The How to Make It in America star talks about avoiding bad influences and not smashing the pretty women on set.

This feature appears in Complex's October/November 2011 issue.

If you can’t relate, imitate.

"I grew up around a bunch of guys like my character Cam, older guys who worked at the bodega but had their side hustles, whatever they might be. I remembered that hustler’s mentality and used it with Cam—I’m a little more timid than he is, less aggressive in getting what I want. I always looked up to those guys and wanted to be one of them, but never could be because my mom kept me out of the streets. I had that guidance, thankfully."

Find inspiration.

"When I go back to New York to shoot How to Make It, I go way before all the other actors because I live in L.A. now and I gotta shake off that laid-back California vibe, and also because I want to find new inspiration. I feel like every season you have to be inspired. Even though the Cam character is so close to me in real life, I still have to find out what inspires him in the season, in real life first. If I don’t do that, I’m just bullshitting the whole show."

Don’t screw...up the gig.

"Bryan, Cudi, Eddie, and I were blown away at how many beautiful girls we have on Season Two of How to Make It. We have like double the amount of Season One. There were so many beautiful girls on set all the time, but when it came to the professional side, we were all aware of what not to do. We all agreed, this is an amazing gig, let’s not fuck it up—nobody dip the pen in the company ink. I’m definitely always appropriate with that. No bullshit."

Be nervous.

"I still get nervous. I’ve been in this business for around 10 years now, and you get jaded a little bit, but there are always those projects that you really care about. How to Make It is one of them, and obviously Raising Victor Vargas was another. I don’t throw up anymore but I still get the jitters, and I’m starting to really feel it for Season Two now that I’m doing press for it. I like the feeling of getting nervous because it lets me know that I’m not jaded."

ADDITIONAL CREDITS:
(STYLING) Kyle Blackmon. (GROOMING) Daniele Piersons. FIRST AND THIRD IMAGES: Shirt by Johnny Z; Pants by G-Star Raw. SECOND IMAGE: Shirt and jeans by G-Star; T-shirt by American Apparel.