CAPTIONS: ; nycogo/Tagger Yancey IV ; oohs and aahs soul food.
Set to play Miguel Diaz in the upcoming YouTube Red series Cobra Kai, a sequel to the wildly-popular Karate Kid franchise, the actor has also starred as Victor Braverman on Parenthood.
Tell us a little about your career path.
Now that I am a junior in high school, I have been thinking about this question a lot. I’ve always wanted to merge my creative side with my scientific side. Then, I had this amazing English teacher who made me realize how much I love writing. Because of that, now I think about screenwriting as well as continuing to understand and learn acting and even being behind the camera. I just want to get my ideas out and have them come alive. So, my career path can either be screenwriter and actor, or creator of killer robots.
What are some of your favourite projects that you have worked on? Why?
Every project I have done has resonated with me for different reasons. Parenthood was the most ideal, first project any actor could ask for. Working with Jason Katims and Larry Trilling was such a valuable experience. I have created long-lasting relationships from Parenthood and consider many of the people I worked with as family. Twin Peaks was almost indescribable, not just because we all sign NDAs, but really because working with David Lynch is like working in a dream state. I didn’t know what to expect, but he was so supportive and clear in his vision. Kobra Kai, which is what I have just finished working on, was surreal. I never pictured myself as an “action” actor, but now I want to climb, karate-chop my way through my next role.
Tell us about your charitable endeavors and why it is important to give back.
I have been raised in a social justice family. I marched before I could walk and have always understood the importance of civic engagement. My focus is on helping to build safe and thriving communities, Immigrant and DREAMers’ rights, and helping youth who are most in danger of becoming homeless when they leave the foster system. Making sure you give back to your community and the people that support you is something that’s close to my heart. With that being said, I think in this age of technology, it’s important that as people in the public eye, we aren’t praised or given a pat on the back for something that we should already be doing! I am not a big fan of posting photos when I am volunteering. I’m not knocking it, it’s just that for me, I don’t want to take the focus away from the need. I just want us all to remember that there isn’t “them” or “us”. We are all in this together.
Most memorable travel moment.
Jet-skiing with jellyfish in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico with my family and best friend. During that same trip, I got to swim with baby sea lions and their moms. I’ll never forget that.
When I am Not Working I Am
Bike riding, playing basketball, or playing trivia and board games with my friends (above during the 2017 snowstorm in Atlanta, Georgia with Mary Mouser, left, and Jacob Bertrand, right). I DM a regular Dungeons and Dragons meet up in Boyle Heights. Look us up and drop in!
Favorite dish at a Restaurant Worldwide?
Oohs and Aahs, Soul Food restaurant in Washington D.C is my favorite place to eat in the world and it is, in fact, the reason why I am looking to attend D.C. based colleges (totally true).
New York! You can be in D.C. or Miami in a few hours; but I stay for the delicious bagels.
Xolo Maridueña’s List
1. On my playlist.
Always Where I Need to Be, The Kooks. Perm, Bruno Mars. Designer, Lil Pump.
2. Best advice that you have received
Say hi to people when you pass by them. It will totally change your outlook. You get to make eye contact, you can connect for a second, and that may actually be the only interaction that the other person makes on that day. Also, be a good person to those you meet and work with: You don’t know who they really are or may be in the future and; It’s easier to live knowing you don’t have to watch your back from people trying to get back at you.
3. Always in your luggage?
I have two matching North Face pieces of luggage that I swear are like, Black Holes. They fit everything. I always make sure I have my sunglasses, my phone charger, and a journal for any ideas that come along in my head throughout the day.
4. Can’t Live Without?
I can’t live without my family, my friends, murder mystery novels, and fried chicken. Not in that order.
Most memorable travel moment.
Jet-skiing with jellyfish in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico with my family and best friend. During that same trip, I got to swim with baby sea lions and their moms. I¹ll never forget that.
This original travel Q&A article first appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of City Style and Living Magazine