LatinXcellence: Roberto Larios made his Hollywood dream come true and now helps others do the same


The proof stretches again to when he was about 13 years outdated. At the time, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Sweetest Day — a vacation celebrated in the Midwest, together with his native Chicago — meant working in his mom’s flower store to assist with the rush.

More proof is present in his pre-Hollywood flip in the well being administration area, when he’d work from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and as soon as went seven months straight with out taking a day without work.

Even extra proof is in the days he spent driving Lyft — typically till 3 a.m. on the weekends — whereas working full time as an assistant, networking and studying scripts in his free time, so he might make finish’s meet.

Larios, a TV agent, is aware of what it means to work laborious, and it is gotten him to the place he’s — inside one in all the high businesses in Hollywood.

Larios’ dad and mom, immigrants from Mexico, had been enterprise homeowners who had been all the time working, whether or not it’s at the aforementioned flower store, promoting Mary Kay or at his father’s sports activities bar.

The latter, the truth is, is the place Larios gained an amazing appreciation for movie. On the weekends earlier than the bar opened, he’d arrange store in center room of his father bar and hook a VCR as much as the projector and mow by way of classics, typically joined by early fowl prospects. Sundays had been additionally for going to the motion pictures as a household.

Translating this innate love of movie into his eventual profession, nonetheless, took a while. But denying his ardour for leisure — and his distaste for political science, his unique instructional pursuit whereas learning at Notre Dame — was not long-lived.

Larios landed at Hollywood company Verve after finishing his MFA diploma at DePaul University and has by no means left, working his means up from the mailroom to being an agent.

“I’m home grown, and to be honest, that’s the best avenue — to be in the trenches learning from the bottom up and soaking in the company’s culture while learning valuable lessons,” he mentioned.

The journey, nonetheless, by no means would have occurred with out the mentoring and encouragement he obtained early on as an assistant from Verve companions like Amy Retzinger, Adam Weinstein and Bill Weinstein.

Larios describes his journey with pleasure as a result of it is not a typical story. (“I was promoted in about three years. That typically doesn’t happen to a Latino in this industry,” he mentioned.) Even much less so is discovering bosses who will put money into your success and take motion to do so.

Take, as an illustration, Larios’ facet gig as a Lyft driver. When he lastly confessed to 1 boss that he needed to complement his earnings by driving, it got here as a wake-up name about what truly is a residing wage. Though driving, for him, was by no means the distinction between, say, having a meal and not, Larios was sincere about his place.

“I told him it’d never, ever gotten to that point, but what I didn’t want to worry about was making sure that I can take care of my bills and being able to go home to visit my family whenever I got a chance,” he mentioned. “I’ve been in situations and I’ve seen my parents be in positions where they have literally zero dollars with the need to figure out how to get out of that situation, and I don’t ever want to be in that position ever again.”

This, he mentioned, is a priority for lots of newcomers to the trade, particularly L.A. transplants.

“It’s the dual-questions of “How dangerous do I need this?” and “Is this sufficient to maintain me right here?” he mentioned.

Verve quickly introduced pay raises for assistants and was the first agency to do so.

Larios mentioned in his honesty, he had in thoughts “the subsequent Roberto” and everyone with a similar background — the first in their family to make a play for success in the tough business with few or no resources.

“All of the companions paid consideration as soon as I used to be sincere,” he said. “Their main concern other than the wage difficulty was, ‘What if we get a name that you just had been in an accident?’ There is the concept that anybody is replaceable, however they’ve made me and my colleagues really feel like we’re every distinctive elements of the firm’s success.”

Larios would like to see this humanity and accountability become the norm. It starts, he said, with agencies taking a look at themselves.

“I’d say, check out each company’s roster and what number of various brokers they’ve, nevertheless it’s not essentially a couple of quantity. What’s the ratio and, due to this fact, the affect?” he said.

At Verve, roughly a quarter of their agents are of diverse backgrounds.

“It’s a very good quantity, and we’re enhancing on it. But, in the end, the ratio is rather more reflective of change — a minimum of in our doorways — and of what we’re attempting to do with respect to who we’re selling and who we’re attempting to characterize.”

Additionally, he said, it must be made clear what areas of any studio or agency Latinx people are employed.

