Inner Child w/ Brian Falduto
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 1 year ago

Inner Child w/ Brian Falduto

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Brian Falduto has a slew of titles under his belt. He was a child actor alongside Jack Black, he has a career in country music, he’s a life coach, oh and he’s thinking about writing a children’s book. But today, we talk to Brian about what really got him to this point in his life. All the elementary school bullies, the pressure from being in the public eye, and his own internal homophobia that kept him from being his true self for years. 

Be sure to follow Brian on IG! Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Sebastian Alcala Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Straw media. I Count Myself Lucky that rock bottom came so early and so frequently in my first years out of the closet. Maybe it's because of the uniquely scarring experience to put me in the closet in the first place, being in a major motion picture. But when I got out, I went big and a few years later I went home. I went home to work on myself. Who Am I? That's what the past couple of years have been about. Every day it feels like I uncover some new little bread from that my inner child left behind in case I ever went looking for him again. But being the protective little bugger he was, there are quite a few hurdles and road box that I've had to get through in my efforts to reconnect with him. My type A personality has been eager for an ETA on when I'll get to the end of the trail. Ways, it is with great joy and clarity that I report back to you that there is actually no end of the trail. There is no arrival point in the discovery of self. You can imagine my initial disappointment as someone who quite a few times now has been pretty sure about who they were and was determined to get back to that place of safety and certainly what my fight or flight brain wanted. Certainty is comfortable. I put my blinders on at such a young age and I work as of late has been to uncover the blind spots of who I am. I've also been encouraging others to come along and do this work with me, because I believe there is healing to be done. I still believe that, but perhaps the word healing needs to be clarified because in a way it implies a return to some sense of normalcy, that sense of safety we'd become used to. True healing questions who we are. Beyond any thought about who we are, there is an unlimited potential. If that's too spiritual for you, science has proven that we are made up of the same stuff as stars. Stars. So you can put up as many protected parameters around yourself as you like, but it won't ever change your ability to shine. And healing should be about enhancing the specific and unique way you shine, not covering it up with something so trivial as figuring out who you are right this minute. Often we try to package up who we are and wrap it with a bow, but if we tie the boat too tight. We don't leave enough room for what's actually there. It's not always easy and it definitely gets uncomfortable, but that is where I find myself in my inner work these days. The question is no longer who am I, it's how much can I let go of WHO I am? I still don't know who I am and for the first time ever, I don't care. Any knowing of who I am would prevent me from realizing what I can be. Brian Fall Dudo has a slew of titles under his belt. He was a child actor alongside Jack Black. He has a career in country music. He's a life coach, oh and he's thinking about writing a children's book. But today we talked to Brian about what really got him to this point in his life. All the elementary school bullies, the pressure from being in the public eye and his own internal homophobia that kept him from being his true self for years. Remember Billy From School of Rock, a Sassy one with the tape measure around his neck. There's a popular gift of him saying, well, this is him now, feel old. Yet I'm Brian Feldudo and this is pride. Growing up, Brian knew he was meant to be on the big screen. I was eccentric, I was outgoing, I was flamboy and I was saucy. I was just really difficult to fit into a box and I I was singing the loudest in church choir and demanding my family watts performances of me in the living room. He dreamed of the spotlight and continue to pursue performance environments until finally his parents got him an agent and it didn't take long for him to be discovered. He started going to auditions and by his second try he got a GIG. He was...

