Actor Josh Wingate is an actor. He is also a martial arts master. Where he missed the bar, he says, was not being a martial artist of the psyche, and now describes himself as “a white belt of the mind, maybe a yellow belt now”. He has learned about growing up without growing stale and keeps enough youthful imagination and whimsy to stay openhearted, ready for new lessons. “One of the most important relationships you can have,” he says, “is with yourself. We are programmed to fear each other. The most courageous thing a person can do is to stop fearing others. We are responsible for our own anger, our own resentment.” To this end, he has learned to re-program thought patterns that perpetuate negative personal information.
Having been raised by his mother who stayed single for his whole boyhood, Josh recognizes that without the active participation of his father, abandonment was an issue. He got picked on for being a Mama’s boy and being too sensitive, so he learned how to be tough and insensitive, to be a man, qualities he thought would keep him safe in this world. After 35 years, he had, and is most grateful for, “an amazing breakthrough” in his relationship with his father and a wonderful connection they now have. He is aware of the irony in this since now he wants to be exactly the man he thought he shouldn’t be, the loving sensitive caring man.
Because he still carries a deceptively tough look about him (until he smiles and then the real and especially tender Josh pops right out), he plays intense roles as an actor, the bad guys, the heavies. Of the tough veneer he no longer needs, he says it was there for survival and existed for needs he no longer has. He can now look at a reaction from someone else and not assume it is his lack evoking the response. He knows that a negative expression in someone’s face may be solely about that person and not about Josh at all. Always attracted to self-awareness, he no longer tortures himself about what kind of person he needs to be to please others. How does this relate to his acting? He used to bring a lot of his own doubts into the process and try to create something that would be interesting to others. Now he is not so much performing as being truthful.
Always a visual artist who drew and sculpted, he was fifteen when he took a theater class in high school and found the joy of being given the space to express himself freely. About his theater teacher and mentor Frank Moffet, he says, “Frank pushed me to break out of my safety-net zone and let out the emotions. He gave me an Al Pacino monologue with vulgarities and I thought you can’t swear out-loud in high school. I changed my major to theater. I was a varsity ice-hockey player so kind of a contradiction to the traditional actor.”
It was college for a short time and then some theater work in Massachusetts before he came to Los Angeles. The acting class he thought he was getting into with teacher Dee Wallace turned out to be a life class, “a little new-age and great.” He self defines as a character actor and just finished a series called Her Story, written starring and directed by transgender women about transgender dating world. It was very eye opening to him; he credits this experience with having made him a better man, more compassionate. Josh’s journey from boyhood to manhood with increasing awareness and compassion drawn from every experience is best heard in his own voice.
What does he want to do next? He would love a series regular role. He is attracted to Blood Line with Sissy Spacek and Sam Sheppard. Ben Mendelsohn who is, “blowing me away with how free he is. I would love that kind of a role with so much truth. I want something so I can share humanity and heal people. I have cried watching movies.”
His love letter? He talks about one to his younger self and one to Frank Moffet. With the people in Josh’s life who have had and still have a variety of impact, he could be writing a slew of them. Let’s hope he does. For himself, for those he loves and for the history books.