Chris Richardson chats with TMI about some of his favorite and the most important parts of his career

What was the greatest moment of 2020 for you?

I had just signed with my agent and then boom, Covid19 changes the world as we know it.  She was sending me a bunch of auditions that I could do from my apartment but I honestly didn’t think I was going to get booked for any of them because of how the industry had all but completely stopped.  After one audition she emailed me and told me I got it!  The project was for the online dating site Match and I was just excited to have been picked for it, much less ever actually seeing it anywhere.  Admittedly so, I had turned more pessimistic at the start of the pandemic and I was believing more of the negative stories I was reading about other artists being left in limbo or not being able to be paid.   A couple of weeks passed by and a Match commercial comes on TV.  I thought it was the one I was in but when I didn’t see myself I just assumed the spot I got booked for didn’t make the final edit or wasn’t anything that was going to be seen on TV.  I was totally fine with the thought of that being the final version and not being in it as I knew there was a chance of that happening.  One day I was sitting on my couch watching a re-run of Golden Girls on TV as I was looking down at my phone, I hear a voice that sounded way too familiar.  I look up and I see myself, talking on TV!  I was frozen, with my mouth gaped open, in total shock.  I couldn’t rewind that particular channel to record the screen on my phone so I just sat there waiting for the commercial to air again.  When I had to get up for whatever reason, I left the TV on so that I could hopefully catch it from the start and record it.  After about a few days of not seeing it again on TV, it was posted on YouTube where I could see, save, share and cherish it forever.  For actors and actresses there are steps that either happen all at once or one at a time.  My steps are happening one at a time as I had been a background actor on quite a few projects that aired on TV but never got a chance to speak.  This moment is so special to me because when the world literally is at a stand still, we are all trying to help each other and figure out how to be safe, I’m getting the incredible and blessed opportunity passed on to me by my agent to audition and work, safely.  I believe when it’s your turn in life to go to the next level, take that next step, you have to take it.  It’s one thing to hear that you have to persevere and keep your eyes focused on your goals no matter what, but it’s another thing to actually do it.  I’m not great because of what happened, I’m better for being in position to be included in a great moment. 

How do you want your art to be remembered? 

I want anyone who comes across anything I was involved with to feel included in it in some way.  I didn’t get to where I am in life without someone clearing the path, or including me on their journey which allowed me to start my own journey in life.  For me, there isn’t any other choice I have with my art other than inclusion.  Even if you are someone who isn’t actually involved with my projects, I want you to walk away from it feeling like if you had known about it, you could’ve been a part of it because I would’ve wanted you to be a part of it.  After seeing my art I want you to know that one of the best things you can do for someone is to understand them.  I want to be remembered through my art as someone who went that extra step to at least ask if everyone was doing ok, needed anything or felt left out.  We aren’t in this world alone but we can actively make people feel that way and that’s something I don’t want my art to be remembered by.

How have you felt most appreciated as a creative and artist? 

I’d be a liar if I said part of the reasons I got into being a performing artist wasn’t for the applause and recognition, but it’s definitely not a big or necessary part.  The times when there isn’t any fanfare or attention and I get unsolicited comments about what I do, the way I think and come up with ideas or how I carry myself are when I feel most appreciated as a creative person.  I like to explore the world around me without boundaries or too many filters and when this leads to me being around other like minded people is when I feel most appreciated as an artist.  It used to make me a little nervous when someone would randomly say something about them watching me from afar or hearing about me.  I’m an equally shy and alpha type of person so I never intend to sit around just to be noticed or applauded, as I’m always on to the next project or standing in the back of the room cheering on a project. To me, I look at it with relation to time and how precious it is.  When someone takes time out of their life and journey to stop, notice or join me, to tell me they saw my creativity or artistry is nothing short of humbling.  It reaffirms one of the purposes my life has and gives me a sense of belonging.

Who have been your strongest allies in your career? 

My mom has been a constant and strong ally for me since day one.  On days where I literally just want to disappear and not answer my phone, like clockwork she will call me.  Those days where I know I’ve submitted to a bunch of projects, self taped numerous auditions, haven’t heard anything as to being booked or not and have no reason to keep putting myself through the ups and downs, is where she shines the most.  She will ask, with the same level of curiosity and positivity as when I first moved to NYC to really pursue this as a career, what’s next for me or if I have anything she can see online or on TV.  Believe it or not, random people whom I don’t know that well but have seen things I’ve done and they come up to say they enjoyed it, are extremely critical allies to my career.  Much like the brutal, sometimes naive honesty of a young child, those strangers have no reason to protect or watch out for my feelings.  So when I hear positive comments from them that definitely propels me to keep going.  My friends and family that have known me since before moving to New York are strong allies as well.  They have seen the ups and downs, most of them went through them with me.  I know I will always just be me and nothing more to them and they don’t let me outgrow myself, the moment or them.  I’m not the most religious person but I am spiritual and it is the belief I have in God and He in me that makes him a strong ally.

What do you see as the most important part of your journey? 

Staying ready is the most important part of this whole journey to me.  It’s actually something I’ve started to be known for saying, “Stay Ready” or using it as a hashtag, #stayready.  Early on in my career I got obsessed with just working and being busy just for the sake of saying I was busy.  It’s not about getting booked for every single project or audition, although that would be great, I just want to be in position to have every single project or audition be an option to me.  By staying ready I keep myself physically, mentally and spiritually ready for what life may bring or take away from me.  I used to confuse that with always coming out on top or being a winner in life.  It’s actually quite the opposite as it allows me to handle disappointment, loss or rejection much better as I go into each day in a state of readiness with the wisdom that something is going to happen, be it good or bad, as long as I’m alive.  Staying ready allows me to be optimistic and positive each day because I’m happy that I’ve taken the time to prepare myself.

Please tell us about your latest project and how we can get involved!

A project that is near and dear to me is a resourceful men’s mental health website men-tallyaware.com that I launched.  It isn’t to exclude women in any form or fashion, as there should be zero discrimination in anything, including mental health services.  It is meant to give men and those in support of men having a safe supportive space to access information, resources, warning signs and tips on practicing good mental health and hygiene.  As someone who sees a therapist, I want to break down the unfortunate stigma associated with mental health, in particular when a man needs mental health assistance.  There is a section on the website, “You Are…”, and it is meant to encourage and affirm men that they are not weak, they are worth it, they are unique, they are alive and are their own #1 fans.  You can get involved by passing on the website men-tallyaware.com to your readers, especially young men.  Letting them know we are all in this together, at some point every single person needs someone to check in on and listen to them. The strongest person in the room is the one who can admit and realize their weaknesses first.  Once you know, believe and understand yourself and your strengths, you can take on anything.

Please share your Instagram link so our readers can follow you there.

My instagram is https://www.instagram.com/chris.topher.richardson/ 

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