Michael Cimino from Love, Victor

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On this episode of Metrosource Minis, we chat with Las Vegas born Michael Cimino, who started acting at the age of 8, moved to LA, got cast in Annabelle Comes Home and of course, Hulu’s Love, Victor…we are proud to feature him in our Pride issue on
newsstands across the nation.

We chat with Michael about his own experience with bullying, his love of acting, his role as an ally, Season 2 of Love, Victor, and the future of diversity and representation in casting Hollywood.

with host Alexander Rodriguez

This is metro source, Menes, theofficial podcast to Metro, source magazine and home of short forminterviews with your favorite personalities from the L GT world andbeyond quick fun and informative. It's metro source on the go out in to sinceninety nice, hello, hello. This is Metro HorseMinnies, I'm your host Alexander Roger. You gets lead rider for Metro sourceand Abot todcaster. We love our allies and entertainment, especially when theyare a part of telling our LGS. Today I chat with Las Vegas born Michael Semito,who started acting at the age of eight move to La gets, cast an Anna Boltcomes home and, of course, gets cast and who Los Love Victor. We are proudto feature him and our pride issue on Er stands across the nation. We Es.Welcome Michael Same No, I well. That was really that's a really good introtoo much coffee. So, Michael, you come from a verycolorful background. You are Italian, German and Frederica descent that musthave been some lively childhood, to say the least. What was culture like inyour house? Well, it was interesting. You know because my dad is obviouslylike white. You know so I like it's a little bit different, but my mom isSuper Latina, like my whole family from New York moved to Vegas, basically, andso growing up. It felt way more like a Latino household and like Italianhousehold, because my whole Italian side of the family was like in Florida,so growing up in Vegas was like it was cool because, like my home was like mysafe haven, you know like it was my place to come home and be me and eat food that felt like it was.I was supposed to eat to e in sense like food I ate with my family thatfelt special and you know place to just like come home to and be with peoplethat are like me. I love it. Well, hello, I'm Latina aswell.

Now what are the favorite parts of yourheritage honestly, like? I think that I lovelike the cooking aspect of like especially my family. Like cooking issuch a big part of our you know our culture and like especially my likefamily dynamic, you know like Thanksgiving, is like one of myfavorite holidays, just because we would always sit there and cook forfour days before we did anything and it's always been like a way to kind oflike bond the family, because you know, I think you know this Latinos are verydramatic and there's always some sort of drama in the family, and when thereis, you know, there's always a good meal and then everyone comes togetherand eats, and then you know we move on. But you know that is so true we eat when wewant to celebrate. We eat when we're angry. We eat when we're depressed. Weeat after a funeral after baptism after a wedding, we're just always eatingexactly exactly like. You know, it's just something. That's like always bondin my family. My Grandmother's passed away now for like six years but like westill use her recipes and like every Thanksgiving we think about her and wecook with all of her recipes and stuff, and that makes us like feel connectedto her. You know it's something. That's like his always really kind of bondedme my family, like to, like the F degree. Well, it's really a familyhistory. That's carried down through recipes, I mean you can literally seethe growth generation after generation, and you just like you said when you eatsomething it inspires all of the senses and really takes you back togenerations before you I, like literally and now began. So it's alittle bit more difficult because, like we used to make this, my favorite thingwas Kanigi Alo, my heart dty used to make it and a God that was so good. Hemakes like Youse to make a pot that was like, like so big, like bigger than mylike, like a huge huge pot and she's like I made this for fifteen dollarsand we'd all come every Sunday and eat Ganiga and I eat it throughout the week.I take it to school like that was my favorite. I can't eat that now becauseI'm began, but I'm definitely like...

