Tonight marks the official premiere of the new Starz original series Power, mixing New York nightlife with the city's criminal underworld. The latter includes Nomar Arcielo, a gang member played by actor Vinicius Machado. BFTV touched base with Vinicius recently to discuss what it was like for him to board the ambitious new project, and how far he's come since breaking through on a Nickelodeon sitcom years ago.
How would he describe Nomar? "[He's] definitely different than everybody else from a point of view of humanity," he told us. "Where most people will look at it from an addiction or a stereotype, I think at the end of the day, this is just about representing a soul. Just to be bold, not being afraid of being a human being. We all have different colors and different faults and different things that make us human."
We also asked Vinicius to dish on what he loves most about his new job. "There's so many different things that I can name," he enthused. "I think just working with the cast that is so brilliant and the caliber of their talent, and what the show is representing. [Also] to do something again that is not cliche, and something that is gritty and raw, and that people are going to be able to relate to."
While he's been on television for a long time now, this is the first time Vinicius has been able to sink his teeth into a character for more than a few episodes since he had a recurring part in the third season of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. How has it been for him to settle into another character on a totally different show?
"Breathtaking. A breath of fresh air for sure," he enthused. "As an actor, you just want to work. You go through periods in your career when you have a lot and when you don't. I was really privileged and inspired.
"And I think there's a lot more than just growing as a role and a character in this show," he added. "I think here's an opportunity, not just for me but for the character as well, to connect something really special with the audience. I think people are going to be able to be influenced by him, and to be able to relate to him in many ways."
2014 is poised to be a big year for Vinicius: he recently appeared in the movie Sunken City, and he can next be seen in the crime thriller Misfortune and the musical Swaggy. But what you might not know about him is that in addition to being a rising actor, he's also a working writer.
"I love writing," he told us. "I'm really inspired by words. I think words in and of themselves, for me, are like a small world that I just like to be indulged into and escape."
"And I love my family. I love my kids, I love my wife, I love spending time with them," he added. "I think it's a beautiful world and I think a lot of times we get caught up in the negativity."
Which leads this family man and emerging talent to share an astute observation about the business he's chosen. "I think it's important for people to understand that sometimes you look at actors and public figures and celebrities, [and] you have a perception of them that is based on the image that they represent.
"And I think a lot of times there are negative connotations that are attached to that," Vinicius reflected. "At the end of the day, we're human beings, all of us. We have, at the end of the day, a job to do just like everybody else." Right now, his job is to navigate the fictional underworld of New York City - and take us along for the ride.