Alex Aldea ’99 as Martin Luther in a CNN series.

It sounds like a plotline with potential: At age 40, an attorney and partner in a small investment bank chucks it all to become an actor, surprising no one more than himself and shrugging off a chorus of naysayers. 

Such is the trajectory of Alex Aldea ’99, who ditched his mainstream career roughly three years ago to pursue a latent passion. His “know thyself” revelation came when he agreed, his lack of acting experience notwithstanding, to take a lead role in a web series a friend developed. Aldea fell in love with acting the minute he stepped foot on the set.

“It took me a couple of months to come to grips with the idea of, ‘Wow, can I really, at 40, I mean as a rational human being, can I start this whole new career now?” he asked himself. “And the gut feeling came back: ‘Yes, you know this is your path. You've got to do it.’”

Aldea got some training, started looking for work, and found it. His growing résumé includes a lead (he played Martin Luther) in a CNN series, Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History; a role in an episode of CBS’s Blue Bloods and in several independent feature films and other work. He won five awards for a short film he wrote, produced, and acted in.

This winter, Aldea, who lives in New Jersey, heads to Los Angeles for an extended stay as the representative of newly formed Paterson (N.J.) Film Commission. He’ll be in L.A. for pilot season, when new series are cast, and he’s looking to land a role.

The reduced paychecks and other drawbacks of his new career are beside the point for Aldea, who can’t imagine doing anything else. “My new life is a constant series of new discoveries and adventures,” he says. “It is never boring even when it is tough and the work is hard and for long hours. I simply love it, and I’m a better person when I’m on set, doing what I love.” 

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