Arturo Encinas has always had this drive to do something big where he could express his feelings and do something for others, and as an actor he can interpret characters that touch the lives of many.
Growing up a block away from the Mexican border with his family and brothers, Encinas, 38, spent a lot of his childhood with his grandparents on Las Flores Drive in Calexico. Close cousins and friends also defined his world.
“I will always remember and cherish all my memories, both bad and good, growing up in Calexico,” said Encinas, who now lives in the Los Angeles area.
“I have always stated that we have our very own cultural identity growing up in Calexico. The very essence of growing up in Calexico is knowing everyone who lives there and keeping a very close and special bond with the people you grew up with,” he added.
Encinas’ acting desire started forming when he was seven years old as his grandmother watched Mexican soap operas with him. He mostly remembers resting his head on her shoulder and that she would be happy and at peace watching them.
“Telenovelas (soap operas) was an escape from our harsh reality. It would be one of things that would make my grandmother and mother the happiest women in this world,” Encinas recalled.
Acting and performing made the young Encinas feel alive by taking away any pain he would feel and convey that into his characters. There was a time when he was 11 he aspired to be a priest, but acting ultimately prevailed.
“I knew I always wanted to become an actor but I have always been religious and a spiritual being growing up,” he said, “Even in my 20s, the local priest was setting me up for seminary. I still think he was in cahoots with my grandmothers but I wanted to follow my passion,”
He worked in a variety of jobs before going full time in acting, including working in the fields, campaign manager for the Democratic Party, president of a civil rights organization, real estate investor, broker and financial advisor.
Encinas has gone to many schools to master the art of acting and continues to learn and evolve. At Southwestern College he won the College National Championship in forensics (acting section), and he attended San Francisco State University to study theater and film. He also attended an acting conservatory at Playhouse West in North Hollywood along with other conservatories and top schools across Los Angeles.
One of his first jobs in the industry was an extra as an audience member in the movie “Red Dragon” whose lead star was Anthony Hopkins.
“I recall I was there for 17-18 hours and it went by very fast and didn’t seem like work. I knew that I was where I needed to be,” Encinas said.
Other work includes roles in movies “Straight Outta Compton,” “Ray Donovan,” “Westwood,” “Matador” directed by Robert Rodriguez, and “Scream Queens.” He currently has a recurring role in Telemundo soap operas.
“Success to me in my career is to be a hard-working actor who is consistently working in TV and film on a global scale and getting the respect from my fellow peers in the entertainment industry,” he explained.
“Success to me is also standing at the pinnacle of success and still being humble and knowing that it’s one’s responsibility to guide and help others, especially the children and the youth,” Encinas added.
Encinas said his industry is full of rejection and not for the faint of heart. He said he sees himself in the next five years working consistently with well-known actors, directors and producers in TV and film not only in Hollywood but internationally as well. He would also like to write plays and scripts on subjects that tackle civil, social and economic problems for Latinos and minorities.