The silver screen is just the tip of the iceberg for 10-year-old Gabriel Silva, whose first feature film, Live By Night (a Prohibition-era crime thriller also starring Ben Affleck, Zoe Saldana and Sienna Miller) will hit theaters in 2017. This kid's future is so bright he’s wearing shades—and hats, tees, jewelry, and more from his new clothing and accessories line, Take Action Apparel & Gear.
Want to dress like Houston’s next movie star? With every purchase Silva makes a donation to the Allergy & Asthma Foundation of America and the Jump with Jahkiyla Foundation, which helps fund underprivileged kids' tuition to join team sports. This kid isn’t just making a future for himself, he’s making a future for others, and that makes Gabriel a style-setter for life.
Q: How do you describe your sense of style?
A: I think I have a unique sense of style, just like my personality. One day I may rock a skater boy look, the next I might dress preppy, and the next conservative... But whatever I put on, my Chucks are a must.
Q: What made you want to launch your own line of clothing?
A: When I came back home from spending time in L.A. for pilot season, I found out that three of my friends were bullied pretty bad while I was gone. Two actually left the school. I was really angry that I could not help them because I knew how they felt. I talked to my mom and we came up with the idea to make t-shirts to sell online and give a portion of the money to charities that help support kids that are bullied and have health issues like me. First it was just t-shirts, but now it has turned into bags, jewelry, caps, and a lot more cool things not just for kids but adults too. By giving a portion of the sales to The Jump with Jahkiyla Foundation and the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, I hope to spread awareness and help give kids like me a voice and let them know that we are in this together.
Q: You’ve really invested yourself in spreading the word about bullying. How did this topic become so important to you?
A: I was bullied from second grade until I left for pilot season when I was in fourth grade. I am small for my age and I have life-threatening allergies and asthma. So, I have first-hand knowledge about what it feels like to be picked on physically, emotionally, and mentally by people. I know that not everyone is going to like me, and I am actually okay with that. That really has never been something that has bothered me or even really been important. But, what is important that to me is that people respect me and treat me how I treat them.
Q: You’ve got to be pretty confident in yourself to pursue a professional acting career; how does that quality help you in other areas of your life?
A: I think that confidence has helped me press on even after hearing a "no." I am determined no matter what to keep pushing forward and achieve my goals. I think being an actor has helped me know that it is okay to have a plan B. I go into an audition now in hopes that I land the part but also knowing that it's okay if I don't. I look at it as a warm-up for the one with my name on it. I think that that is how life should work. If something doesn't work out one day, then it that was just practice for the next day when you score big!
Q: What else have you learned about working as an actor that you think would help other kids to know?
A: Even though I am young, I have had to grow up a lot and fast to be in this business. Kids getting into this business should know that even though it is a lot of fun, it is a lot of hard work and success doesn't come overnight. There are a lot of expectations for you as a professional. You will cry and you will laugh, sometimes at the same time, but in the end, it is worth it. My advice would be for them to find people that are willing to mentor you, stand by you and support you in your career no matter what. Those are the people that you know will be there when you have one credit on your resume or 50.
You have to study your craft, take a lot classes, get coaching, and learn as much as you can about the business from all angles, in addition to keeping up with your regular school work. But most of all, even kids need to realize that this is a business. You have to be professional, on time, know your lines, come ready to work and go to school on set, but most of all, be courteous to the people that are on set with you. The biggest surprise for me this year was that I had to pay taxes and I am not even a teenager yet!
Q: What is your favorite thing to do around Houston when you’re not working or in school?
A: I love going to the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. We went to the Health Museum for the first time in a while and I had a blast there too. I love to play chess and Monopoly. I take piano lessons and practice Tae Kwon Do. But mostly, I love my video games, watching TV, going to the movies, hanging out with my friends, and playing with my dog, Charlie.