Over the past few years, Michael Cimino has become a more widely recognized face, thanks to his role in Hulu’s YA romance series Love, Victor in which he starred as title character Victor Salazar. In the couple years or so following the show, Cimino has worked on a variety of projects from live action to animation to podcasts. Most recently, Cimino lends his voice to Disney’s Hamster & Gretel. He also recurred on shows including Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, Hulu’s How I Met Your Father, as well as held a recurring voice role in Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
Beyond acting, Cimino has been diving more into his musical side. In 2021, he officially released his first single entitled “Love Addict.” Through the remainder of the year and into 2022, Cimino gradually released more music, eventually leading to his first EP, i’m somewhere out there, consisting of new and previously released songs.
This year, Cimino is continuing work on his music, and he has also partnered recently with Invisalign. In conjunction with the partnership, we had the chance to talk with Michael about his new endeavor, how he continues to expand his music career, and some of the hobbies he’s been enjoying to stay busy.
Note: No struck properties were discussed during this interview, which was edited for clarity.
Nerds & Beyond: To kick things off today, I do want to touch a bit on your partnership with Invisalign. You do have a really wonderful smile, so it seems like this is a fitting collaboration. How did this come about, and what prompted you to say yes?
Michael Cimino: I’ve been using the products for a while, and I love the Invisalign aligners. They’re really easy to use, and they really work well for my lifestyle. I have a really busy schedule, and in comparison to braces, it’s kind of like a no brainer for me. Obviously they’re not as visually impairing as far as for like work and stuff like that. So, I could still go and do photoshoots. I could still go and do everything I gotta do and just take them off and go and do what I have to do. I could eat whatever foods I want, which is amazing. I don’t have to have emergency dentist appointments and go to the dentist last minute, which doesn’t really work with this kind of lifestyle that I have. So, it makes it a lot easier for me. That’s kind of why it was like a no brainer for me. Then obviously [the partnership] came about, and I’ve been using the products for a long time, so it worked out.
Nerds & Beyond: So, I did notice on your Instagram that you do a lot of photoshoots, which I think always turn out really great. They all have a really great, unique, eye-catching style. What do you enjoy the most about doing those? How does it help you express yourself in different ways?
Michael Cimino: That’s exactly it. It helps me express myself in different ways, and I think it also — I try to think about it like, oh, this is like a different actor. It’s like a different acting scene, you know. It’s like, “Yeah, okay cool, I’m gonna do this photoshoot. I’m gonna be this kind of character.” I want to show my range through my photoshoots. That’s kind of like my whole goal. And it’s also so fun to just meet with other creatives and talk about it and get to like come up with concepts and stuff. I love that stuff. It’s just amazing.
Nerds & Beyond: Along with the partnership, you’ve also gained recognition for other projects, including your growing music career. Can you talk a little about how you first got into music?
Michael Cimino: I actually wanted to do music first, so it was always kind of like my first love. Then as I got older, I started taking an acting class and I fell in love with that as well, and I kind of focused more on that and focused more on doing one thing at a time, because when you’re first starting out, it’s definitely a lot easier to just focus on one thing. Then as I got older and I started to get some more traction in the acting world, I was like, you know what? I really want to start getting back into music. I’ve been working really hard on that, especially during the strike. I have so much extra free time, so I’ve been focusing a lot on making new music, which I’m really, really excited about. I’ve made so many more songs than I ever have in my life, so it’s cool, because now I have a huge pool of songs to choose from. I could be like, “Oh, cool. This one works with this. This one works with this.” I can actually put a very cohesive project together just based off of how many songs I’ve written now, which is really, really fun. I’m still working on more stuff and still trying to make more music, but the goal is to make like maybe 100 songs and then choose the best six.
Nerds & Beyond: Oh. So easy to narrow that down.
Michael Cimino: Yeah. It’s one of those things.
Nerds & Beyond: Something I really love about your music is that I think the style that you have is very well-suited to you, very well-suited to your voice. Did you know going in — as you were releasing your first single, your first EP — what sort of sound you were aiming for, or did it change along the way?
