On Election Day, 15-year-old Adam Irigoyen was on set filming the 13th episode of the third season for Disney’s “Shake it Up” in Los Angeles—a long way from his native Miami. He complained of being cold (Irigoyen prefers Miami's warmer climate) and being far away from his home, but the teenage actor is exactly where he wants to be. It’s a decision he has known all along, partly due, he says, to his heritage.
“My family, we’re Cuban,” says Irigoyen. “So we’re all about encouraging each other. When I told them I wanted to be an actor and be on TV, they told me I could do it. They motivated me and made me believe in myself.”
This is why, at age 11, he decided to leave Miami behind and experience the glitz and glamour of L.A.
“I’m still getting adjusted to everything,” says Irigoyen. “Getting used to the whole industry feel over here has been fun. I just had to learn how to take the answer ‘no’ a lot. It made me become thicker skinned as an actor.”
Not long after arriving on the West Coast, the baby-faced actor guest-starred in Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning series, “Wizards of Waverly Place,” opposite Selena Gomez. This ultimately led to an audition for a new Disney show, “Shake it Up,” featuring Latino character Deuce Martinez. Irigoyen said he researched Ferris Bueller and James Dean for the role he eventually landed. “Shake it Up” premiered in 2010 and it has since garnered a loyal following among young viewers.
Now Irigoyen is embarking on the next chapter of his career by making music, which will be recorded in both English and Spanish.
“Who doesn’t love Latin flavor?” says Irigoyen, whose first language is Spanish. “I wanted my music to be bilingual because my grandparents don’t speak English. I always wanted to do something so that they can understand me.”
For his new music video, “School Girl,” Irigoyen chose to collaborate with a director who’s familiar with Latin pop stars. David Rousseau previously directed music videos for talents like Shakira, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, among others, exciting the budding singer. The result was a concept inspired by “The Breakfast Club,” shot at George Ellery Hale Middle School in Woodland Hills, CA.
“David was amazing,” Irigoyen gleams. “He’s also from Miami and another Cuban, so we bonded with that. Everything he does is so creative and every music video he does has an impact on you. That’s what I wanted to do. He was kind of perfect.”
Since being nominated for an Alma Award this year, one of the biggest achievements for a Latin artist, Irigoyen now has his eyes set on striving to be like one of his favorite actors.
“I want to model my career after Will Smith as far as acting goes,” he reveals. “He started off on the television show, ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,’ as we all know, and he’s now one of the most diverse movie actors around…ultimately I want to create relatable roles people will grow to love and cherish. I really admire him for that and I want my career to turn out like that.”
The music video for "School Girl" debuts on November 13th.
You can reach Stephanie Nolasco via Twitter: @SNolasco