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Was there a certain role that made you want to become an actor?
The first time I saw my friend Richard Cabral in Southland. That’s when I knew that people who come from where I come from and look how I look can change and they can be actors. That was a big "a-ha" moment for me and that was in 2010.
When there's down time on set, what are usually doing?
We workout and hang out together. There's a lot of fun going on during downtime but what's cool is that when it's time to work, everyone knows it's time to work.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
To listen. A lot of time actors are t thinking about their lines, about what is supposed to be said next, but the real key is listening so you can answer organically. Before I got this advise, I’d just run through my words. But, if I listen to you and I can just give it a second and I can feel what you're feeling—for some reason, the camera is able to pick that up like [snaps fingers] that. So, taking my time and listening is the biggest piece of advice I've ever gotten.
If you weren't an actor, what would you be doing?
Something in art because it's so fulfilling. I'm always filled with energy and just joy and happiness and appreciation. And also, art just allows me to emote comfortably. If you grew up where I was and how I did, you know emoting isn't an accepted norm. Not manly at all. In this space, I get to be around big tough dudes that cry and I couldn't ask for anything more. It just feels good. It feels good when I'm doing things like that.
I get to be around big tough dudes that cry and I couldn't ask for anything more. It just feels good.
If you could visit any part of the world, where would you go?
Tulum. It’s on my mind and I haven't been. Also Greece. I love Greece. It's so beautiful. The water just looks amazing and the history and the architecture out there. I want to sail on the boats in between the islands. So beautiful.
What are three words you would use to describe your character?
Ambitious, loyal, and complicated.
What's something you never leave the house without?
Crystals. For some reason, it's just a comforting feeling that I have when I leave the house now and it just reminds me to stay centered. It just reminds me to not be outside of myself. I feel like so many times in this industry, you’re trying to put a face on for somebody, for something, for some reason. I think that [having crystals] just helped me with my trajectory.
When you're in a bad mood, what's one thing that always cheers you up?
There’s a show that I watch all the time that I can always go to for a smile: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I love that show. That's just the one go-to where I know I can feel good. Meditation has also been a key thing for me. I started doing a couple of years ago. So it's watching Always Sunny and hiking up to the Hollywood sign when nobody is there, sitting on top of the mountain there, and just having a beautiful peaceful meditation.
Check out our recent Facebook Live with Clayton Cardenas and his Mayans M.C. costar JD Pardo, where they answered fan questions and previewed what's coming up on the rest of the season.
Catch up on the entire season of Mayans M.C. by upgrading to FX+