...cast as billy in a movie called School of Rock, which has turned into a bit of a cult classic, which is exciting. Brian was just eleven years old when he got his first taste of fame. I think a little tit. But I like to share is that when I auditioned for the film, I saying a voice of Pano rendition of send in the clowns, which I think is the reason I was asked, and then, you know, it was a really long audition process and then, yeah, I got to be in this movie, which was like this unparalleled experience to have at like in the fifth grade. You know, I got to leave school essentially for four to five months for filming and then all the press stuff. You feel like a little bit of a star for a moment. School of rock came out in two thousand and three and Stars Jack Black and Joan Qu sack. In case you haven't seen the film, it follows a passionate guitar player named Dewey Finn Who's thrown out of his band and starts posing as a substitute music teacher at a prep school to pay his bills. If I was going to give you a grade, I would give you an a. But that's the problem. Rocking about doing things perfect. He forms a rock band with his students, one of which is billy. He becomes the kids stylist for the band and is given the nickname fancy pants and Brian. He had no problem portraying billy in the film. I was eccentric, I was him boy and I was Sascy, and all these things were just things that translated into the character on screen. But Billy was given another nickname from fans who had seen it. They simply called him the Gay kid from School of Rock. I didn't know that I was playing a gay character. I still don't really look back and refer to it as a gay character myself, because it's a kid and at the time I didn't know what being gay was and I think that we should be able to like, like come up with our own labels over time as we see fit. Pretty Soon Brian's classmate started calling him gay at school. It was tough because, as I mentioned, I was in this like UN paralleled experience where I got to be in a movie in the fifth grade, which was the most exciting experience one can have at that age, I feel like. And then I felt like I was special that I got cast in this film, and then, because my character was sort of referred to as the Gay kid from School of Rock, when I returned to school, blending in with like my fifth grade class of boys was really difficult because I didn't even know what being gay was, but everyone was calling me it. It was the first time Brian was exposed to the term gay, but because it was being said by bullies at school, he started to interpret the word gay to mean something horrible. I got the impression that that was a really bad thing to be called. And so you know, a couple of years later, when I maybe started to get feelings that I might be gay. I was already like internally homophobic because I had heard this word referred to, and then I was I was told that that's something to be ashamed of. And Yeah, so it was kind of hard to go from getting cast and feeling really special to feeling sort of ashamed of the whole experience. As a reminder, it was two thousand and three and there were very few examples of gay characters in the media, and even less in media that included children. I was one of the few of them, you know, and so I didn't feel like I had many people I can turn to to talk about this. Brian found support while on set with the rest of the School of rock cast. They formed a bond so strong that they still talk today. All the kids are still in like a very active group text to this day. I think we might win for major motion picture that still keeps in touch as much as we do. But yeah, I mean I think we were all just kind of launched into this really unique experience at a young age, which did sort of result in a massive bonding experience. But still, Brian didn't open up to them about his feelings and his internal fight with accepting his sexuality. He kept it locked away from everyone. Just because I went through...

...something with them doesn't mean that they they were witnessed to the isolating feelings that I fell inside of myself because I wasn't exactly owning who I was once I found out that who I was was something that people sort of like look down on at the time. At the time, Brian wasn't able to see himself as a role model. It wasn't until years later did he finally realized the impact his character had on queer representation in media. Then so awesome to sort of come out and do these type of like speaking opportunities and then have people be like wow, your character resonated with me so much when I was younger. It was really important to me that that makes it all worth it, you know, kind of like the shame that I went through afterwards. Young Brian became somewhat famous after school of Rock, famous as a strong word, but because of his new found fame he was put into the spotlight at a very young age. Brian said he felt a pressure to be perfect. I didn't know that it was okay to be gay, and so it just became about like, well, maybe I can turn this experience into like at least I'm a really good actor, you know, and then that sort of mess with my head for many years too, because then I had like all this approve as an actor and like trying to be successful in the eyes of other people. You know, it was all none of it was about me. It was about, like, what other people think of me, and that really messes with your head at a young age. You know, I got cast for this thing I stood out for and then after the film it just became about blending in, which is so sad when you think about it, you know, and now my work these days is to sort of do the work on bringing back my authentic self. Before I tried to be whatever own like wanted me to be or or expected me to be. He continued to struggle with his identity and he didn't come out as gay to his friends or family until his senior year of college, a big time jump from when he was cast in School of rock. You know, all I wanted was to be unassociated with this thing that I was made to feel at such a young age and embedded in my unconscious that was like something wrong. So there's a lot of denial to sort through and then, and then I came out of the closet. But when you come out of the closet you don't get to just flip a switch on fourteen years of hating yourself right. So it's like I came out of the closet it, but then I entered like those really maybe some people will know what I'm talking about, but those really like destructive years where you know, I'm an out gay man now, but what does that mean? Who Am I? And so I kept trying to find myself and other people and all these toxic relationships and seeking validation anywhere I could find it. But no relationship could help him short through his own feelings. Instead, Brian looked to another creative outlet to help him express his emotions, music. I was going through a lot of tough, like feelings and I started writing some songs, and that sort of the first time I like reached into my own well and I pulled up my own water of emotion rather than like what I thought I was supposed to say or what I thought I was supposed to do, because when you he put a lyric into a melody, you can say things you wouldn't normally say to someone you know. So it's it's almost like an excuse to be dramatic and everything inside me felt so dramatic and like clothed off. And Yeah, that was kind of like my my first tool for getting that out of me. Bryan first broke out into the music scene in two thousand and seventeen with an acoustic ep called love one another. He debuted his first studio album, titled Stage two, in two thousand and eighteen, and his most recent music venture is his newest song called God loves me too good here. Yeah, in the fourth peace, in the great...

