Acting would come full circle for Jose Miguel Vasquez, a devout family man who initially gave up his passion for what he felt was the safer route. Sometimes, life itself reminds us what we’re destined for.
With three Arty Best Actor awards from Art’s Sake Acting Studio in Winter Park, Florida under his belt and representation by a renowned talent agency, Jose is quickly picking up expertise in show business and also inspires others to live their truth.
Below is Jose’s show reel and you can catch him as on Burn Notice, the hit TV show on USA Network, for their season finale on Dec. 20th, 2012. You can also find him on his personal website.
Jose has always been the oddball in his family. As a child growing up in Colombia, he has memories of reenacting cartoons, starring in Christmas nativity presentations, and screaming He-man’s line, “By the power of grey skull!” in the middle of a movie theater. “Acting has always been a part of me, but it was never discussed as a career option because most of my family are engineers and doctors,” Jose explains. Nevertheless, he found himself studying Film Production Technology at Miami-Dade College; that is, until he became a father at the young age of 20.
“I couldn’t help but dismiss acting as a ‘legitimate and honorable’ career path for a family man,” Jose explained. “Unfortunately, I had no one to encourage me otherwise, to bring to light the many individuals that make some sort of decent living from this industry, so I backed out and switched to Education.” He shocked a lot of his classmates in Film Production who looked up to him as someone who was able to find the delicate balance between family life and career, but Education seemed like the more secure direction. Even with it being so tough to put both himself and his young wife through school as they pushed strollers through the University of Central Florida campus, they successfully graduated together in 2008.
“I never expected to find a dead end road as a teacher,” Jose states as he remembers facing the severe budget cuts to Education that year. “I was surrounded by people who were either highly disillusioned with the system they once knew or people who were so ambitious about becoming teachers that they were literally accepting any kind of salary.” Facing this pessimistic and frustrating situation, Jose started taking acting classes almost as a form of therapy, signing up as a teaching assistant so that he could afford the classes with a 50% discount. “I sensed the call to inspire my wife and kids with the power of faith and dreams,” he says with gusto. “I knew I had to take the road less traveled.”
Jose convinced his wife of his new plan based on the idea that acting would be supplemental income while he would continue to search for teaching jobs. Although teaching opportunities never arose, doors would open to the world of commercials and entertainment. He has been cast in numerous commercials, independent films, and even three shows at the Orlando Repertory Theatre with an upcoming fourth show in the spring. “I’m currently a storyteller at Walt Disney World Resort’s Mexico Pavilion as one of the three kings and this past summer I even got to teach theater-based summer camps,” he relates with a smile. “Funny, huh? Teaching came back too!” One of his most memorable acting experiences was when he played a 6-year-old. “My kids saw that show and I knew they had to be convinced that daddy was a boy,” he reminisces. “It’s my favorite because they believed it and loved it!”
In the beginning, his biggest challenge was facing auditions. “It was torment,” Jose recounts. “I had no sense of self and I’m not your model-esque type guy. I was also heavier back then and the camera does add 5 pounds.” It was difficult for him to get jobs because of his self-consciousness and it would take time for him to train himself to focus solely on what he had to do. Exercise would also make a difference. “When you exercise, you just feel better,” he notes. “The bonus is that you look better, but I think that’s just a gift. It’s the internal that’s permanent and that’s what makes a difference.”
“Sanford Meisner, the well-known acting teacher, once said, ‘It takes about 20 years to become an actor,’” Jose tells me.
“While some can find themselves highly discouraged by this outlook, it gives me peace. I have time. Acting has revealed how rewarding it is for me to affect people, to educate and challenge them to a greater sense of themselves. So while I continue to work on my dream, which may take 20 years, I can make time to venture into other ways I can connect with more people. Some of these skills with potential include: writing, filmmaking, social media, and teaching. In fact, my focus has once again fused with teaching as a teaching artist for the Orlando Repertory Theatre Youth Academy!”
Beyond exploring his vast range of interests, Jose has one specific goal for his future: “I don’t care how much I accomplish fame-wise, but what I really hope for some day is to be a scholar in my field, to be known as someone who is profoundly experienced in either acting or film.” He imagines himself giving back by passing on what he knows and his passion for acting. It’s part of what he has discovered to be his purpose in life. “As long as I can provide for my family and help others find a similar ‘ah-ha!’ moment, I will fulfill my purpose,” he says with conviction. “I pray and work hard so that my creative effort will consistently be the kind of art that moves others to some level of reflection. Perhaps this may bring them a step closer to a place where they too will feel like they’re fulfilling a life-worthy task.”