I recently had the opportunity to visit the set of “Mystery Girls” and sit down to interview Miguel Pinzon. Miguel plays Nick Diaz, the flamboyant sidekick to Charlie and Holly in ABC Family's new sitcom.
Meet Miguel Pinzon a.k.a. Nick Diaz
We talked to Miguel while he was on a shooting break at the studios. He had just been nominated for a Teen Choice Award TV Male Breakout Star that morning and was so excited to have us tweeting and retweeting him about his award and about our excitement to see him on set. At one point, Miguel even called me out for a tweet…I had taken a pic of him while he wasn't looking on set and then he posed for one.
Miguel was super sweet. He was so eager to talk to us and tour the set with us. Miguel posed for numerous photos, regular and selfie, and was more than happy to ham it up. He's as energetic and exuberant in real life as you would expect he might be based on his personality on the show. He shared plenty…even details we didn't ask for…and was just as funny at the start of the interview as at the end. Here's what he had to say to our group of bloggers about working in Hollywood, the show, and his first big rodeo.
Tell us about your pin.
MP: My pin…it's a heart and it says I love me.
What does that say about you?
MP: It says that I working on self-esteem issues. And if you can't love yourself how the hell can you love somebody else? Can I get an amen?
I think Nick is slightly more psychotic than I am.
How is it working with that hunky detective?
MP: Ryan McPartlin is an absolute sweetheart, so professional. At the same time I get to be paid to feel him up occasionally. You know, to be paid and play is fantastic. And he also did this show with Fran Drescher, and he's got great Fran Drescher stories. I mean I'm in heaven.
On his Teen Choice Award Nomination
MP: I am very excited because you know when you play that fantasy in your head about like things you want to accomplish? Like one of mine is like an EGOT. So it's like if I can't win a Tony, at least I can win a Teen Choice Award, maybe? And then I was like playing a game like what if I can like replace a teen choice award, an Espy, and Obie, like anyway it's fantastic. It just happened this morning, but I was just thinking how fun it is to be nominated for a character that's queer and fun and vibrant.
And I think that's great that teens are getting to see every shade of human being and celebrate them. Yeah. So I'm super, super happy about it.
So how did you get involved in the show?
MP: I was in San Francisco doing a job, not an acting job. Those jobs you sort of take to make the acting jobs work, and my agent sent me the info. “Can you please put yourself on tape?” And I was like, “Oh, man, I really can't. I'm doing 10 million things at once. I think this is just one that I'm going to let go.” And he's like, “Please, please, please just do it.” And I was like, “Okay.” I scrambled and put it on tape and let it go, as one usually does.
And then about two weeks later, I got a call, “The producers want to see you.” “Oh my god you're kidding?!” And then I kept presuming it would sort of stop there. Then it just sort of happened, which was amazing. I'm a big fan of fortuitous circumstances and that everything is a guidepost if you're looking for them. Did you happen to see the pilot?
So, my character, Nick, is new to LA, and the first thing he does is he gets on the Hollywood tour bus and he stops to take a picture of Katy Perry's mailbox and witnesses a murder. That's what directly puts them in the girls' line. When I found out that I got the job, I was at my partner's house and they called to tell me I had the job. Then a Hollywood tour bus went by, literally. And he stopped the bus, and he was like, “Come here. Come here. Come here.” I was like, “No no no what are you doing?!” I thought he was going to be just like me—do something embarrassing.
But then after I hung up, he pointed out, “You have no idea how cosmic this all is. That happens in your script. You know whose house that is right there?” And above his house is Katy Perry's house. I was like, “Wait, you're kidding me?!?” Just one of those really fantastically parallel moments.
So this is your first job?
MP: This is my first big rodeo. I came from New York and had been in LA for a period of time and did a little thing on “Law and Order.” Then did a little bit on “30 Rock.” But this is my first series regular and my first time I get to do three-camera comedy. Just a dream. It's so awesome.
What do you suggest for up-and-coming actors when they move to Hollywood?
MP: First I would say just make sure they’re in all sorts of classes and anything they can get their hands on to just make their gifts, their natural abilities, as sharp as they can. Training. And then specificity. Target. Looking at television and movies and seeing where they think they see themselves, people that are similar to them. And they're targeting like “Oh, I see myself on “Vampire Diaries,” or whatever it is.
All right, well, who's the director on that? Who is the casting director? Who's the talent on that show, who are their agents? And then target them, and whether it's a blank submission or sending a cover letter and their reel. LA has these funny things where you can pay to meet casting directors and agents and managers. I think it's when you target specifically what you want that helps. If you say “Oh, the casting director for “Vampire Diaries” is teaching a class, then take that class.
Be specific about what you want, because just a shot in the dark is a shot in the dark. So those are two. And the third one—Pray? I don't know. Maybe that should be one.
Where are you from?