...eventually going to try to figure out away to make it like a Vegan like bestow. You know, okay, so I was gonna. I wasGoin to time it to see how long it took before you told us. You were Vegan. I knew you were Vegan that I'm teasing,but what spark o that kind of interest in in going to the Vegan lifestyle?Well, so, to be honest like when I was younger, I was having like a lot ofhealth issues and, like I was having like a lot of reallyreally really bad stomach issues and stuff, and I was like you know what,like I'm going to switch my diet up and I'm just going to try this out, and Ihelped me a lot and ever since that I never turned back like I'm sure I caneat meat now, and I'd probably be fine but like at this point, it's like sogood for the environment. It's so good for your health, like I feel great, youknow and that I think that's the most important thing when anything you knowwell, it creates concernin. Like you know, your body is regular. If you'refilming a whole day, you don't you do not want to have stomach issue yeahexactly exactly like o. You know. I don't know like these are long filmdays. Fourteen hour days are long. You know and like when you, if you feel like crap, like even worse,yeah you're, like I'll, be in my trailer for an hour yeah. Exactly a now,you started acting at the age of Eight. What what did you learn in those earlyyears as a kid acting about acting and the bizz that you still subscribe totoday? I think I just learned how special thisart form is. You know like it's something that is so it's somethingthat we all kind of do, even as children. You know like. We all play,pretend we all since we're little. You know and it's a it's it. What reallyboils down to is just like your imagination and create like creating orconnecting to your creativity, and that's, I think the thing somethingthat like is really stuck with me and that, like I continue like, if I everfeel you know like overwhelmed or stressed about like what I'm doing oror like you know, because I mean there...

...was times where, like especially when Iwas like eighteen, I was I was really down, and now I was I was pretty poorand you know I was like you know what maybe I should just give this up. Thisis before I struck any success and I was like. Maybe I should just give thisup. I haven't booked a job in two years, and I've been in La for six monthshaving any luck, and my friends like to me Don as talk to me- and it justreminded me that, like Oh crap like this, is something that is so so sacred and it's something that hasthe ability to change people's lives and change my life as well. You know,like I've, grown so much to the characters that I've played and, like I just I honestly that that's kind ofwhat like is just so amazing to me about this art form and what Isubscribe to you on day to day well and also you're able to inspireyou don't know who's going to see something that you do in some randomtown somewhere. That's going to be inspired to be an actor inspired totell their story as well. Exactly I think it's not even necesarily aboutbeing an actor like. I think my biggest thing is that, just like, I thinkanybody everybody in the world should just do what they're passionate aboutlike it doesn't matter what you're passionate about if you're, passingabout selling flowers, self flowers like it's that simple, if that's really,what brings you joy just do it like? I think you know we always as a societykind of put like a monetary value and like what we do. You know it's like. Ohwell, I'm a doctor. It's like! Oh Wow. He has a lot of money and it's like weYahai, think that's a part of my French, but I think it'sbullshit like yeah. I think that we're kind of in like a place in time whereyou can make a bunch of money doing anything you want to do just be thebest at what you love to do and then you will make money if you're a garbageman, and if you that's what you really love to do you can you could move up inthe ranks and become like the head of sanitation. You know what I mean like.I think that, like realistically what people decide of what society kind oflike forces these kids into thinking, is that, like...

...you, need to have a good paying job andbut about a Bilik? That's not what life is about like if, realistically, ifmaking money is what makes you happy go, go ahead and do that like you can, doyou do real estate? You can do whatever but like. If you are a doctor and youdon't enjoy what you're doing, if you don't enjoy saving lives? What are youdoing? Why are you being a doctor if you're not an attorney, and you don'tlike enjoy, you know fighting for people's rights and what are you doing exactly and you know it doesn't matterhow much money you have if you're not happy you're, not happy and that's justaeris to it. Money can't solve that. You know Michael not to bring thingsdown, but you did you dealt with racism in elementary school and were actuallybullied. Can you tell me a little bit about that experience? Yeah I mean likegrowing up. I grew up in a kind of like an all white area. Vegas is a prettywhite town for the most very white. You know like it's a very transient cityand you know a lot of people from all over the place come and there's, butespecially this quite went. He was basically in all white school. I don't think there was any otherLatino kids in my class. If I can remember correctly, maybe one other kid-and there was a few there's, a few there'stwo black kids, one Asian person, and then I think he was yeah and then justmeet literally. I think it was like four people of color my class, and itwas the rest of us, like the rest of the kids in the class, were white solike it was definitely kind of weird growing up like in a place wherethere's there's no like set culture. I feel like in Los Angeles and W York andplaces like that. They have like a culture. They get is a very transientcity and it has not necessarily I e a set culture. Wedon't have any sport. Well now they have sport teams, but when I wasgrowing up, there's no sports teams, there was no, you know, there's nosense of like city pride, if that makes any sensei where it's like New York.It's like Oh yeah, I'm from New York,...

