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 minis, the official podcast to Metro source magazine and home of short form interviews with your favorite personalities from the lgbtq world and beyond. Quick, Fun and informative. It's natural source on the go, out in proud since one thousand nine hundred and ninety. Hello, hello, this is metro source minis. I'm your host, Alexander Rodriguez, lead rider for Metro source and avid podcaster. We love our allies and entertainment, especially when they are part of telling our LGBTQ stories. Today I chat with Las Vegas born Michael Samino, who started acting at the age of Eight, move to La gets cast in at about comes home and, of course, gets cast and Hulu's Love Victor. We are proud to feature him in our pride issue on new stands across the nation. Please welcome Michael Samino. Hi, wow, that was really that wasn't really good intro. Too much coffee. So, Michael, you come from a very colorful background. You are Italian, German and Perto Rican descent. That must have been some lively childhood, to say the least. What was culture like in your house? Well, it was interesting, you know, because my dad is obviously like white, you know, so it like it's a little bit different, but my mom is Super Latina. Like my whole family from New York moved to day is basically we and so growing up it felt way more like a Latino household and like Italian household, 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 my safe 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, the exact sense, like food I ate with my family. That felt special and, you know, place to just like come home to and be with people that are like me. I love it. Well, hello, I'm Latina as well. Now, what are the favorite parts...

...of your heritage? Honestly, like I think that I love like the cooking aspect of like, especially my family. Like cooking is such a big part of our, you know, our culture and like especially my like family dynamic. You know, like Thanksgiving is like one of my favorite holidays, just because we would always sit there and cook for four days before we did anything, and it's always been like a way to kind of like bond the family because, you know, I think you know this, Latinos are very dramatic and there's always some sort of drama in the family. And when there is, you know, there's always a good meal and then everyone comes together and eats and then, you know, we move on. But you know that is so true. We eat when we want to celebrate, we eat when we're angry, we eat when we're depressed, we eat after a funeral, after a baptism, after a wedding, just always eating exactly exactly, like you know, it's just something it's like always bonding my family. My Grandmother's passed away now for like six years, but like we still use her recipes and like every Thanksgiving we think about her and we cook with all her recipes and stuff, and that makes us like feel connected to her, you know they it's something it's like is always really kind of bonded me. My family like to like the FM degree. Well, it's really a family history that's carried down through recipes. I mean you can literally see the growth generation after generation and you just, like you said, when you eat something, it inspires all of the senses and really takes you back to generations before you, I like literally, and now vegans it's a little bit more difficult because, like we used to make this. My favorite thing was Gonneghi, shallow. My Aunt dtvl we used to make it and show God that was so good. She makes like you's to make a pot that was like like so big, like bigger than my life, like a huge, huge pot, and she's like, I made this for fifteen and we'd all come on every Sunday and eat Gannigi shadow and I eat it throughout the week. I take it to school, like that was my favorite. I can't eat that now because I'm Vegan, but I'm definitely like eventually going to try to figure out a...

...way to make it like a Vegan like beast to you know. Okay, so I was gonna I was gonna time it to see how long it took before you told us you were Vegan. I knew you were a Vegan. So I'm teasing. But what sparked that kind of Tristan in going to the Vegan lifestyle? Well, so, to be honest, like when I was younger, I was having like a lot of health issues and like I was having like a lot of really, really, 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 gonna try this out, and helped me a lot and ever since that I'd never turned back. Like I'm sure I can eat meat now and I'd probably be fine. But like at this point it's like so good for the environment, it's so good for your health. Like I feel great, you know, and I think that's the most important thing. When anything you know well in creates comes sont of like you know, your body is regular. If you're filming a whole day, you don't, you do not want to have stomach is. Yeah, exactly, exactly, like you know, I don't know, like these are long film days. Fourteen hour days are long, you know, and like when you when if you feel like crap, like even worse. Yeah, you're like, I'll be at my trailer for an hour. Yeah, exactly. Now you started acting at the age of Eight. What what did you learn in those early years as a kid acting, about acting and the Biz that you still subscribe to today? I think I just learned how special this art form is, you know, like it's something that is so it's something that 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 in, it's it. What really boils down to is just like your imagination and care, I like creating or connecting to your creativity, and that's, I think, the think, something that like is really stuck with me and that like I continue, like if I ever feel, you know, like overwhelmed their stressed about like what I'm doing, or were like you know, because I mean there was times where, like, especially when I was like eighteen, I...