MP: I was birthed in South Florida. Fort Lauderdale. In the parking lot of the General Hospital, in the front seat of a Toyota Camry on Thanksgiving day. That's the story my mom telling me all the time. I just love seeing her talent.
How is the family about you being on the show?
MP: My family has been so, so supportive and so celebratory and texting me things like,”Oh my God, I love this line.” I think that's so funny. My eldest sister, who was an actress and no longer is, but she loves to give notes, has been surprisingly so supportive and not giving me a single note, which is what it is. But everyone around me has been so nice and supportive. It's been awesome.
Have you always wanted to act?
MP: Yes. I recently discovered this little autobiography I did in second grade. And it was like, “Tell us about what your future wants to be.” “I want to be an actor,” and then I listed all the people I wanted to work with. What an absurd list. “I want to be in the movies with, my first person was Whoopi Goldberg,” which I was like, ‘When was I big into Whoopi?' But I love Whoopi.
She’s an EGOT winner by the way. And then towards the end I trail off and “If that doesn't happen, I'd love to be a veterinarian.”
Do you do any ad-libbing?
MP: Sometimes, mostly in rehearsals, and then if something funny sticks, the writers would be like, “Oh keep that. That's funny.” But the writing staff is so awesome. On tape nights, which is the most amazing adrenaline high, we'll do a scene and then the writers will give us alternate jokes. Then we think about what can change in, what could be funnier, and sort of—because you guys, the people who are actually like responding to the material—is what we play towards. So that ever-changing thing is one of the most exciting things of the job.
On doing comedy
MP: A dream. I went to theater school, so this is like a bizarre hybrid of it where there is a live component of it. But at the same time you get to do it again, which is awesome, which happens all the time. And you get to do variations, different ideas, like tweak little jokes here and there. So I love doing three-camera comedy. It's a different world because it's not like the single-camera style.
This is a different world so this is a little bit more playing out and you can be more heightened. So that allowance for higher stakes and more absurdity, which I think our show plays to so much and really well, works well in this format.
On working with Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling
MP: It's amazing to see their shorthand. There's this ongoing joke that they have in the script of the characters, which is like, “Are you thinking what I'm thinking?” And then usually Holly's character, Tori's character, will say something completely off the mark, and that's always where the joke is. But they actually often are thinking what the other one is thinking. I just sort of love seeing how collaborative they are, and the fact that they're not only acting on it but are executive producers on it.
And just seeing that relationship, that balance is inspiring because you get to make your own work. No one's giving it to you. Something I keep trying to learn. And then at the same time on tape night, the residual 90210 fan base is incredible. They are always here, so supportive and their jaws hit the floor when it's like, “Oh my God, it's Donna and Kelly.”
It's so cool to see them and see them through their eyes.
What do you think about your wardrobe for the show?
MP: It's wild. The color palette of the show is so vibrant, as are the characters, and the show is not about subtlety. So the wardrobe mimics that. It's playful. It's bright. Nick is very thematic. If he were to be going to a murder mystery party, he;d be wearing a smoking jacket and an ascot and maybe have a prop pipe because he really loves playing the idea.
Do you have a favorite scene or episode?
MP: The first time meeting the two girls in the pilot. Any time someone gives you the allowance to walk into the room like a hurricane and chew up scenery, I'm a fan of it. And that scene is so fun because it's that initial explosion of meeting your idols and the goose bumps that you get from it. Yeah I think that was one of my favorite scenes.
What is your favorite thing about your character?
MP: His authenticity, his lack of filter, his reaction to living in a world where no one's telling him that he's any different, so he's just who he is, and there's no apologies. He's come from a place of being celebrated and supportive. So I think just being able to be completely, 100% authentic him is one of my favorite things about him.
If you can be in any action film what would it be?
MP: If I could be in an action movie? Well if I could turn back time I would want—which by the way I just saw Cher in concert and it's life-changing. If you weren't there, go on my Instagram and I was broadcasting the entire thing. 11 looks, 11 wigs, that's crazy. The woman is 68. If I could turn back time, I would want to be in this weird film with Meryl Streep called River Wild, where it's her only sort of action film.
So I would love to be in that. I still am the big X-Men fan. I mean, A, such a good story, such a good metaphor for like different, how people treat differences. And they're awesome. Does anyone know Bryan Singer?
On his comedic idol
MP: Carol Burnett. 100% Carol Burnett. She is money. On lonely nights, I will watch the Carol Burnett show. She is connected to something else. I have no idea what that is, timing, instinct. The ability to land a joke and change a joke and keep everyone guessing. She's amazing.
I'm totally stealing from Carol Burnett which I think—that's another tip, steal. I think you should totally steal from people who you think are more talented than you are. Just point blank, steal from them, because I'm sure they stole from someone.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
MP: Let's be bold. I see myself still employed. Working on TV. And getting hopefully being able to make people laugh. Yeah. With Carol Burnett.