Kevin Alejandro stars in the new CBS drama “Golden Boy” (Photo/ courtesy Aleksandar Tomovic – www.alekandsteph.com)

“Golden Boy” star shares what its like to play a bad boy for the first time

Whether he’s playing the lovable cop on “Southland,” the hot warlock on “True Blood,” or the caring dad on “Ugly Betty,” one thing is certain: Kevin Alejandro can do it all.

And now Alejandro is starring in a role like you’ve never seen him before – detective Christian Arroyo in the new CBS crime drama “Golden Boy.”  The series follows the meteoric rise of ambitious cop Walter Clark, who becomes the youngest Police Commissioner in New York City history. Alejandro, 36, plays Clark’s rival and the resident bad boy of the series.

“It’s been such a great journey playing the pseudo bad guy,” Alejandro says. “You want to hate him but you can’t because there’s just so many levels to this guy. No one is just a one layered character.”

Some people may be initially put off by Arroyo’s arrogant attitude, but for Alejandro that was exactly what made playing the bad boy cop such a golden opportunity.

“He was edgier and had so much more going on and just seemed like a bigger challenge. I don’t think anyone has ever seen me play this character before,” he says.

Alejandro may have starred in several series by now, but the versatile actor is eager for new challenges. He first got involved with acting accidentally through the theater department at his high school.

“I happened to go to a high school with a very successful theater department,” Alejandro says, recalling how he got involved with state acting competitions.  “Some high schools compete with baseball and football, but our theater department did the same thing. I did it on a whim and the teacher casted me as lead actor.”

That teacher, Jerry Worsham, would go on to mentor Alejandro and foster his desire to pursue acting as a career. Even though he passed away from cancer, Alejandro says he still thinks about the advice Worsham gave him.

“He’s the one who showed me that there’s a career in what I do and that I have the potential. He was such an inspiration. Universities would call him to work for them and he always said no because he wanted to be a high school drama teacher,” Alejandro recalls, mentioning that he hopes to become a high school drama teacher like his mentor once he’s well established.

After continuing his acting training at the University of Texas at Austin, Alejandro took off with a friend to Los Angeles, leaving with only couple garbage bags full of his belongings and change they had saved in a few Gatorade bottles. Though Alejandro has left his small West Texas hometown, he still  keeps his true to his Mexican-American roots by bringing his culture to every role he plays on-screen.

“I grew up very culturally with big family parties with fireworks and chicharrones on the table,” he remembers. “I’m proud of my culture and I’m not ashamed of where I come from. I keep that close to me everyday to remember that and make my mom and my dad proud.”

But Alejandro is candidly honest about the struggle he’s had reconciling his identity with some of the roles he’s accepted. The Texas native has never shied away from a gay role, with his most prominent one being the warlock nurse Jesus on True Blood. He admits to struggling with the machismo that pervades Latin culture in order to play some of those roles.

“I didn’t want to offend anyone in my hometown. Because we are so prideful, that manifested in myself,” Alejandro says. “But people were very accepting- both of sexual preferences and of what I do as my profession. I didn’t give them enough credit.”

While Alejandro may have played a cop and a detective on the small screen, he’ll also be taking his crime fighting ways to the web. He’s producing and starring in “The Keepers,” a webseries on a secret division of the FBI that has contact with superheros. And the best part of it all? Alejandro is working on it with one of his closest childhood friends.

“We’ve always wanted to create our own company,” he says. “My friend Stephen Tyler and his wife wrote it, I’m producing and directing and starring in it.”

While “The Keepers” has yet to begin production, the two childhood buddies are running a kickstarter campaign to fund their dream.

Still, Alejandro says that “Golden Boy” has undoubtedly been his best experience yet.

“I hope the show will last as long as people continue to enjoy it. The show really gives you the full circle that the audience is interested in seeing,” he says. “What I love most is my relationship with my castmates. I haven’t been part of a show that’s not a real hierarchy. We all have our position in what we do and we come together.”

Golden Boy airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET on CBS.

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