No Stopping for Xavier de Guzman
Xavier de Guzman of Take Two at ABC
It was early evening in Vancouver when I met up with Xavier. After discovering we shared the same nationality and favourite food, we decided to head to a popular Filipino Restaurant in town. Throughout our conversation Xavier opened up about his journey to acting, revealing a keen curiosity love for always embracing new experiences in life. He is someone who values experiences and relationships more than any material things.
Playing Berto Vasquez in Take Two
Take Two is a comedy-drama centered on a crime-fighting duo in LA. Xavier plays Roberto “Berto” Vasquez, a tech geek sidekick who helps Eddie Valentik (Eddie Cibrian) in solving crimes. In many ways, Xavier sees his character as a version of his younger self in high school. “I grew up in a neighbourhood where there were always fights. I made friends with wrong people at times and learned my lessons. I was the guy back in the day who people paid to put music in their Asian Avenue page because I knew html codes.”
Even though Berto resembles Xavier’s younger self, he still had to do a ton of research to understand the script and his character. To get up to speed on the hacking world and the different terminology used, Xavier read books, watched videos and researched everywhere he could to deepen his knowledge of the field.
Despite his success, Xavier did not plan to be an actor in his early years “When I was a kid, up until grade 10 I wanted to be an ecologist. I liked pretending to discover new things when I went to the park. I was very fascinated with stumbling across new things in nature.”
Later on in life Xavier started practicing Muay Thai, and he got really good at it, “I just fell into doing Muay Thai, I didn’t think I would take it to the level I have.” Xavier became a Muay Thai lightweight champion in Canada, which eventually led him to acting. After being named champion,he was referred to a production company looking for fighters to star in ABC’s television series, Rookie Blue. He got the part after an audition, and after his first experience on set, Xavier fell in love with the industry. He started doing stunts, and eventually enrolled in an acting school where he learned the fundamentals of acting.
Inspiration and tips when the going gets tough
Beyond acting, Xavier’s dream is to be a voice to those who cannot be heard, and to use the platform given to him to benefit others in need.
It makes sense that Xavier’s inspirations in life share this goal. “People with visions to help others inspire me. Like Ashton Kutcher, who uses his voice to stop human trafficking. Sean Penn who’s using his resources to help rebuild Haiti. And Elon Musk with his vision to help the world by giving all that he can. These are all people I look to for inspiration.” .
During our dinner I asked Xavier what advice he can give to an up and coming actor. Above all, he emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with like minded people. People who not only make time to talk to you, but also listen. People who you can share your ideas with and be acknowledged by, but will question them to help you think critically about your decisions.
Xavier also shared his thoughts on the essential qualities needed to make it as an actor. He put it quite simply. “You need to be driven. There are a lot of actors who wanted to get into it. But I think it’s my obligation to tell actors not to pursue it if you are not driven. I wouldn’t wish anyone an empty bank account. I wouldn’t wish somebody to go through what I went through. Sure, I am making some money now, but it didn’t happen overnight.”
Xavier made it clear that if you are acting for the money or fame, you’re better off choosing a different career but if you are doing it because it’s what you love, are willing to go beyond what is required, and are someone who is driven by passion, then keep pushing towards your acting goals.
“I know friends who are going to their hundredth audition and haven’t booked anything, but they still have to keep going. It can be a challenging mentality to keep up. We get told no on such a constant basis that it can make you question all the effort and time you put into it.”
When asked how he deals with rejection, he went back to the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded people who can relate to what you are going through. They will help you understand that you did your best so you can move to the next project with confidence, having learned from each experience.
Xavier has been through many shifts in his life and career from pursuing ecology, to becoming a Muay Thai champion, to being a stuntman and also acting. He’s made a point of experiencing different countries and cultures through travel, and working on a Cruise ship for two years. Across all these things, one thing is apparent: Xavier has a big Why behind all he does. It’s this focus that enables him to maintain his love for acting in the face of challenges and keep moving forward despite setbacks.
Catch Xavier de Guzman on ABC’s Take Two Season finale, September 13 at ABC
Talent: Xavier de Guzman
Photographer & Writer: Noah Asanias
Stylist: Derek P.
Hair Stylist: Sabrina Fetterkind
Grooming: Dani Dyrland