Oh holy crap at you know, but it's notit's not like that, and basically because of that, there's a lot of kidsthat were from all over the place. Who knows where their parents were fromfrom the midle, maybe or something, and they were they were a kind of racistlike there was. You know times where I would get like bullied and beaten up,and you know there would be racial slurs thrown at me even into like mylater years in, like Middle School, like I was still getting racial sillersthrown around at me and, like I feel like it was something where it was likeso weird that, because he was like almost normalized that I didn'tnecessarily understand that it was racist. If that makes any sense, Ididn't understand, it was racist until probably like, like seventeen years old and is likeWhoa wait a minute. That's racist is hell because, like I feel like whenyou're growing up in that kind of environment, you don't necessarilyunderstand the scope of like, what's being said, I totally agree with you. Iwent to. I went to a school in south or southern California and you would think.Oh you know it's pretty affluent and mix, but I was one of the only Latinkids and being made fun of for being Latin, and you know having a singleparent. It was just normal for me. So just like you said, I didn't realizehow awful it was. It was just like, oh well, this is just this is part of whatbeing Latino is, or you know, being part of a lower income family. Is Youjust a corrected it almost yeah yeah exactly and like and another thing is,you know I was a you know growing up in a place like this. It was a very toxicmasculine, like very toxic masculine base place. You know like growing up. I was definitely more oflike a feminine like Kaid. I guess you could say at least to the other kids.You know because it was like. I was into the art and like I wanted to singand do that sort of stuff, and that was considered feminine to them, and sothey would always like saying like slurs about you know just just like thethe normal hateful stuff that is said,...

...but like it elementary school and itwas horrible but like I just thought it was like normal, which is horrible ashealth like that's. That should not be normal for anybody. You know yeahexactly. I think we're bringing more awareness- and you know shows, likelove, victor definitely on a mainstream platform or definitely bringingawareness and we're having these conversations now in households,because we have to because you know you can't ignore the effects on bowling onany minority group at all. Yeah. I want to talk about. You know. Yourgeneration comes from a very different view of sexuality and labels, but whenI grew up, we just had Adam and Eve gay and straight and like that, was it andnow we have. We have different letters, and now we have different ideas ofgender fluidity. What was your own personal, not from your peers, but whatwas your own view about sexuality and kind of gender rules from your youngergeneration perspective? Well, so that's an interesting questionbecause I feel like like. I feel like that's something that,like we all still are kind of figuring out. You know like. I think I thinksexuality is like always like an ever changing and like evolving thing, and Ithink that like for me personally growing up, I youknow growing up in like a very much esmo home and then going to a schoolwhere it was like very much like you need to be masculine or you're going tobe bullied right. So that was very much like. I was superscared of just being true to myself and like who I am now right and but now I'mvery expressive about like who I am and what I do I dress. However, I want andlike I do whatever I want to do, I'd paint my nails. I don't I don't careyou know and that that side note there is this thing that,like I saw in the other day on, is Agam, and I hundred percent agree like thatdoesn't mean like. Oh like like. I don't think that should be somethingthat, like he's like, looked up upon his like, Oh my God, like he's justdressing, he's dressing so feminine, like shot out to you for like breakinggener ones, because the Lt community...

...has been doing that for forever. I'mtrying not to curse, I'm like so try that to cat you can do whatever youwant. You're Michael Tamino, like the Gomme's, been doing that forfucking ever you know what I mean like just because I dress how I want todoesn't mean I'm special or I'm I'm changing the norms when, realistically,it's just an adaptation of what the Lt community has been doing for such along time, and it's just like trendy now and it's just like I feel like it,helps me express who I am, and I think that that's a big thing you know, butwith that I think that we're kind of in a place in time where it's moreaccepted to just be true to who you are living. Your truth is basically youknow the only Montra anybody should have okay. So let's talk about loveVictor. Did you have a talk with your agent or manager before audition ing?You know a nervous about you know, playing a lead in quote: Unquote, GayShow, afraid of being pigeon holed in the industry. Did you have thatconversation to a a few years? Prior? I was told that, like you, can't take agay role for your first big role, because you're only getting cast andgay old, you know everyone's get to your game- that's not like, but likewhen I first audition for like the first time I found out about lovevictory. I was called left Simon series. I watch the movie and I love the movieand I was like I want to be part of that and I'm sure you've heard of thatstory. But yes, basically, I went in for a differentaudition. I saw that you were casting that in the same office is like Ohinteresting next day. I got a addition for that. I was like okay, cool and right, just the red the size I went in.I did my audition stuff and I felt like really connected to it. I just feltlike something like this is. This is something that could really make adifference. You know, and then I got a call back and we kept going and goingand going, and I really worked really hard to like make sure that I like thatI could represent the community accurately in this. You know what Imean like. It was something where I had to fight for it. We there was a onepoint in time where they rerelated the...