...was I was really down and out. I was I was pretty poor and, you know, I was like, you know what, maybe I should just give this up. This is before I struck any success and I was like maybe I should just give this up. I haven't booked a job in two years and I've been in La for six months. I having any luck, and my friends like having me down and talk to me, and it just reminded me that, like, Oh crap, like this is something that is so, so sacred and it's something that has the 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 of what, like, is just so amazing to me about this art form and what I subscribe to you on the day today well. And also you're able to inspire. You don't know who's going to see something that you do in some random town somewhere that's going to be inspired to be an actor, inspired to tell their story as well. Exactly what I think. It's not even necessarily about being an actor. Like I think my biggest thing is that, just like I think anybody, everybody in the world, she just do what they're passionate about. Like doesn't matter what you're passionate about. If you're passionate about selling flowers, so flowers, like it's that simple. If that's really what brings you joy, just do it, like it's I think, you know, when we always are a society kind of put like a monetary value and like what we do, you know, it's like, Oh, well, I'm a doctor. It's like, Oh wow, he has a lot of money, and it's like well, yeah, important, and I think that's as part of my friends, but I think it's bullshit, like yeah, I think that we're kind of in like a place in time where you can make a bunch of money doing anything you want to do. Just be the best at what you love to do and then you will make money. If you're a garbage man, if and if you that's what you really love to do, you can. You could move up in the ranks and become like the head of sanitation, you know what I mean. Like I think that, like, realistically, what people do. Side of what society kind of like forces these kids into thinking is that, like you need...

...to have a good paying job and bought about about, like that's not what life is about. Like if, realistically, if making money is what makes you happy, go go ahead and do that. Like you can do you do real estate, you could do whatever. But, like, if you are a doctor and you don't enjoy what you're doing, if you don't enjoy saving lives, what are you doing? Why are you being a doctor if you're not an attorney and you don't like enjoy, you know, fighting for people's rights, and what are you doing exactly? And you know, doesn't matter how much money you have. If you're not happy, you're not happy, and that's just there is to it. Money can't solve that. You know, Michael, not to bring things down, but you did. You dealt with racism in elementary school and we're actually bullied. Can you tell me a little bit about that experience? Yeah, I mean, like growing up, I grew up in the kind of like an all white area. Vegas is is a pretty white town for the most very white, you know, like it's a very transient city and you know a lot of people from all over the place come and there's but especially the quay went she was basically an all white school. I don't think there was any other Latino kids in my class, if I can remember correctly, maybe one other kid and there was a few. There's a few. There's two black kids, one Asian person and then I think it was yeah, and then just me. Literally. I think it is like for people of color like class and it was the rest of us, like the rest of the kids in the class for white. So like it was definitely kind of weird growing up like in a place where there's there's no like set culture. I feel like in Los Angeles, in York and places like that, they have like a culture. Vegas is a very transient city and it has not necessarily like a set culture. We don't have any sport. Well, now they have sport teams, but when I was growing up, there's no sports teams, there was no you know, there's no sense of like city pride, if that makes any sense. Where it's like New York, it's like, Oh yeah, I'm in New...

