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Q&A with Rudy Martinez of Netflix’s ‘Dear White People’

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Dear White People is a dramedy series on Netflix based on the 2014 film of the same name, which follows a diverse group of students at a predominantly white Ivy League college, who are navigating various forms of racial and other types of discrimination. Martinez plays the character ‘Wesley Alvarez’, who is a love interest for Lionel (DeRon Horton) in season 2, which premiered May 4, 2018.

Check out the trailer featuring for season 2 below.

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Tells us about Netflix’s “Dear White People”! What role do you play in season 2?

I play Wesley Alvarez who is a student at Winchester University. Wesley is kind of a geek and an intellectual. He’s very into his philosophy program at school, but he’s also into anime and video games. That makes him sort of a social outcast so when he meets Lionel who is also sort of a wallflower, they click instantly. A bit of a romantic relationship starts to develop between them but it takes them a while to get there since they’re both a bit socially awkward. It’s been super fun to be on the show and I just heard it’s been renewed for season 3. I’m so happy for Justin, the creator, and the cast and all the writers!

For audience members who have never seen “Dear White People”, why should they watch the series?

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There are so many reasons why. First, it’s so timely and relevant to social issues that we’re discussing today. Given that this is the age of social media, I’ve seen a lot of racism out there from people hiding behind their twitter handles. But this show takes a satirical look at that, and it makes it funny while still managing to show the seriousness of it. Another reason is that it has a killer soundtrack, it’s shot beautifully, and the acting is phenomenal.

You recur on The CW series “Jane The Virgin”. How has it been working with that cast? Do you have a favorite memory from set?

The cast and creators of Jane The Virgin are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. It’s such a diverse group of people and Gina Rodriguez has done so much to bring visibility to women in Hollywood and the Latinx community.  She’s truly inspiring. One of my favorite moments on set was when the cast was reading one of the last episodes of Season 4 and we took a big group photo. It was nice to see everyone in one place like the cast, the crew, and all the producers and writers. It felt like a big family.

How did you get into acting?

I was actually doing theater in college when I landed my first agent. I had no idea how to break into acting, but I read “Backstage” religiously trying to get as many tips as I could. I found a great headshot photographer because I knew I needed a good headshot to back up my acting ability. I sent out a mass mailing of my headshot and resume to several agents in Hollywood and I got a few meetings. One agent signed me and that was the start of my career.

You are currently in the theatre production “Wood Boy Dog Fish” at the Garry Marshall Theater in Los Angeles. How is that role different from your on-screen work?

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It’s so different, but in a good way. It’s like the exact opposite of acting for TV or film. In Wood Boy Dog Fish, I puppeteer a child-sized puppet and I act and sing and dance with it. In order to convey emotions, you have to be really big and loud and make larger than life choices. But on screen, all of those choices have to be internal. To me, acting is special because whether it’s on screen or on the stage you have to be vulnerable and open to experiences, but the way you tell the story is different.

You are an advocate for diversity in the theatre and on-screen and have set up a scholarship with your husband at UCLA. How did that come about? 

Yes, I’m a huge advocate for diversity. We set up a scholarship to benefit LGBTQ+ writers at UCLA. We really just wanted to support writers who were coming up with brilliant ideas and creating great storylines featuring LGBTQ+ themes and characters. You know, it’s easy to come up with stereotypes that negatively affect people in this community, but we believe LGBTQ+ characters are worthy of complex and beautiful writing. It’s our way of saying to young writers, “We see you. You’re brilliant. Keep going!”

Martinez is currently gearing up for the theatre run of “Wood Boy Dog Fish” as Wood Boy at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. When not acting, Martinez loves to play the ukulele and dabbling in song writing. He is a self proclaimed “geek” and is a huge fanboy for Harry Potter, ‘Power Rangers and Steven Universe. Martinez stays active by riding his skateboard, running and doing yoga. When he has a free moment, he loves to restore old furniture, visiting flea markets and antique shops and shopping for vintage clothing.
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