Exclusive Feature: John DeLuca

REBEL WITH A CAUSE. With Tom Cruise-like smoldering eyes, John DeLuca is easily one of the Disney casts you’ll fall for. This energetic rising star shared with DA MAN about his recent role in “Teen Beach Movie,” the unforgettable road trip across America and one sharp life motto.

Shirt by H&M, Jeans by Duffie, Sunglasses by Ray-Ban, Shoes by Generic Surplus

After seeing his debut in “Teen Beach Movie,” John DeLuca is arguably the right candidate to fill the big shoes of John Travolta. Playing Butchy, the leader of the biker gang, DeLuca borrows a number of “vintage” references, some of which are from “Grease” where Travolta played Danny Zuko, the then-version of Butchy. The difference though is that Butchy wasn’t particularly a rebel without a cause as he was overly protective towards his sister. The leather jacket and slicked back hair, nonetheless, are a complete throwback to the bad-ass ‘80s.

In real life, the teen heartthrob DeLuca is such an endearing chap. Family comes first as priority for the theatre graduate. Nailing guest appearances in TV series “30 Rock” and “Ugly Betty,” his claim to fame was acting in Disney-produced “Wizards of Waverly Place” alongside Selena Gomez. There is still a long road ahead of him, and the Massachusetts boy is just getting started.

DA MAN (DA): What is the best experience you’ve had in acting?
John DeLuca (JD):
One of my most memorable experiences would definitely be shooting the “Teen Beach Movie.” We shot on location in Puerto Rico for two months and, from beginning to end, it was just an absolute blast and felt so surreal. Puerto Rico is such a beautiful place! While we weren’t shooting, we got to explore different beaches, hike in the rainforest, swim in waterfalls, go kayaking, and even dance at night. My family also came visiting me for a week, and it was amazing to be able to experience that with them. It never felt like work, we were all just having so much fun – and I made some incredible friends whom I think I’ll be close with for the rest of my life. The whole thing was just an amazing, unforgettable experience that will always hold a special place in my heart.

 Sweater by G-Star Raw, Shorts by Publish Brand

DA: Who’s your biggest support?
I can’t live without my family. They’re 100 percent the most important thing in the world to me. My parents and my two younger brothers are so supportive of this sort of crazy path I’ve chosen for myself, and there’s just no way I could do it without them. I’m really lucky to have two really wonderful, supportive parents. In addition to that, my brothers and I are all two years apart, so it was like growing up with two built-in best friends. The hardest part about living out in Los Angeles trying to pursue an acting career is being 3,000 miles away from them – they are all back in Massachusetts. But regardless of the physical distance, they’re a huge part of my day-to-day life in one way or another. So yeah, if there had to be one thing I couldn’t live without… it’d be my family.

DA: Your idea of happiness is…
Making a living by doing something you love and are passionate about, surrounded with family and friends.

DA: What things in life that you value the most?
Sincerity and friendship. It’s not always easy to find (and keep) really good and true friends. I’ve been really lucky in my life to have made some awesome lifelong friends. Surrounding yourself with real friends whom you care about and can connect with is completely invaluable and makes life so much more enjoyable.

Board shorts by Quiksilver

DA: One thing that people don’t know about you is:
As a kid, I really wanted to be friends with the Ninja Turtles. My color would be black, my name would be Giovanni, and we would have all fought in the sewers together. So yeah, now you know [laughs].

DA: What are your goals this year?
This year my goal is to keep working! This business can be very up and down, and I really just want to keep working on projects that excite and challenge me in new ways. I want to keep working with talented people who inspire me to try and get better at what I do. I had a blast working with everyone on Disney’s “Teen Beach Movie,” and I’ve gotten to work with some awesome folks on the new ABC Family series “Twisted.” I look forward to every episode we shoot. It’s a teen drama mystery-thriller, and I’m having a lot of fun.

DA: If you’re not actor, what would you be doing?
Maybe in the field of sales? For a while, I thought it would be fun to be a lawyer, but then I realized the only thing I really liked about it was the theatrics of a trial. However in real life, lawyers don’t just walk around yelling, “You can’t handle the truth!” So, I thought I would be an actor playing a lawyer, someday.

Jacket by Diesel, Shirt by American Apparel, Pants by H&M, Shoes by Generic Surplus

DA: What is your favorite journey in life?
Generally speaking, my favorite journey has been pursuing career as an actor. It was all started with a role as the Scarecrow in the “Wizard of Oz” during high school back in Massachusetts, and it took me to study theatre at Fordham University in New York City. Now as an actor I reside in Los Angeles. But specifically, the actual trip from Massachusetts to California that I took with my dad has been my favorite journey. I bought a car, loaded it with all my stuff, and drove across the country with my dad. It was an eleven-day trip filled with visiting friends, camping in the desert, handstands on the edge of the Grand Canyon, hiking, sightseeing, and so much more you could think of about a road trip. The best of all, of course, is just this really great bonding time with my dad out on the road. It was an amazing adventure, and I’ll never forget it.

DA: You look so casual and laid-back. What is fashion for you?
To me fashion is a fun way to express our individuality. And the cool thing about it is that it is constantly changing and evolving.

Shirt by H&M, Jeans by Levi’s

DA: Last but not least, your life motto?
Sounds cliché but true, my motto in life is that it’s not about the amount of times you fall down in life that matters, it’s the amount of times you get back up. There’s always going to be ups and downs in life, no matter what. And when you fall down, even though it can be hard at times, you need to get right back up and keep going. Do what you love to do, and never give up.

Photographs: Yann Bean
Styling: Juliet Vo
Grooming: Travisean Hayes @ Aim Artists using Kevin.Murphy
Assistant stylists: Alexa Green, Stacie Nguyen, Janea Moreto