Interviewed by: Jessica Sherman, CSA
1) Has there been a Casting Director that has encouraged and/or supported you in your career?
Jessica Sherman. She’s the only casting director that’s made an effort to know me outside of the casting process. When she brings me in, I know she’s working on an intuitive hunch - knowing the qualities and personality traits I have, in addition to seeing my work, headshots, resume etc. It gives me a sense of support in this isolated world of acting.
2) What work are you most proud of?
Hmm, In Netflix’s Selena series I portrayed Jose Behar - the real life person who discovered Selena. I had a few YouTube clips to build my character around - mainly his accent and mannerisms from the awkward interviews, but aside from the script, that was all I had to work with. He reached out to me to commend my work which made it all worth it. But I think my real pride comes from playing Enrique on I Live With Models. It wasn’t a hit show and not my best work but it was my first lead role. A multi-cam sitcom filmed in London. It was a blast filming it. I had taken one comedy class prior to this so the rest was purely on instincts. Making people laugh/not laugh was not only intimidating/challenging but also immediately rewarding and humbling.
3) What or who inspired you to pursue acting as a career?
Off the top of my head, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Jim Carrey, Jack Nicholson, and Will Smith have been my biggest influences. For some reason I could see myself playing their roles even at a time when I was pursuing the idea of being a fire fighter. I actually had no intention of becoming an actor. I always thought it was an unrealistic dream. That was true for me until a college heartbreak pushed me to go on a two-week trip to Cancun. I was offered a fully paid trip to Cancun to film a reality show for MTV - a Real World meets Road Rules type of show. One day, in between takes another cast member (Johnny I think) said, “I don’t know why, but I feel like I need to tell you that you need to be an actor”. Maybe I was just vulnerable at the time but I took it to heart, came back from my trip and changed careers. It’s been a long road since then, but I still remember that pivot point in my life. It was a strong hit of inspiration to pursue acting. My family and friends thought it was a phase. I think they still do but now with some credits under my belt some actually think I have a chance of making this a lifelong career.
4) What was your first IMDBPro credit and how did you feel when you saw it?
IMDbPro lists Byron on South Beach Dreams as my first credit but I booked that role long before I even knew what IMDbPro was or the value it had for the industry. I took a 5-year detour after that job to pursue money in another business - my family was right, it was a phase, sort of. Truth was, I was a really bad actor at the time and thought booking a few commercials here and there was more than enough to break through in Hollywood. Little did I know, I needed years of training just to compete and I wasn’t sure if the investment would pay off. But when my detour made me miserable enough, I decided to pursue acting again. I started from the ground up and took some, much needed classes. Shortly after, I booked a co-star role on Charlie’s Angels. I remember seeing that credit on IMDbPro and feeling like it was my breakout role. I feel like that about all my credits though so I guess nothing’s changed.
5) How has IMDBPro helped you market yourself to filmmakers?
I’ve used my profile to submit for acting roles but also to pitch myself to agencies and management companies. That’s probably where I’ve used it most. It just makes it easy for filmmakers and reps to get a sense of my work without having to comb through various links. Less time consumption on their part makes it more likely for them to give me 5 minutes of their time.
6) Any funny casting room stories?
I wouldn’t necessarily say funny, and I’ll spare you a long-winded story, but in general, I’ve had a lot of awkward moments in the room. Most of them really came from me being nervous about my auditions. When I first started auditioning, I would walk into a room, introduce myself and shake everyone’s hand. I mean everyone. From the CD, producers, writers, director, etc. to the camera operator or reader. Sometimes there would be 7 people in the room. I’ve dropped my sides and headshots all over the floor couple of times. I’ve had sweat clearly soaking my shirt and forehead for most of my auditions. Spilled a glass of water on a tile floor thinking it would be a good idea to use it as a prop in a scene. I’ve even begged a casting director for another shot because I didn’t know I needed to be prepared for a callback. It was in the beginning of course but the list can go on. You live and you learn, I guess.
7) Tell us a fun fact about you outside of acting:
I’m a carpenter. I’d love to build my own house one day. The last few years, I’ve built a deck, garden perimeter fence, several furniture pieces and remodeled most of my apartment just from watching some YouTube videos.
I love to karaoke. I’m not a good singer but I sing with a lot of heart. I couldn’t tell you the names of the artist or their songs but I know I like a song when I hear it.
Lastly, I can’t wait to be a dad. I’d want to teach my kids what I’ve learned in life and try my best to raise them as good little humans.
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