The sharp-dressed man and stylish heavy of the Galindo Cartel is not just the jefe, Miguel, but his right-hand man and longtime associate Nestor Oceteva.
Nestor — played by Gino Vento — is the hip coiffed Head of Security for the Galindo Cartel on Mayans M.C., a spin-off of the FX original series Sons of Anarchy.
Nestor is the primary support security man for Miguel and was introduced in the series’ first season.
Gino Vento came to acting in a most circuitous route. The former frontman for the Miami hardcore metal band Thick as Blood got a break between tours, appearing in USA’s comedic crime-solving series Burn Notice with Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell. That sparked a huge fire for Vento, who took the chance, fell in love with the work, and pursued it first to NYC then Los Angeles
It was his role as Rafi on Netflix’s Bloodline that really caught attention and he subsequently was cast in The Deuce, The Last O.G., The Gifted, Person of Interest, and The Blacklist. The Mayans M.C. now proves to be his latest success.
A fiercely subtle but lethal warrior in the Galindo Cartel, Vento unquestionably respects the story legacy of Kurt Sutter’s breakout series Sons of Anarchy for the loyal fans, but revels in the new story and cast of brothers who are making their own mark and place in the Sutterverse.
We spoke to this rising star who fans really have taken a shine to in Mayans M.C.:
Monsters and Critics: I’m so happy that your Nestor survived to season two. Congratulations on that.
Gino Vento: Thank you. So am I. I was very excited about that.
M&C: You never know in a Kurt Sutter and Norberto Barba production… it’s a violent life.
Gino Vento: It’s true. Every time I got the script, I read through it and my character was in the beginning and at the end. I was very happy because it is scary.
M&C: Is that really true that when you actors are on the set, you really don’t know what’s coming down the pipe for your characters? It’s kept that secret?
Gino Vento: No, we really don’t know, honestly. That’s the truth.
M&C: Your character definitely has history with Danny Pino’s character Miguel Galindo… an unspoken brotherhood there. And you also have an interesting interplay with Michael Irby as Bishop. Talk about those two relationships, those two actors, Danny Pino and Michael Irby and your character’s relationship to theirs.
Gino Vento: Oh first I just want to say, those are two actors that I admire. I think Danny Pino is just great and Michael Irby too — they are both great actors, and both phenomenal men on and off screen. They truly are.
Nestor’s relationship with Mikey [Miguel] is close. He grew up with him. It’s revealed at the finale of season one that my character has an older brother. And Nestor was around the Galindo family. He’s [Miguel] taken me on as an older brother, so that’s how Nestor looks at Mikey. He’s like an older brother.
He’s not blood, but it’s like they are a family. And with Bishop, that’s a man that Nestor respects. He’s the president of the Mayans M.C. And even though they butt heads and maybe we clash, but at the end of the day that is still a man that he has a lot of respect for.
M&C: Does your character Nestor know the extent that Danny Pino’s character has cut a deal with the US Attorney’s Office?
Gino Vento: Nestor is well-informed with everything that has to be done. So that way there aren’t any surprises. So yes, he is informed. He knows whether he’s on the scene, side-by-side with Mikey [Miguel] handling it.
Nestor doesn’t really handle the paperwork and all that stuff. That’s more like a lot of boring jargon for him. But Miguel Galindo does keep Nestor informed to know what’s going on so that way no surprises come up. There is that trust.
M&C: You are sort of the well-dressed man of the Galindo Cartel. Your character is always looking good, your hair is hip, stylized. You’re usually in a suit or in something sharp. You wear stylish eye-wear. Is this something deliberate from the writers and the producers, or is it something that you brought to Nestor?
Gino Vento: Well, it’s based on kind of what that world is like. The cartel were not a street gang. They are an organization, so they do have to be presentable.
And that’s the difference. Nestor is not in the M.C., in the motorcycle club. Those guys have to wear denim and leather and things like that because of gravel rumbling up at them as they ride and all that. That’s why they have to wear such thick and heavy clothing.
Nestor, he has to be at all these things, at all these functions, so he does need to look presentable. I don’t know how they would trust Miguel Galindo at a meeting if he had a goon with him that was just very down-dressed. It would seem odd.
M&C: There’s a lot of Cuban-Americans cast in this series. Your character really interacted with Danny Pino’s Miguel, Michael Irby’s Bishop, and the late Devante, played by Tony Plana, who I miss…
Gino Vento: Great guy. Oh, yes. I love Miami and grew up there. There are a lot of Cubans, Norberto Barba, as you mentioned earlier, he’s also Cuban. Yes, it’s a lot of us! It’s kind of cool… It’s very cool, to be honest. I love it.
