Actor Vinicius Machado’s love of performing began with dancing Capoeira, a form of Brazilian martial arts, which eventually led to major roles in local theater productions, commercials, television shows and feature films. Born in Rio De Janeiro and raised in Orlando, Machado found success on Nickelodeon’s hit series Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, which he starred on for nine episodes in 2006 and 2007.
Machado has since appeared on several series including Cold Case, CSI: Miami, NCIS and The Shield, and in 2008, he starred alongside Steve Carell in the big screen remake of Get Smart. Currently, Machado stars as the controversial Nomar Arcielo on the hit STARZ series Power, which was recently picked up for a second season, and he was recognized as the “fastest rising Latino talent on TV today” by American Latino TV.
In recent years, Machado has branched out into writing and producing with films such as By Chance and the Indiegogo-funded Conflicted.
To learn more about Machado and his work, visit him online at www.machadovinicius.com.
What was your childhood like, and how did it shape who you are today?
My childhood initially was incredible! And by initially, I mean before we moved out of Brasil. We certainly had our struggles as a family. My parents were never rich, but I got into trouble and played hard like my kids do today. I had enough toys to get me by. I wasn’t much into materialism either. So for me, more toys was never the question. I have always enjoyed my friends above everything else. Time in the playground with them meant the world to me.
When we moved out of Brasil at the age of twelve, for me at least, life took a turn downhill. I didn’t just leave my friends behind and had none now. I was immediately bullied in school due to my language barrier. Eating became my scape goat, which in turn resulted in being bullied further. I tried to make friends, but it was difficult for number of reasons, including the ones I’ve mentioned. I became a bit depressed. We moved a lot too once we got to the United States. My parents didn’t know this world, they were exploring, it was a first hand experience for them too. I don’t blame them, but it took us years to finally settle in one place. We moved almost every year to a different place. Every year, I had to re-adjust to a new circle of friends, school district, etc. That had a tremendous impact on my worldview. I began to see the world different then from when I lived in Brasil…
So my childhood was a mix of different experiences. All for which I am very thankful. Even the hard times, and being bullied, because it taught me to be sensitive to the needs of others and to appreciate life in a way that I don’t think I would understand had I remained in Brasil where everything was going to be one-dimensional.
How did you initially become interested in Capoeira?
My uncle did Capoeira in Brasil. I was fascinated by it since seeing him as a baby do it. But it was always just an admiration. I didn’t know I was going to fall in love with it as much as I did. A few years after moving to the United States, my parents thought it would be a good idea to look for ways to keep us grounded in our culture. They had just started a Capoeira School next to our new district that year and so we joined the school. I remember going into it nonchalant, very hesitant even; I didn’t know I had so many capabilities like that. It was difficult, but so much fun. Most importantly though, it gave me confidence again in people and myself. I acquired real friends who are still in my life today, directly and indirectly, and they were Brazilian. Not all of them. But the majority. I immediately lost the weight and everything changed again. I became strong, I fell in love with the art, music, performing, disciplining myself and I began to view the world differently again. You can imagine how confusing it can be for a child the minuteness of things. How they effect you. Well, again I’m thankful for it all. Lessons that are priceless.
I have since used Capoeira in every aspect of my life, career, relationships, etc. Capoeira was the best thing that could have happened to me at that age and I’m glad it did.
What was the experience of starring on Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide like?
Such a joy. Immense privilege and nothing but. I loved my cast members, crew, etc. We would have Thanksgiving dinner at Scott Fellows’ house in Pasadena, we would attend events together, go to concerts, live events, family barbecues at each others’ places, birthday parties, etc. We became a family, a strong family. The set was just another excuse to get together and have fun. I was young, we all were. We had fun and tons of it. The show itself was fun, the writing was brilliant, captivating, fun to act out. I would laugh many times by myself when I would stop and think about what that role meant for me. Playing Faymen Forchin was like revisiting my years as a child. From the moment I left Brasil to where I was, that role was written for me. Hence again my gratitude for all of that experience because it has only served me despite the pain of going through it in that moment.
My experience on Ned’s still stands as one of my favorite experiences thus far in Hollywood. Why? Because it channeled my real life in so many ways on and off the set.
How did the opportunity to star on Power come about?
My agent submitted my headshot for consideration and they denied me the opportunity to audition. So she called casting directly and insisted on them to see me. They in turn said that I could put myself on tape for it. I didn’t come to find this out ’til after the fact. I got the usual call from my agent about putting myself on tape for an audition like other times. Goes to show how much an agent that believes in you is critical. So I put myself on tape for the role of Julio. I had to do that two times before actually getting called in. The second time was only to apply a note. Well, that got me called in for a general audition. What a process just to get in the door.