...role. When I was testing- and I waslike I was doing like a little short or a little indy film somewhere else- andI was like this is this is not the end for me for this. I was like I'm notgiving up on this and I called my agents like. Please call casting. LetThem Send Me An let let them let me send in another tape like let me let mejust try again like let me try and he let me send in a tape and then went inagain and again and then then here we are, you know, but like I definitely likethis whole experience was like so amazing and it's I honestly don'treally like. I do care about like like my job and stuff, but I don'treally care how like, if, like the industry, tries to pigeon hole me as aquote, unquote gay character, because I feel like that's such an old stereotype.That is just it just like people trying to be like don't play gay roles, youknow what I mean where it's like. It's just people that have like their ownprejudice towards that. It's got. You know it is changing, but I do stillthink it's always in the back of our mind, such as you know, you get thepart all the headlines are very exciting. Our community is waiting withbated breath for the TV series based on a movie that we love and, of course,the first question that people on every side go to is. Is he or isn't he was itweird to have such a focus on your sexuality? When it's like hey? I gotthis part in a great series. Let's talk about my acting. Let's talk about thestory line, but a big question was: is he gay? Is He not gay? Is that weird tohave that kind of focus on that part of your life? I mean yes and no like I'vekind of like expected that you know like I was kind of like mentallyprepared for that question to be asked a like for people to really care aboutit. I just don't think that I expected people to care as much as they did. Ifthat makes any sense where you know I was, I was getting death threats stufffor like in, like that's crazy to think about. You know like I didn't know thatit was going to be. To that degree you...

...know, but I regardless was like. I wasgetting death, treats from both sides. You know like there was very angrypeople that are part of the Lt community and then there's very angry,like conservatives, and you know like it was like a weird weird thing, and but you know what like I m so glad thatI that I did it, because the amount of love that I've received in, like theamount of like change that this show has had on other people's lives, is, islike insurmountable to like the what has happened like in the past, if thatmakes any sense, yeah totally, and you know gay playing gay straight plane gay,it's such a hot topic in Hollywood. I've always come from a place that, yes,I would love to see more lt q community with representation, and that ishappening. We are getting that, but I also want to see the best actor in arole I mean. That's where I'm coming from now. has this kind of discussionaffected? Your experience with the show, because you are, you know, identified astraight playing a gay character. So a lot of this discussion is exactly whatyou're doing right now. I think I think the thing is is that, like, if inactors, taking a gay role and and really is trying to honor the peoplethat go through this struggle on a day to day basis and live in that struggle,that is different than an actor that is taking that job to get a pay check. Youknow what I mean because realistically, like I think you know like the there's a we need tojust continuously tell these stories and sometimes like. Sometimes it just sometimes it's just about the bestactor, and I'm not saying that I was the past acted by any means, but Ithink, like. I think that it just is one of thosethings that you have to continuously go and in de a and like we eventually whenwe find the correct answer, but I think...

