By: Markos Papadatos, Contributing Editor
Kristos Andrews is one multi-faceted individual: multi-Emmy award-winning actor, producer, as well as a former champion in extreme sports. Andrews chatted with this Greek-American journalist about the hit digital drama series “The Bay” on Amazon Prime.
Andrews’ mantel holds seven Daytime Emmy awards for his work on The Bay. “The feeling’s surreal, but what outweighs everything is the thankfulness to have the respect from my peers in this business, and the encouragement to continue pursuing what I love,” he said.
In the show, he portrays Pete Garrett, a complex yet versatile character. When asked what he liked and didn’t like about Pete, Andrews expressed “to be honest one thing that’s hard for me to appreciate about Pete is the fact that he hasn’t really had to work so hard for all of the wealth, since he’s heir to a throne. Personally, the people I find most inspiring are those who’ve put in the efforts to make things happen and build what they have.”
“With this said, Pete comes from a tough, challenging past, which I feel grounds him,” he said. “He’s got a humble understanding of what it meant to have nothing, and therefore a deeper perspective about honor, in the position of power he is today.”
“I like that he has a good heart, and keeps it real,” he said. “I like that he has compassion and honors those he cares about. Before entering harm’s way for the defense of himself, he will have rather done so many times for the sake of who he cares for, hence what can be seen in Season 4 when he pays Nathan a visit. I think that’s his most aggressive point yet, but it was for the sake of who he loves and cares for.”
When asked how he handles being dialogue-heavy, Andrews responded, “Most actors will have a different process, which is fine, everyone’s entitled to their own ways. My methods vary as the material does, but there’s a certain process with learning new material that I enjoy.”
“Before locking the words down, I’ll build the feelings. Not only is this more gratifying for me as an actor, but I feel it makes for a more genuine performance, centered in the heart. The scene’s energy is brought to life before the technical mind can unconsciously stiffen things by placing too much focus on exact wording before we truly know the heart of why we’re saying what it is we’re saying in the first place. The words are, as we can say, the ‘tip of the iceberg’ so it’s best to center yourself within the heart of it first, then the words follow naturally, and can be made verbatim afterward,” he said.
Andrews continued, “To be blunt, with most human beings, everything we do or say originates from a feeling which came before it. I’ll read through scenes just a couple times, enough to understand the points and purpose, then put the paper down, have a partner read it with me, and intentionally spitball my way through, leading with the heart, rather than the technical mind, allowing my understanding of the character to guide my footing.”
“Ultimately I feel a scene is an exchange of energy. When the structure and flow of the energy and feeling is there, then it’s that much easier for the words to fall into place as you tighten it up,” he said.
He noted that once an actor knows their character well, the task becomes easier to do. “Luckily for me, I work with great people who make this process easier for me. Special nod to Gregori J. Martin, he’s a great writer, as well as Wendy [Riche] who I adore, and the team of The Bay as well as the other works I’m involved in, truly. I am thankful.”
“The material has been solid and fulfilling,” he said. “Even when the feelings are painful, and even when you need to reference the toughest moments in life or imagine the unimaginable. While holding steady to a sense of supervision or oversight on yourself, the experience of letting these feelings live genuinely, process and do their thing, is ultimately a deep experience.”
“It all results in building our understanding towards life, building our empathy, bridging the difference between the variations of people we’re surrounded by and strengthening our life force in general. In many ways, acting is ‘the art of being human.’ If one genuinely connects, it expedites their growth rate of understanding and wisdom gained through life experience,” he said.
This journalist has always been impressed with Andrews’ abilities to tackle both dramatic and subtle acting on The Bay with equal ease, thus showcasing his wide range as an entertainer, which makes him one of his all-time favorite actors in the contemporary entertainment scene.
Each day, Andrews is motivated by his family, as well as his executive producer Gregori J. Martin. “Gregori is quite the motivational force to be working with. His motivation as a brother and business partner inspires my motivation. Also, generally speaking, I’m motivated by the fact that life becomes greater with every day,” he said.
“Our general knowledge grows, wisdom grows, relationships grow, and so does our understanding and appreciation towards life itself. Of course, there are good days and bad, but overall I feel a little more fulfilled each day, exciting or not, good or bad, after all, it’s growth and progress,” he said.
Andrews added, “Life’s a gift. I’m grateful for who I have in it, grateful for the journey it is, and my privilege to step back into it each day.”
For aspiring actors, he noted that rejection and negativity are all part of the process, especially in the beginning. “Their doubts are only to test and strengthen your own faith. There’s a process for any path, fair enough, but especially this one, so be prepared” he said.
“Establish pre-conceived forgiveness for all those who aren’t going to be kind to you throughout the journey,” he said. “Understand that it’s just their own problem and not yours, it’s their own journey and process. Important to remember, do your best to continue being the kind person you know you can be, the best version of yourself you can be.”
