Puerto Rican, Bronx bred actor, Luis Antonio Ramos, is a name that deserves to be remembered. Involved in television, film and theatre this well recognised face also has a huge passion and love for cycling. He uses this as not just a method of fitness but a way of focusing his mind and body, making him an exceptional and productive individual in his industry.
Many of you will recognise his significant role in the Starz TV series, POWER, where he embodied the character of a drug distributer, Ruiz. Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, the Executive Producer of POWER, creates a series based on his own experiences and brings to life the stories of those from the New York streets, a reality both shared by Curtis and Luiz alike.
Why did you decide to pick the career path of acting ?
It chose me. Meaning that as a young man I realized this is what I will do. When I began, I was told “it will take twenty years for you to come into your own as an actor” and I said, “I am in”.
So here we are, all this time later. Drawn in and continuing to discover the ability to make myself open enough to be able to give light to what writers put on a page.
It was particularly interesting to hear how your love for cycling has helped you in your acting career. How did you turn what many people see as simply fitness into an activity that increases your productivity and focus?
Cycling/training at the level that I have done it; racing and Gran Fondos (100 miles in day), demands focus and a discipline much like a dancers discipline, which I was surrounded by and participated in early on when my acting journey began. All those years ago I was struck by that and the classical musicians approach both requiring daily work and exercises, which directly affected the work they did. I have always felt that acting in many ways is an athletic endeavour. So the cycling keeps me mentally sharp, focus promotes endurance and makes me ready for whatever my work demands of me. There are voice exercises and other things I do daily but the cycling in lieu of a dance class really fills that void.
Actors tend to rely on inspiration a bit to much for my taste and that creates moments in theatre and film that tend to not be about the project or character at hand.
What does inspire you?
Longevity… the ability to keep at it no matter what the odds…
It takes a tremendous amount of courage to stay with something where the probability of success can be elusive. I am not just taking about my field but anything. Anyone that spends a long time doing what they love, and perfecting their craft; be they a factory worker on the line, a carpenter, or a server in a restaurant, deserves respect and a certain amount of reverence – because as I have noticed those people tend to get overlooked.
Your role in the TV series Power…the stories and lives that unfold in the show are ones that many viewers have not lived or experienced. To what extent would you say it reflected the reality of a life of a drug dealer in NYC?
Drug dealers never think of themselves as that, they believe they are businessmen.
Many people in the ‘life’ start of thinking that I will just get into this thing make some money and get out. Yet the allure of the POWER that the money and being a boss provides turns into an opiate that is very hard to let go of. To that extent, what is portrayed in the show POWER reflects both of those primarily in the characters of Tommy (this is all I know) and Ghost (we don’t need this anymore, the dream of the club) and to the same extent of the other characters that come and go throughout the story being told.
Growing up, you knew characters similar to Tommy and Ghost and were exposed to the street lifestyle. How easy was it for you to play the role of Ruiz?
The most challenging thing was to remember that this is a business for these men and they approach it as such they could be talking about real estate or acquisitions. Remember, these are smart intelligent men who many times, due to circumstances, are playing the hand they are dealt. Men and women whom given the opportunity would be successful in any line of high end work.
That’s what I tried to embody Ruiz with…He is a survivor an OG (old gangster) and you don’t get to be one of those without being smart!
The world has seen what 50 cent has achieved in so many different disciplines. What was it like to work with someone who in the eyes of many is seen as business and entertainment mogul?
Funny you ask that. Usually people with that “Mogul” reputation are very quiet, almost apologetic because that is a tag put on them by others.
Curtis and I got along well primarily because we had the New York street life in common and were the only two from the original cast that were actually from NY, so we knew that the story we would tell would be based in truth so that was exciting to us both.
What plans do you have for the future?
The journey continues… as you can imagine the opportunity to play other less than savory characters has crossed my path, which I turned down. I play the president of Venezuela on a show called MADAM SECRETARY in the states, so I will look forward to that. A short film I did will premiere in NY called BEYOND THE RUSH …. and other things are in the works!
If you had one message to give to the younger generation, what would it be?
Never believe when someone tells you “that’s not possible”.
Put down the phones, cease the obsession with social media.
Find something you love and throw yourself into it with reckless abandon.
Know that this life is a process not a destination and thank your parents for their help.