On the Couch with Nick Afoa

Nick-Afoa-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Nick Afoa?
I’m a 38-year-old Aotearoa/Tamaki Makaurau-born and raised artist. I am proud of my heritage and lineage of both my parents. Samoan through my Dad and Croatian through my Mum. My little family of 4 consists of Josslynn my wife, and our kids Daniel and Fetuilelagi. I also have some awesome siblings – 4 younger sisters. I am a man of faith who believes in the ultimate form of love being through service to each other and the community. I feel blessed to be a vessel to others through storytelling gifts.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
To be honest? Save more money. I can’t say I regret a pathway or choices so to speak even if it came with struggle. However, I do regret that people sometimes get hurt in that process. Ultimately hindsight is a blessing when you can see what you needed to learn from that season in life.

Who inspires you and why?
My parents inspire me. I think as I get older and I see myself more in them, (the good and bad lol) I can see things from a different perspective. I’m reminded of their sacrifices. We weren’t well off but we had a lot of love and transparency. As I get older, I’m realising its the only thing that really matters. Love and truth. These simple but vital things to our happiness. It makes me want to provide that the best I can for my family.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Apart from the obvious of just being a light unto others and for others, my wife and I dream of a community project to alleviate hardships in the area she was raised in Durban South Africa. We are brainstorming around Creating and building an educational hub where young people can be upskilled and taught trades and skills to set them up for career pathways. Countless young people from these areas will never get close to having the access to this type of education. They can then bring their skills and small businesses back  into their  community.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. I can say I found a piece of myself here. In my 30s, I wanted to find out more about my Dally family as I grew up with limited knowledge. Not only was it one of the most beautiful places I had seen but I actually found family and learned more about our history.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I would take friends to one of many bushwalking or beach options. I love the nature back home and we’ve got some great beaches.

What are you currently reading?
I’m not much of a reader, but I had recently been reading some of Susan Sontag’s writings on the AIDS crisis in America 1990s, as part of my research for Tom Collins (RENT). Back then she was doing a lot to break down the stigma attached to AIDS at the time. Particularly with the metaphors that were detrimental to any type of forward thinking. AIDS as a plague – AIDS as a punishment.

What are you currently listening to?
I listen to a lot of different types of music and fall asleep to podcasts.  I love Spotify because it opens you up to a lot of unknown artists in the mainstream scene. My taste can go from hiphop to Rock, to Classical, to Jazz to soul to  Gospel.

Happiness is?
Happiness is love and being loved.

What does the future hold for you?
I feel the future is holding a space for someone to write stories that can go on stage to fulfil a gap that hasn’t been filled yet in a way that it hasn’t. A narrative that is specific to NZ/AUS Pacific. But also speaks to the world. I feel the next season is where I start putting more action into the creator in me as well as the actor not just the latter.

Nick stars as Collins in RENT – which plays the State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne: 17 February – 7 March, before heading to the Civic Theatre, Newcastle: 15 – 17 March, His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth: 11 – 19 May and the Canberra Theatre Centre: 7 – 13 June 2024. For more information, visit: www.rentmusical.au for details.

Image: Nick Afoa (supplied)