What's in a name? For Nash Bridges
star Jaime Gomez
there's more than you think.
"It's hard for any actor in this town, but being named Jaime (pronounced hi-may
) Gomez and not looking like a gang member makes it that much harder," the actor tells TV Guide Online. "That's what every casting director thinks when they hear your name. They have a certain idea of what they think that you may be about."
The Latin hunk explains, "It would have been easier to change my name to John Smith but it was never something I wanted to do. I think it is more important to make people understand who you are and what you are by your given name than anything else. Instead of trying to fight against it, I try and make it work."
Gomez says he's faced many obstacles in Hollywood because of his heritage. "When I started to get into the business and saw certain parts that were open ... I found out that my agents wouldn't even submit me for these jobs because it wasn't race-specific. I just said that's bulls--t, you know? It doesn't work both ways. You can have a white actor portray a Latino but it doesn't go the other way around."
As for his gig on Nash Bridges
, Gomez says he enjoys working with co-stars Don Johnson
and Cheech Marin
. "It's been a blast. All those guys are absolute professionals. It's quite a learning experience. It's like getting paid to go to film school. It's like, 'Get out of my light. Don't do that again.'"