Actor Frankie Rodriguez on His Groundbreaking Gay Latinx Character in High School Musical: The Series
The Mexican American actor talks about his new role as the first gay character in the High School Musical franchise.
Frankie Rodriguez opened up to People CHICA about his groundbreaking role of Carlos, a gay Latinx character, on High School Musical: The Series. “I relate to him so much. So much of the things Carlos says or does on the show was stuff that happened to me in high school,” he says. “I'm really reminiscing about my high school days and that's the most fun.” Like his character, the actor is openly gay and talked about his own coming out process at the age of 15. “It's not this big dramatic story. I've always liked to live my truth. I knew immediately, almost when I was 5 years old. Coming out was just something that I had to do clearly and was actually kind of excited to do. I never hid any parts of myself, but to actually say it and be surrounded by my family and friends, who were 100 percent loving and supportive, that meant so much to me.”
High School Musical fans seem thrilled with Carlos, the first gay character in the popular franchise. “The feedback has been awesome. Everyone has been so supportive and so excited,” Rodriguez says. He is grateful to be representing both his Latinx and LGBTQ communities with this role. “For people to be introduced not only to me, but to this character, and find something to relate to, it has me over the moon.” He also hopes that watching Carlos in the series “being his truthful self” will “give others the courage and confidence to do the same in their personal lives.”
The Mexican American actor, 20, also talked about his guest role of Eduardo on Modern Family. “I had watched the show since the very beginning and I'm a fan, so to get that phone call saying, ‘You're going to be on Modern Family‘ — that was insane!” he admits. “I loved that experience and love the show. They are going off the air this year so to have been a part of it in some way, that's so exciting.”
Even though his scenes were with Ed O'Neill and did not include his icon, Colombian actress Sofía Vergara, he admits he still got starstruck when seeing her wig. “There was a blonde wig in the hair and makeup trailer when I got there and I made a joke, ‘Oh, is that my wig?' And the makeup artist said, ‘No, that's Sofía's. She's doing Marilyn Monroe in a skit,'” he recalls. “And I said to myself, ‘Oh, my God! That's her wig. Don't freak out, don't freak out!'”
Rodriguez was born in California, but says his family upholds many of the traditions of his Mexican grandparents. “We celebrate Christmas Eve, and of course there are a million tamales everywhere,” he jokes. “Everyone stays up until midnight and that's when we open all the gifts.”