Moisés and Mateo Arias are in Hollywood but not of Hollywood”

Volume 4 Issue 3: The Colombian brothers are shaking off Disney star childhoods to become bona fide film industry players.

Arti­cle tak­en from The Face Vol­ume 4 Issue 003. Order your copy here.

Here at 10 Speed Coffee in the celebrity-friendly hood of Calabasas, Los Angeles, everyone knows Mateo and Moisés Arias. Not because they’re former Disney child stars – although that obviously helps – but because the brothers are regulars, known for the friendliness and charm that make them flirt magnets for the waitresses. 

Still, despite spending more than half of their young lives in the limelight, these skater boys are relatively grounded. Mateo, 24, who got his start in Disney series Kickin’ It, and Moisés, 25, a veteran of Hannah Montana, moved to LA from Atlanta, Georgia, when they were nine and 10, but they credit their unpretentiousness to home-schooling and a Colombian-style upbringing via their parents. 

  • We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.”  We’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.” 

We really are fully Colombian, [despite] being born in the States,” says Mateo. We grew up in a pseudo-­Colombian culture in Georgia. Moisés taught me English, but I didn’t speak it until I was three or four.”

Little wonder that they describe their new film together as dangerously close to our experience in real life”. Blast Beat, which premiered at Sundance in January, co-stars Wilmer Valderrama and, in her first acting role, Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis. Coincidentally, it’s set in the Southern city in which they grew up. It follows two metalhead teens, bookish Carly (Mateo) and his rebellious younger brother (actually played by the elder of the two), after they move from Colombia so Carly can follow his dreams of working for NASA. The portrayal of an immigrant family’s issues while seeking asylum couldn’t be more timely.

For ex-Disney actors – ones who’ve financially supported their family from adolescence – the brothers’ transition to well-adjusted adulthood seems relatively smooth. As Mateo says: I feel like we’ve been blessed enough to do a good job of being in Hollywood but not of Hollywood.” 

It’s a surprising sentiment for two guys who frequently make cameos in Instagram posts of everyone from hip-hop collective Odd Future to the Jenners, the Biebers and Young Thug. Then there’s their best friend Jaden Smith, who Moisés credits as a brother and creative influence. We grew up in a similar area with a similar experience. Developing your own voice as you get older is the hardest part as an actor if you start before you’re 18. You’re pigeonholed.” 

Not these two though – they’re already making waves in acting, music (Mateo has collaborated with Smith under his Neo American” ¿Téo? project) and photography (Moisés took the photos you see here). So what’s next? Moisés is directing a film that we’re either acting or not acting in,” says Mateo. I’m scoring it. We’re kind of just creating our own content and telling the stories that we want to tell.” 


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