...t immensus matters, I look good. It took a lot of hard work and reflecting for Brian to accept who he is now and the boy he was when he was eleven. I look back now it's like a beautiful lens of like I feel so fortunate that I was able to capture that version of myself and on screen that even I can look back as a reference point to. Like. You know, I think that the reason that people love that character is because, as I said, you couldn't really like fit it in a box and that's who I was and I think that's who I am on like my core. You know, in addition to songwriting as a creative outlet, Brian began to incorporate self care into his daily routines. He set aside time to focus on himself, because acceptance wasn't going to happen overnight. People love my story because they love hearing that I'm this out, proud, competent gay man now and they love hearing about the bullying days and and how hard it was. But no one wants to talk about the chapters in between where I actually like did all this like intense work on myself and I sat with my emotions and I, you know, I practice self care and I you know that that that doesn't just happen and I one of my missions now sort of in life. You know, I have a podcast. I'm a life coach now. I'm trying to make that work a little bit more accessible to those and that we are community, because I don't know that there's necessarily places that we can easily go to have those difficult conversations or sit with our emotions or talk about how we're feeling. You know, I don't think that gay culture is necessarily like built for that. It's built for a lot of other beautiful, fun things where we get to showcase our pride and be loud and proud, and though they're wonderful, needed things. I'm not saying people shouldn't do those things, but there's also just a moment to sit at home and do some journaling and go through everything that's you've that you've been going through. When we come back, what selfcare really looks like and how can you incorporate it into your life. Welcome back. Today we're talking to Brian Feldudo, a child actor who's been working to find his true self through different creative outlets. Before the break, Brian introduced us to two of his favorite outlets, country music and self care. I mean, I do do a lot of self coaching. I'm a bit of a work junkie. Like as far as like I'm self care. You know, there's so many things I love to do. Brian is a coach, but that doesn't mean he doesn't seek help for himself. He actively attends therapy twice a week and has to keep working towards his practice every day. I'm very much learning still. All you know. I think what's interesting is a lot of people think that life coaches have like the answers or something, and we don't. We're skilled at helping you find your answers. It's like a it's like a craft, but I like to pitch it as I think that they're no one is healed, but there are people who are actively healing and then there are people who maybe aren't necessarily stepping into that work because they're living in avoidance. And believe me, I've been there. And Yeah, so that's kind of how I view it. The first healing step Brian took on his journey was relocating. I spent three to four years like really just crashing into walls as far as like relationships and you know, I had no connection to myself. So I would got into all these like dependent relationships and really self sabotaging relationships very often where I clearly was...

...not operating from a place of self worth. I was I was trying to, you know, find myself and other people and get them to love me, to prove that I'm lovable, essentially, and I think that I really hit the ground running on that kind of stuff and I know a lot of people have those experiences throughout their life, but I had like a ton of those experiences within my first couple years of coming out and I had many, many sad nights that were really hard and I think I eventually decided to do some traveling. I went to Los Angeles to do a project and it was actually my first time ever being away from like the Tri State area for a consistent amount of time. And when you travel you open up new neural pathways in your mind and I honestly just think that those years of really like just running into walls, combined with me making a significant change in my environment, sort of allowed me to pause for a moment and be like, Whoa wait, what am I doing with my life? Why am I the victim and all of these scenarios? Why do I certainly there must be a way for me to take responsibility for my own happiness. And you know, I think the pandemic is a little bit similar to for people in that, you know, I went to La and completely change my situation, but that's what the pandemic was for a lot of people. It was a complete change of situation and when that happens, yeah, you are forced to question everything you've been doing. Brian launched three initiatives as a life coach for primarily lgbtq plus clients, the gay life coach Podcast, the game and self help book club and the gay men's mindfulness collective. I think the cool thing about coaching is you get to partner up with someone and sort of like figure out what does work for you, because it's fit than everyone else. Like if I tell everyone to go home and journal. journaling doesn't work for everyone. You know it's not. We have to figure out, like what your self discovery looks like. It's a it's a it's a layered thing, you know, and it's and it's often changing. I think the goal is to wellness is not a state of mind, it's a state of action. You know, it's it's sort of assessing what you need in the moment, allowing experiences to pass through you, leaning on other people for support. So what does he recommend for people who want to start their own self care journey? Even if it's just taken a Onehour walk every day? You don't underestimate the power of just like putting leaving your phone home and taking a wine hour walk today just to be with your own thoughts. I don't underestimate the power of that. Even just pausing for five minutes a day and doing a little meditation or a breathing all of these are just ways to pause for a moment and not just go, go go, because when we go, go go, we are avoiding what wants to be communicating with us from within. You know, our thoughts aren't necessarily always the truth. Our feelings are, the way, more truthful than our thoughts. Our thoughts are just our brain trying to translate everything that's going on, which is usually operating from a point of panic or stress or worry, because that's our brains were built. They were built in like fight or flight mode. They were built during Caveman Times. So, whereas our bodies, we are actually emotional beings. I think a lot of us like to think that we are logical beings who are sometimes emotional. We are emotional beings who are sometimes logical, and I think that if we can pause and just sort of be with ourselves a little bit more often, that's that's the work, you know. And if you find yourself spiraling, see if you can just stop the thoughts for a moment and listen to like what's going on inside. That's been like the biggest tool for me that's allowed me to gain some...

