Just before I first chatted with Michael Theo, I was pacing around my desk. This is because I was feeling excited and nervous. I usually get this way just before interviewing someone who’s doing rad stuff, and Theo’s story is a hundred percent one worth telling. This man first hit the Aussie scene when he discussed dating with Asperger’s on the smash-hit program, Love on the Spectrum, and since then has gone from stride to stride. Theo now has his own podcast, was in an episode of Hardball, and has recently given a TED Talk at TEDxSydney.
When Theo picked up the phone, it was three days before said TED Talk. Basically, the first thing he told me was that the prospect of doing it was making him “pretty excited and maybe slightly nervous.” So, it was nice to know we were in similar boats, even though Theo’s waters were much more high stakes than mine. He said, “The reason I feel slightly nervous is because it’s an audience of two-thousand people. I don’t ever recall ever having an audience that large.”
We then went on to have a good old chat about what’s brought him to this point. We discussed Love on the Spectrum, his podcast, being an actor in Australia, and what his TED Talk’s all about. We also talked about how the government and our communities can support folks with Asperger’s. So here are all of those deets:
Michael Theo on ‘Love on the Spectrum’
Love on the Spectrum is an Aussie program that follows folks on the autism spectrum as they go on dates, have long-term relationships, and try to find love. Theo was grateful for his time on this program, as he was able to use this platform to grab other opportunities. “If it wasn’t for Love on the Spectrum, I wouldn’t have achieved any of this,” he noted.
Theo also has a theory as to why the program resonated with so many people. “It comes across as wholesome and genuine,” he explained. “Everyone who took part in that show is not trying to be anybody else, they’re just being their authentic selves. And for some reason, they found themselves falling in love with me.”
Who and What Is Mr A+?
Mr A+ is the name of Theo’s podcast. In this podcast, he covers everything from movie reviews to catching up with old friends from school. It also has a “strict no COVID slash political talk policy.”
But why is it called Mr A+? Well, it’s actually Theo’s nickname. “When I first joined Love on the Spectrum, I started saying that an A+ partner looked like me, and then my mother started calling me Mr. A+,” he expressed. And from then, it just kinda stuck.
Michael Theo’s Acting Career
“I always wanted to do acting, ever since I was a kid,” admitted Theo. “It’s one of three biggest passions, aside from railways and animals.”
He then went on to explain how he got cast in the comedy show Hardball. “I’m friends with a director named Darren Ashton, who’s working on a show that’s still in pre-production,” said Theo. “He told me, I was the first actor to be cast. He told me that he wanted to work with me ever since he first saw Love on the Spectrum. And so, he invited me to get me a part in an episode of Hardball, for the second season, so I can get some experience of what being on set is like.”
While Theo didn’t mention what this new program’s all about, it’s rad that he’s getting more work.
Michael Theo’s TED Talk
Theo was so pumped to tell me what his TED Talk was all about. “I’ll be talking about my life experiences, my life journey, and how the views on success have changed,” he said. Theo then went on to reveal, “Ten years ago, I thought that a domestic life was what success looked like. But now, I see an actor’s life as success. Although, I still wish to be married and have my own place.”
Theo is happy that his life experiences have broadened what his definition of success is. However, he believes that it’s more than fine for other people to just have domestic aspirations. Theo stated it all “depends on the person’s life and their journey.”
What Can We Do to Support People With Asperger’s?
More can and should be done by our government and in our communities to support people with Asperger’s. Theo believes that more folks with Asperger’s need to be given more opportunities to succeed.
“Give those people a chance, and see how they’ll go,” argued Theo. “For me, I actually have high-functioning Asperger’s. Which means I’m still able to perform tasks just as well as anybody else. The thing is, people with Asperger’s, they have difficulties with social skills. But they are still capable of learning as well as anybody else. They just learn things differently, like I did.”
Theo also has some advice for other folks that have Asperger’s. “Keep putting yourself out there. Don’t give up. Do the best in whatever it is you do. Give it your absolute best. And don’t get disheartened or discouraged by people who tell you that you can’t do it, because they’re wrong.”