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Miguel Ángel Silvestre

by Lawrence Ferber

As a Spaniard, what is a hidden gem for gay travelers to consider visiting when traveling to Spain?

Spanish Actor Miguel Ángel Silvestre has become quite the global citizen thanks to his career. He stars in the Netflix hit global sci-fi soap opera Sense8 as Lito Rodriguez, a closeted heartthrob actor in Mexico City who discovers he has a telepathic connection to a group of diverse strangers around the world. Called Sensates, these individuals must come together in times of crisis—appearing in locations like Iceland, Mexico, San Francisco, and Brazil—through their minds’ special abilities to evade dangers and crises both small and personal, as well as major threats like the enemy known as Whispers. Created by the Wachowski sisters, Lana and Lilly, Sense8 launched its second season, which will see the fallout from Lito and his boyfriend Hernando (Alfonso Herrera) being publicly outed in last December’s Christmas special, and yet more travels around the world (and, yes, some steamy queer sex).

Previously, the Castellon-born Silvestre made a blip stateside playing a newlywed in Pedro Almodovar’s I’m So Excited, a campy melodrama about a flight gone awry, while actress Penelope Cruz directed him in a 2013 short film, L ’Agent, for French lingerie brand Agent Provocateur (https://youtu.be/sOCrxwV1U-U). Recently, he co-starred in a Spanish TV series, Velvet.

In what way do you relate most to the character of Lito?
His fear and vulnerabilities of being an actor. In this industry, you never know if you’re doing the last work of your life, or if another opportunity or film will come. I was scared of people finding out who I really was [early in my career]. I come from a very cheesy town, so I was not as cool as the character I played, and I was really scared and I quit working for one year and a half and then I came back. Now, I’m becoming comfortable with who I am. I think I can relate to that with Lito! When I read Lito for the first time, I could see he was trying to be a hero, but always undoing it because of clumsiness or because nobody in reality is a hero.

One of the other Sensates is Nomi, a lesbian transgender blogger and hacktivist played by transgender actress Jamie Clayton. As a heterosexual identified actor, what has making the show taught you about gender fluidity and sexual identity?
There is a line from a book from Federico García Lorca that, for me, described what sexuality and desire is: ‘When love gets into your gut, nobody can take it away.’ That describes perfectly what desire and sexuality is. We cannot control the rain, you cannot go against the sun or control a tsunami. It’s an inert desire and that’s nature. I always looked at it that way and in my family there are LGBT people, so I had a nice education growing up regarding diversity.

What did you think of Iceland while shooting scenes from the Sense8 Christmas special there?
What I felt, first of all, is the air is so pure and clear. If you’re going from San Francisco or New York or Chicago, which are comparatively polluted, to a place like Iceland, you feel this pure air and also the quietness of the people. It’s also a culture that wants to keep Iceland the way it is and not be corrupted. It’s so nice to feel people so connected in their goal to make a country grow in a good way. That was one of the things I felt and it was really nice—that nature that was not corrupted.

You starred in Almodovar’s I’m So Excited, has he seen Sense8 yet?
Yes, I know he has. He watches everything. He’s so committed with art and everything that is happening in the present. Also, we’re good friends and he was excited to see many of the scenes. I can talk to him and share these things [before the fact], and he can give me his input. He was excited to see the result.

Sense8 is shot all over the world. Where would you love for them to send you in season three?
Well, one thing I would love is to keep working and go back to Brazil, because it was so special. Then, of course, Spain, my country. Lana Wachowski considered [Spain] at a certain point, but it didn’t happen. We ended up in Positano, Italy. It was also a great experience.

What do you always pack when you are traveling?
In this case, nine months’ worth of luggage! I make sure to have things for both winter and summertime. The most important are underwear, socks, and a toothbrush. From there, I like to read books in paper form, so I bought a bag with wheels so I can bring my books with me on the flight.

As a Spaniard, what is a hidden gem for gay travelers to consider visiting when traveling to Spain?
I always say to foreigners that they cannot miss Seville, which has incredible architecture and its own flavor and doesn’t look like anything else. You’ll really enjoy it in a different way and go, wow, where am I? It mixes Moroccan and Spanish architecture and every single corner, street, and square you’re going to remember forever.

If you could play any real person, alive or dead, who would it be?
Lorca, the Spanish writer, because he was an artist who stood for his rights and fought for a cause higher than his own ego. Those are the real gods for me. Human gods. Sadly, he died in a dictatorship. I would feel very proud to play Lorca.

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