Theater, Movie and Television Star
Q: How did you get started acting?
A: I started in elementary school, along with sports and other extra-curricular activities. I never thought I could make a career out of it until I became more mature and saw it not only as a profession but a craft.
Q: You’ve played many roles, including your current role as Detective Nick Amaro on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Which was the most interesting?
A: I love playing a cop because it’s the closest thing to a real-life hero — not a superhero who wears a cape and his underwear on the outside. Someone who has flaws, who has to overcome obstacles using courage, integrity, skill and wisdom. My brother is a cop and I’m proud to play one. At the same time, playing a criminal is interesting and fun. And being Cuban, playing Desi Arnaz from Lucy was a pretty special role.
Q: What’s the most important thing in your life?
A: My family. Hands down.
Q: Who inspired you as a child? Who inspires you now?
A: My mother always said I could be whatever I wanted to be. I often describe her as a Cuban Oprah Winfrey. She taught high school and psychology for decades and can see through all kinds of deception and self-deception. She can see the potential and value in people. She encourages and nourishes me. She gave me a safe place to build a foundation. She continues to inspire me today.
Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: Being a father and husband. Raising children who will be responsible adults and strive to be the very best they can be. I hope I can give them the tools to become individuals with a sense of enjoyment. Who help others. Who build friendships. Who appreciate the value of work and know where they come from.
Q: How did you get involved with the Duracell Quantum battery donation program?
A: When I learned that Duracell was donating a million of their new powerful batteries to first responders, I knew it was something I could support.
Playing a detective on TV for a decade, I’ve met real detectives across the country. My brother is a detective in Miami. I have a unique perspective on the work they do and how they protect us and run toward danger while everyone else runs away. This program is not only a testament to those first responders but to Duracell for addressing the need to power those heroes’ life-saving equipment.
Q: Why is giving back important to you?
A: Giving back gives me purpose other than being a dedicated father, husband, brother and son. It sounds cliché, but I try to influence positive change and fight the current of negativity.
I grew up in Miami, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to hand the Duracell Quantum battery donation to the Miami-Dade Police Department and Fire Rescue. It was an honor to help our local heroes.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Miami?
A: All my family is there. Other than that, it’s hard to mention just one thing. I love that there are so many different cultures. I love all the sports teams — The Heat, Dolphins, Marlins. I love the food, music, art scene. It’s a great place to be from and go back to.
Q: What is your favorite place to dine/shop/visit in Miami?
A: One of my favorites is Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fishmarket. I love visiting Little Havana and Calle Ocho. Coffee at Versailles is special. I also enjoy visiting my alma mater, FIU, and spending time on campus.
Photo Courtesy of NBC Universal