“Be in full acknowledgment of any help or kindness you get, as any form of it is already beyond what was an obligation for most people. This will stand out, as a lot of people tend to lose their awareness about the value of existing as an acknowledging person. It’s so important to set a good standard for anyone who may end up looking up to anything you may achieve, so be that version of yourself that you’d look up to yourself, and be genuine about it,” he elaborated.
Andrews shared that it is essential to keep your gratitude alive every step of the way. “Despite the given rough patches, remember it’s a gift in itself just to be on a path chosen out of the passion of your heart, something many people can’t say they’ve even had a chance at. You’ve got to be strong, and I don’t mean in an aggressive way, but rather, in a calm and centered way. Strengthen your nature to hold steady to what excites you, and tread forward with patience and peace, despite all the testing energies that surround you,” he said.
“The most important thing of all is to make sure your passion actually lives within the craft, the art form, itself,” he said. “The love for the art has to outweigh any anticipation of fame, fortune, what have you, surface reasons, in order to not be empty in what you’re doing, and in order for your work to come from a real place. You must be willing to focus diligently, give the craft the respect it deserves, and build a deeper understanding and appreciation for it. This will establish a solid center of gravity for everything.”
He expressed that he is fortunate enough to be part of a good team who essentially is family to him, and they support each other. “Keep in mind, no connection is a ‘how can you help me,’ connection. Rather, it’s a ‘how can we help each other’ connection, and if it feels right. The awareness to keep things mutual and “teammate-like” as possible will get you much further than an attempt to go from one to the next hoping or expecting to just be helped. Things are very much based on trust and appreciation. The essence of teamwork and building relationships, is just how things work, especially in today’s landscape.” he said.
Andrews praised his co-star Karrueche Tran, who plays his wife on The Bay. “Our connection as co-stars is special, people mention it a lot, and I appreciate her as a person very much. Beyond that, each co-star I’ve been paired with, I’m genuinely thankful for. They’ve each been talented and kind. All a pleasure. And whoever I end up playing opposite, I’m sure is meant to be. That’s my perspective,” he said.
In the little spare time that Andrews has, he enjoys petting the dogs, working out, watching a movie or show and skateboarding.
Speaking about skateboarding, Andrews is an X Games Champion and two-time Guinness World Record holder in the sport. “That was trained for but wasn’t expected. Skateboarding was the sport I grew up with, and I’ll love it forever and it’ll always be a part of me,” he said.
“Skateboarding helped me establish a sense of identity, and also helped my faith in life where it helped bridge the gap between fear and possibility,” he said. “I do kick the idea around in my mind, of honoring my roots in skateboarding in a project in some purposeful form, but a clear vision of how that would be best has yet to come around.”
On the origin of his name and ethnic background, the actor said with a laugh, “First thought many have is, why am I not full on Greek, with the name Kristos. I’m only a small percentage Greek but I’m proud of it. Greece has a legendary history and it’s an honor to have a Greek name.”
“This may sound passionate but I feel that any attention on the fact that my name doesn’t directly apply to which culture or group of people I’m from, only serves to reduce overall differences and separation between people in general, which is so important in today’s world. We’re all human beings and ideally, we get to a point where one’s race or culture can’t be determined or judged just by what their name is on paper,” he said.
“The vast majority of my family lives in England, on my mom’s side, where they date back many generations of U.K. lineage, with fitting names like James, Thomas, Edward, Frederick, Francis, William and so on,” he said. “My dad’s side is a few generations American but dates back to Austria and Poland. I’m proud of the combination I am.”
He elaborated, “To explain how I got the first name Kristos, well, my mom said rather than the usual process of writing a checklist and narrowing down the potential names, she said she made the decision to meditate on it for a while. To be more specific, she made the decision to pray for it. My mom was a great artist, and she was always very in touch with her spiritual side, which I grow to appreciate more about her every day. When the name finally came to her, she said it hit very clearly. And well, that was that. It was the name for me.”
“My mom always had an affinity for the spiritual side of life and existence, angels and realms beyond most of our comprehension, which I grow to appreciate more about her more every day. She said before I was born one day she was mid-prayer for it, and finally, there it came to her, clear as day. She said it came to like the sunrise. Well, that was that. It was the name for me,” he said.
On his definition of success, Andrews said, “Success, to me no more means the attainment of a goal or dream, than it does the attainment of inner peace, happiness, and growth of wisdom and understanding. If we really think about it, it’s probably the main purpose we’re here for. No labels nor anything material follow us after this lifetime, so it must come down to what’s deeper, or what we could simply call spiritual development.”
For his dedicated fans of The Bay, he said, “Thank you for your support and interest in what we do. Thank you for the appreciation of our work. Thank you for keeping us motivated.”
Photo Credit: Erik Johnson