The actor and musician talks about his role on HBO's 'Generation' and the future of queer representation.
Hailing from Queens, NYC Sydney Mae Diaz may only be 25 but he’s already making a stir in the acting world with roles in High Fidelity on Hulu and Iron Fist on Netflix. Most recently, he landed a role in HBO must-watch teen drama Generation, praised for its authentic depiction of Gen Z and young queer people today. Alongside his screen endeavours, he’s also making a ruckus on stage as the singer-songwriter for Long Island rock band anxioushum — every inch the multi-hyphenate creative.
Below, we catch up with Sydney about the future of queer representation and the story behind his appearance in Generation.
Tell us who you are and a bit about your background?
I’m an actor and a musician from Long Island, New York.
How has lockdown been as a young creative?
Lockdown was rough initially, for many reasons. So much of my life as an artist had a social component to it. I was constantly at live music shows or seeing movies at the theatre, so when that was abruptly taken away, I had to figure out how to navigate without that. This pandemic affected everyone in a very extreme way. I would also like to acknowledge the fact that I am very lucky with how things panned out for me during this time and it is not something I take lightly.
When did you get started in acting?
My second high school offered a performing arts curriculum so I was fortunately able to take classes my junior and senior year. From there I majored in theatre, while also beginning to audition outside of school. After graduation, I landed a commercial and a small part on Netflix’s Iron Fist and I’ve done everything I could since then to keep the momentum going.
You’re best known to our readers for your appearance in Generation — how did you get cast?
I had auditioned for the project around early September 2019. Shortly after I had heard back from the team and had a facetime call with Daniel, Ben, and Zelda Barnz. They talked to me about the tape I submitted and then asked me, “How soon can you be in LA?”
What do you hope Generation can offer for viewers — both those who are younger and those of older generations?
I hope for the younger viewers they can see themselves on screen authentically. For older viewers, I hope that they wish they had this show when they were younger! Or that it offers them new points of view and a sense of empathy for the younger generation.
What do you hope to achieve with your acting career?
I hope to work on projects that are stimulating and fulfilling and push me to do the best I can across the board.
What does the future of queer representation look like?
I think the future of queer representation looks like the current representation of white cis men. Unquestioned, unchallenged, and completely normalised without a second thought. I don’t think we should settle for anything less.
I hear you’re also a musician — do your music and acting influence one another at all?
I can say that both definitely influence each other. Cycling between acting and playing in anxioushum is great because I have two outlets that provide me with a sense of purpose. I consider myself to be incredibly lucky because they are both things I love more than anything. Keeping both balls in the air can be a challenge and overwhelming at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You’ll be appearing in Ghostbusters: Afterlife — what can you tell us about that role?
All I can say was that the experience is something I hold very close to me. I can’t wait to finally see the finished product and I’m sure everyone else feels the same.
What’s next for you?
As far as acting, I’m currently auditioning to find my next project. When I’m able to travel back to New York, I plan on recording new music with my bandmate Matt for a future release.
21 April 2021