York's I oh, holy crap, you know, but it's not. It's not like that. And basically because of that, there's a lot of kids that were from all over the place. Who knows where their parents were from, from the middlewest maybe or something, and they were they were kind of racist. Like 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 my later years and like Middle School, like I was still getting racial slurs thrown around at me and like I feel like it was something where it was like so weird that, because he was like almost normalized, that I didn't necessarily understand that it was racist, if that makes any sense. I'd understand it was racist until probably like like seventeen years old and I was like Whoa, wait a minute, that's racist as hell because, like I feel like when you're growing up in that kind of environment, you don't necessarily understand the scope of like what's being said. I totally agree with you. I went to I went to school in South Southern California and you would think, Oh, you know, it's pretty affluent and mix, but I was one of the only Latin kids and being made fun of for being Latin and, you know, having us a single parent, it was just normal for me. So, just like you said, I didn't realize how awful it was. It was just like, Oh, well, this is just this is part of what being Latino is or, you know, being part of a lower income family. Is You just connected it? Almost? Yeah, yeah, exactly. And like another thing is, you know, I was of you know, growing up in a place like this. It was a very toxic masculinity, like very toxic masculinity base place. You know, like growing up, I was definitely more of like a feminine like Kid, I guess you could say, at least to the other kids, you know, because it's like I was into the arts and like I wanted to sing and do that sort of stuff, and that was considered feminine to them, and so they would always like saying like slurs about you know, just just like the normal hateful stuff that is said. But like it...

...elementary school and it was horrible, but like I just thought it was like normal, which is horrible as hell like that. That's that should not be normal for anybody, you know. Yeah, exactly. I think we're bringing more awareness and you know, shows like love Victor definitely on a mainstream platform or definitely bringing awareness and we're having these conversations now in households because we have to because, you know, you you can't ignore the effects on bullying on any minority group at all. Yeah, I want to talk about you know, your generation comes from a very different view of sexuality and labels. Yeah, when I grew up, we just had Adam and Eve, gay and straight and like that was it. And now we have we have different letters and now we have different ideas of gender fluidity. What was your own personal not from your peers, but what was your own view about sexuality and kind of gender roles from your younger generation perspective of well, so that's an interesting question because 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 think sexuality is like always like an ever changing and like evolving thing, and I think that like for me personally growing up, I you know, growing up in like a very much easomer home and then going to a school where it was like very much like you need to be masculine, are you going to be bullied? Right. So that was very much like I was super scared of just being true to myself and like who I am now, right. And but now I'm very expressive about like who I am and what I do. I dress however I want and like I do whatever I want to do. I'd paint my nails, I don't I don't care, you know. And that that side note. There is this thing that like I saw on the other day on Instagram, and I understand agree. Like that doesn't mean like Oh, like, like I don't think that should be something that like is like looked up upon. There's like Oh my God, like he's just dressing, he's dressing so feminine. Like shout out to you for like breaking general worms, because the the lgbt community has been doing that for forever.

I'm trying not to curse. I'm like, so I try not to carr out. You could do whatever you want. You're Michael Stamino. Like the LGBT community has been doing that for fucking ever, you know what I mean? Like, just because I dress how I want to doesn't mean I'm special or I'm I'm changing the norms, when realistically, it's just an adaptation of what the lgbt community has been doing for such a long 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. But with that, I think that we're kind of in a place in time where it's more accepted to just be true to who you are. Living your truth is basically, you know, the only mantra and anybody should have. Okay, so let's talk about love, Victor, did you have a talk with your agent or manager before auditioning? You know, a nervous about, you know, playing a lead in a quote unquote gay show, afraid of being pigeonholed in the industry? Did you have that conversation? So, a few years prior, I was told that, like, you can't take a gay role for your first big role because you're only getting cast and gay roles. You know the everyone's get to your game and that's not like but like when I first audition for like the first time, I found out about love victory, was called left time in the series. I watch movie and I love the movie. I was like I want to be part of that, and I'm sure you've heard of that story. But yes, basically I went in for a different audition. I saw that they were casting that in the same office. It's like, Oh, interesting. Next day I got an audition for that. I was like, okay, cool, and right this the red side. I went in, I did my audition and stuff and I felt like really connected to me. I just felt like something like this is this is something that could really make a difference, you know. And then I got a call back and we kept going and going and going, and I really worked really hard to like make sure that I like that I could represent the community accurately in this, you know what I mean. Like it was something where I had to fight for it. We there's a one point in time where they rerelease a role when I was testing and...