Michael Cimino: No, not all. I think like even now, still, I’m learning so much more about singing, and learning so much more about my voice. So, I’ve really been kind of experimenting more with my sound and trying to figure it out even further than that. I’ve really been kind of — the new stuff is definitely way different than the stuff I put out originally, which is also I think just continuously evolving. I think every time I do music, I want to continuously evolve, continuously change the sound. I think that that’s like kind of the fun part about music, is that, especially because I’m not signed, I don’t have anyone saying, “Oh, hey. You can’t do this,” or “you have to do this.” I can do whatever I want. It’s like I have full rein to just be completely, creatively free. So, I’m just gonna kind of just keep doing that.
Nerds & Beyond: Beyond music and acting, I know that you do have some other hobbies. What hobbies have you been enjoying lately to keep yourself busy?
Michael Cimino: You know, I’ve been doing a lot of yard work recently. [laughs]
Nerds & Beyond: [laughs] Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with a nice yard.
Michael Cimino: Yeah, you know, I’m like, you know what? I have a pool in my backyard, and I moved into this house last year, and I was like, “Oh, you know what, I’m gonna just forget about the pool. I need to redo it, whatever.” So, I’m gonna get my pool ready. I’m gonna go and do — I fixed up my whole yard. I got my pool ready, so I’m ready to go and swim and just live my life this summer. I’m just enjoying my time off. And I have a lot of puppies here right now. My dog had 10 puppies this summer. So, a lot of my free time has been going to training the puppies and spending time with them, because I still have a few left that I need to find homes for. So, it’s just a lot of puppies in the house right now. A lot of puppies.
Nerds & Beyond: On a slightly similar note, are there any other professions that you would be interested in pursuing more seriously, or something that you would like to try just to see how it goes?
Michael Cimino: I’d love to get into business at some point. I’d love to get into some sort of like conservation of our environment, but through business. I would love to do that at some point. I don’t really know how or when I will do that, but that is definitely something I have interest in for sure.
Nerds & Beyond: You’ve already done so much in your career, and it’s been amazing watching you grow throughout these past few years. Generally speaking, what are you most proud of about your accomplishments so far?
Michael Cimino: To be honest, I think just like where I came from. I didn’t come from a lot of money. I didn’t come from — I wasn’t in LA. I was in Vegas. So, I think it makes me really happy to just see how far I’ve come in the past five years since I moved to LA. When I first moved out here, I lived in a two-bedroom with 10 people.
Nerds & Beyond: Oh, my.
Michael Cimino: Yeah. [laughs]
Nerds & Beyond: That’s insane. [laughs]
Michael Cimino: Yeah, but that — I think that’s honestly the biggest thing that I’m proud of, is just to see how far I’ve come, and I’m so excited for the future. I’m so excited to just keep leveling up my craft and just keep getting better and hopefully to work with people that are just, like, the best. I just want to work with the people that are the best of the best and continue to learn and just continue to get better. That’s really the only thing I want to do in my life, to be honest.
Nerds & Beyond: To wrap up, something we like to ask our interviewees is, what’s something you love to get nerdy about? Like you could talk about it for days on end if nobody stopped you.
Michael Cimino: Cars. Cars, yeah, that’s easy. I literally have six or seven. I have seven cars right now. I love cars a lot, so that’s probably something that I could talk anybody’s ear off [with]. Like if I meet someone at a party who’s like, “Yeah, I like cars,” I slowly start gauging how into cars they are so I can see how nerdy I can get. If someone’s actually really into it, I could have like a two-hour long conversation about cars. I just find them so interesting. I love all of the history behind it. It’s just — yeah. I love it. I love it so much. It’s like one of my biggest passions, to be honest.
Nerds & Beyond: Are you into car restoration at all?
Michael Cimino: Yeah, yeah. I love old cars. Like don’t get me wrong, I love some of the new cars. [They] are really cool, and I love the new technology that’s being put into them, but old cars are where my heart is. I love making an old car feel like a new car. I love that. That’s like the coolest thing to me.
Nerds & Beyond: Is there a dream car that you don’t have or that you haven’t worked on yet that you would just absolutely love to do one day?
Michael Cimino: I’d love to get an old Porsche at some point. They’re just really, really expensive. [laughs] But I’d love to get an old Porsche at some point, or even like a VW bug. I love those cars. They’re so cool, but right now, I have plenty of cars, so I’m not focusing on the next projects. I’m like, let me just focus on the ones I have now. Let me wrap up a few of them and get them all done. I want to learn some new skills with the car stuff so that when I do start souping up some different cars, I already know exactly what I want to do.
Nerds & Beyond: Awesome, I love that. That’s so great.