I feel that in today’s world we have forgotten to be kind and caring to each other as humans. I read a quote once that was printed next to a photograph of Robin Williams where it said “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, Be Kind Always”. That has really stuck with me. If there could be a way in which humans become more aware that everyone else (also) has good days and bad days, difficult moments and hardships, and that we are all neighbors, friends, and citizens… not only of the country we live in but the world…I truly think the priorities of our governments, our institutions, as well as corporations could change to satisfy, not only a few, but everyone. We have to go beyond ourselves and think of others. Ultimately, I believe this could fix many of our problems.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank You for having me, it’s a pleasure. When my brothers and I were children, our parents use to take us to the Theatre quite often. I grew up in Mexico City and there has always been a great amount of Theatre there. I remember watching all sorts of plays that vary from old fables to Disney stories, and while I was entertained very much by the whole grandiose of the production, I was always trying to figure out how everything was being done; How the actors would interact with each other, the stage, as well as the props, all so seamlessly. I would wonder what it would be like to be on the stage. Then, of course, as I grew up I was lucky enough to be at a school with a very strong Theatre program, all the way from Elementary through High School… All of this is what truly reinforced my desire to act and perform.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Well, many years ago as I was moving apartments here in L.A. I went to one of those auditions that I almost didn’t feel like going. I end up going. This audition was for a beer ad, and it was quite simple, just a basic Q&A and personality check sort-of-thing. The next morning my agent calls me and he tells me that I’ll probably book it and that I will have to travel to South Africa, to which I was thrilled, then he proceeds to tell me that I had to fly out that same night! So, I found myself feeling a big rush from booking the gig, being half-way moved into a new apartment, and getting ready to fly across the world. I arrived to the airport a tad late and somehow the lady at the airline desk lets me check-in… (you’ll see why she “somehow” managed to do this later in the story) and take the first leg to London.
The next morning in London while waiting for my second flight I wanted to change my seat to an aisle only to find out that I was NOT even able to get on the flight. It turned out that “somehow” the airline lady in Los Angeles didn’t realize I needed a Visa to enter South Africa! So, I got stuck in London for two days trying to figure out how to get a Visa. After plenty of trips back and forth from Heathrow to the South African Embassy and endless documents I managed to get the visa. I finally arrived in Cape Town two days after my call time with not many clean clothes (my luggage never made it). I was driven straight to set where the agency and the client greeted me with a unison of “OMG, You’ve made it”. They changed my shirt, they sat me on a living room that was part of the set, and handed me a beer and a remote control for a video game. We shot that scene and after 45 minutes I was picture wrapped with two all-expensed days ahead of me in the South African capital.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of my first jobs on set was in the camera department. I was the trainee back then so some stuff wasn’t very clear to me. I got asked to bring a new film magazine for the camera. When I got to the garage where the camera gear was staged I grabbed a magazine but wasn’t too sure if it had film in it or not…I did not see any seals around it so I opened the magazine slowly, only to find film in there! I quickly closed it! and to my fortune it was a very dark room so the film miraculously did not get damaged. It got worse… I closed the magazine and turned it around to see the label “SHOT FILM” or something like that!
