We had the good fortune of connecting with Neftali Hernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Neftali, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Neil Gaiman once said: “if you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained”. Risk-taking can be overwhelming for many and for good reason. It’s always easy to stay comfortable and complacent with what you currently have. Many people fear change. However, risk taking is pivotal in transformation. I think about many of todays great inventions and ideas and I can’t help but recognize that those people took many risks to bring their ideas to fruition. I’ve learned that a life without risk is just not worth living. You see so many people with incredible ideas and talents who drop their pursuits because society gives the perception that safety is the ultimate success. And although, to some extent, I believe safety is important and necessary, it may often lead to a lack of progression. I believe the ultimate success is to become the best person you are capable of becoming. When I made the decision to leave my full time job a few years ago to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams, I knew that I was taking a huge risk, and that it was going to poke at the stability I had in my life. However, I had a vision for my family and I, and I knew that the only way to attain the level of success that I wanted, and be able to provide for my family at the highest of levels, I had to dedicate my time to my dreams. It was not easy at first, but eventually it paid off. Since then, I’ve been cast in over a dozen TV/Films, I’ve created an E-Commerce business that has generated over 6-figures in revenue, and more recently have partnered up with my good friend/business partner to create FYRE Media Group where we help local businesses and influencers grow their online presence. It is important to note that it is essential to surround yourself with like minded people who believe in you. I am forever thankful to my family and close friends who have believed and supported me throughout this process.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
At this point in my career, I am most proud of how much I’ve been able to do in such a short period of time. It’s exciting to see people seeking the value that I am able to provide. Wether that’s through acting, my E-Commerce business, or newly founded media group, There are have been many struggles along the way. As an actor, you quickly learn the industry is full of rejection and instability. You must learn to have thick skin and know that there is no clear path or ‘next steps” like one would have on the corporate ladder. There are many reasons why you may not book a role: Too tall, too short, too dark, too white, too in shape, too out of shape, hair color, too much acting, not enough acting, etc. The list is endless. When I first started, I did not realize how important it was to just ‘let go’ after finishing an audition. I would dwell on past auditions and wondered what I could have done differently. There are many factors that are out of your control in this industry, and you have to learn that all you can do is give the best of what you can control and then move on to the next audition. If you dwell on past auditions, then it will mentally eat you alive. You cannot take things personally. All you can do is work on your craft and be the best you can be, and that is it. I’ve been able to apply that same mentality to my other businesses and have found it to be very helpful. Lastly, it is important to remember that YOU are YOUR BIGGEST CHEERLEADER. No one will ever work as hard as you will to make YOUR dreams come true. You must put in the work and ALWAYS get back up, no matter how tough it gets. If it was easy, then everybody would be doing it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Popular spots to go to are Georgia Aquarium, the High Museum, or the Coke Museum. There is so much culture in the city that honestly it would be best to just walk around and see what you stumble upon. If nature is more your taste then you can visit Piedmont Park. If you prefer to learn history, then you can visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Hard to recommend any one thing in the city when there is such a vibrant culture and so many things to do. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It is very difficult to narrow this down to a single person because I’ve had so many family members (especially my parents), mentors, and friends who have been pivotal in both my personal and professional growth. However, I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my beautiful wife, Denise. From day one, she has believed in me unconditionally and has always pushed me to become the best person I am capable of becoming. She taught me early on that although change can be uncomfortable and scary, it can often lead to fulfillment and success. Seeing her work so hard throughout her life to attain her dreams has been a tremendous motivator for me. I simply would not be where I am at today if it wasn’t for her.