Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
A New York Character actor who is laser focused on television and film. I’ve played principal roles on network television on CBS, NBC and FOX in many tops shows like NEW AMSTERDAM, FBI, MANIFEST, GOTHAM and BULL. In addition, I’ve also played principal roles on numerous cable network and streaming services like Showtime, Stars, BET, Netflix, Hulu, Apple+ and Disney+. Currently, you can see me as recurring character Jeronimo Guillén, the hammer man for a Colombian drug lord on Starz network’s Raising Kanan of the POWER series. Also you can catch me in a few episodes on Showtime’s BILLIONS as well as numerous other popular tv shows. I’ve also had the extreme pleasure to work on the big screen. Most recently, you may have seen me at a theater near you as characters on FREE GUY starring Ryan Reynolds and in 2022’s Best Picture at the Academy Awards CODA. A film that I was awarded a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
People say there is a unique look that I possess. Perhaps it has to do with being an actor of Cape Verdean descent and my particular brand of “swag”? My look? The way I carry myself? My confidence, intensity, physicality and my perspective on life all seem to culminate into something striking to some people. To others I’m probably just another ugly bastard lol. More specifically I suppose, being a muscular, bald headed, ruddy colored olive skinned black man with an ethnically ambiguous look and unique features allows me to play characters with different ethnic backgrounds like Egyptian, Colombian, Dominican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, African American, and Biracial. I’ve always been told I’m pretty natural when I act and the camera finds me as an interesting subject to focus on. I suppose these things make me unique…but that’s not to say I don’t work hard. I work extremely hard hoaning my ability to bring characters to life because I suppose somewhere deep down I really like being anybody but me.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
I was 12 years old acting in my first professional production of The King and I, playing Prince Chululongkorn at a summer stock theater with Broadway and off-Broadway actors. The fun and sense of family community that I felt that summer really resonated with me. I had made friends with one of the chorus actors who had become like a big brother to me and he was talking to me on the back lot about the life of an actor and dancer on Broadway. I could sense his love for acting and the drive he had to be successful. Right then, I felt this burning desire to live that same life, the bright lights, the stages, the applause of the audience, my name in lights, all of it. That was the life for me. At that young age I yearned to move to New York City and be a stage actor. I would dream of it nightly and pray for that to be my life. But…then life happened and that dream slipped away. I became just another kid playing sports, going to high school, college and then graduated and got a good paying job. But luckily that dream laid dormant within me until 8 years ago when a most peculiar opportunity presented itself and I found that passion again.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
Despite all the success and highs I’ve enjoyed in my short time as an actor, I’ve also endured many lows…that any actor has. It hasn’t always been easy, in fact it’s been downright tough! Imposter syndrome is a big challenge for me. Especially about a couple weeks after I finish shooting a project, I get this sinking feeling after the high of being on set fades away that the phone will never ring again, that I’ve been discovered to be a fraud, that I’m really not talented but I’ve just been pretending or I’ve only been lucky to play the roles I have. I make excuses for why I booked certain roles or downplay my ability and the reason I got the part. Sometimes it’s many days and even months that I feel like this and I need to remind myself that I AM talented, that I AM good, that I DO deserve this life. It’s then that I need to persevere and keep believing in myself and working even the phone isn’t ringing. I think self doubt is the biggest pitfall for me and one that I will always struggle with even if I become an A-list actor.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
How about 5 lol
Antoine Fuqua – I really feel that with the stories he writes and directs, he could easily see the value in me as an actor he would want to use in his next project.
Issa Rae – because as a relatively newly discovered talent I believe she looks out for new diverse talent to spotlight.
Jordan Peele – I love his work and his imagination. I believe my sense of humor is very similar to his and he would value my contributions as an actor.
Donald Glover – His interesting and varied perspective on racial topics is intriguing to me and given my unique background as a Cape Verdean, I believe we would have very interesting conversations which would lead to potential work in his next project.
Ryan Coogler – Just because lol. He’s the next big thing that’s happening right now. I can see myself fitting into one of his stories perfectly and I believe he would see it too. There might even be the potential for a film about a Cape Verdean in America and the balancing act many CV’s face every day. All I need is one shot.
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