It’s great. It feels like home…I could talk to Danny Pino about Miami things when we’re not talking about a scene or anything, we could talk about Cuban food. He introduced me to this wonderful place in Glendale near Burbank called Mambo’s, it’s great. I love it.
M&C: I lived in Miami, Florida and I don’t remember Cuban bikers. Is that even a thing?
Gino Vento: There are a few. I’m not going to mention any names. I don’t know if I should or shouldn’t, but there are a few in Miami. I don’t necessarily know if they’re dominantly a Cuban motorcycle club, but they do have MCs in Miami, and I’ve met a few that are Cuban.
M&C: I felt like there was a connection between Nestor and Tony Plana’s Devante and I wondered if someone’s going to fill that consigliere void…
Gino Vento: Well, I think that’s where … I miss Tony as well. He’s amazing. We got to see him [recently]. Edward James Olmos had his Los Angeles Latino Independent Film Festival last week, and Tony was there in support. And it was nice to see him.
But as far as Devante… now being in a better place, I hope. I think that void, as we saw at the end of season one, Nestor gets a demotion, and it looks like [Marcus] Alvarez [Emilio Rivera] is now stepping in. I think that void will be replaced by Alvarez kind of filling both those shoes, they had a security/now consigliere.
It seems that way, and we saw it in the teaser where you see Danny Pino and Emilio Rivera walking side by side, Emilio not wearing a cut anymore… now just in a suit.
M&C: Interesting. I interviewed Danny Trejo, who mentioned he was going to be in Mayans, back as Romeo Parada… Any other stars we can look forward to that’ll be making a guest appearance that you know of in season two?
Gino Vento: That I know? I know plenty. I just probably can’t mention them. I love how smooth our writers are with sprinkling in Sons of Anarchy characters back into Mayans, it’s very cool. I will say the fans will be pleasantly surprised with what the writers have sprinkled in for season two, and I’m speaking as a fan as well.
M&C: Everybody misses Gemma (Katey Sagal) and is hoping that she will make a cameo again somehow…
Gino Vento: Yeah, how cool was that?
M&C: She’s one of the best badass female roles around. What’s your character’s favorite part of working for the Galindo cartel?
Gino Vento: I think what he was doing last year, he was just out on the field doing that. He’d just come from a military background, so that’s what he’s familiar and comfortable with. You know? So I think that’s probably some of his favorite parts of being part of the organization.
M&C: Elaborate on his military background…
Gino Vento: He’s [Nestor] a former Navy Seal.
M&C: That’s an extreme badass. Your bio is interesting. You say you were born in Queens, raised in Miami. So you have that in common with Donald Trump. You were both born in Queens.
Gino Vento: Oh, God. Unfortunately.
M&C: Well, aren’t all you Galindos making America great again?
Gino Vento: [laughs] I think we don’t see eye to eye, the Galindo organization, with what’s his face, his agenda.
M&C: You got a leg-up and you got your taste for acting with a really cool series on USA, Burn Notice with Bruce Campbell…
Gino Vento: Yes. That’s kind of where I was introduced to this world of television. I was in a band, a hardcore band based out of Miami, Florida. We were called Thick as Blood.
Between tours, I needed to find something…We put two records out. It’s on Spotify. It’s an acquired taste, I’ll tell you that. Just be warned. But in-between tours, I was finding ways to occupy my mind and my time.
And so I ended up on the set of Burn Notice as a background actor. That’s when I was like, ‘oh wow, this is really cool. I’d like to partake in this, and be a part of this.’
And then I took a couple of workshops and classes here and there. Then I went on and moved to New York and now Los Angeles. I’m very fortunate.
M&C: Can you give us any kind of a tease or a taste that your producers and writers won’t come after you for what we can expect for season two for the Mayans? Are the bad guys going to get a leg-up?
Gino Vento: There are no bad guys on the show. We’re all the good guys. Because you gave me a really hard question, I’ll give you a very good but short answer.
The fans can expect to have answers. They have questions, and we’ll get some answers this season.
M&C: That answer is just loaded with all kinds of possibilities.
Gino Vento: Very loaded, very loaded!
Mayans M.C. roars back on Tuesday, September 3 at 10 PM on FX Networks.