Most people don’t spend their entire lives looking over their shoulders. They don’t have to worry about imminent death at the hands of bloodthirsty cartels, their sicarios, or other thugs at their disposal. Fewer still have grandmothers who have witnessed the gruesome murder of their fathers when they were just 9. And only a scant number have fled their home, leaving everything they knew behind, in order to start a new life in a foreign country at barely five years of age. Actor and musician Bryan Arion has lived to tell this tail and more in his short lifetime.
The story begins in Arion’s birthplace – the rough and parlous, mountainous terrains of Chilpancingo Guerrero, the poorest and most violent state in Mexico, and one of the most dangerous places in the world. The area is renowned for its severe poverty, immense violence, and danger in every corner. As If that wasn’t bad enough, Bryan’s mother’s side of the family was heavily involved in the cartel. Some became victims, and others were forced to join rival organizations to protect themselves. Several spent years looking for a way out but couldn’t leave without risking their own lives, and those of their loved ones. When a few of them did try to finally escape, the cartel beheaded Arion’s great-grandfather in front of his 9-year-old daughter – Arion’s grandmother, as an example and threatened to execute the whole family.
Constant worry and pain took hold of Arion’s family and precipitated events that would haunt him for many years. Luckily, when he was barely five, his mom managed to escape Mexico with him and fled to the US. They ended up in a small town in North Carolina where they had distant relatives and began the process of rebuilding what was left of their lives. However, a new country and new opportunities didn’t automatically make everything easier.
They didn’t look or sound the same as everyone else in their new area, and could barely speak English, which didn’t make matters any better. Sadly because of this, Arion experienced multiple instances of racism and discrimination that filled him with anger and sadness. While music and acting had made his life bearable in Mexico, he had to do much more than that to get by in the US. Quickly understanding the need to defend himself, he began training mixed martial arts and discovered his second love: Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai.
Meanwhile, Arion’s mother worked tirelessly to ensure her son got a better chance at life than she did. She immersed him in the art of theater, acting in plays, and had him learn how to play guitar and piano, which nurtured his talent and developed his acting and musical skills. Eventually, he found himself at a crossroads, forced to choose between acting and MMA. After some deliberations, he chose acting and has never once regretted the choice. Over the years, Arion has achieved incredible success as an actor. He has appeared in numerous music videos, commercials, TV shows, and has several new and exciting projects set to release in the near future – almost unimaginable feats for a poor kid from the jungles of Mexico.
Thankful for how much life has tested him, Arion believes nothing is impossible, and his experiences repeatedly proved that. His dream is to one day write a book and direct a movie about his grandmother’s life, and the struggles she overcame. Arion further encourages everyone to pursue their goals, use each barrier as ammunition and live like tomorrow is never promised.
Article presented by Amir Bakian
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