Growing Up Latino With ‘Broad City’s Arturo Castro

Increasingly popular funny man Arturo Castro is slowly but surely becoming a household staple as Jaime, from Comedy Central’s gut-busting sitcom Broad City (created by IIana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson).

READ: Growing Up Latino With Lin-Manuel Miranda

Before his major TV debut, Castro was your average career-driven hustler trying to make his mark in Hollywood. He migrated to the states when he was 19 after doing a stint in Law School back home in Guatemala. After his arrival on American soil, he attended the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts and later spent a summer at Vassar College. Now you’re seeing him as Jaime, the queer drug-smuggling Latino on Broad City.

“Race is not an issue in Broad City,” he tells us while talking about his character’s charming, yet cringeworthy accent. “Because we are all sort of like a big family. It just feels like the United Colors of Benetton. Jaime is an individual. It doesn’t matter him being gay or having an accent or whatever. It’s not a defect, it’s a quality. And acknowledging [that] through the writing and the platform they are giving us—it’s just an amazing feat.”

VIBE VIVA recently caught up the actor, and got some insight on what it was like growing up Latino for him back home. Get acquainted.

Unforgettable childhood memory:
One of my favorite childhood memories was having movie marathons with my mom. My mom worked, so on her day off we would go to the movies, and just spend the whole day there watching every single movie that they had. That was cool, and bringing my own popcorn too. I’m particular to the caramel sweet ones, but if it’s the salty ones—I put industrial amounts of butter on it, so nobody else wants to touch it—more popcorn for me! Don’t touch my popcorn if you don’t want your greasy hands, you know? [Laughs]

Favorite home cooked dish:
Guacamole. We had avocado trees in my garden, and we used to make this homemade guacamole. We had this day [at school] where we would bring dishes to sell for a foundation or a basketball team. I brought my guac, and the next day I called into the principal’s office with the head of discipline—I’m scared sh*tless! They were like, ‘Arturo, we have a very important question to ask you: where did you get that delicious guacamole?!’ And then after that, every time I got in trouble, I’d bring them a batch.

Craziest Hispanic proverb as told by mami or abuela:
My mom is always saying, ‘El que no sabe adonde va, no llega a ningun lado.” (If he doesn’t know where he is going, he doesn’t get anywhere.)

You will never find a happier kid with a worse haircut. 🙂

A photo posted by Arturo Castro (@arturocastrop) on

Che Guevara moment (greatest moment of rebellion):
I once organized an entire school walk-out, because I didn’t agree with the hiked prices of the sandwich store in school. We split up and refused to take any classes. [Laughs] It was this privately owned cafeteria. Then they started hiking up the prices for these really shitty products, so we just organized a school walk-out and left. We left so confidently within ourselves. It was a wonderful Che Guevara moment until we got home and got our asses kicked by our moms. But there was a good two-hour period where [we felt like] the kings of the universe.

I first saw myself as Latino when…
When I moved to the United States. I was surrounded by people just like me when I was growing up, and here I had to embrace my Latin heritage. I had to reconnect with my Latin roots. Basically when you come here you spend too much time trying to blend in. But at one point you start losing a little bit of your identity. Because you feel like maybe you would have had more of an opportunity. Three years in I realized how cool it was to be named Arturo Castro, and to have such Latin values.

READ: Growing Up Latino With Bodega Bamz

Chupacabra or El Cuco?
El Chupacabra—I even thought I saw one once, but then I might have just been drunk. When we moved from the city to the suburbs, and there was this rat that was as big as a f*cking pig in the middle of the road. And I was driving home, and I was like ‘f*ck—that’s a chupacabra.’ I can’t see very well from a far, so I was convinced it was a chupacabra. Until I got near it, and it just looked like an ugly rat. For a second I thought, ‘oh my god’ I am patient zero he is going to kill me, and people are going to find me. That’s my legend. I’m going to be legendary. [Laughs]

Favorite poor man’s meal:
In Gautemala it’s tortillas and frijoles with a little bit of white cheese and avocado. Here in New York, I survived on two-dollar falafels for a year and a half, before my career picked up. [They were] from this place in Williamsburg called Oasis. I swear I ate it everyday for a year and a half.

Household cure- all/remedy:
Vicks Vapor Rub. I use that for everything. My mom gave me Vicks Vapor Rub for everything. If my legs hurt, if I was feeling sad, if I was feeling hungry—it was the cure for all.

Salsa, Bachata or Reggaeton?
Bachata is awesome. I wish I could dance it better than I do, but bachata is so cool I love it.

Telenovela guilty pleasure:
It was when I was a kid, and my sisters made me watch it. It was called Alcanzar Una Estrella—I was like five years old. And I remember crying my heart out when the main protagonist died. But then he came back to life obviously, because that’s what you do when you’re in a soap opera—you are immortal.

Historical hero/heroine?
I really love Pablo Neruda. I know he is not your revolutionary commander, but when you think about it the poems that he wrote—his voice is very familiar to me. When I discovered Pablo Neruda, I really discovered my roots and Latin American literature.

What is your life mantra?
There is no plan b. You aim for #1 always. If you are sure there is no other thing in the world you want, the obstacles will just disappear in front of you.

That time I was a kid smoking on a Brooklyn rooftop and thought it was the coolest thing. 🙂 #tbt #2008 #brooklyn

A photo posted by Arturo Castro (@arturocastrop) on