I was like I was doing a like a little short or a little indie film somewhere else and I was like this is this is not the end for me, for this. I was like I'm not giving up on this, and I called my agents and like please call casting. Let them send me and let them let me send in another tape, like let me, let me just try again, like let me try, and he let me send in a tape and then went in again and again and then then here we are, you know. But like, I definitely like this whole experience was like so amazing and it's I honestly don't really like I do care about like like my job and stuff, but I don't really care how like if, like the industry tries to pigeon hole me as a quote unquote gay character, because I feel like that's such an old stereotype. That is'sues. It's just like people trying to be like don't play gay roles, you know what I mean, where it's like it's just people that have like their own prejudice towards that. If that, you know, if it is changing, but I do still think it's always in the back of our mind, such as you know, you get the part. All the headlines are very exciting. Our community is waiting with bated 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 it weird to have such a focus on your sexuality when it's like, Hey, I got this part in a great series. Let's talk about my acting, let's talk about the storyline, but a big question was is he gay? Is He not gay? Is that weird to have that kind of focus on that part of your life? I mean, yes and no, like I've kind of like expected that, you know, like I was kind of like mentally prepared for that question to be asked and like for people to who really care about it. I just don't think that I expected people to care as much as they did, if that makes any sense. where, you know, I was, I was getting death threats stuff for like and like that's crazy to think about, you know, like I didn't know that it was going to be to...

...that degree, you know, but I regardless. was like I was getting death threats from both sides, you know, like there was very angry people that are part of the lgbt 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 that I that I did it, because the amount of love that I've received and like the amount of like change at this show has had on other people's lives is is like insurmountable to like the what has happened like in the pass, if that makes any sense. Yeah, totally. And you know, gay playing gay, straight playing gay's such a hot topic in Hollywood. I've always come from a place that, yes, I would love to see more Lgbtq community with representation, and that is happening. We are getting that, but I also want to see the best actor in a role. I mean that's where I'm coming from. Now. has this kind of discussion affected your experience with the show, because you are, you know, identify a straight playing a gay character, so a lot of this discussion is exactly what you're doing right now. I think. I think the thing is is that, like if it actors taking a gay role and and really is trying to honor the people that go through this struggle on a daytoday basis and live in that struggle. That is different than an actor that is taking that job to get a paycheck. You know what I mean? Because realistically, like I think you know, like's there's a we need to just continuously tell these stories and sometimes, like sometimes, it just sometimes it's just about the best actor. And I'm not saying that I was the best accu by any means, but I think, like, I think, that it just is one of those things that you have to continuously go and do and, like we eventually we will find the correct answer. But I...

...think right now it's just a an interesting landscape to be in that, like we don't really know what's next as far as like that whole world, but I do think, as you're right now, that I think that it is it is important as long as the the actor really cares about the community and like really wants to represent them in an accurate way. I think that that's okay. I think that's the best answer to that question that I've heard. And you know, you obviously have firsthand experience. Now you've embraced our community with open arms, even a role model. You've been a spokesperson for a number of lgbtq youth you volunteered, gotten involved in in our organizations. Most actors get to do their part. They do press and then you know and then that's it. This has been a big commitment on your part personally to get involved further. Yes, do you ever feel sometimes it's like well, can I just can I just act and do the part? And you know, there's a lot of pressure being a spokesperson and it is a commitment personally. What made you go and take a step further? Well, I mean, I think it's like I don't like, as much as I love the show and like as much as I do, what I do for the show. It's not even necessarily for the show. I do it because it's like I care about the LGBT community. My cousin's gay, like my friends are gay. I you know what I mean, like I can't, I can't not be there for them and I hope that, like, if they was a situation where, like, you know, Latinos were like, what's going on at the border, whatever else, like, I would hope that they would be there writing for me too. You know what I mean. We're we are all human beings, especially if we're in a minority. We need to be there for each other. Like it's the same thing that happened with like all the protests are happening in La like I had to be there. You know, that's just not the type of person I am and it's obviously the show is like provide me a great platform to talk more about lgbt rights.

