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Hemky Madera: “Helping the less fortunate is something I take to heart”

Helping the less fortunate is something I take to heart. The homeless population is increasing every day, especially with COVID-19; people getting laid off and not being able to afford housing, getting evicted, etc. is now a bigger issue than ever. If there is a way to safely provide healthy environment with a roof, food, […]

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Helping the less fortunate is something I take to heart. The homeless population is increasing every day, especially with COVID-19; people getting laid off and not being able to afford housing, getting evicted, etc. is now a bigger issue than ever. If there is a way to safely provide healthy environment with a roof, food, showers, etc. for homeless people, or even just masks and gloves for them during this time, that would be beyond helpful.


As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Hemky Madera.

Dashing, transformative actor Hemky Madera (“Weeds”) returned to television as the menacing ‘Pote Galvez,’ lieutenant of the Vargas Cartel, for the fourth season of USA Network’s award-winning crime drama “Queen of the South,” which will have it’s season five premiere in 2020 opposite Alice Braga (I Am Legend), Justina Machado (“One Day at a Time”) and Peter Gadiot (“Once Upon a Time in Wonderland”). Based on the bestselling book La Reina del Sur by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, “Queen of the South” tells the powerful story of Teresa Mendoza (Braga), a woman who is forced to run from the Mexican cartel and seek refuge in America. Along with “Queen of the South,” Hemky appeared in the highly anticipated new HBO drama series “Perry Mason,” which premiered last month and airs each Sunday night.

Born in Queens, New York, Madera was raised with his family in Santiago, Dominican Republic, where he began his acting career in the Dominican Republic television production “Grandes Series Domincanas” with a leading role in the limited-series “En La Olla” and “Trio en Alta Mar,” both helmed by director/producer Alfonso Rodríguez. After college, Madera moved to New York City to pursue acting and began booking prominent roles in feature films including DREAMING OF JULIA with Harvey Keitel and Gael García Bernal, THE LOST CITY opposite Andy Garcia, Dustin Hoffman, and Bill Murray, and THE WRATH OF CAIN alongside Ving Rhames and Robert Patrick, to name a few. Madera is best known for his role as Mexican drug cartel criminal ‘Ignacio’ on Showtime’s hit dark comedy “Weeds.” Up next, Madera will star in a recurring role as a retired baseball player on the IFC television series “Brockmire.”

When he’s not starring on hit television shows, Madera enjoys playing guitar, golf, flying airplanes and lending his time to organizations dedicated to spreading awareness for Down Syndrome. Madera is happily married and living with his two children and wife, singer-songwriter, Jesse Lynn Madera.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/f8679f5bbb8b7876b1dc857f6e50276c


Thank you so much for doing this with us Hemky! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born in NY by accident. My mother was 7 months pregnant and went to go visit her family in NY from Dominican Republic before giving birth. However, during her trip there was a complication and the doctors had to perform a c-section. It took my mother 2 months to recover before we could go back to the Dominican Republic where my father was. I lived in the Dominican Republic until I was 10 years old and then I came to America. It was great living in the Dominican Republic and NY; I’m an island boy with a big city mentality.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

My father used to always say “Be whatever you want to be. If you want to be a shoe shiner for a living, be the best shoe shiner you can be. With honesty and truth, without hurting anybody, backstabbing anybody.” He used to always say that, and I took that to heart. So, I tell everybody, just be yourself. Whatever career you choose, do it for the right reasons. Don’t become an actor to be famous. Fame will come. You work and you will be noticed and seen. I love to act. I became an actor because I saw Marlon Brando in “On The Waterfront” and I was blown away. It has been fun playing different characters with different stories and backgrounds.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

When I was booking “Queen of the South”, Pote was said to be wearing an X-Large Taylor Swift t-shirt. I walked up and down Hollywood Blvd and went into every shop asking for one. Keep in mind I am in my late 30s, a grown man with a beard so I got some interesting responses from store employees, but I didn’t mind, and if you do then you’re in the wrong business. One store owner let me know of a shop that would print anything on t-shirts, so I went there and had a Taylor Swift shirt made for my self-tape auditions. You have to give it your all and believe in yourself. I never doubted myself.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I wish someone for of told me to stay fit when I first started; stay fit, stay healthy. Keep walking, sleep normal amounts of hours, take care of yourself. I went for a long time with minimal hours of sleep and I’m paying for it now, but I’m doing yoga and stretching, and my body feels so much relief.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

“Queen of the South” and “Perry Mason”

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

This career path we have chosen is not an easy one. You have to make it fun, the audition process, filming, rehearsals, etc. make it fun. Also, do not lose sight of where you came from or have overcome, let it fuel you.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Helping the less fortunate is something I take to heart. The homeless population is increasing every day, especially with COVID-19; people getting laid off and not being able to afford housing, getting evicted, etc. is now a bigger issue than ever. If there is a way to safely provide healthy environment with a roof, food, showers, etc. for homeless people, or even just masks and gloves for them during this time, that would be beyond helpful.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

First and foremost, I must thank my parents. They supported me emotionally, and financially whenever they could, but always believed in me. I could go on and on about friends of mine that supported me and housed me during times of need. And of course, I pay it forward when I can.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Believe in yourself, be the best version of you and give it your all even in the hard times.” I live by this.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Obama. Ron Howard. Francis Ford Coppola. Spike Lee.

How can our readers follow you online?

My Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is @Hemky !

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

Thank you so much for having me!

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