Xolo Mariduena, 11, may still be in middle school, but he has big dreams of conquering Hollywood. The actor of Mexican, Cuban, and Ecuadorian descent plays Victor on NBC's hit drama series, Parenthood.
Born in Los Angeles, Xolo got an early start in stardom by starring in commercials, which eventually helped him land his role as a troubled foster child on the primetime drama.
We spoke to the talented newcomer, who made our 50 Brightest Stars Under 25 list, about his role and what stars he looks up to. Check it out below!
What led you to start a career in acting at such a young age?
I started doing commercials and really felt like acting was something I would be good at and enjoy. My mom completely supported me and looked for an agency. I booked the first audition I went on! That fueled me even more to continue and go on more auditions.
What was the audition process like for your role Victor on Parenthood?
It was great! Erika Christensen (who plays Julia) and Sam Jaeger (who plays Joel) were actually there so I got to meet them before joining the cast. I was nervous, but it turned out really well.
Your character has a pretty rough childhood. Is it tough playing a foster child?
Not really. I like playing characters that are different than me. He’s like the unknown and really wants to stay out of the radar. He also struggles with being in a new family and feeling like the outsider. I think deep down he’s afraid of getting sent to another foster home. I think I’m the complete opposite.
There are a lot of kids on the show. Do you hang out with any of your younger co-stars when you are done shooting?
Yes, I hang out with Sydney (played by Savannah Rae). I work mostly on the same days as her so it works out. I also sometimes hang out with Jabbar (played by Tyree Brown) and Max (played by Max Burkholder) a lot. The rest are a lot older than me, so I don’t hang out with them as much.
Your name is so unique. Does it have a special meaning?
Xolo means the brightest star in the universe.
That’s pretty fitting! Do you ever find it difficult to balance school and work?
It’s a little hard because I have a lot of schoolwork on the set, but I manage to make the time for it. My parents also support me so that helps out a lot. I’m definitely getting good grades so far.
What stars would you like to work with in the future?
I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt and watch all of his movies. I really look up to Steve Carell and Will Ferrell. I would love to have a career like theirs someday.
Parenthood airs Tuesdays at 10PM/9PM CT.