But regardless, I will continue to talk about agbt rights because that's that's just there are the right thing to do. Well, I thank you and you know, if we all succeed, we all succeed, you know, and that's only by supporting everybody. Exam okay, season two is coming out on Hulu Juna eleven. This season. Victors out, he's out of the closet, there's family drama. Without any spoilers, what are some of the changes we're going to see happen this season? I think you we explore more of the dynamic of Victor and Benji, you know, like it's definitely we explore more the dynamic of Victor going from, you know, like being with somebody that wasn't necessarily like, you know, somebody that he was necessarily attracted to the to the new dynamic of him in this new relationship and like him trying to figure out where he lies in this in in the world as the gay man. You know, I think that, like because I feel like a lot of gay men 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. Well, I think we're going to get a glimpse of also the family drama that's happening as a family beyond his coming out. You know, we get to see that a gay story is part of the family dynamic. But there's a lot going on with family dynamics, you know, and what I love about the show is that it focuses on many different aspects of victor's story. It's not just gay, Gay, Gay, Gay, sexual, sexual, sexual, you know, it's about how we live life growing up, no matter who you are. Yeah, I'm and that's what I really love about the show. Yeah, I think the overarching theme of the show is just to be true to who you are as a person. Yeah, like that's definitely like it's just like victor kind of navigating this lay, this new landscape that like it just so happens to be that like it's part of 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 for people to watch and be like, Oh,...

I understand this, and I think that's been the best thing. To receive like text and stuff from my family that wasn't necessarily the most accepting of the ogbt community and they're like, you know, I didn't really support this and I watched the show and it changed my completely change my view on it, and that's like a crazy thing. That's huge. They people really like literally like Juxtapost to you, like like or in arms reach, like changing their perspective on things through your art. Like one of my friends watch the show with her mom and then came out to her mom after the show. You know, that's a that's a that's a big thing. It opens up conversations and it makes it easier to have these kind of conversations. We didn't have shows like this when I was growing up and so I didn't have the conversation till I was older, and I think this is inspiring youth to be true to themselves early on. You know, youth is dealing with puberty, youth is dealing with weird growth spurts, youth is dealing with so many things. So the easier that we can make this this kind of process, the better. Now, what do you want to say to the straight community as our ally regarding the Lgbtq community, 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 I don't care, I have a gay friend. It's like, well, what are you doing to like help them? Like, you know, we as people need to use our privilege to help others get to the places that they need to be. You know, like we need to continue this fighting equality way beyond just being like well, I have a gay friend, like that's death. That's not that's not helping our fight in e quality. Go to pride, don't e money, good, attend meetings, don't your time, like if you don't have money going, don't it your time, or you know what I mean. Like it just we could do more. We can do more. Aren't and I think that, like we are definitely taking strides to do so. I think people are becoming like, Oh shit, yeah, I can't do more, but it just takes time. You know, I love that answer. What does pride mean to you? Not Necessarily for the Lgbtq community,...

