In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.
What was once an old, empty classroom has been transformed into an intimate, dark black-box theater. Fresh black paint seeps into the wooden panels of the stage, which lacks a proper curtain. But the light fixtures on the ceiling and the rows of chairs facing the stage are enough to create the proper façade. Blackout. Shuffling feet scurry from stage right. Lights up. It's showtime.
These days, the 26-year-old Dominican-born, Miami-raised actress Aimee Carrero is on a fast track to Hollywood fame.
But it all began in that small black-box theater at Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School. During her four years there, the theater department was built from the ground up, and Carrero was there to help cultivate both the space and the legacy.
Carrero remembers her spark for theater igniting when she was 7, while watching a French mime perform. The simple, beautiful work brought her to tears. "I didn't really understand it at the time, but I knew I had found it," she says of the memory.
Carrero moved to L.A. in 2009 after earning an international relations degree at Florida International University and then guest-starred on TV shows The Mentalist, Hannah Montana, and Lincoln Heights. Two years later, she was cast as the female lead in a group of videogame-playing high-school nerds in Cartoon Network's two-season series Level Up. In 2012, Carrero returned to the stage in an off-Broadway production of Melissa James Gibson's What Rhymes With America, in which she acted alongside True Blood's Chris Bauer.
Oh, and that "Shit Miami Girls Say" viral video that's been circulating the web since 2012? That slice of brilliance came from Carrero and her friends.
Her big break came the night she learned she landed not only a starring character in a new ABC Family pilot but also a four-episode role on season two of FX's highly watched drama The Americans.
The ABC Family sitcom Young & Hungry follows personal chef Gabi (played by Emily Osment) and her best friend, Sofia (Carrero). "I was never the class clown or the funny one growing up," Carrero admits, "so it comes as a real shock to me anytime someone laughs at anything I say."
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Next month, Carrero will begin filming season two of Young & Hungry, and she just wrapped her scenes for a Vin Diesel film, The Last Witch Hunter.
Carrero says her main goal is to continue acting in as many productions as possible.
"The dream is to flow between the genres," she says. "There are so many stories to tell and so many different ways to tell them. Above all, I like a good story, no matter the packaging."