WATCH Magazine: December 2022: Wilmer Valderrama


because I was so used to seeing my peers performing professionally. That was kind of the regular day in, day out of my high school. The whole Glee thing. I felt a little left out. But in hindsight, my mother was protecting me. I’ve worked with some amazing chil- dren, and their parents are the absolute foundation to their getting through this tricky industry. I think my mother knew that it wouldn’t be possible for her to sleep at night without my being under her care in that professional world. And I thank her every single time because I’m not exhausted with show business. So you grew up in Midtown Manhattan? Yes, Kips Bay. There’s one line about it in Hamilton . [ Laughs. ] At dance parties in high school, where bad boys were always shouting out “the Bronx!” and “Harlem!” and “Brooklyn!,” there was never “Kips Bay!” or “Midtown!” What about your folks? I’m a first-generation New Yorker. My father’s from Georgia. My mother is from North Carolina. My father is a retired hospital worker. My mother was all about motherhood, so she was a temporary worker often because she didn’t want to miss the school trips or the PTA meetings and things like that. She ended up in the New York City Health Department and went on from there. It’s just been parents work- ing like they do, working hard for their kid. I’m an only child, and they’ve given me their everything. So I’m just making sure that I give it back, telling good stories and taking care of my folks.

“I keep saying there’s nothing microwavable about this show. It is cooked low and slow in a Dutch oven.”

I don’t think we’ve seen a character quite like the deputy inspector. Yeah, the show’s nice and nuanced in that way. I keep saying there’s nothing microwavable about this show. It is cooked low and slow in a Dutch oven. At the end of the season, at the end of every season, I want this Dutch oven to come out, and when the top comes off just be something braised and beautiful, tender and nourishing—and delicious. That’s a nice description of a season. Like I said, when you cook there are so many ele- ments, so many ingredients, but they all need time to come together, right? And that’s what television is, and that’s what makes it different from a feature film. We are also doing something unconventionally in a conventional space. It’s a timely undertaking. We’re going to challenge you to think and come to your own conclusions because we believe that you have the capacity to do that as a human being. Every 44 minutes that we’re on the screen, we’re going to give it to you like that.

Let’s talk about Regina Haywood. She’s a strong cup of coffee.

In a series, the character is “on the page” but also grows in the actor over time, right? It definitely grows in me. One of the things from the pilot that really struck a note with me—and I was able to find that overlap between Amanda and Regina—was that she says, “I’ve had all kinds of ideas of what I could do in this position, and now I get to see if some of those ideas actually work.” It’s the same thing in my being at the top of the call sheet, knowing what works and what might be inter- esting to do, but always leading like Regina, leading with kindness, professionalism, and respect.

J.W. Anderson jacket, Lacrasia gloves, Marc Jacobs boots

HAIRSTYLIST: Jennifer Hargrove




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