October 14, 2021

Allen Maldonado: For The Win

Editor- In-Chief Musa Jackson @iammusajackson has an in depth Q. & A with actor, producer, athlete and entrepreneur ALLEN MALDONADO @allenmaldonado about his career. From the streets of Rialto, California to surviving a near fatal crash to co-starring in two new series, Heels on Starz and The Wonder Years on ABC, owning a music production company and running apparel clothing line, a kids charity and completing five marathons.


Follow us on this journey as we find out what it cost to be the boss.

I grew up around gang culture. For me it was regular. I saw some of the greatest and most influential people in my life come from this environment.


MUSA What was it like growing up in Rialto, California?
ALLEN I grew up around gang culture. For me it was regular. I saw some of the greatest and most influential people in my life come from this environment. That people told me was the bad people. They were actually the ones that protected me. They were the ones who kept me out of trouble. So I had a great time even though looking back it was dangerous as hell. ( laughs) I remember being shot at four times. I grew up with them, this was my family. I was affiliated but I wasn’t a gangbanger. But due to my community and where I lived it had a certain stigma around it. My coach wouldn’t drop me off from practice because he wasn’t from my neighborhood. But I had a great time. ( laughs)
MUSA I totally get that experience coming from Harlem.
ALLEN I have my Harlem connection as well. From my Dad’s Puerto Rican side of the family. I spent many summers in East Harlem in Wagner Projects. I’ve had so many experiences growing up. My mother is from Alabama. I was raised by a Black southern woman. So I spent many of my summers in Alabama as well. So just my education of Black history is a little different because I’m hearing from people who actually experienced it. Who actually walked out middle school when Martin Luther King got shot. The things you read in the history books my mother was there. So even though I grew up in Rialto, I spent a lot of time in various places that molded the person I am today.
MUSA So how did you get into the arts?
ALLEN It was my senior year in High School. I had the thought of being an actor. I never took any classes or anything. But I was like I think I want to do that. So I took an elective in my senior year. I want to shout out to Ms. Barlett. She introduced this world to me that I fell in love with. I instinctively started to write for the plays. The theater kids in the class hated me because I took over the class. But eventually they would love me too. Because I was an athlete and was really a cool kid at my school that gave me a certain level of confidence that theater kids really didn’t get. They were seen as awkward, and nerdy. That’s who I really am but I just grew up around this other culture that I had to be a little more hardened to survive. So at first people didn’t really recognize that I was like them but once they saw the real artist that I was it was all love.
MUSA So who were some of your influencers?
ALLEN My mother of course. Single mother raised me and my two sisters in California. My mother’s side of the family was from Alabama and my fathers side lived in New York. So we were out here with no real family so it was on her. She got up to go to work at 4 am and got home at 8pm every day. So I approach work the same way. I’m blessed to do he things I do and make the money that I’m making. I never loose that blue collar spirit by going after it.
MUSA You’ve also had some serious personal setbacks. You were on the soap opera The Young and The Restless when you were in a car accident. How did that effect your career?
ALLEN Career wise it brought everything to a standstill. The Young and The Restless situation was a blessing. When I auditioned for the show I didn’t get the role I auditioned for. I had an amazing screen test. When I finished the executive producer actually came out the back and shook my hand telling me what an amazing actor I was. I was a 21 year old kid and was like, “Okay, that’s cool man.” I just didn’t realize the gravity of the situation. I’m walking away and the P.A. guy is like he never comes out. So I call my agent and “I’m like I know I got the part.” My agent’s like I didn’t get the part. I was like, What the hell you mean? The man came out the back.” ( laughs) No you didn’t get it but they created a role for you. You’re only doing 3 episodes. I wind up doing 17. The only reason I only did 17 was because I got into the car accident.

Understanding that this art was something I discovered at seventeen but the heart of it all is my work ethic. Which I discovered when I was thirteen while playing basketball. Basketball is my first love in which I built what I call my championship habit.

MUSA So what’s you life like being Heels on Starz and The Wonders Years on ABC?
ALLEN Being on these two series is a lot like Entourage. Just how cool it is to be experiencing some of the similar story lines that I saw watching Entourage with the pursuit of different jobs. The inner workings of the business that they sort of exposed in that show is currently what I’m dealing with and it’s pretty cool. It’s pretty fun to understand where you’re really thoroughly at in your career. Build this business, build this brand in a certain way. That series really executed the team effort and the crazy stuff that goes on behind the scenes. That’s what I’m going through.

MUSA You’re a multi-hyphenate, mogul in the making. You’re an entrepreneur, you have a recording company Get It On Records, The Obsessives, a production company and Knee Out Coalition, a running apparel clothing line. You’re also the founder of Demo Nerds, a foundation that helps at risk youth with free acting classes and confidence building in the inner cities of Los Angeles. And you also completed five marathons. How do you juggle all of these businesses and pursue an acting career?
ALLEN It’s strange I don’t see it like that. I am who I am. It’s like a fish in water. It may be a big ocean that i swim in but this is what I’m built for. I know no other way to be. This isn’t me forcing or contriving something. When I was three my Mom would go to work and I would call her and tell her I made your bed and say you owe me three dollars. This entrepreneurial spirit has been imbedded in me since I was a child. Understanding that this art was something I discovered at seventeen but the heart of it all is my work ethic. Which I discovered when I was thirteen while playing basketball. Basketball is my first love in which I built what I call my championship habit.
MUSA Tell is about your foundation Demo Nerds?
ALLEN Demo Nerds is a foundation I started almost ten years ago. I did a career day with this group of foster at risk kids. I fell in love with them. I just felt could help but I didn’t know how. So my good friend, who is like a sister was working at this company. I told her I wanted to do something with the kids. She said create a program for them. So I developed this acting program. Not to make them actors but to make them better people. To find themselves. Make them the best versions of themselves. To give them the confidence. It’s a two week program. We taught them acting the first week. The second week they got to create a short film that they got to film it. On that Friday we would have a premiere. I would invite press out, have a red carpet, they’d dress up and give them the whole Hollywood experience. It was a magical moment for these kids. I wanted to continue it. So I did it for seven years right up until the pandemic. Now it’s a little more difficult to try to arrange things. I paused on a lot of the things I want to do with the foundation. Ultimately it’s about giving back especially to kids that I can relate to that grew up in these underserved communities. That don’t have the exposure, information or even influence to do certain things to keep them away from the streets. That’s where I come in.

Reese Sherman
Cover feature interview: @iammusajackson
Lighting Designer:
Jamarr Ferguson
Wardrobe styling:
Marc Littlejohn @marcalittlejohn
Hair Styling: JD @hairbyjond
Make-Up: CiCi P. @lookitscici
Wrestling clothing: @thelittlejohnstyle
All vintage clothing courtesy of @marcalittlejohn
Shot on location in Los Angeles.

Founder & Editor In Chief:

Musa Jackson @iammusajackson

Creative Director: Paul Morejón @Paulmorejon



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