You may know Gabriel Macht as the hotshot lawyer and perennial badass Harvey Specter from the USA Network series ‘Suits’. Or perhaps for playing the title role and masked vigilante in ‘The Spirit’, the 2008 film adaptation of the 1940s newspaper comic strip by Will Eisner.
At Mr Feelgood, we became aware of his acting prowess in the brilliant, madcap 2009 independent movie ‘Middle Men’, which tracked the real-life stories of two guys short on sobriety and responsibility but possessing a momentous, game-changing idea to revolutionize the pornography industry.
But we have since grown to admire Gabriel for far more than his on-screen credentials, above all for his values and principles as a husband, father, son, brother and friend, all inspiring us on our own journey.
He uses his life and public platform to spread good, to highlight important issues, to support charities and to ‘walk the walk’ — not with the arrogant swagger of his on-screen ‘Suits’ persona, but with a genuine responsibility to contribute to improving the lot of many and, most crucially, the world he and his wife, actress Jacinda Barrett, will leave to their children’s generation.
That’s why we chose him as the third subject of our ‘Who The F*** Are You?’ profile, asking him the 20 questions we think get to the heart of who we are and which can offer wisdom to us all.
Gabriel was shot exclusively for Mr Feelgood this week by ace photographer Kurt Iswarienko, via pioneering remote technology, a collaborative team effort that further confirms the core belief behind the creation of this site – that creativity can still thrive amid the restrictions of the challenging times we find ourselves in.
Who the f*** are you?
I am me all the time. Holes and all. I am confident yet insecure, focused yet confused, present yet off and dreaming. I’m in a space in my life where I’m trying to locate who I am at my core and what makes me who I am. I’m trying not to judge who I am because when I do I become unbalanced and that’s not good for me or those around me. So I am trying to embrace the moments that come to me however challenging and dismantling… the goal is to work out how to organize, plan, balance myself with exercise and mindfulness, find clarity in the moments, stay on point, be vulnerable, challenge myself, and give.
How are you feeling right now?
Right now, I’m Feeling Good. After all, I’m talking to Mr Feelgood. I have so much to be grateful for. The good health of my family and friends. Certainly, the cliches of food on the table and a roof over my head are not taken for granted. I have love, support and friends of mine that are there for me. When I’m on track with my purpose I feel competent and confident. And, then, there are the times when I’m trying ‘to do’ too much… when I haven’t gotten my rest or exercise… when I’m not listening to my body, not listening to my heart, not being mindful… That’s when I’m not ‘Feeling Good’. I struggle. But, today… I’m Feeling Good.
Where did you grow up and what was it like?
The short answer is… I grew up in Beverly Hills, CA, the third child of four. I was the baby of the family till I was 11 years old. Played baseball and soccer (I quit soccer because I had exercise induced asthma and I couldn’t run the whole field…and, I got in a fight with my goalie because when I was playing defense and when he called for me to pass the ball to him — it went right through his legs and into our own goal. He called me stupid and that was it… I was given whatever card…is it yellow? And got kicked out of the game and I don’t remember going back.) I practiced piano, begrudgingly, went to Hebrew school, begrudgingly, and decided to quit sports after 9th grade because I was getting too many splinters in my ass sitting on the bench… and figured I better learn how to act. I wasn’t into reading… couldn’t finish a book, and school wasn’t ever where my head was at. I enjoyed telling stories… always finding that acting was a way I could express myself. Plus, those around me were feeding my self worth when I was performing so that’s when it became clear to go in the direction I felt competent.
The long answer to ‘where did you grow up?’ I feel that, for me…. I grew a little in that time… my formative years. I grew a lot in college at The Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. I grew up a bunch in NYC after my first real relationship ended. And, the most I’ve grown up, is when I got engaged and married my best friend in December 2004. It will be 20 years we’re together since our first blind date. I’m hoping for these coming months I do the most growing. My kids are growing up and I want to be there for them in the healthiest of ways.
What excites you?
Road trips in a camper excite me. It’s time where structure and freedom are both sides of the coin for me where I understand its flow and value. I’m on top of it… fulfilling the responsibilities of the camper van itself… we love to travel and I love being behind the wheel. I love the rolling hills and turns… of the different topography that awaits us. I’m excited by exploring various cultures, foods, historic spots, beautiful vistas. Being able to wander… being in the green… and able to stop where and when we please. Have a meditation or a nap and then continue on our journey without deadlines. When time is on my side… I’m grateful I’m able to have that time and be exposed to the world.
What scares you?
Plenty. As much as I like to be informed with what’s going on in the world… whenever I steal a moment and read the news… I’m horrified with the current events taking place. Of course, I’m inspired by the Black Lives Matter or the Me Too protests or our health community saving lives and working over time to find solutions for the pandemic — I have the utmost compassion for the need for equality. But, the overall ways in which there’s so many ill-equipped leaders at the forefront… it boggles my mind we have let racism, greed, and ultra-conservative borderline fanaticism run rampant, allowing power and hate to be used as a tool to disrupt and divide our nation, our cities, our humanity. The idea that we can’t figure out a way to end extreme partisanship and negotiate ways that will help our own, our neighbors, our foreign refugees, the disenfranchised, the mentally ill, the bankrupt, the homeless, the children who are being traded, the minority communities that have been redlined. How empathy and compassion are completely devoid in popular politics. That scares me.
What is your proudest achievement?
