IN CONVERSATION WITH TRAVIS VAN WINKLE
Interview by Jana Letonja
Travis Van Winkle starred as one of the leads in Netflix’s series ‘Fubar’, alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, which premiered this May. After a very well-received first season, the series has already been renewed for the second season.
Travis, we’ve just been able to watch you alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Monica Barbaro in Netflix’s ‘Fubar’. What was your reaction when you got cast in this series?
Surprise. I was thrilled because a month prior there was some indication they might be going in another direction with the role, which didn’t include me. I am happy it turned out the way it did.
How was it being on set with such a legend, and also Monica?
I mean, Arnold’s Arnold. I’ve looked up to him my whole life as both an actor and someone who pursued and lived all of his dreams. And Monica is just so much fun to work with. They both are legends that take up space with their talent and elevate everyone’s work around them.
The series was very well received by the audiences and has been renewed for a second season. What are your wishes for the story in the upcoming season?
The ‘Fubar’ world is a fun world to play around in. I’m excited to spend more time with these characters because they’re all a little bit nuts, including mine. Anything can happen in season two and my main wish is to laugh a lot while making it, keep the action going and deliver a great show for our fans.
You’ve been in the acting industry for many years now, starring both in TV and film projects of all sorts. Which role did you find the most challenging so far and why?
TNT’s ‘The Last Ship’ was a challenging role for me that grew me as an actor. It’s such a high-concept show that had world-ending stakes and since it was my first series regular role, I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to deliver a high-level performance. I learned a lot over that five years and it’s where I got my true action chops, which helped so much for ‘Fubar’.
What intrigued you about acting and made you pursue it?
It’s such a rush. Always has been. It’s an opportunity to stretch what I know about life through the characters I play.
You are also a huge philanthropist and have been a proud member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles youth empowerment organization for over 10 years now. Tell us more about why this organization is so close to you, what is your role in the organization and what projects do you work on currently.
Mentorship impacts all of us. Think about someone in your life that has stepped up to help you illumine something on your path you couldn’t see for yourself. I believe these relationships are essential to the growth of humanity and it’s clear Big Brothers Big Sisters is making a positive impact nationwide. I’m proud to say I currently serve on the junior board, as well as still mentor my little brother Lyrik, who is not so little anymore. I met him when he was 11 and he is now 24. We’re very close.
Besides this, you also serve as a Global Ambassador to the non-profit organization buildOn, where you led on-the-ground teams to build schools in Malawi, Senegal, Haiti, Nepal, and Nicaragua. What is the most fulfilling emotion that you get from working on such meaningful projects? How was it seeing the reactions from the community?
These projects open my eyes and heart to the core of what truly matters. Family, community, opportunity, unity and equality. Also in striving to achieve and build amazing things in our lives, we can sometimes get too attached to the outcomes and get too obsessed in our own pursuits, at least I can, and these school-building trips help me shake free of that.
Education is a human right and it’s heartbreaking to know some human beings still don’t have access to school. To join forces with a community and build classrooms together is so inspiring. It lights a fire in me every time I go and the people I’ve met along the way have touched my heart deeply.
Besides acting and philanthropic work, what do you enjoy the most in life?
I am very adventurous and love the outdoors. I just want to be constantly immersed in nature.
How important is fashion to you?
I’m pretty simple. I just want to feel good and look good and be comfortable in what I’m wearing. I’m mostly into functional fashion. I’m coining that term.
What can you share with us about your upcoming projects?
I’ll be in the remake of ‘Roadhouse’, which is coming out near the end of this year or early next year. Not a lot of screen time, but a memorable role. I get to butt heads with Jake Gyllenhaal. I’ve been lucky in my career to work with some real talent.
THIS PHOTOSHOOT & INTERVIEW WERE CONDUCTED BEFORE THE SAG-AFTRA STRIKE!
Talent: Travis Van Winkle @travisvanwinkle
Photographers: Phil Chester & Sara Byrne @philchester @sarakbyrne
Stylist: Justin Ramirez @thejustinramirez
Groomer: Kristen Heitkotter @kikihaircutter
Editor: Timi Letonja @timiletonja
Interview by Jana Letonja @janaletonja