...more access to truth and not just like keep walking around in circles of lies that I tell myself about myself or about my situation. Brian also recommends hiring a life coach, but at a time when a lot of people's wallets are tight, it's not always affordable for everyone. As a solution, he has created other opportunities for clients to get guidance without breaking the bank. He brings meaningful conversations to the light and his podcast and created a space in his book club for people to come and talk about their feelings. I think that a lot of self help books don't necessarily address the queer community, which is a real shame because there's a lot of super digustable information in the I feel like that is important. But there they leave us out, you know, and it's strange because I feel like so much of the content is applicable to our journey and I find that gay men, this could be a generalization, but I find that unless we are addres address specifically, we don't really want to hear it, because there's so many years where we've just been left out of the story. So I feel like we do want spaces that are that are tailored to us, and so with this book club it's basically like minded game men getting a chance to read stuff that isn't necessarily directed at us, but we can. We can pick and choose what we want from it that relates to our queer stories. And Yeah, no, self help can be overwhelming because it's like like oh my gosh, I have to do all this now. I always end my book club by saying all we're doing is creating awareness. Awareness is the greatest agent for change. You don't need to like read everything that you're reading in this book and then like go home and change everything over night. Awareness will actually create change in your life on its own. All you have to do is bring information to your situation and to your mind and to your consciousness and then let the awareness do the rest. You don't have to necessarily like peel overnight. It's not. It's not real, but Brian is real. He does the stuff because he knows it works. He has seen an improvement in his own life and he immediately knew this was something he had to share with others. You know, I got into coaching because, to be honest, I I got a little addicted to the work because I was I was I noticed that it was making such an improvement in my life and I was like, I want to do this more, I'm going to do this with people, and so I kind of just entered coaching not sure that it was going to be something I would enjoy. I've been, it's several years now that I've been sort of in the proof of concept phase as far as me trying this out, and I love it. I love connecting with people and hearing their stories and and just you know, I am a super emotional person. You can hear that in my music and I think that allows me to be super empathetic and meet people where they're at on their journey and and kind of just like get to the root of what they need. And that moment, you know, which always looks different for every single person, if you're ready to get started on your own healing journey, Brian said to start by taking a breath. Yeah, it's that easy. I would not underestimate the power of breathing. Ever, I think that everyone should add some point today, sit down and just draw attention to their five senses slowly and then take like three long breaths, for in, for out, listen to what's going on around them. The you know, just pause for five minutes and then just notice. That's the important part. Notice the difference in presence, because that right there is a mini awakening and every time that we can create that small awakening where we don't just do our condition to response...

...and instead we do an intentional response, that is a moment of growth. That is that is the chains that we're looking for in our lives and really that is all you can do. That is you doing your best to to become the person you want to be. Is just having that small moment over and over as much as possible. But one of my favorite quotes is enlightenment is an accident and practice makes you accident prone. Want to hear more from Brian. If people want more of my story, you can mainly find it in my music. This past year I released a song about my experience growing up gay and Church called God loves me too, and the music video one an award. So once you go check that out. It's actually also funded by the school of Rac Teine, which is a little fun fact. Jack clack was behind the video as well. And what else people can find me on Instagram, Brian Feldudo or the gay life coach, and, as I mentioned in the interview, I have quite a few initiatives as far as coaching. You can coach with me one on wine. You can join the collective, which is a community that I have for doing all the work, like I've talked about, which is where you'll find the book club and the things we talked about. It's true. Thanks for listening. Pride is a production of Straw hat media. If you like the show, leave us a rating and a review on Apple, podcast, spotify or wherever you're tuning in from. Share us with your friends, subscribe and follow us on Instagram, facebook and twitter at pride. Yes, it is that easy. You can follow me at lead by chambers. Pride is produced by me, lead by chambers, maggy bowls, Ryan Tillotson and Caitlyn mcdaniel, edited by Sebastian all Calla and Daniel Ferrara. Sound editing and mixing by Sebastian all Calla. He's crazy, but also surprisingly professional and honestly to I think he might be the kindest human ever. He shared my music video when it came out and he funded it so the moral of the story is Jack Black is a fucking Badass. Oh my God, yeah,.

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