"It's Infinite": Younger Star Nico Tortorella on Beauty and Self-Identity

Earlier this summer, as I sat on my cushion at the Mndfl meditation studio in Brooklyn, one thing became abundantly clear: I needed to interview Nico Tortorella. I was at a reading of the Younger star’s poetry book, All of It Is You, and watched in awe as they fielded questions from the audience, treating the book like a tarot deck. Volunteers were asked to make personal inquiries then pick a number, at which point Tortorella would flip to that page and let the visible poem be the answer. Sometimes, the writer would pause thoughtfully after reading it aloud, rubbing their thumb and pointer finger together as if pulling an answer from mid-air, and offer an interpretation that might resonate with the inquirer. People laughed; people cried. The positivity in the room was palpable. Part of a Pride event, the reading was shorter than usual, and Tortorella insisted I only got a taste of what one is typically like—I could only imagine.

An avid Younger fan, I had never seen this side of Tortorella. I was used to seeing them as their character Josh: a sweet, brooding tattoo artist who I still hope ends up with Liza, by the way (team Josh forever). While Tortorella believes Josh is a part of them (which we’ll discuss later), there’s a lot, lot more to the actor. Tortorella, who identifies as gender-neutral, is a passionate activist. From wearing a gown to the GLAAD Media Awards to hosting numerous Pride events to speaking openly about their gender fluidity, they are constantly advocating for inclusion and the breakdown of gender binaries. They are also infatuated with poetry, constantly sharing new work with their followers on Instagram. But perhaps what makes Tortorella most captivating is that they are unapologetically themself—a rarity in our increasingly presentation-based, social media–driven world. As we discussed drag, beauty standards, self-care, and more, the multihyphenate offered insights that showcased a deep self-awareness. Below, find our full conversation.