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


The proof of this is found when he was about 13 years old. At the time, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Sweetest Day—a holiday celebrated in the Midwest, including in her native Chicago—meant to work in her mother’s flower shop to help out the crowd.

Further evidence is found in his pre-Hollywood turn in health management, when he worked from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and once went seven straight months without taking a day off.

Even more evidence is the days he spent running Lyft – sometimes as long as 3 a.m. on weekends – while working full-time as an assistant, networking and reading scripts in his spare time, so that he could make ends meet. be able to meet

Larios, a TV agent, knows what it means to work hard, and this has landed him where he is – inside one of the top agencies in Hollywood.

Larios’ parents, immigrants from Mexico, were business owners who always worked, whether it was at the aforementioned flower shop, selling to Mary Kay, or at his father’s sports bar.

The latter, in fact, is where Larios received a lot of appreciation for the film. On the weekend before the bar opened, he would set up shop in the middle room of his father’s bar and hook up a VCR to the projector and mow through the classics, occasionally joining early bird customers. Sundays were also for going to the movies as family.

However, it took some time for this innate love of film to turn into his ultimate career. But his denial of his passion for entertainment—and his distaste for political science, his original academic pursuit while studying at Notre Dame—did not last long.

After completing his MFA degree at DePaul University, Larios landed at Hollywood agency Verve and never left, working from mailroom to agent.

“I grew up in-house, and to be honest, this is the best way to do it – living in the learning trenches from bottom to top and soaking in the company culture while learning valuable lessons,” he said.

The journey, however, would never have been without the advice and encouragement received early in the form of assistants from Verve partners such as Amy Ratzinger, Adam Weinstein and Bill Weinstein.

Larius proudly describes his journey as it is not a common story. (“I was promoted in about three years. This doesn’t usually happen with a Latino in this industry,” he said.) Even less is finding a boss who will invest in your success and do so. will take action.

Take Larios’ side gig as a Lyft driver, for example. When he finally confessed to a boss that he had to meet his income from driving, it came as a wake-up call about what a living wage really is. Although driving, for him, was never the difference between eating and not eating, Larios was honest about his situation.

“I told him it would never get to that point, but the thing I didn’t want to worry about was making sure I could take care of my bills and that I could get it whenever I got it. Opportunity to go home to meet my family,” he said. “I’ve been in situations and I’ve seen my parents in positions where they literally have zero dollars, need to figure out how to get out of that situation, and I’ve never been in that position. I want to stay again.”

This, he said, is a concern for a lot of newcomers to the industry, especially LA transplants.

“It’s the double questions “How bad do I want this?” and “Is that enough to keep me here?” he said.

Verve soon announced salary hikes for assistants and was the first agency to do so.

Larios said in his honesty, he had “the next Roberto” on his mind and everyone with similar backgrounds—the first in his family to have made a knack for success in a difficult business with few or no resources.

“All the partners noticed after I was honest,” he said. “Apart from the pay issue his major concern was, ‘What if we got a call saying you were in an accident?’ The idea is that anyone is replaceable, but they have made me and my colleagues feel like we are each unique part of the company’s success.”

Lario would like to see this humanity and accountability become the norm. It starts, he said, with the agencies looking after themselves.

“I would say, take a look at every agency’s roster and how diverse agents they have, but it’s not necessarily about a number. What is the ratio and, therefore, what is the impact?” he said.

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

“It’s a good number, and we’re improving it. But, ultimately, the ratio is more reflective of change — at least in our doors — and what we’re trying to do with respect to what we’re promoting.” and who we are trying to represent.”

Additionally, he said, it should be made clear in which areas any studio or agency Latinx people are employed.

“In any big studio or company, like, if they tell you, ‘twenty-five percent of our workforce is diverse.’ Well, I would ask, what are the real decision-makers? Can they buy? Can they rent? Are they helping to make a difference,” he said.

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

“It’s hard for someone like me or, you know, like my colleague Gina Reyes, because we’re two Latino diversified agents at one of the industry’s premier agencies, but unfortunately the pressure becomes of realizing that.” that we can’t sign everyone we relate to or identify with as being Latinx,” he said. “We’re probably just two out of a dozen Latinx agents, if that.”

Larios feels that in hopes of creating more opportunities for others, their greatest responsibility is to do their job and do it well for their customers.

“Ultimately, as representatives, we are here to build careers, raise profiles and most importantly achieve dreams. If we can help, take, for example, the five Latina female comedy writers we represent. If we find success, and all five of them are doing amazing things or are about to happen, then the ideal scenario would be that we can sign five more to replicate the success,” he said. “After all, it doesn’t necessarily matter how receptive the other end of my phone call or email is to our customers.”

He said he would never be in a position to do so, however, if he had never used his voice, he added.

“I think one thing Latinos in this industry need to do in general is don’t be afraid to speak up,” he said. “I think a lot of us, myself included, are appreciating the fact that we’re in the room. So, therefore, we don’t say anything and we just accept it as thinking or Saying, ‘You know what? I think this is wrong’ or ‘I think we can do better.'”

Q&A:

Name: Roberto Larios Jr.

work: TV Agent at Verve Talent and Literary Agency

customers: “I don’t want to leave anyone out. We represent as ‘we’, not ‘me’.”

Years in Entertainment: 4

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

Latino…De Donde?: “A first-generation Mexican-American, grew up in Chicago in a backyard neighborhood.”

Latinx trope I’ll be missing forever: “That we all look a certain way or sound a certain way. Latinos come in all different skin tones and speak differently, even less pronounced.”

Latinx TV Shows I Wish Everyone Was Watching/Watched: “‘Resurrection Blvd.,’ which aired on Showtime and ‘gente-fied,’ especially when Season 2 comes out.”

Latinx actor/actress I think will be a big star one day: ‘Eric Rivera and Raiza Licia. They are doing a lot in the comedy scene for Latinos and underrepresented communities. I really want for them to be able to reach out and for the world to know who they are.”

The overly-used line that officials say when passing a Latino project: “‘I’m sorry. We have to pass. We already have a project that’s similar in scope.’ Even when in reality it’s five degrees apart from that. I call it the ‘Highlander’ rule. There’s a movie called ‘Highlander’ where only one ultimate warrior can exist. So when there are two, So one has to kill the other. And you hear it. ‘Oh, we already have a show about miscellaneous doctors.’ But, it’s like, ‘Wait, you have two White Savior doctor shows? You can’t have two variety doctor shows?'”

Here’s what I think all officials can do to better represent Latinx on television: “When it comes to hiring writers or actors, there should only be more than 10 people. When you think of Latino comedy, for a lot of people, it’s either Gloria Calderon or Bust. Like, instead find the next Gloria Calderon and give them a chance. And it’s the same with the actors. ‘Oh, we couldn’t find Pedro Pascal, so we’re going to scrap it. We’re going to change the lead from Latino male to obscure.’ are going to change. 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 guy, 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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