Christian Galvis: From Hackensack to Hollywood

Actor Christian Galvis
Actor Christian Galvis

Since growing up watching telenovelas with his twin brother in a Colombian-American family, Christian Jesus Galvis always fantasized about being an actor. Born December 3, 1989, in Hackensack, Christian was a competitive swimmer and soccer player during his youth. Always focused on academics, during college he finally let his hidden talents shine, eventually leading him to the big screen as the hunk in No Hard Feelings.

You and I grew up very close to one another. What was life like growing up in Hackensack and Bergen County as a whole?

Christian Galvis: I grew up with a twin brother. We both played sports and were really into the academic aspect of school. I always wanted to be an actor. I grew up watching telenovelas with my grandmother every night from 7 to 10. I would fantasize about playing the role of a leading man, working on sets, and learning lines. It was not until I was 18 that I thought I could make it a career. I was going down a very academic path. I had all the book smarts, grades, and then something switched halfway through college when it was time to declare a major. I was a part of the NJ Stars program. I was going to school at Bergen Community College and transferred to Montclair State University where I received a BA in theatre studies and minor in dance.

What was your first gig?

CG: It was with Carnival Cruise Line. I got offered the job two months before my college graduation and everything just kicked off. I booked the job, got the contract, graduated, and after one month started working. The contract was for six months but turned into five years because it kept getting renewed. It was sort of a culture shock to me because I grew up a momma’s boy and a homebody. This was the first time in my life I had to depend on only myself to make it all work. I was homesick yet I knew this was a path I needed to take to follow my dreams. I slowly adjusted to being on my own. In hindsight, it was an amazing opportunity for many reasons. I got a consistent paycheck, I did not have to pay rent, I was able to save, and ultimately, I got paid to travel the world and see places people pay a fortune to vacation to. Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, Hawaii; I’ve been everywhere.

Five years is a long time. What did you do once it ended?

CG: I always wanted to pursue Broadway; however, I always feared it not working out. Thus, I never gave it my full attention until I was dating someone with the same passions who encouraged me and gave me the willpower to do so. We moved to New York City in September 2017, which is when I began to audition and dip my feet into musical theatre. One of my first jobs was booking Chicago at Fulton Theatre where I met some of my best friends to this day. Thereafter I lived in Japan for West Side Story, performed in jazz clubs, and walked down the Vogue runway. I have filmed several episodes of The Godfather of Harlem, I filmed an episode for season three of The Other Two, and most recently No Hard Feelings. I am very grateful to my agency, Clear Talent Group, and my manager, Joe Flowers.

You are all over the No Hard Feelings trailer. You and Jennifer Lawrence are even the thumbnail photo for the movie promos. This is a big deal. How did this all fall into place?

CG: When my agency sent me the submission for the self-tape audition, it had a pseudo name, “Margo.” They did not specify what it was for, who was producing it, none of that. I did the self-tape at my gym with one of my female friends who came from Jersey to help me do it. I sent out the tape. Within two weeks my agent called to let me know they would love to move forward with me. Then it all began: contract, dates, fitting. During the final fitting, the stylist who was dressing me let it slip that I would be working with Jennifer Lawrence the next day. I was shocked! I literally had no idea I would be working alongside Jennifer Lawrence until 4 pm the day before my 6 am call time.

Actor Christian Galvis
Actor Christian Galvis

Was it hard to keep this under wraps?

CG: I signed a very tight nondisclosure agreement. I filmed in September 2022. Months go by, I am still working on other projects, and due to the NDA, I did not give it much thought. Then a friend sent me the full trailer and I was shocked again. I did not expect me to be the thumbnail for the trailer let alone to be featured so heavily in it, especially being as there are so many household names featured in the movie. Then I recall having a conversation with a producer on set about my desire to be a leading actor. The producer told me my foot is in the door now and this is only the beginning. He also told me from the moment he saw my self-tape, he knew I was the guy for the movie. I am a firm believer that when something is for you, it will not escape you, and the fact he said this without me prompting him solidified it to me. Life has a beautiful way of showing you that what is meant for you, will find you.

How did you get into the modeling industry?

CG: I have an interesting story about this. I knew I wanted to model and needed digitals to submit to the agencies. My friend, John Michael, took photographs of me. He wanted to get hired as a photographer while I wanted to get picked up as a model. He used my photographs as part of his photography portfolio when an agency that liked my photographs inquired about me. They interviewed me, took digitals, and ended up signing me. I ended up doing campaigns for various brands including Hero Cosmetics. This ultimately led to me being picked up and signed to Made Worldwide Agency Inc. (MWA Models) where I have shot campaigns for the likes of Express and Differio.

When did you come out and how was it received?

CG: I started dating a guy who was out when I was not, so I knew I was playing with fire, but I was able to keep it under wraps until our first break. I came out when I was 19 and the first person I came out to was my father. I was going through this break with my boyfriend at the time. I was super emotional and felt like I was having a full-on breakdown. I just blurted it out in conversation. Coming from a Latino household, homosexuality is something that is looked down upon. It is not something openly discussed or accepted. Once my parents realized homosexuality had nothing to do with who I am as an individual, their minds and approach began to shift. Nevertheless, it took between three to four years before everything cooled down. I recall being away on a contract and receiving the most heartwarming message from my mother.

How difficult for you was it to navigate that transitional process?

CG: My grandmother, who now lives in Colombia, was my confidant. We spoke about boys, sex, everything. I grew up with my grandparents living with us. They were present for all the major moments in my life, and although they were older than my parents, they were my best friends and initially more accepting. Today, my parents accept me for who I am. I don’t think they will ever be 100 percent in agreement, yet they love me enough to be open and happy. My parents really enjoyed my last partner, so they are now open to getting to know whoever I am with. As long as I am happy, they are happy. My parents are my biggest supporters and never want me to forget what I love doing in life, and never want me to prioritize someone else over my dreams, which I have been guilty of doing in the past.

What are your short-term and long-term goals?

CG: I want to work on more movies and play characters that are outside of my comfort zone that challenge me as an artist. I want to be a lead on Broadway and have a principal contract. I love the challenge of being a leading man in a television series. Truly, I just want to be happy and say, “I did that, I tried it, and I have stories to tell.”

Would you ever go down the path of reality TV?

CG: I don’t like to say, “never say never,” but I do not see myself going down that path. I enjoy it as an escape when I need to just kick up my feet and watch something fun. However, it is not necessarily something I see myself doing at this moment in time. I know I would be great television, but I would like to keep that to myself [laughs].

Instagram: @Christiano_Jay