Vincent "Rocco" Vargas' life changed completely after joining the cast of Mayans M.C. The Sons of Anarchy spinoff series marks the army veteran's first big role as an actor, playing club member Gilberto "Gilly" Lopez. The actor, who is expecting is his first child with wife Christie and seventh in their blended family, spoke with PopCulture.com about how the show has changed his life, brought him closer to his extended family and to his goal of helping veterans across the country.
Since joining the cast of the hit FX series, Vargas' life has gone through quite a few changes. Production of the show in Los Angeles takes him out of his home in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a significant amount of time but has opened doors for him to reconnect with family back in California.
"Acting reconnected me with my parents again," Vargas told PopCulture.com in a phone interview on Oct. 8. "I was in the military, deployed, gone and really lost connection with my family. And then all of a sudden... getting into acting, brought me back to LA."
"Mayans' really brought me back to my family," he added. "I was overseas and calling home during Thanksgiving. Listening to all the family at the house was hard to hear because you miss out on all the family stuff. I grew up in a very tight-knit family and that's why family's super important to me these days."
"So to do the Mayans thing and be in LA for so long, it was inevitable, I had to reconnect with my family, get close to them again," Vargas continued. "It's really cool to have a family dinner and see my mom and dad and talk about things... And stuff like that. Just very fortunate to have that."
While the show may take him away from his wife and kids, Vargas says he is committed to being there for his family's biggest moments. The actor shared a heartwarming video on Instagram of himself and wife Christie surprising one of their kids with their first car.
He opened up about the big milestone, saying he was grateful that Season 2 filming wrapped just in time for the family to plan the big surprise.
"Trying to find that balance in my life has been probably the most challenging thing, [giving] everything I can to acting... and then the other side of it is still being a good father, still being a good husband, still being able to enjoy the day-to-day activities with the kids," he said.
Mayans has given Vargas a bigger platform, which he says he wants to use to bring awareness to veterans issues, as well as be an example as to how life can change after service.
"It's a little overwhelming at times seeing my pictures that I posted on Instagram on PopCulture. That blew me away," Vargas said. "It's definitely intimidating. At the same time, I believe that mainstream media, actors, and film, those are the biggest influencers of our time. And so you can use this platform to influence positivity and try and gain notoriety for helping others more.0comments
"I want to try and help more veterans in this space because my voice is getting bigger, right? My influence is becoming more powerful. And if I can use that influence to help more veterans see that there's life after service, if I could show more dads to be relevant in their kids' lives... and really just show that positive side of what this life can be. It's a blessing."
Mayans M.C. airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FX.