looks poised to conquer Hollywood
as easily as he did Broadway
as the star of the film adaptation of "In the Heights
The 29-year-old actor, who graces the cover of The Hollywood Reporter's May 26 issue, reflects on the challenges he's faced during his rise to fame in the accompanying interview
. After graduating from high school in Brooklyn, New York
, he enrolled at the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy.
would tell me that if I grew my hair
out and spoke in American Standard, I could be more ethnically ambiguous; I wouldn't be in the 'Latino box,'” he explained. “I thought that shit was a box, as opposed to being a superpower and simply being who I am.”
Ramos had an epiphany after seeing a Broadway performance of Lin-Manuel Miranda
's Tony-winning musical "In the Heights," which takes place in Washington Heights, a predominantly Dominican neighborhood in New York, and has been hailed as a celebration of Latinx culture.
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Since then, Ramos has made the transition from stage to film, with supporting roles in big-screen hits like 2018's "A Star Is Born" with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga
. His success, he says, serves as a reminder that being authentic is important not only for an actor's mental health
and well-being, but also for establishing a connection with an audience.
“I believed that [box] shit for a little while, but I don’t want to be hired for being ambiguous; I want to be hired for who the fuck I am... Until the day I die, I’m going to be proud of where I come from. That was the shit. Some days were hard, but every day was more than worth it.”
Early reactions to Ramos' performance in "In the Heights," which opens in theaters on June 11, have been overwhelmingly positive, and later this summer, he'll release a new pop album, "Love and Lies," which, if successful, could establish him as a Hollywood triple threat, similar to Olivia Rodrigo
's "High School Musical
" series revival.
Ramos, who describes his new songs as "12 bangers," told THR that "Love and Lies" reflects the mood of the country as the COVID-19 pandemic
“People don't want to be in their feelings,” he remarked, “they want to be lit!”