MARCH 6, 2023











Multi-talented actor Sebastian Chacon has gained recognition for his performances in popular series such as Pose, Narcos, and The Get Down, and wowed audiences with his scene-stealing performances in Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, where he proved that he could do more than act (his salsa dancing was electrifying). Audiences can now watch him in Daisy Jones & The Six on Netflix, where he plays Warren Rojas, the easygoing and wild drummer of the band. 

Chacon was born in Jamaica, Queens, to a Colombian father and Ecuadorian mother who met at an English class on 43rd Street. And this native New Yorker knows what it means to “pay your dues”. Having worked for little money performing in parks, subway cars, community centers, and prisons, Chacon has finally made the industry pay attention.  

I met actor Sebastian Chacon at my photo shoot. He looked like a rock star. Perfectly volumized disheveled hair thanks to his natural curls, distressed jeans, numerous necklaces and chunky rings, and a red die hanging from one ear. He was cool, casual, open, and warm—a real New Yorker. We spent the day shooting in our stylist’s apartment and on the street in 20°F temperatures. He never complained. Chacon is used to working his ass off. After our photoshoot, we reconnected to discuss his new role, the hurdles of working as a Latinx actor in a white-dominated industry, how he hopes to change people's perspectives, what burgeoning stardom feels like, and why he likes riding the New York City subway.

Tommy Hilfiger Hilfiger Collection monogram knitted vest | Dsquared2 denim with Dsquared2 logo | David Yurman Lexington gold chain necklace, Madison chain necklace in silver and gold, forged carbon cuff bracelet in gold, Woven Box chain bracelet, (left hand, middle finger) Waves Skull ring with pavé black diamonds and silver and gold, (pinky finger) gold sculpted cable contour ring, (right hand, index finger) Waves gold band ring | Sebastian’s own ring, right hand, middle finger.

AS IF: You are a New York City actor who knows the New York acting grind. You’ve spent years performing in subway cars, parks, independent theater productions, prisons, shelters, and community centers. In 2016 the hard work started to pay off with smaller, recurring roles in Pose and Tales of the City, but it was Penny Dreadful: City of Angels where you showcased your talent. Now, you play the drummer in Netflix’s Daisy Jones & The Six. I’m curious what your journey was like beginning in your early days of giving your work away for little money to now doing press junkets. Does it feel surreal, or does it feel like coming home?

Sebastian Chacon: It’s interesting, an interviewer asked me how I got my start, and they said, So Sebastian, you’ve been doing this forever, huh? You have this long list of credits, and I was like, really??? I graduated from acting school and started working in the theater and doing TV gigs with one or two lines. I played the dishwasher who witnesses a horrible crime, y’know, a lot of shlocky television. It's the traditional hustle that they tell you about.

Last night, I was walking home from a play with a friend and I saw my face in Times Square on a big billboard—I wasn’t expecting that, it felt surreal. But doing Daisy Jones & The Six just feels like doing another gig, you know? I get messages from people saying things like, come to Brazil, I love you, marry me, but it hasn’t quite hit me how popular this show is. It feels like I’m still just working. I did shows on the subway, in little theaters in Brooklyn in the summer that are a hundred degrees with no air-conditioning, and for random people in parks, and I loved it. I've worked weird jobs, and this honestly feels like a nicer version of one of those jobs. I work just as hard doing this as I did in the park for whoever walked by.

Do you take more pride in your work when you get good money for it?

Getting better pay and having a bigger audience view my work feels different. The great actress Uta Hagen talks about the importance of connecting with the amateur in oneself, someone who does something for the love of it. When working on a job like this, I try to connect with that feeling of excitement and find something interesting and fun in every scene. Even if I were not paid for it, I would still love doing it.

During our shoot, you said something that made me recognize that you act for the artistry and craft, not for the fame, and that was when you were talking about gaining a lot of weight for a previous role because you thought it was good for the character. You also said how you got a kick out of watching yourself with a double chin in that role. How did you prepare for the role of Warren Rojas, a hot drummer in the 70s on his way to stardom?

I had a lot of time to prepare for this role. I went from learning the songs to playing the drums everyday in a basement in Brooklyn. I made choices, such as weirdly tilting my snare and trying to figure out how to make weird faces while playing the drums. I realized that when I played drums I would bite my lips, but that didn't feel right for the character, so I looked at certain drummers who made kissy faces and opened their mouths while playing, which I thought would be a fun character choice. By playing the drums every day, I became a drummer. I lost about 35 pounds for the role because the character never wears clothes in the show and has a diet of cocaine and beer. Throughout the show, I continued to lose weight, and the clothing that was initially fitted became looser and looser. This character is a fun guy, so I tried to always keep the ball in the air, keeping it light and fun. He doesn’t weigh on me emotionally.