“At any main studio or firm, like, in the event that they inform you, ‘Twenty-five p.c of our workforce is various.’ Well, I’d ask, are the precise resolution makers? Can they purchase? Can they rent? Are they serving to make a distinction” he said.

Even once in positions of influence, Larios recognizes — and has experienced — the pressures with being a Latinx professional in Hollywood. When you’re one of few Latinx agents in the business, it can come with equal parts responsibility and scrutiny.

“It’s laborious for somebody like myself or, you realize, like my colleague Gina Reyes, as a result of we’re two Latino various brokers at one in all the main businesses on this trade, however sadly the stress turns into one in all feeling that we will not signal everybody who we would relate to or establish with resulting from being Latinx,” he said. “We are simply two out of perhaps a dozen Latinx brokers, if that.”

Larios feels his greatest responsibility is to do his job and do it well for his clients, in hopes of making more opportunities for others.

“Ultimately, as representatives, we’re right here to construct careers, elevate profiles, and most significantly, obtain goals. If we may help, for instance, 5 Latina feminine comedy writers that we characterize discover success, and all 5 of them are doing superb issues or are about to, then the excellent situation can be that we will go signal 5 extra to copy the success,” he said. “In the finish, it is not essentially simply the work that I or any of my teammates are doing, however how receptive the different finish of my cellphone name or e-mail is being to our shoppers.”

He’d never be in the position to do any of this, however, if he’d never used his voice, he said.

“I believe the one factor that Latinos on the whole have to do on this trade is do not be afraid to talk up,” he said. “I really feel that a whole lot of us, myself included, are simply appreciative of the undeniable fact that we’re in the room. So, due to this fact, we do not say something and we simply settle for it as is versus pondering or saying, ‘You know what? I believe that is mistaken’ or ‘I believe we will do higher.'”

As a TV agent, Roberto Larios works to "build careers, elevate profiles, and most importantly, achieve dreams."As a TV agent, Roberto Larios works to "build careers, elevate profiles, and most importantly, achieve dreams."

Q&A

Name: Roberto Larios Jr.

Job: TV agent at Verve Talent and Literary Agency

Clients: “I do not wish to depart anybody out. We characterize as a ‘we,’ not an ‘I.'”

Years in entertainment: 4

Mentor: “All my colleagues at Verve, particularly Bill and Adam Weinstein, Amy Retzinger, Chris Noriega, Gina Reyes, Manal Hammad, Melissa Darman, Rich Rogers, Chase Northington Matthew Doyle, Evan Pioch and Jake Dillman.”

Latino…de dónde?: “First era Mexican-American, raised in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago.”

Latinx trope I’d banish forever: “That all of us look a sure means or sound a sure means. Latinos come in all totally different pores and skin tones and converse in another way, even accent-less.”

Latinx TV show I wish everyone was watching/had watched: “‘Resurrection Blvd.,’ which aired on Showtime and ‘Gente-fied,’ particularly when Season 2 comes out.”

Latinx actor/actress I think will a huge star one day: ‘Erik Rivera and Raiza Licea. They’re doing so much in the comedy scene for Latinos and underrepresented communities. I’m really rooting for them to be able to break out and for the world to know who they are.”

Overused line that executives say when passing on a Latino undertaking: “‘I’m sorry. We have to pass. We have a project already that’s similar in scope.’ Even when in reality it’s five degrees separated from it. I call it the ‘Highlander’ Rule. There’s a movie called ‘Highlander’ where only one ultimate warrior can exist. So when there’s two, to one has to kill the other. And you hear it. ‘Oh, we already have a show about diverse doctors.’ But, it’s like, ‘Wait, you have two White savior doctor shows? You can’t have two diverse doctor shows?'”

What I believe all executives might do to higher Latinx illustration on tv: “When it comes to hiring writers or actors, there should be more than just the same 10 people. When you think of Latino comedy, for a lot of people, it’s either Gloria Calderon or bust. Like, find the next Gloria Calderon instead and give them a chance. And it’s the same thing with actors. ‘Oh, we couldn’t get Pedro Pascal, so we’re going to scrap it. We’re going to change the lead from Latino male to ambiguous.’ Go find the next Pedro Pascal. I know it’s all about box office dollars, but if you can’t get that one big lead person, put the star power in the next role or two and give someone else a shot. Believe you can make them a star.”



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