...right now, it's such an interestinglandscape to be in that, like we don't really know what's next as far as likethat whole world, but I do think I do right now that I think that it is. Itis important as long as the the actor really cares about the community andlike really wants to represent them in an accurate way. I think that that'sokay, I think that's the best answer to that question that I've heard- and youknow you obviously have first tin experience that you've embraced ourcommunity with open arms. Even a role model. You've been a spokes person fora number of LB youth. You volunteered gotten involved in our organizations.Most actors get to do their part, they do press and then you know, and thenthat's it. This has been a big commitment on your part personally toget involved further. Yes, do you ever feel? Sometimes it'slike well. Can I just can I just act and do the part- and you know, there'sa lot of pressure being a spokes person and it is a commitment personally, what made you go and take a stepfurther? Well, I mean I think it's like I don't I like as muchas I love the show and like as much as I do. What I do for the show. It's noteven necessarily before the show. I do it because it's like I care about theGT community, my cousin's gay, like my friends, are gay. You know what I meanlike. I can't I can't not be there for them, and I hope that like if there wasa situation where, like you know, Latinos were like what's going on atthe border or whatever else like. I would hope that they would be thereriding for me to you know what I mean. We are all human beings, especially ifwe're in the minority. We need to be there for each other, like it's thesame thing that happened with, like all all the protest that were happening ina a like, I had to be there. You know that it's just not the type of person Iam, and it's obviously the show is like provided me, a great platform to talkmore about GT rights, but regardless I...

...will continue to talk about pt rights,because that's that's just the the right thing to do. Well, I thank you and you know. If weall succeed, we all succeed. You know, and that's only by supporting everybodyexam okay season. Two is coming out on Hulu June eleven, this season victorsout he's out of the closet, there's family drama without any spoilers. Whatare some of the changes? We're going to see happen this season? I think we exploremore of the dynamic of Victor and Benjy. You know like it's. Definitely weexplore more the dynamic of Victor going from you know like being withsomebody that wasn't necessarily like you know, somebody that he wasnecessarily attracted to the to this new dynamic of him and this newrelationship and like him, trying to figure out where he lies in this in inthe world. As a gay man, you know, I think that like because I feel like alot of gamen are kind of confused about where they lie in the world. You know,and I think that this is just like such a good way, to kind of tell that story when I think we're going to get aglimpse of also the family drama, that's happening as a family. Beyondhis coming out. You know we get to see that a gay storyis part of the family dynamic, but there's a lot going on with familydynamics. You know, and what I love about theshow is that it focuses on many different aspects of Victor Story: It'snot just gay gay, Gay, Gay, sexual sexual sexual. You know it's about howwe live life growing up, no matter who you are yeah and that's what I reallylove about the show yeah. I think the overworking theme of the show is justto be true to who you are as a person a like. That's definitely like it's justlike victor kind of navigating this Lan,this new landscape that, like it just sort happens to be that, like it's partof him navigating who he is, is discovering his sexuality. You know-and I think that that's so beautiful because it's so easy to digest and forpeople to watch and be like. Oh, I...

...understand this. I think that's been the best thing toreceive like text and stuff from my family that wasn't necessarily the mostaccepting of the ut community and you're. Like you know, I didn't reallysupport this and I watched the show and it changed my complete. They changed myview on it and that's like a crazy thing. That's huge that people reallylike literally inject a post to you like, like in arms, reach like changingtheir perspective on things through your art, like one of my friends,watched the show with her mom and then came out to your mom after the on. Likeyou know, it's a that's a that's a big thing. It opens up conversations and itmakes it easier to have these kind of his conversations. We didn't have showslike this when I was growing up, and so I didn't have the conversation till Iwas older, and I think this is inspiring youth to be true tothemselves. Early on you know, youth is dealing with puberty. Youth is dealingwith weird growth. Spurts youth is dealing with so many things, so theeasier that we can make this kind of process the better. Now, what do youwant to say to the straight community as our ally regarding the LB T, qcommunity? I think that we just need to do better.I think that, like you know, I think that a lot of people are like. Well,it's not my problem, so it's like who cares it's like, oh well, like like Idon't care, I have a gay friend, it's like well, what are you doing to likehelp them? Like you know, we as people need to use our privilege tohelp others get to the places that they need to be. You know like we need tocontinue this fight in equality way beyond just being like. Well, I have agay friend like that's De. That's, not that's! Not Helping our fight in aquality go to pride, don't ate money, don't go attend meetings, donate yourtime like. If you don't have money, go and donate your time or you know what Imean like it. Just we could do more. We can do more and I think that, like weare definitely taking strides to do so and I think people are becoming like Ohshit yeah, I can't do more, but it just takes time. You Know I. I love thatanswer. What does pride mean to you not...

