Rob Raco
Photo credit: Farrah Aviva
Interviews

Rob Raco Talks His Debut as ‘Riverdale’s Joaquin

Valentine’s Day might be over, but love is still in the air on Riverdale. The fourth episode of The CW’s hit teen drama series introduced a love interest for sheriff’s son Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) in the form of Joaquin, a Southside Serpent from the wrong side of the tracks. What originally began as a hot and heavy make out session at the drive-in ended in Kevin giving Joaquin his number – a promise that there is more to come in this forbidden romance.

TV Source Magazine talked with Joaquin’s portrayer Rob Raco about landing his role on Riverdale, portraying a different kind of gay character, and what’s to come for Kevin and Joaquin.

How did you get involved in acting to begin with?

After being a professional drummer in various touring musical groups, I had taking an extended trip to Los Angeles to follow up on a radio single one of the bands had on the circuit. At this time, I felt my artistry in drums, my voice, was not truly being heard. My roommate at the time had suggested taking some acting courses to get out of my head & from there I had met one of my mentors, Eric Morris (Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson), from which he had pulled that inner voice out of me and allowed me to stand on my own two feet again…to trust in my sensitivity. I believe I cried in every class for almost 3 months. From there, I knew I had found a true voice inside me that needed to shine.

Talk to us about the audition process for the role of Joaquin.

The audition process for Joaquin was actually the rarest experience I’ve ever had. I auditioned in Vancouver, and while in the waiting room, one of the other auditioning actors going out for FP Jones (Skeet Ulrichs character) had called me a “greasy bastard”. After this, my name was called, my temper rising, and I went in using that bad mood, delivered the scene & just walked out of the room. The next afternoon my agent called me saying I had booked the part. No call-back, No test. Pure joy.

What was your reaction when you found you got the role on Riverdale?

I honestly broke down. It meant so much to me to be given the opportunity to bring this sensitive, confused teenager to life. A very happy moment in my life.

What was your knowledge of Archie Comics prior to landing your role on Riverdale?

I haven’t read much of the Archie comics to be honest. I obviously knew the premise quite well. After booking, I had studied a bit more of the history regarding characters. I must say, I love the world Riverdale is set in.

In your own words, how would you describe the character of Joaquin?

Joaquin is a kid in high school who knows what he wants but doesn’t know exactly how to get it. For as dangerous as his life can be, I think he’s a lot more sensitive than he seems. In my eyes, Kevin is his hopeful light that proves that love can exist in his darker world.

Joaquin is one of the few characters in Riverdale not previously featured in the comics, giving you freedom in bringing him to life on the show. Who or what has inspired your portrayal of the character?

My main inspirations are the people that live in fear because of race or sexual orientation or whatever it may be. Although one role on a television show can’t fix that, Joaquin brings the fearlessness when it comes to being a confident lover.

We hear you were very interested in drumming as a child and even toured with various Canadian musical groups. Given that music is such a large part of the Riverdale universe, what are the chances we’ll see Joaquin flexing his musical muscles on the series in the future?

How cool would that be?! As of right now, Joaquin has a little too much on his plate to exercise his musical ability, but you never know, maybe if there’s a season 2, he can join up as Archie’s drummer.

Rob Raco
Photo credit: Farrah Aviva

When the series began, Kevin was secretly hooking up with closeted football player Moose (Cody Kearsley). Could there be a love triangle on the horizon for this trio? 

As sexy as this sounds for these characters, I think Joaquin would be very defensive with sharing his man.

Rob Raco
Photo credit: Farrah Aviva

Riverdale has already been breaking down stereotypes by showing all types of gay characters on the show. What has it been like for you to portray a different kind gay character?

This is my favorite thing about this show. Being a heterosexual man myself, portraying Joaquin as confident with his sexuality as I am with mine has been incredible. It’s inspirational to me. It’s fearless. Nothing is forced, nothing seems fake, Love is the only truth, no matter how you title it. Our writing staff has done an incredible job nailing this.

Can you tease anything about what’s to come for Kevin and Joaquin’s forbidden romance in the coming weeks?

I think it becomes less and less forbidden, but as the connection grows, so do the underlying secrets.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans and to fans of Riverdale?

I have never been a part of something with such a loyal and loving fan base. We owe everything to you guys. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in these journeys to come. Keep following your dreams, the journey is the reward. Thank you and much love!

Riverdale airs Thursdays on The CW.

Follow Rob on social media @robraco.

Photo credits: Farrah Aviva
Stylist: Rebekka Sorensen-Kjelstrup | Assistant Stylist: Maria Tyson | Make Up/ Hair: Hailey Card

About the author

Spencer Barrett

Stars are his kind of thing! Spencer Barrett has been a staff writer for TV Source Magazine since 2013. He loves all things horror, Glee and Taylor Swift.

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