Thor Macht opens up about overcoming depression and life after Godwin

Thor Macht (l) as the farmer’s son in Central Health Super Bowl Commercial.

While some high school graduates say goodbye to school forever, others stay involved and make a lasting impact long after graduation.

Godwin alumnus Thor Macht,  who graduated in 2013, is a prime example of staying involved in his alma mater post graduation.

Macht was born in New Orleans and moved to Richmond  when he was two months old. From there, Macht’s unique childhood began.

Growing up, Macht was a shy kid who was always involved in music and performance. He was in choir from the beginning of elementary school and loved to perform in talent shows.

Although he enjoyed what he did, he did not always like his image at the time.

“I was a really big geek up until the seventh grade,” said Macht.

Finding self-confidence continued to be an issue for Macht from fourth through sixth grade. He was an unhealthy weight for his age and others let him know it in cruel ways.

“I couldn’t do anything physical for more than five minutes without breathing hard and was often made fun of for it. Starting New Year’s 2007, I worked my butt off and ate healthier and by New Year’s 2008, I lost 50 pounds and started growing taller,” said Macht.

Life improved slightly for Macht when he enrolled at Godwin in the fall of 2009. He began to get involved as he joined the football team and participated in the choir program.

But as high school progressed, the challenges from his childhood returned as quickly as they seemed to leave. He lacked self-confidence, self-worth, and purpose in life.

“I didn’t know who I was,” said Macht. “I tried my hardest to impress everyone, but always felt like I was never good enough to amount to anything. I had been struggling with depression since the fifth grade and didn’t know what to do.”

Macht hit his lowest point midway through his junior year. One freezing night, Macht found himself sitting atop the bleachers of Axselle Stadium. Looking over the field, then looking over the edge, Macht considered ending it all.

As he wrapped his belt around his neck and pushed himself closer to edge, he suddenly stopped himself.

“I always remembered hearing people say how great life got once senior year happened and people learned more about themselves by then,” said Macht. “I stopped before harming myself and wanted to live life as the real Thor Macht and not behind the mask I was forced to wear.”

Macht at a Godwin game.

The epiphany to save himself marked the end of his period of depression.

Through continuation of football, choir, and school spirit, and being himself, everything continued to click for Macht into the beginning of his senior year.

“I became fully confident in myself, and it felt great to be myself and show my hype. People around me were really happy to finally see and be around the true Thor Macht,” said Macht.

His newfound confidence in himself led to a life-changing accomplishment. In the fall of 2012, he was named Most Valuable Eagle (MVE).

“It honestly meant the world to me and it changed my life. I remember seeing the award presented when I was a freshman and thought ‘how awesome it would be if I won that’,” said Macht.

Macht believes he received the award as a result of unmatched school spirit, as he was named Most Spirited in his senior class superlatives.

“I was always the guy that was hyped every Friday night for Godwin football and I always gave 110 percent during every spirit week,” said Macht.

The reception of the award presented Macht with a new mindset and positive mentality, as he did not carry what he believed to be the typical traits of a MVE, such as star athlete, class officer, or a 4.0 GPA.

“It was probably the biggest upset in the history of the award,” said Macht. “The students I was up against were, what I believed, the real definitions of what an MVE is. It gave me the underdog mentality that I still have today.”

After Macht completed his culminating senior year, he hit another roadblock in his life. At first, he attended Morgan State, in Md. for a semester, and then went to Reynolds Community College for a year. He eventually dropped out to pursue other careers.

“I wasn’t happy putting my time and money into something where my heart wasn’t into,” said Macht.

The first career Macht pursued was photography. After looking back at the photos his mother and Sandy Spicknall took of him playing football and performing in choir, he immediately took interest.

His career took off once he purchased his first Canon camera lens. With the faster shutter speed, it was optimal for sports photography.

Macht found other ways to succeed in photography over time.

“Social media definitely helped. It got me jobs with Henrico Citizen, RVAGamebreak, and the professional indoor football team Richmond Roughriders,” said Macht.

Although Macht is a hardworking photographer today, he did not get here without struggles along the way.

“My biggest challenge was my first family photo shoot. I remember being so nervous during the shoot, but thankfully I nailed it, which got me more work after that,” said Macht.

After enduring career hardships, success stood out most in his mind.

“As a photographer, my greatest accomplishment has to easily be seeing all of the smiles and joy on the faces and families when they see my photos,” said Macht.

Ever since high school graduation, Macht began to pursue a career in acting. He grew interested in high school after watching friends perform in the Godwin theatre, but never had the time.

Shortly after graduation, his dad showed him a casting call seeking background actors for the television show “Turn: Washington’s Spies,” a Revolutionary War-era drama. After getting screen time for a few episodes, other opportunities came knocking.

“That first season opened doors for me with other actors and casting directors for other projects,” said Macht.

Most recently, Macht participated in what he considered one of his greatest accomplishments as an actor. After travelling to western Va., he acted in one of the main roles as the farmer’s son for a Centra Health commercial aired during the Super bowl.

All of the success so far in Macht’s acting career has not come without difficulties.

“My greatest challenge had to be auditioning for speaking roles early on since I didn’t have much on my resume at the time to earn the trust of producers or directors,” said Macht.

Although Macht has tested the waters and found interest in other careers, he still finds himself back at Godwin to stay involved. He is currently a main photographer for the school and volunteers at the front office a couple times a month.

“I continue to support Godwin because this school and community helped me become the guy I am today,” said Macht.

Overall, Macht has grown happy with who he is, and hopes to continue that.

“My goal for the future is to just keep growing and getting better as an actor and photographer. I hope to inspire others to pursue careers that they want to do no matter how daunting the journey may seem,” said Macht.

photo courtesy Thor Macht

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