...but what does pride mean to you personally? I feel like pride is just again, just being about being authentically who you are in every way, shape and form. Like there's people, if you go to pride, there is, you know, there is drag Queens, just more FEM gay presenting men. There's there's gay men that there that are drive Harley's or right Harley's, like it doesn't matter. I think that's an amazing thing about, you know, the the landscape that were in right now is that it's showing that we there's no right or wrong way to be gay. It's just just be true who you are, and I think that pride is just that. It's a big be prue who you are, but also be proud of like your sexuality, and be proud of who you are, and you could wear that your heart and your sleep. Be Be happy to love who you love and be Pridel for loving the people that you love. Exactly. Okay, you said in one of your interviews that, if season two is a thing, you weren't going to buy a specific car. It had a bunch of letters and numbers and it as that I'm Super Gay. So I have no idea what car you were talking about. I Ober everywhere. What was the car and are you going to get it? So it's called the dads into Z and I actually already bought it. Ah, congratulations, season two gift A. Right. 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 just haven't started doing it yet, but I'm really soaked about like starting that process. It's just I wanted to do it right and I want to take my time with it, so I haven't started doing it yet. Awesome. Did you work at Saddle Ranch, by the way? Huh Yeah. Do you have any funny stories from working and supple right? I have the craziest stories. We're gonna have to hear it, okay. Like one time there was this this lady was on a I think on a Monday night. is on a Monday night. It was late. We're about to...

...close up in this lady's like Hey, I want to ride the Mechanical Bull, and my boss, like I was a mechanical bull operator. All right, we're closing up. We're closing up, and he's like and this guy gives slips some some money. He's like, let her ride the bull. Is that all right? Cool, cool, he starts. She starts writing the bull. This lady takes her top off on the bowl and this if this is a family restaurant, top off on the bowl. Everyone's screaming, it's every look, crowds going crazy, like it was insane, like, and I have so many I worked there for like a month and a half, two months, and it was literally insane. Oh my God. Well, that's I mean that's a whole TV show on its own. I've been kicked I've been kicked out of Sunder ranch many times, so that's why I had to ask the question about it. Oh Man, yeah, it was. It was an interesting place to work, to say Belle's okay. And finally, what is your message to your Lgbtq fans this prime season? Just be authentically who you are, no matter what that is. It's that simple, I think. I think that's really the only message I can't give, to be honest. Oh, I could literally talk to you forever, because I know we're supposed to focus on the victor, but I'm a huge horror film Fan. So Annabelle comes home. Was that fun filming? Oh my gosh, it was so much fun. Like I had such a good time. Gary Doberman is like so freaking incredible. He's just like the sweetest guy ever and really just he was just great. And then Madison and Katie and in McKenna, they they were all so kind to me and like even even Vera in Patrick, like they were also nice to me. That was like my first like project. It was like actually like a real deal thing. Yeah, and I just felt so comfortable there, even though I was obviously like nervous as hell. Like they made me all feel so welcomed and comfortable and I just I'm so grateful to all of them to like to have Annabelle be like something. That was like my first thing, you know. Yeah, I mean that's that's so Hollywood horror film. I mean that's that's the whole different genre and I love it. Michael, tell everybody where you want...

...them to find you and follow you. Okay, yeah, so my instagram is at it's Michael Samino. My Tick Tock is the same thing and I have some music coming out soon, so get ready for that. What kind of music? It's kind of like like pop RMB, like pop 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 yeah, yeah, soon for sure. Well, we will definitely look forward to that. We are definitely going to look forward to season two of Love Victron Hulu June eleven. In the meantime, everybody can binge watch season one over and over. This has been my interview with Michael Somino. You can read my indepth interview with him on Metro Source Pride issue on news stands across the nation, or read it on Metro sourcecom. Michael, thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. You are my favorite. Thank you. You're great. All right, that is our episode. I'm your host and lead writer from Metro source, Alexander Rodriguez. You can follow me on Instagram at Alexander is on air. Until next time, stay true and do you boo. That has been another metro source mini like, share, subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check out the latest issue of Metro Sports magazine on newstands or online at Metro sourcecom. Follow us on Facebook Instagram at metal source and on twitter at Metro course man. Until next time, thank fast.

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