Drop Ins: Miles Garber

We believe in the power of routines and finding meaning in the ways we sew comfort into our everyday surroundings. Drop Ins is a series that explores just that, taking a dressed-down look at the lives of people who inspire us.

Miles Garber has lived a lot of lives. The Los Angeles native has been modeling half his life (he was discovered as a teenager), but has branched out with a candle company (seriously!) and a community about fatherhood called Open Up Dad. Garber’s daughter, his first, was born in October and he’s quick to point out that she was born during the pandemic—not that she’s a Pandemic Baby. “I don't know if I really want this generation to grow up referring to themselves as pandemic babies,” he says, laughing. 

We talked with the intelligent and delightful Garber from his Beachwood Canyon home about first-time fatherhood during a pandemic, calling your friends, and watching everything on Netflix. 

What was it like dealing with this huge change in your life while also not being able to really gather inside too much with friends and family?

Honestly, it's such a whirlwind. I just did the best I could. I'm very grateful that I was able to adjust during that time and be like, OK, this isn't exactly how I wish it was—but it's just what I have to do right now.

So I just kept going. I tried my best. I refused to let COVID bring me down, which I know is a really privileged way to look at it. But I knew that if I got bummed about COVID, I wasn't going to enter this next chapter of my life in the right way. 

How is first-time fatherhood treating you?

Oh man, it's everything. I find that what people see in the movies is the wrong interpretation of parenthood. At least for me, I think it's really helped me redefine who I am in most ways. It's very humbling, to say the least. It’s made me so appreciative. I honestly thank my daughter for coming into the world. I think she kind of saved my life in a lot of ways, selfishly. So for me it was like, this is awesome. Hell yeah, let's just do it. And that's how I treat every day. 

This week has been really shitty. She won't sleep for me. I'm really tired. I just got sick for the first time in three years. All of these things are really annoying, but it's like, you just kind of say, well, it's not really about me, you know?

Since you entered this new phase of your life, who do you look to for guidance? What do you look to for guidance?

I try to talk to people. I try to be open. I'm a firm believer that you don't know everything. So it's not even about talking to guys who are older than me. It's just finding camaraderie with whoever. 

I have moms that I call, I have dads that I call, just being like, Hey, this is what I'm going through. What do you think? And nine times out of 10, they're like, ‘Oh my God, dude, I've been there!’ I just try to ask questions and I try to talk. I think it's silly to try to do this without that.

Did that happen naturally, having those conversations? It was just like, oh, I know to call this person or text this person?

I think I have a pretty colorful background, to say the least. I knew that if I didn't talk, I wasn't going to be the person I was trying to become. 

So for me, I almost forced myself to be an open book. Now it's so natural for me, and I'm grateful that a lot of people I'm friends with expect me to send them a text and be like, 'Hey, can you talk?' Because I just ... need to talk. My wife makes fun of me all the time because she says everyone knows what you're going through all the time! And I'm like, well, that's kind of how I like to live. I'm an open book. 

Do you lean on these same people for support? Are support and guidance the same thing to you?

I think so. It helps—to know that you're not alone. I think also, whether you're happy or sad or depressed or giddy, it's really important to know that you aren't the center of the universe. It's good to call people and they show up for you, but also to show up for them.

So sometimes it's good to call people, and they say, ‘Hey man, I'm having a good day. You sound bummed. Why don't you listen to what I did today?’ And you're like, know what, I will. And then you feel better. I try to be selfless like that. So support and guidance, yes, but I think it's a push and pull. It's like: I need you, you need me. Having a community where you can just thrive off of each other is really important. 

But you have to learn that your bullshit doesn't always matter.

It's good to call people and they show up for you, but also to show up for them.
What are you hoping to instill in your young daughter?

I just want her to be confident. I think confidence in our society has almost a weird negative connotation. People think it means cocky, but it doesn't. I want her to be confident in terms of her convictions, what she believes in, her friendships, her relationships. I want her to be a person that can walk down the street and think: I know who I am and I know what I want and I know how to be a good person and achieve that for myself. I'm not trying to raise a greedy, self-centered person. That's not what confidence means to me. Confidence is like, it's your whole life. Even driving a car takes confidence.

How do you balance being a partner, a dad, a friend, an individual?

I don't think I have. Every week something suffers a little bit, whether it's like, ‘Oh, I have a really busy work week and I'm not going to be around my kid as much as I want to.’ I know no one would sit there and think, ‘oh, you're a terrible dad,’ but you feel like a terrible parent. You're like, I suck, you know? Then there are weeks where my wife and I are both exhausted and just kind of beefing it because when you're tired and frustrated, you're going to turn to the person that's closest to you.

Then there are weeks where my wife and I are in our own little blissful world, and I'm not really there enough for my friends or my mom. So I think it'd be a lie if I said I have a balance, because I'm still figuring it out. But I'm cool with that. I'm cool with like, hey, I haven't been doing this that long! I'm not 80 years old. I haven't reached that point of my life of knowing balance. I'm still figuring that out for myself.

My strong suit is communication. I talk about stuff so much, and I wear it all on my sleeve. It helps me—when I stumble, when I don't.
What kind of tools have you leaned on for self-care since you became a father?

My strong suit is communication. I talk about stuff so much, and I wear it all on my sleeve, that it helps me—when I stumble, when I don't. If you put it out first, you're able to achieve some sort of guidance or game plan. Even if you mess it up, you can adjust. Whereas if you hold it all in all the time, you're doing this internal juggling act, which honestly, I don't think anyone can do successfully.

Miles Garber was photographed by Isabella Behravan at his home in Beachwood Canyon on May 11, 2021. Tune into Open Up Dad here.

Bill BradleyBill Bradley Bill Bradley is a writer and the co-founder of Three Point Four Media, a creative agency and editorial studio. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Likes: Black coffee, bonfires, Beefeater martinis, all four seasons.
Dislikes: 42 and rainy.