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Josh McDermitt On the Transporting Qualities of Music, his Health Yo-Yo, and Living to Your Fullest Potential
Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: What inspires you?

Josh McDermitt: Everything. I know that sounds like a cop-out answer, but I find inspiration in literally just about everything. As an actor, I have to watch people and observe their behaviors—this is how I create characters. My daily surroundings feed my work, whether it’s something I’m working on right now or it’s something down the road. Music, art, landscape – these are all things I draw inspiration from. Music is very transporting. I’ll hear a song for the first time and I rarely listen to the lyrics. I picture that song playing as a soundtrack to a movie, or even just in the background of someone’s life. This all sounds weird, but I have an active imagination, and music opens the floodgates of that area of my brain.

RP: What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life?

JM: Myself. I stand in my own way on a daily basis. I don’t know if this is something I will ever overcome completely, and I’m oddly okay with that. That’s not to say I’m okay with standing in my way and in turn allowing it to impede my progress, but I’m okay with the struggle of overcoming obstacles despite myself.

RP: How do you stay healthy?

JM: I’m on a constant yo-yo of health. I will go a week eating incredibly clean, but then I’ll follow that up with a month’s worth of binge eating. Then I hit the gym and eat clean, and then I mix it up with core exercises, yoga, Pilates, and sitting on an incline bench while checking my phone. For my mind, I try to reduce stress by finding quiet time and meditating. Never underestimate the power of sitting quietly.

RP: What’s the best advice you could give someone about life?

JM: Stop trying to figure it out. I love puzzles, but when I’m done putting together a puzzle, I feel accomplished, and then I wonder, “What’s next?” Then I go start another puzzle. Life is a puzzle that I feel like we’ll never fully put together. And I like that because, ultimately, I don’t want to have life figured out and then wonder, “What’s next?” That seems scary to me. I like to be surprised by life; it’s a good thing to search for the puzzle pieces. It’s human nature to work on ourselves, to get better in mind, body, and spirit, so there’s nothing wrong with trying to live life to your fullest potential.

RP: What projects are you currently working on?

JM: The Walking Dead on AMC, where I play the role of Eugene Porter. This has been the most creatively fulfilling job I’ve ever been a part of, and I count every day I’m a part of it as a blessing. My work has been elevated just from working on the show, and I hope I can bring everything I’ve learned during my time there to my next projects. This show is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Josh McDermitt is an actor who has appeared in Mad Men, and currently can be seen on the critically acclaimed series The Walking Dead.

PHOTO: Isaac Sterling

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