Christian Navarro, who plays Tony in 13 Reasons Why, revealed that, unlike his character on the show, he wasn’t always the voice of reason. In fact, growing up, he was a bully.
“I’m gonna give you the scoop, all right,” said Navarro, 25. “It’s no secret now, especially in light of the MTV Movie and TV Awards, that I’m not the tallest guy. So growing up, I was bullied. In middle school I was bullied. But I learned pretty quickly that, if you bully, you don’t get bullied. So I was a bully in middle school. But then I got to high school and cut all that nonsense out.”
Christian said that he got a clean slate after changing schools in high school. “People didn’t like me. Right? If you’re a jerk, people don’t like you. We all want to belong to a community, so I figured the best way to do that was to stop being a jerk. Be nice, start listening to people, be empathetic. It’s worked out for me.”
Christian also discussed the controversy surrounding the show’s depiction of suicide. “I did an interview recently, and the woman interviewing me said, ‘I understood the controversy until I watched it with my child,’ and I thought, ‘What a perfect rebuttal to the blowback.’ That’s what we made it for; for people to talk about it. And if that scene, particularly, forces people to broach that situation and talk to their kids about where their kids are at in high school and mentally, how they’re dealing with their friendships and what’s going on . . . if people are talking about it still, and more conversations are being generated, I think we’ve done our job.”
Outside of the Hannah’s suicide, the show reveals how online bullying is playing a big part in teens’ lives and also confronts sexual assault as well. For Christian, he hopes that “Justice For Jessica” is served in season two. “Season two, I think we’ll see a little more exploration of the other characters’ perspectives of these events (from season one) and then the ongoing events. The trial. I think it will have a lot to do with retribution. And justice is really the word that everyone keeps throwing out there. Justice for Jessica, because I think that would be a shame if we didn’t tie that up somehow.”
Christian, a Bronx native, admitted that although driving a Mustang makes up many of Tony’s scenes, he had to get his driver’s license specifically for the show. “I landed, they took me to a driving lesson, and I said, ‘You guys made a mistake here,'” he joked. “But they were very generous and they really wanted me for the role. They got me driving lessons and my license, and now I’m a licensed California driver, much to my dad’s horror!”
When it comes to his personal life, Christian has been reported as being in a relationship, but cleared up his current status. “I’m single! (My ex-girlfriend) and I separated a few months ago, and I’m single and doing my thing.” As for his celebrity crushes? “I have two. Paige VanZant. I’m a big mixed martial artist my whole life, and I’m a big fan of mixed martial arts. Paige is absolutely my celebrity crush. But I was sitting 20 feet away from Hailee Steinfeld, and she got on that stage and she looked phenomenal. Hailee, if you’re watching, you look phenomenal. You are my celebrity crush!”