My offspring. I believe these two souls are bringing such light, warmth, empathy, compassion, talent, humor and love into the world. And, will continue to grow so beautifully.
What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
The hardest thing I have ever done is still in process. Trying to get to the bottom of how, what, why, when, and who I am. Uncovering all the hidden gems inside so I can understand how to navigate this world more peaceful, graceful, without judgement and with more clarity. I intend to do my best not to carry on the negative behaviors over to my children. Without sounding pretentious or ego-ic… I want the legacy I leave my children to be positive and free, not burdened by my behaviors that impede on their being seen, heard, and validated. I want that for me and my closest loved ones.
Who is your greatest mentor and what did they teach you?
My wife. She continues to teach me that intention is not enough and that it is action that shows real integrity. This is something I am working on… this is a lesson that continues to come up for me. And balance. Finding balance in it all.
Who are your fictional and real life heroes?
Navin Johnson from The Jerk is one of my all time fictional heroes. Real life? My wife. Jacinda Barrett. Talk about strength and character. She is a real leader. She shows up… and her impact on my children, me… those around her… she protects us and is able to create safety. She’s pragmatic. She looks at the whole piece and is able to nurture and guide with love. True hero.
What is your favorite item of clothing in your closet?
I have a worn down leather belt, where at the silver buckle there’s red paint chips behind an emblem of an old school fire fighter helmet covering two axes, that my father-in-law gave me before he passed. When he got out of the military in Australia… he trained to be a fireman which led him to teach the indigenous peoples of Papua New Guinea how to fight fires in the 60s. When he returned to Brisbane, Australia, he continued to be a firefighter and then went on to become Captain of Airport Rescue in the Fire Brigade. I have worn this belt for the past 16 years and although it puts holes in every one of my t-shirts… I continue to wear it.
What music did you love when you were 13 — and do you still love it now?
It was 1985 when I was thirteen and I connected to all sorts of music. I was into everything from heavy metal to pop to early rap…. Loved Motley Crue and Ronnie James Dio but could cross over to Prince in a heartbeat. I was in a band with one of my childhood friends, James Perse… and we played one song. ‘Purple Rain’. I performed in an elementary school talent show with my three best friends and we sung ‘The Message’ by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. And it was ‘If This Is It?’ by Huey Lewis that I sang at my Bar Mitzvah…. so I was all over the map with my music tastes. Simple Minds, Tears For Fears, Michael Jackson. Wham was huge… and, now when it comes on the radio or we have dance parties with the family… these songs bring me straight back. ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’… Foreigner.
What is the most inspiring book you have ever read?
‘The China Study’ was the most inspiring for me because as I read that book… I was immediately taken aback at what I was putting into my body and the potential ramifications of a less than healthy diet. It was (because of) that book that I became vegetarian based on the largest study being done to show the health benefits of eating a plant based diet. I also find Gary Zukav’s ‘Spiritual Partnership’, Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’, and Lewis Howes’ ‘The Mask Of Masculinity’ to be books that continue to inspire me as I go back to them.
What is a movie that left a lasting impression on you?
There are too many films that have impressed me along the way. I admire every genre. ‘Young Frankenstein’ and ‘Blazing Saddles’ — I continue to laugh until I’m in utter tears. Movie musicals — ‘Hair’, ‘Bugsy Malone’, and ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ — Milos Forman and Alan Parker both of whom I was fortunate to meet. I auditioned for ‘Man On The Moon’ — can’t remember which part I was up for… I think I was too nervous because I was in Milos Forman’s presence. And, I met Alan Parker at a friends birthday party and I told him one of my favorite films was ‘Bugsy Malone’. He looked at me deflated because his other films were far more prolific in most people’s minds. The kid in me just loves ‘Bugsy Malone’. I think the kid who’s just trying to do his best resonates with me. Then there’s ‘Spinal Tap’ and ‘Waiting For Guffman’ that are another couple of satire’s that I wouldn’t turn down an additional watch. And, to my horror, I think the French film, ‘Irreversible’, with Monica Bellucci, is a film that has the most lasting and ‘irreversible’ impression on me. It’s the greatest title ever because if you watch the film in it’s entirety — it’s virtually impossible to get the images out of your mind. You cannot reverse the content you were exposed to there. The subject matter is sexual abuse… and a man’s revenge on a perpetrator. This was so raw, felt so real, it struck a nerve that to this day I can feel the aggression in every way. Jacinda and I saw it years back in Australia in the only cinema I’ve ever been in where they had the sound on in the washrooms of the theater. When we both looked at each other while watching a 13-minute uncut rape scene… we looked at each other and said, ‘Why are we watching this?’ So, we took a break and went to the bathroom and it continued playing over the speakers in the bathroom… it just wouldn’t go away. We couldn’t escape it… The auditory/visual element of that film just kicked us both in the gut and will forever last as an impression of something that cannot be ignored.
What is your favorite word or saying?
I love you.
What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?
He was a man who counted his blessings each and every day and for a while pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes. And, when he stopped denying his innermost insecurities…. he sought help and made the changes to find inner peace, grace, clarity and true integrity. And, most important, it was his true honor to help raise his daughter, Satine, and his son, Luca, with their mother, Jacinda… a woman who continued to inspire him until his death.
And finally, a quickfire five favorites…
1985 Toyota LandCruiser
I call them ‘Comfort Eggs’… really soft boiled eggs with buttered toast mixed. Much like eggs with soldiers but all mixed together.