...necessarily for the GT q community, butwhat does pride mean to you? Personally, I feel like pride is just again justbeing about being authentically who you are in every way, shape and form. Likethere's people, if you go to pride there is, you know there is drag Queens,just more them gay presenting men. There's, there's gay men that therethat are drive harleys or ride Harley's like it doesn't matter. I think that'sthe amazing thing about you know the the landscape that we'rein right now is that it's showing that we there's no right or wrong way to begay. It's just just be true to who you are, and I think that pride is just that itis like people who you are, but also be proud of, like your sexuality and beproud of who you are, and you could wear that your heart on your sly be behappy to love who you love in Prisa, for loving the people that you love exactly okay, you said in one of yourinterviews that have seasoned to was a thing you were going to buy a specificcar. It had a bunch of letters and numbers and is the bottom super gate.So I have no idea what car you were talking about. I think were everywhere. What was the car and are you going toget it? So it's called the dats, an t, forty see and I actually already boughtit. Congratulations a season to gift heyright, yeah! I bought it and it's literally sitting in my mom's garage.It's like I bought like this a shell and I'm going to build it. I justhaven't started doing it yet, but I'm really soaked about like starting thatprocess. It's just I want to like do it right, and I want to take my time withit, so I haven't started doing it yet awesome. Did you work at Saddle ranch by the waya yeah? Do you have any funny stories fromworking at salary? I have the craziest stories. I can have to hear it. Okay,like one time there was this. This lady was on the thing on a Mondaynight. He was on a Monday night. It was...

...late. We were about to close up, andthis lady is like Hey. I want to ride the Mechanical Bowl and my boss, like I,was the mechanical bull operator in Uphel, and this guy gives flip somesome money he's like let her write. The bull is a all right COCOC he starts.She starts riding the bull. This lady takes her top off on the ball, and thisis this: is a family restaurant to off on the ball everyone's screaming? It'severt crowd going crazy, very like it was insane like, and I have so many. Iworked there for like a month and a half two months and it was literallyinsane. Oh, my God. Well that's I mean that's a whole TV show on its own yeaI've been kicked. I've been kicked out of San Orans many times. So that's whyI had to ask a question about it. Oh Man Yeah it was. It was an interestingplace to work to say Les Okay and finally, what is your message to yourlgs? This pride season just be authentically who you are nomatter. What that is it's that simple. I think I thot thatreally the only message I can't give to be honest. Oh, I could literally talk to youforever because I know we're supposed to focus on my victor, but I'm a hugehorror, film fan so annabel comes home. Was that fun filming? Oh my gosh, itwas so much fun like I had such a good time. Gary Doberman is like so freakingincredible he's, just like the sweetest guy ever and really just he was justgreat and then Madison and Katie, and in Mckenna they were all so kind to meand like even even Vera and Patrick, like they were all so nice to me. Thatwas like my first like project. It was like actually like a real deal thingyeah and I just felt so comfortable there, even though I was obviously likenervous as hell like they made me all, feel so welcome and comfortable, and Ijust am so grateful to all of them to like to have annabel be like somethingthat was like my first thing. You know, yeah I mean that's, that's so Hollywoodor film I mean that's that'ss a whole...

...different genre and I love it. I lltell everybody where you want them to find you and follow you, okay, yeah. SoMy instar is it's Michael Tamino. My tick talk is the same thing and I havesome music coming out soon, so get ready for that. What kind of music it's kind of like like pop arm B, likepop alternative rb, I don't know we're still kind of figuring out the genre,but it's really it's like really chill music and I'm really excited for it. We,it should be coming up pretty soon here. I don't want to say too much, but yeahgot soon for sure. Well, we will definitely look forward to that. We aredefinitely going to look forward to season to of love Victor on Hullo June,Eleventh. In the meantime, everybody can binge watch season one over andover. This has been my interview with Michael Somino. You can read my indentinterview with him on metrist pride issue on new stands across the nationor read it on metrorious. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me.I really appreciate it. You are my favorite. I all right. That is ourepisode. I'm your host and lead rider for Metro source, Alexander Rodrigues.You can follow me on Instar at Alexander's on air until next time staytrue, and do you boo that has been another Metrofon likeshare subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check out the latestissue of Metropole magazine on new stands or online at Nettapus. Follow uson Face Book Instar at Natator and on claner. That's a course. Man Tell nexttime a.

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