss, I play thatrole about a year after I'd lost. Eddie I loneliness was something I was really really familiar with disconnection feeling fear of being alone. You know, I think, ifthat's something that I brought to the table as an actor in a very visial way,and so I think that that's why it's resonated through all these years. I think you really hitit on the head hthe attraction I first had my I was raised by a single mom. I was the onlyLatino kid in school. I knew that I had you know different sexual feelings andStar Trek really became that family for me, because it showed you that blood related or not, people that lookdifferent from you could really become your family and you know how he was sowelcomed into the enterprise family. I that that totally makes sense- and youknow the whole startrick franchise- has been enjoying this explosion of lgbtqcharacters. WELLSOM cruis as part of the first gaycouple in space that we've seen now we're seeing trands and nonbyimarycharacters which is so exciting for us from so many levels, because that wasJeane. RAWDENBERRY's vision was quality for everyone like now, there's stillsome part of the Star Trek, uniforse universe and fandom that they're stillkind of resisting saying why doesexuality have to be forced down ourthroats. You know all this kind of stuff, and you know it's a smallfaction but they're still kind of vocal. What do you say to star Trek fans whoare not so welcoming to our representation? They should go back andrelook at Star Trek. There's a there's, some fantasticepisodes in which mean there's one particular with riker lands on theisland, where I think they're all none binary. I Dare Sy. I thought a lot about Hughand the Borg and doing the card, and I came to the conclusion that hugh is most likely. The Bor are eitherbisexual or at least none binary, because sexuality and gender areirrelevant. You know I mean not to be a punish about it, but so I think I think you know I also hear like star truckshouldn't, be political and it's like it's one of the most political it iswere written. So I urge those that have pushback on any of that to kind of goback and relook at star track, because...

...that was always there. The intention, you know from Jean's perspective fromeverything I understand was to include like there were a lot of strugglesabout, went when we be able to do these actual stories with you know real gaypeople, real none, bindevery people in lot of that, but I think that that wasdefinitely like. Where of the show, the show's heart and mind really comes from,so I think they should go back and relookat Star Trek moving ix exactly. You have been part of history twice byworking on political campaigns: First Obama, our first black president, andnow with Biden and our first black female. Vice President, why is it ourobligation to become actively involved in our politics? You know one of one ofthe most outstanding facts I heard from this last election was that one andfive members of the LGBT community were not registered to vote. Why is it ourduty? Well, I don't know who to credit this quote to, but I read it somewhereand I really like it. It's very simple: If you're not at the table, you're,probably going to end up on the plate, wo thats also grid, so if you're not atthe table. So if you're not voting, if you're not getting other people about, if you'renot voicing your opinion on issues, if you're not buying into what we must buy into,which is our system of governance, then chances are that your particularneeds and things that you believe in are going to be up for graps. So no onegets to bitch about the last four years of trump in what we lost. If theydidn't show up to vote, that's own personal opinion. No one gets to bitchand I always work my ass off on campaignsbecause I believe the really really important. I also love politics and Ilove the possibility of what politics can bring in terms of human rights andopportunities and changing the way the world sees us. There's a million thingswhy it's important to me, but I think the very basics of voting are reallyreally important, in particular for communities like ours, that you knowwe're not the first people. The first people think of for things we might need so yeah. I think Ithink it's kind of a critical to our democracy, that people be involved and do the Bost they can well. I want totake this opportunity to thank you for your involvement and kind ofincorporating the star truck universe and that to it's been a very specialyear as a tracky. I have to tell you: okay, Johnson Yeah. Yes, are you readyfor a little rappid fire, sure? Okay, if he was to be given a Prequel spinoff?What would it be about? Oh absolutely, I want a sequel, a Prequel to how the Borg and Hughes involvement with the colonyhe left behind and sevens involved breaking with that federation. Thatperiod where all went to hell. Probably I would I think that that's an exciting,because I there's a lot of an answer, questions about how I got the key chainand what my relationship with her was. When I signed on to dupit card, my fullexpectation was, I didn't, know it's getting killed, so I thought- and I knew Jarry was in it.We both knew. We were going to be in it for about a year before it was finished,so I think the expectation in the day when there were other group of writersworking on it was that s and I would have significant things to do togetherand that ended ended up getting scrapped. I think so it would be fun tohave that yeah. That was a shock to me...

...was like wait. What you'R do? What toyou aop you? I found that I was getting killed when I read the script. Okay. What would your campaign Logan be?If you were running for office? Oh Jonathan dellarco, let's have some fun.Yes, you got my vote. What helty pleasure TV show has gotten you throughQuarantine- Oh my God, there's so veady. The most recent one is the greatBritish baking show. So I have not seen one episode because I know I'll justsit there for hours and hours I'll, probably eat aut. I Rac an you want tojust g dive IV had to Cirsah. For me, I've also been watching the crown andI'm just IIG and Wen. You know there's so much time. I've been vingingeverything yeah e y. If your partner was to give you a hallpast to getfriendly with another star trek character from any franchise who wouldit be starga character or after e character from another franchise ar any franchise? I guess I guess it have to be Kirk Yeah Yeahjust because, because you kind of want to love hate, hate, love them yeah yeah. I watch that at wio very different forme, so yeah I mean but not shatter NOI'm, not Shattoh, my God poorshatteacter in general, yeah, Faxian, O Godeperk, that's like sexy and Browny,and all yes, God in that green uniform of yes, what is a custom or food from ourAguaid that you couldn't do without I love Duto, the liche Yo knowatiyes?Okay, I don't e that often, but but when I have a jar of it, it doesn'tlast long. I love sweets, God good to now good, toknow. Tell everyone where you want them to find. You follow you. You could find me on twitter in onInstagram at Jonathan Del Arco, and I'm also going to tease out that I am goingto be putting together one or maybe two Super Fun political events for theGeorgia runoff. So look for that because that's going to be they're bothgoing to be fan related events, so you might want to you might want to putthat in your in your calendar for some time. I will definitely be putting that in mycalendar. It's such a pleasure talking with you and also you can you can readmore of my interview with Jonathan in this issue of metrosource available onnew stands nationally or go to metrosourcom, and that's your episode.I'm your host, Alexate Madrigez! You can follow me on Instagram at alexandrson air until next time stay true, and do you brook that has been another metof horse. Manylacke share subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check out the latestissue of metrosports magazine on new stands or online at Nettascortscom.Follow us on Faceboom, Instagramat natacort and on twinere. That's acourse Ma until next time, a.

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