Vincent “Rocco” Vargas: Gilberto “Gilly” Lopez

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Gilly
Gilly

First, I will tell you that Vincent “Rocco” Vargas is the most versatile person and the most interesting actor I have researched so far!

Vargas

Career

Vincent “Rocco” Vargas is an American Entertainer, producer and writer, known for Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves, Range 15, The Long Way Back (2016), John Came Home and Dads in Parks (2016), Dark of Light, Not a War Story, Mayans MC, MBest11x YouTube channel and the Drinking Bros Podcast. He has his own online cooking show on Rated Red’s Youtube channel.

Vargas

Veristility

Next, in addition to acting Vincent Vargas is a former U.S. Army Ranger and combat veteran. Furthermore, he is the Chief Operations Officer for Article 15 Clothing. In addition, he owns a business in Salt Lake City called Throwbacks Barber Company. Lastly, Vargas lives in Herriman and commutes to the set of “Mayans M.C.”

Vargas

Writer, Speaker and More

Comparatively, he’s also written two children’s books for military kids, “My Military Dad … Does Things a Little Different” and “My Dad Has the Most Important Job in the World.” As a matter of fact, between producing a podcast, acting, taking on public speaking engagements, penning books, running a publishing company, producing music and films, and yelling at privates on the weekends, Vargas is an incredibly busy guy.

Vargas

Biography

Vargas grew up in the San Fernando Valley, then went into the Army on an option 40 Ranger contract after playing baseball in college where he was forced out due to academic ineligibility and injury. He served four years with the 75TH Ranger Regiment (A Co 1ST Platoon “Badmuthers”) while active duty. Not to mention, during his time in the Regiment he did three combat deployments to Iraq, serving in every billet on rifle, crew-served and anti-tank teams.

Vargas

Rank

Sgt. 1st Class Vincent “Rocco” Vargas is an Army Reserve drill sergeant. Vargas, 36, A veteran of three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan with the 75th Ranger Regiment’s 2nd Battalion based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Vargas

Reserve Duty and Prison

After his Active Duty time was up Rocco went on to become a United States Army Reserve Drill Sergeant at Ft. Sill. As a civilian, he worked Corrections at a Federal Prison, where (perhaps not surprisingly) Vargas was a member of the facility’s Special Operations Response Team.

Vargas

Drill Instructor and Border Patrol

As an activated Army Reservist Drill Instructor Vargas trained and mentored seven cycles of Basic training and Warrior Transition Course Soldiers, earning two Drill Sergeant of the Cycle awards. He then went on to join the US Border Patrol and eventually volunteered for Border Patrol Search and Rescue Special Operations Unit. He now works as a Special Operations Group Operator attached to a BORTAC team, medic and combatives instructor.

Vargas

Family life

Vincent “Rocco” Vargas (born c. 1981/1982) is married to wife, Christie and they have a total of 6 kids between them who range in age from 5 to 15. They are in order, Belle, Yvette Starla (Star for short), Hunter, and Holden. When he married Christie, he added Taylor and Jarek to the mix. Among whose young ranks are boxers, wrestlers, MMA fighters, baseball players, volleyball players and assorted other warriors in training.

Vargas

Early Life

Vargas is living his dream of becoming an actor. The son of a Los Angeles fireman, he grew up in California’s San Fernando Valley, and played college baseball until he screwed up and lost the scholarship. Expecting his first kid, estranged from his wife and serving food, Vargas watched the U.S. invasion of Iraq on TV and got the bug to serve his country.

Vargas

Ranger Rocco

He became an Army Ranger at age 22 and the leader he always knew he was found a place to blossom. At 35, Vargas has been playing the “dad role” for most of his adult life. He was a 23-year-old husband and father when he joined the Army in 2003.

Vargas

Deep Down inside

At first glance, he’s an intimidating guy. He’s 6 feet tall and 230 pounds, and he has a lot of tattoos. When you talk to him, you discover an affable, energetic, thoroughly likable guy whose enthusiasm is infectious.

Vargas

Living in Utah

Just over a year ago, the family left El Paso, Texas, where he was working for the Border Patrol. Vargas and his wife, Christie, made a decision that confounded his friends and family — they moved to Utah. He was in the state working on another project (which is still under wraps), and they “fell in love with it here.”

 

Vargas

Mayans, MC

Vincent ‘Rocco’ Vargas would portrays main character Gilberto ‘Gilly’ Lopez in FX’s new series, Mayans M.C. Gilly is  a good-natured MMA fighter. Vargas’s character Gilly rides for the Santo Padre Chapter of the Mayans, under the leadership of Obispo “Bishop” Losa. Mayans MC, which picks up about four years after the end of the “Sons of Anarchy” timeline. As a matter of fact, the new show is about another motorcycle gang, Mayans M.C., and centers on Ezekial “EZ” Reyes who is a prospect with the club, and who is harboring a secret motive.

Vargas

Acting Bug

Vargas grew up in the San Fernando Valley, a short drive — depending on traffic — from the center of the entertainment industry. He took a stab at acting in his early 20s. However, he’s dyslexic, and he struggled to read the script.  “I got so embarrassed, I walked out of the audition. And I never thought of it again,” Vargas said — until after he’d joined the Border Patrol and started doing YouTube videos with a friend.

Vargas

Vincent “Rocco” Vargas on being cast as Gilberto “Gilly” Lopez in “Mayans M.C.”

(Excerpts taken from the Salt Lake Tribune article by Scott D. Pierce

Vargas has big dreams and plenty of confidence, but he sounds a bit surprised that he was cast as Gilberto “Gilly” Vargas on the “Sons of Anarchy” spinoff.  A friend landed him an audition, “and I read off paper. Did the best I could” for the casting director. By the time he flew back to El Paso, he had a message that creator/writer/producer Kurt Sutter wanted to see him.  

Second Chances

The second audition seemed to go well, but what clinched it happened afterward. As Vargas exited the building, his firefighter father excitedly pumped him for details and gave him a big hug while, unbeknownst to them, Sutter watched from a window.  “I think he saw the genuineness of the upbringing I had,” Vargas said. “I’m just a real, honest family guy and we’re all excited about this opportunity.”  

Vargas on Gilly

Vargas’ character, Gilly, is a funny guy — he gets laughs in the first couple of episodes — but he’s also “kind of a brute.”  “He’s funny. He’s caring. He’s really about his boys,” Vargas said. “It’s the camaraderie that he gets into. Just like the military. It’s play hard and work hard.  “And that’s a lot of me, so it’s not hard to play,” he said with a laugh. “And they don’t have to cover up the tattoos. That’s lucky.”

Vargas

More from the Salt Lake Tribune

Sutter told the cast of “Mayans” that “he prides himself on having a cast that has more prison time than screen time,” Vargas said. “And when he said I thought, ‘That’s not me.’ But everyone looked at me, thinking, ‘Yeah!’” After he got out of the Army, he spent 2½ years as a prison guard in Arizona. Now he’s acting alongside Richard Cabral (“American Crime”), who grew up not far from him, was first incarcerated when he was 13, and at 20, served five years for shooting a man — and now the two are tight. 

Vargas

On Richie Cabral

Of Richard Cabral Vargas says “He always tells us stories from inside the prison — I tell them from the other side of the bars. And we laugh about things,” Vargas said. “We’ve built a close relationship off completely understanding each other’s past.  “He’s said to me, ‘You could have easily been where I was.’ And, yeah, I could. I have friends that were. I was lucky enough to have a father to keep me out of that and push me in other directions. And it was just timing and luck — same as getting this part.  “We all had this crazy route, and we all ended up in the same place.”

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