From there on I always look closely at every side of anything wrapped, and read everything very carefully before opening, taking it (or anything) with me!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
This has been an exciting year, I had the opportunity to work on Mayans MC which is airing now on FX and where I play the role of Pablo. Pablo is the right-hand man to Adelita, the leader of The Rebels. That on it’s own has been an incredible experience; All the people involved in Mayans are beyond talented and definitely not afraid to break barriers. Concurrently with Mayans I have been working on a film called Jesse James, which is a drama about a “Sexual-Fluid” prostitute and her tragic relationship with her handler. On the commercial side, I was cast as the Spokesperson for Nissan’s Hispanic market in the U.S. This is a gig that has kept me busy, pretty much, weekly. Apart from acting, together with my brothers, we founded Wild Goats Creative which is a media and content company. Here, we’ve put out commercial work for Adidas, Gatorade, Spotify and Disney to mention a few, as well as multiple short- form narrative and documentary projects, including “Santa Ana” a short documentary that has been in every major film festival with multiple nominations and awards.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I’ve had the chance to be on set with some very talented people. On Mayans for example, working under Norberto Barba and Elgin James amongst other directors has been a true gift. Just seeing their process and how they approach a story, both from the emotional and technical aspects of it, is fascinating. I’ve recently spent time on set with directors such as Mathew Cullen, Chris Riehl and Wally Pfister, which has allowed me to experience first-hand work of people that have Oscar awards. I’ve also recently met with Lisa Schulte, also known as The Neon Queen. Lisa is an amazing artist that creates visually engaging pieces, all of them inspired by truly emotional phases in her life. Getting to know her story has been very fortifying as an artist.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Balance and perspective are two very important things that have allowed me to reach my goals. I feel it is very important to really take time to enjoy life. I’ve seen people that are so focused exclusively on their work goals that they become isolated from their own lives. I believe when you get to that point, “success” doesn’t really matter because if you’re too caught up in career advancement and forget about nurturing your emotions and your connection with the people that love you, as well as your soul… in the end your success will not make you feel complete or satisfied. The things we take from life when it’s over are the ones that you can’t buy.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
There are quite a few things that I’d love to contribute in a bigger way but, specifically, I feel that in today’s world we have forgotten to be kind and caring to each other as humans. I read a quote once that was printed next to a photograph of Robin Williams where it said “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, Be Kind Always”. That has really stuck with me. If there could be a way in which humans become more aware that everyone else (also) has good days and bad days, difficult moments and hardships, and that we are all neighbors, friends, and citizens… not only of the country we live in but the world…I truly think the priorities of our governments, our institutions, as well as corporations could change to satisfy, not only a few, but everyone. We have to go beyond ourselves and think of others. Ultimately, I believe this could fix many of our problems.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- “It takes Time” A lot of people think that building a career, especially as an actor, happens quickly from day to night. Although sometimes that does happen, the reality is that it will take you a while to get yourself on the map and it will still take more time to form a very solid career.
- “No Expectations” I used to have a little more expectations for a job, or after an audition, or even a callback. While it there is the potential for things to turn out exactly the way you want, the reality is that it could take a completely different direction than expected. This probably has nothing to do with you and your skills, however, if you attach expectations, you might find yourself struggling in a world where there are more ‘No’s than Yes’s’
- “Be Ready to Make Sacrifices” You will have to do things that you don’t necessarily love. Specifically, that there will be projects that might not be “as good”, or jobs that might not be the easiest, or moments where you have make choices between doing that one “small gig” that could be great for your reel… or going to the coolest party… or trip… or whatever on the same day.
- “L.A. Can Be Hard” Even though is a great city and this is where you’ll have the opportunity to “eat and breath the industry”, it is also a very disconnected town. Finding true friendships and relationships can be difficult, therefore you might find yourself feeling lonely or a little depressed. With time, you will realize that there are great people here and if you nurture those relationships they can be with you for a long time, perhaps forever.
- “Love What You Do” Although I always loved my job and what I do, I didn’t fully understand how much you really need to be in love with this profession until I realized what it takes to get to where you want to be. It’s hard, it takes time, and it takes a lot of work. But if you love it, it will all seem way more easy.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My Grandfather used to say “If it has a solution, don’t worry about it. If it doesn’t have solution, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT”. I know this saying can be difficult to apply sometimes, but also makes it easier to understand things for what they truly are. Yes, we should always try to find ways to achieve our goals and to overcome obstacles that come in our way. However, the day might come when you’ll have to just deal with it, go around it, or take a step back and discover a different road with a clearer path ahead. The point is to always keep going.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My family that has always been supportive and my example of strength and perseverance but I have to say that my colleague (and now very close friend) Mr. Jesus M. Rodriguez has been a key person in my understanding of this industry. Jesus has opened many doors that have resulted in great collaborations, relationships and work, and has always been there for me since I’ve met him almost 8 years ago. Jesus is an outstanding human being as well as an extremely talented and creative person. He has done work for some of the biggest entertainment institutions in this country. Funny enough we met on set doing a commercial that we were both acting in. It was later that I discovered he was also a Director, a Creative and a Choreographer. As I am a Producer, Jesus seemed like a great person to partner up with. And we did. He gave me a chance to produce some work he was directing at the time, which thankfully went very well! We’ve been working together ever since and we’ve become great friends through the process.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Barack Obama. I would love to sit at a deli, have a beer or a wine, and ask him about his life, his path to becoming President and his perspective on how we can create more consciousness in people.
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