EXCLUSIVE: Ray Diaz On 'East Los High' & How Hollywood Made Him Wish He Wasn't Latino

Ray Diaz

Is East Los High your latest obsession? If not, Ray Diaz will make it be!

The up-and-coming hottie, who started his career as a model, stars as bad boy Nick Reyes on HULU's popular teen drama. We caught up with the Cuban American actor to talk about his character, how Hollywood made him wish he wasn't Latino and how he overcame that feeling, his favorite back-to-school memory, and more.

Check it all out in our exclusive interview below:

Lets talk about your character Nick on East Los High.

Well I play the character of Nick Reyes aka “Slick Nick.” Nick was born and raised in foster care, he never met his father and his mother was in and out of rehab. He grew up on the streets of Los Angeles and New York, so he kind of had this New York vibe to him. He’s been in love with the same girl since he was nine. He has real mad DJ skills, but those skills lead him down the path that could eventually cost him his life — and that’s how Season 2 ended, with no one knowing what happens to my guy.

Crazy! Have you been able to relate to him at all?

Oh yeah, mine and Nicolas’ obstacles are pretty parallel. There’s a lot of people in my life that I knew that resemble what he’s going through and my life as well. So I actually didn’t have to do any research to his past events or experiences.

Okay, interesting. So you got picked up for a third season, which must be really exciting.

Yes, it is.

Can you share any details about the new season and Nick?

To be honest, I have no idea! They are actually writing the scripts as we speak now. But, I would like it to go like Breaking Bad. He was a chemist and a good guy, and everything just kept going wrong. He got cancer and ended up being this drug lord. It would be amazing if my character could someway somehow get a storyline like that. Nick’s a good guy — he’s in love with the same girl and then somehow, because he gets kidnapped or is about to die, all of a sudden they bring him back as like the king or the guy who runs R&R records. That would be cool.

What was high school like for you?

It was a lot like East Los High. I’m from Key West, Florida so everything on East Los High is pretty much what my cousins and I witnessed in high school. The drama, girl fights — at our school only girls fought. The only difference is we didn’t have a bomb squad, we had the cheerleaders and our dance team and that’s the only difference. But the drama yes, and think some of the drama was worse in my high school! I don’t even want to get into it, it’s so bad.

Wow. Okay, so do you have a favorite first day back to school memory?

I remember in 10th grade I dyed my hair blonde like Eminem. I didn’t want to have it blonde but I was trying to do the whole NSYNC thing with blonde highlights. What happened was I messed that up, and I had to shave my head and I swear I ended up looking like Eminem. It was great because it was actually on my birthday when school started that year.

Would love to see a picture. [Laughs] Now, you started your career off as a model so what made you want to go into acting?

Well I made a transition into Miami to take modeling seriously and when I got there I landed this Macy’s national commercial. The whole collaborating part of that commercial peaked my interest. I was told that I should probably take an acting class, since I liked being on a commercial set. So then when I took an acting class I was like okay, this is exactly what I want to do. I feel this really is my calling.

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