At all times, but during Pride month specifically, it is all about representation. One of the most buzzed about couples from High School Musical: The Musical The Series are Carlos and Seb, played by Frankie Rodriguez & Joe Serafini. Their love story is emerging as one of the most popular on the Disney + reboot of the series, and Serafini’s recent rendition of Miley Cyrus’ ‘The Climb’ took on an entirely different and heartfelt meaning. I sat down with this darling duo to talk about their impact on the franchise, finding their own passion, and what it’s like to be and whether or not Ms. Cyrus has reached out or not.
Michael Cook: Your portrayals of Carlos & Seb and what is truly going on in high schools across the country is truly revolutionary. What is it like being part of the High School Musical landscape, but being looked at under a completely different lens as well, giving an honest portrayal of an LGBT couple in high school?
Frankie Rodriguez: It is definitely something that we are so excited about. it might sound cliche, but we are so honored that we are the ones chosen to tell these stories, so we don’t take that lightly.
Joe Serafini: I think I tend to put too much pressure on myself, but I feel that Carlos & Seb are an important story to tell. They can be such a different experience for everyone, how that whole experience goes, but I think we try to do it as honestly. and truthfully as possible.
MC: In your storyline, Carlos is having a “Quincinero” and you are not just inhabiting stereotypes but truly fleshing out two characters. Was that important to you to ensure was done?
FR: I think that is one of the cool things about our show, it is written as true to life as possible. I then think that we as actors, we get the easy part of the job; we get to prance around and sing and dance (laughs). Also though, the fact that we have fallen in love with these characters just makes that expeirnecew that much better.
MC: This particular episode is extremely important, but your rendition of ‘The Climb’ is absolutely stellar. Are you yourself a massive Miley Cyrus fan?
JS: I am a pretty big Miley fan, I grew up watching Hannah Montana the series and the movie, so yeah it was pretty surreal to sing that song.
MC: Any word from Ms. Cyrus herself yet?
JS: Not yet, but I would so so flabbergasted if she were to reach out.
FR: Do a collaboration, do a collab!
MC: When did you both know that performing would be the life that you wanted to pursue? Finding your passion can take so long for some, but you both have found it so early.
FR: I think for me, it was maybe when I was five or six. I think growing up on Disney, singing all the classic Disney songs and pretending that I was a Disney princess. That has followed me to me adult life and when I had to finish high school and decide what I wanted to do, I think performing was the natural progression. I am so thankful to be here.
JS: I grew up with three older siblings and we all started in the theater just to try it out; I fell in love pretty much immediately. In high school I think I decided it was something that I wanted to try as a career, I could not pass it up. It happened and the show has been one of the biggest blessings that has ever happened to me.
FR: And now he’s the new Miley Cyrus! (laughs)
MC: The legacy of High School Musical has launched careers for people like Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, among others. is it overwhelming that this could possibly be the stratosphere that your careers could take?
FR: I try not to look at it because it can be stressful and is pressure to achieve something so grand. I kind of look at it as the fact that he was on the same platform and look at the opportunities that he has taken and all of the fun stuff that he has done. I look at it as he has done it, so I can do it.
JS; Absolutely, I look at it in just a hopeful way and am just very, very exited.
MC: So many people have looked at High School Musical and see a massive amount of talented people as part of the cast. Olivia Rodrigo’s single ‘Driver’s License’ has elevated the attention not just on her, but on the cast as a whole. What is it like to see that kind of attention suddenly being focused on your show?
FR: Obviously to see any of our cast members go off and succeed and do all of those amazing things, both of us will be their cheerleaders for the remainder of their careers. Its the same thing with Zac Efron, look at all of these opportunities and all other other things that we can do. If people are going to watch the show for whatever they read or for whatever other reason, there is a chance that they will fall in love with all of these other characters.
JS: I think that there is something in the show for everyone at every age. Everyone that I talk to has something different that they just love about it.
MC: As we are right in the middle of Pride month, what do you each find you are the most proud of?
FR: I recently have been really appreciating the boldness and acceptance and visibility that I have been seeing more of in the LGBTQ community. It might be online and in what I follow, but I do think that representation is on the rise, although there is so much more to do. I have been so proud to see that and be a part of it, and to feel like good things are happening. Seeing things like Schitt’s Creek and seeing such a beautiful representation of a man to man relationship.
MC: When you are not filking what are we watching listening to, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Pose, Legendary, what pop culture are you boys soaking in?
FR: It is a lot of Drag Race, Housewives, I am championing to be the first gay housewife. If they want a Real Housewives of Burbank, I will be there. Music-wise, Olivia Rodrigo, how could you not play her? It is good…it is just so good. You cant deny it, she has something special there.
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