Okay, now Finding Carter is a drama filled show. Would you say your work mirrors your life at all?
So you’re asking me if I’m dramatic? [Laughs] There are a lot of people that would say that I am dramatic. You know, one of the things about Finding Carter is that sometimes the people who you know are closest to you, turn out not to be the people you thought they were. They have secrets. They have something to hide. I haven’t had that experience in real life. I’ve been fortunate; I’m very close with my family. But I do like the aspect of Carter coming home to a real family, [as she] eventually she comes home.
I always feel with my family, no matter what happens in my world, they are always there for me and I can always come home. I mean we’re like any other family we have our drama. I just had a little bit of drama with my sister over the weekend so you know. All families have drama, and when you go through drama and you go through battles, it brings you closer, in my opinion.
That’s very true. So what led you to becoming an actor?
Growing up I always envisioned myself doing something in front of a crowd. I was an athlete…I played baseball up until college. I always liked being in front of people and performing. I’m the type of person that is good under pressure. Given the circumstance, I can perform in front of people. I think that when my career in sports ended and I was introduced to theater while I was in college, it was kind of like a transition that was seamless. I got my start in Miami, you know being in Miami you are surrounded—not as much as Los Angeles but there is—you’re surrounded by a lot of Latin entertainment. It always excited me. Spanish television always excited me; I watched a lot of novelas growing up. It was something that I could always see myself going into if you know that athletic career didn’t pan out, and it ended up working out. I ended up doing a couple of Spanish TV shows and that transitioned into me moving to Los Angeles, and then my career took off. But I think I always saw myself doing something in front of people and this was a logical choice. At first I thought it would be theater and then I kind of got thrust into television and that’s how my career took off.
Being Latino, did you find it at all difficult to navigate your way in Hollywood? A lot of people are told they should change the way they are or change their name, particularly their last name, just to land a role.
Yeah, you know I have to be honest with you. I was told that I should change my name. And I did for a couple of months, until I was sitting at an audition and the casting director started calling my “new name,” my new stage name, and I sat there, and didn’t respond. So she got closer and closer and I said, oh yeah, that’s me I’ll be right in. That’s when I realized, that’s not me, that’s not going to change who I am in this business or break it. I’m back to having my normal name and going by Eddie Matos. To be honest with you, I think I’ve been really fortunate. I think I came at the right time when Latinos were becoming kind of like the “it” thing in Hollywood. I love the fact that it’s grown and it’s grown, and I had a great experience being in an all Latino-cast. I’ve been very fortunate and very blessed that being Latino actually worked to my advantage in Hollywood.
What advice would you give an aspiring actor?
I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve seen people come and go. When I moved from Miami to Los Angeles to pursue acting, even my roommate who moved to Los Angeles with me, lasted about 1 year and 6 months. I’ve seen friends go to Los Angeles and try it out for three months, one year, two years, and three years and turn around and go home. My best advice would be: If there’s something you want to do and you really love, it takes perseverance. It’s a no-brainer that we deal with rejection on a daily basis. But if you know you have what it takes, you have faith, and you are a hard-worker, then it will pay off in the end. As long as you have that perseverance and when your name is called you’re ready to go...work hard on set and work hard on your craft, then you’ll be fine. You will make it in this business; I truly believe that.
Love that! So you were born in Puerto Rico, but you’ve been here for a very long time. How do you stay connected to your roots?
I go to Puerto Rico at least once a year, and I’m constantly in touch with my family. You know social media has become such a great tool for so many things, but for me it’s been a way to stay connected with friends that are on the island, reconnecting with people. It’s funny, as you get older you grow closer and closer, and you don’t take your family for granted as you might have when you were younger. I really reconnected with all my cousins in Puerto Rico, we make it a point to go out to dinner when I’m on the island—go on a boat, do something, and put together some family outings. Just remember to celebrate our family, remember to reconnect. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do, to go to Puerto Rico at least once a year and see everyone. The minute I land on that island I feel like I’m home, and I feel like that’s where I belong—that I’m Puerto Rican, and that’s what I am first and foremost.
That’s great! Do you have any final words for our readers?
I think that Finding Carter is going to be the type of show that’s going to transcend just being on the MTV Network. It’s a show for all the masses. I’m so excited about this show because it’s got so many twists and turns. It’s got an amazing cast, an amazing head writer, Terri Minsky, who knows the characters really well. I think that the viewers of the show are going to be hooked from episode one and [will] watch it all the way through. I can totally see the show—I can totally hear people talking about the show: "Did you hear about the new show on MTV?" and "You really need to head over and watch this show." I think it’s that good and I think it’s that well-written, and it’s a great storyline. I really, really love what’s going on here.
Finding Carter premieres on MTV tonight, July 8th at 10 p.m. Will you be tuning in?