What am I? Danny Pino says being Cuban means family comes first

Video by: Ignacio Torres

2013-03_2238072_WhatAmI_640x90_v1Danny Pino is an actor who seems to have made his career of playing smooth, oh-so- charismatic, good-guy characters. You might remember him from CBS cop drama “Cold Case” and these days you can catch him on the small screen on perennial fan favorite, “Law & Order: SVU.” As Detective Nick Amaro on the show – now in its 14th season – Pino is a warm, likeable guy, but one whose background and personal story always seem to take second seat to the job at hand. But in real life, that couldn’t be farther from the truth, as Pino – named for his grandfather Pedro Gonzalo de Armas – is passionate about his Cuban heritage.

“To give your children the opportunity to not live under a communist dictatorship and to be able to realize their full potential is very specific to Cubans,” says Pino, who was born and raised in Miami. “It’s something that I am direct beneficiary of.”

Pino – the second of five brothers – explains that because his parents fled their native island with nothing, family and tradition quickly became the focus of the Pino home. That emphasis on family is something Pino wants to pass down to his two boys with wife Lilly; through language, food and culture he says, he wants them to feel proud of their roots.

“I hope my kids are able to be proud of who they are,” says Pino. “That they are, in fact, the beneficiaries of people who worked incredibly hard and sacrificed a lot – who sacrificed everything except their family …that’s something we’re determined to pass on to them.”

“So I’m hoping and working towards that.”

Watch Pino talk more about his Cuban roots and learn why he feels empowered by Miami’s Cuban every time he walks into a casting office.

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