Braeden De La Garza, Photography by Ben Cope

Braeden De La Garza’s favorite characters to play are people who feel unsure of themselves. As a twenty-one-year-old actor who is at the beginning of his career, imposter syndrome and a hint of nerves are always present in his mind. He feels at ease being able to express those feelings through his craft.

The Texas native caught the acting bug as a child, with family both in front and behind the camera – including performer Demi Lovato who is his cousin. Beginning his career on a stage prepared De La Garza for one of his latest roles as Prince Emmett, on Disney’s “The Quest,” which relied heavily on improvisation. We can also look forward to seeing him play Brent Chambers in season two of Freeform’s “Cruel Summer,” which is currently filming its sophomore season in Canada and has yet to announce a release date.

Read on for our full interview below with Braeden to hear all about his acting projects, new roles, and his personal love of making music, including producing, mixing, and mastering tracks on his own as well as playing the guitar, piano, drums, bass, ukulele, and the harmonica. 

Braeden De La Garza, Photography by Ben Cope

You’re from Grapevine, Texas, how did you initially get into acting?

Growing up in the suburbs of Dallas, there wasn’t much talk of the entertainment industry. Sure, schools had theatre classes and choir, but unlike in Los Angeles, nobody ever crossed paths with someone steadily working as an actor. However, when I was about seven years old, I remember watching TV with my mother when it hit me: Everybody on the screen was lying! These people were all pretending to be somebody else. I was especially enamored with the actors that were my age. It blew my mind that somehow, I could be doing what they were doing, and I’ve been seeking it out ever since.

What other actors or performers have inspired your path in entertainment?

As an actor, I always find myself comparing my career to others who came before me, as I’m sure many other actors do. There are some iconic actors that I adore, such as Johnny Depp, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jeff Daniels, etc. I think the actor I most aspire to be like in terms of versatility and acting style is Jason Bateman. He can tie the line between drama and comedy so well, as well as being an incredible filmmaker behind the camera, and I really feel that it goes unappreciated in the grand scope of the industry. Apparently, if you’re an actor and your name starts with a J, I’m a huge fan.

Tell us about your role as Prince Emmett in the Disney Plus series “The Quest”?

In “The Quest” I play one of the three possible heirs to the throne of Sanctum, a fictional kingdom in the fictional world of Everealm. He is quite reserved, but not out of shyness. He prefers to keep his cards close to his vest, and is extremely intelligent. Throughout the series he learns to open up a bit more, and he finds a confidence in himself that may have lacked before. He also has great hair.

“The Quest” is a very unique TV show. While the 2022 reboot seems to follow a more traditionally scripted drama format, the show still has reality TV elements. How did you adjust to the format of the series?

Beginning my acting career on stage, I had extensive experience with improvisation. This really came in handy when shooting “The Quest,” as there were multiple sections of each script just titled “REALITY.” This meant we would have to improvise until they cut the cameras. I found it to be a bit difficult to adjust to at first, but eventually, the transitions from strictly scripted content into improvisation became seamless.

How did you get into character for your role? Did you have any specific training to prepare for the world of fantasy in “The Quest”?

I think the biggest thing for me was my dialect. I always feel most in character when I’m in my wardrobe, and training before the shoot to do an English dialect gave me that same feeling. Whenever I turned it on, I was Prince Emmett, and it still feels like that if I try to pull it out now, which could be a problem. Hopefully, I can figure that out before I’m cast in the next Sherlock Holmes installment.

Braeden De La Garza, Photography by Ben Cope

What were the biggest challenges you faced playing the role of Prince Emmett?

Other than the adjustment to the format of the series, I found the experience to be largely challenge-free. I did my usual prep work, felt artistically challenged by my fellow actors (in a good way), and left feeling satisfied with the work I put forward.

It was announced recently that you will be joining the cast of ‘Cruel Summer’ on Freeform for their sophomore season. Can you tell us about your role as Brent?

While I can’t reveal too much, I will say this. Brent Chambers is not two-dimensional. He may initially come off a certain way to viewers, but there are reasons behind every action and reaction. I’m proud to be playing a character with such an interesting story and hope the viewers enjoy my performance, as well as the performances of all my fellow cast mates.

What sort of characters resonate with you most as a performer?

Characters who are unsure of themself. I think as an actor, especially one who is just gaining some momentum, nerves and imposter syndrome is always prevalent, and being able to express that feeling through a character always helps ease it off of my own shoulders.

Braeden De La Garza, Photography by Ben Cope

Music is also a big part of your life – you play guitar, piano, drums, bass, ukulele, and the harmonica. Do you have any plans to release your own music?

I have gotten this question a lot recently, and my answer is honestly up in the air! I’ve written about a hundred songs over the past couple of years, and even produced a few of them, but I wrote them as a way to relax and express myself in private. Some of them are very simple, others more complex. I think people would enjoy some of them, but I don’t know if I’m ready to be that vulnerable. We’ll see!

Who are your favorite musicians you are listening to right now?

Paul McCartney. It will always be Paul McCartney. A modern artist I’ve really enjoyed recently has been Harry Styles. How did I think to start listening to his music, when all I listen to is Paul McCartney? Harry said one of his favorite albums was RAM, by Paul & Linda McCartney. That’s my favorite album. Everything always comes back to Paul McCartney.

What are your goals for your career? Fast forward 10 years – what would be your ideal life?

Every actor hopes to one day win an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, etc. I am no exception, but I think my ideal life would be one where I always have the opportunity to work. I don’t have to become a mega star like Leo DiCaprio, I just want to be respected for my work, and be able to work consistently on projects I think mean something. As an actor at 21 years old, there are a lot of YA projects that gear towards an audience that craves drama and suspense, and I do as well, but I want to get to a place in my career where I can play roles that make people feel something. I want someone to leave a theater questioning themself and their outlook on something due to a character I portrayed.

Braeden De La Garza, Photography by Ben Cope

Are there any performers or directors you would love to work with?

I’ve always wanted to work with Jeff Daniels. Every performance of his holds so much depth, and I feel like playing off of him would force me to at least attempt to get to that place. I’d love to act alongside Jason Bateman or be directed by him. Musically, of course, I would have to say just any interaction with Paul McCartney. It could be me picking up a pen he dropped. That would be enough.

Tell us about your personal passions – we understand you support the organization MusiCares as well as The Trevor Project – can you share more about what they do and why you support their missions?

I think overall, I try to put my support towards organizations that are about creating a space where people can feel safe and protected. This rings true for both MusiCares and The Trevor Project, but also for many other organizations worldwide. I’ve personally seen many people feel unsafe in their own homes, neighborhoods, or immediate environments firsthand. Any organization that provides that safe environment for whoever may need; it is an organization I’m passionate about supporting.

What else do you have on the horizon for 2022 that you can share? Any exciting plans for the summer?

I’ve got a few things in development for the end of this year, hopefully. But my plans for the summer? They’re pretty cruel.

Braeden De La Garza, Photography by Ben Cope

For more follow Braeden De La Garza on Instagram.

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