Long story short, I ended up auditioning for Ruiz next, then they gave me Nomar. Regular process of callbacks, waiting for a producer to review the taped audition with the casting director and then they called and made us an offer for Nomar. Usually they don’t do that. If they don’t like your audition or don’t find you fitting for the role they are seeing you for they don’t give you further opportunities. So Power was a first experience like that for me where they obviously saw something they liked and kept liking and tried to find a place to fit me in. I’m very grateful for it. That’s how I got the role.
What do you enjoy most about acting?
What’s not to like? I enjoy everything. From the art side of the business to the business side of the business. I talk in depth about this in my book Hollywood Living. Which I’m hoping to get published this year. Anyone interested in distribution, hit me up. I really enjoy and have capitalized on the transformation process. I think being boxed into the character actor stereotype has benefitted me more then limited me as many people view it. With it I have been able to diversify that stereotype and redefine it really. Diving myself into the world of the character has always been a pleasant experience. I discover so much about myself in the process as well. It’s addicting. I find that I’m capable of so much more then I know and with it I have also acquired a knowledge of the business that many actors are not afforded, which gives me greater advantage. And then there are also the privileges that we are granted as actors. Especially working actors. I’m not talking about money either, though that’s a byproduct. The responsibility is huge, but one that I’m fortunate to have and treat it with much gratitude.
How have you evolved as an actor over the years?
So much. I’m so much better today. My art is stronger and more effective. My ability to communicate clearly has increased. My emotions are more rounded and available. I’m only going to grow. I have much room to grow and I’m not afraid to say that today. My cognitive abilities are sharper. I’m able to identify and reach a place requested on the spot, perhaps not perfectly, but I’m working on it. I also take the ability of acting more serious. Not that I didn’t before, but I have a greater respect for people like me. I think it’s important to have self-respect and encourage. We get rejected so much that it can negatively impact our understanding and esteem of what we do and seek to do. So it’s important to recognize that not everyone can act. It’s not a hobby, or playing, it’s a real skill that some develop and strengthen just like any other field.
You utilized crowd-funding platform Indidgogo to raise money to film Conflicted. What was this experience like, and is Indiegogo a platform that you’ll revisit for future projects?
It was a pleasant experience. We saw how much we are loved and supported by our peers, friends, family, and fans. Of course I will use Indiegogo again, and other crowdfunding sites. As a matter of fact, I’m brainstorming a campaign strategy for something new right now with some people I want to collaborate with next. The beauty of such sites is that it gives you complete control creatively over the vision for the project and execution. Which has opened the horizon to the fullest for competition, but as Taylor Swift said, “if it’s good, it will stand.” What the competition has not been able to eliminate is that key principal: quality is still a rare commodity. But sure, we have more to dig through today. But we also have a new awareness for unrevealed talent. I think we are better off today then we have ever been.
What’s the best movie you’ve seen recently?
So many to list. Birdman is on the top of the list though. Huh, Whiplash as well. I don’t know, so many. American Sniper definitely put Cooper on another level for me. He just keeps raising that bar individually first and foremost, love him for that. Inspiring. I actually watched Natural Born Killers for the first time a few weeks back now. Can’t believe I had never seen that movie. Genius. Woody and I are very closely related now, professionally-speaking. Indirectly. That’s all I can say about that right now. But loved the movie. Loved it. Classic.
What advice would you offer to aspiring actors?
It’s possible. You have a dream, you have ambitions, goals, aspirations to live a Hollywood life, to be an actor, artist, producer, writer, director, production assistant, etc. You CAN, if you do three things.
One: Stay Ready. If you have to get ready for an opportunity, role, then you are not ready. It’s better to be ready and not have the opportunity, then to have an opportunity and not be ready.
Two: Be prepared. That means be flexible, life happens, you must be willing to adapt to the bumps that will come to steer you out of your path. You must learn to control your situations and not allow them to control you.
Then, last but not least, Fearlessness. The boogeyman is not real. The greatest asset to your advantage is your mind. Your determination will fail you, your drive will fail you, your talents will fail you, but your WILL is immortal. Don’t be afraid because there is nothing to fear but fear itself. If I can do it, so can you.
I’ll go further to say that the length of time it takes most people to break in does not have to apply to you. You can have it in two years’ time, or you can have it in two months’ time. The key is to answer these two questions: Do you know what you are doing? And are you willing to do what it takes? Your future is an achievement. Follow me on all social media as vmachado82 or go to my website www.machadovinicius.com and stay tuned, there’s much more coming soon. Believe.