Shadowhunters' Alberto Rosende is a cancer-beating, swing-dancing, gun violence-protesting fighter
What's special about this 25-year-old is, not only does his character go through tremendous transformation on the show, over the last 3 years Rosende has evolved quite a lot too
Freeform's highly popular series, 'Shadowhunters', has a lot to brag about. From the strongest fandom ever to racially and sexually diverse character representation, it's no secret why fans worldwide are campaigning to save the show after it was abruptly axed following the first half of its third season.
But what the show also has to brag about, are its exceptionally cute hunks who embody the demon slaying vampires on the show, and out of all of them, the name that comes most to mind is Alberto Rosende.
What's special about this 25-year-old star, you ask? It's not just that his character going through a tremendous transformation on the show. Over the last three years as Simon Lewis, Rosende himself has evolved quite a lot too.
His character transformed from a regular, dorky teenager, to a magnificent vampire (dorkiness still intact, yes) and it is with tremendous ease that Rosende portrayed the role, which has made Simon's progression such a wonderful plot to unfold.
“He’s changed a lot since season one, and we’ve watched him go from someone who had no idea what was going on to becoming this vampire who's learning his place in the world. I’m very excited to see what happens," Rosende shared with In Style in a 2017 interview. But truth be told, it is even more exciting to see is how Rosende himself evolved from the swing-dancing 2013 short film 'The Swing of Things,' to the significant, indispensable part of 'Shadowhunters.'
The Cuban-Colombian actor started off at the Fort Lauderdale Children's Theater, where he appeared in several productions, such as the likes of 'Hairspray'. At St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, he was a member of STA Players and had portrayed iconic roles such as Danny Zuko in 'Grease', Emile De Becque in 'South Pacific', and Dr. Lyman Sanderson in 'Harvey.' Finally, in 2015, our man here graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and there was no looking back.
What followed were his stints as guest star on popular TV-shows like 'Blue Bloods' and 'Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,' until later that year, when it was announced he had bagged the role of Simon on the fantasy show based on 'The Mortal Instruments' series of books by Cassandra Clare.
While the character's ethnicity was never mentioned in the books, fans of the show were always speculative about the casting, but Rosende fit in a manner beyond perfection. True, Simon is more along the lines of a serious vampire now, but in the end, he's still the cute, dorky fellow with glasses and a brilliant sense of humor.
And that is what makes Rosende such an impeccable fit for the role. Going through his social media accounts reveal the man's indulgence into working out - something that his on-screen persona demands right now. Turns out, he is totally unfazed by it.
“My character was a normal guy until he became a vampire, so this season has been a lot harder for me, physically,” Rosende shared with the outlet. “His body has to be on a different level now, and I pretty much just got in shape as the show’s stunts went into overdrive. We were training six days a week for six weeks before we started shooting, and our action and fight sequences are way more bada** now. Training-wise, it's been the ultimate dream to get paid to learn all this cool stuff. It's a huge perk—you're like, ‘Wait, this is my job. My job is to get good at boxing.’”
Rosende is totally down to do his own stunts for the show. "I think that's part of the job, to try to be the person as much as you can and really devote yourself," he admitted. "Everyone takes that extra step to do everything we can until we’re told, ‘No you can't jump out of this building,’ or, ‘No you can't fly twenty-five feet down’ because the hazard is too high.”
And, this is where you should brace yourself because the show isn't the only place where this adorable young actor showcases his stunts; a look at his Instagram page will also confirm Rosende pretty much - as millennials would put it - stunted on life itself when he beat cancer a few years ago.
"I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer in April of 2013. I was 20 years old and at the time, I swore that I was invincible. This diagnosis rocked my world and made me feel alone and scared," he shared on Instagram a year ago.
He spread awareness about the terminal disease with a lengthy message at the time, which has touched many and inspired even more. "Everyone around you who loves you gets diagnosed as well. You become a team, fighting a battle together. You also become part of a bigger club, a club the size of which is impossible to grasp until you're a part of it. I write this today to tell each of you that you are part of this club and just spreading the word is good enough," the actor shared.
But that isn't the only awareness Rosende has actively spread on his social media. Alongside being an ardent donator for the cause of men's health issues, back in March this year, Rosende promoted Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America - "a non-partisan, grassroots, student movement demanding common-sense solutions to the gun violence that endangers students, schools, and our communities."
The initiative, created by his own cousins, asks for "sensible gun laws and gun ownership that will keep us safe" - something that is crucial in times like these. He is equally meticulous when it comes to going about the characters he portrays on screen. A firm believer in method acting, Rosende shared his go-to method was - as picked up from a friend - keeping "his characters close to him by recognizing things that the character would do."
“When you treat them like a real person, then they’re more complete," he said. "For me, when the new Star Wars movie Rogue One came out, I knew that Simon totally would be at the movie theater to see it at midnight. Probably in a Star Wars t-shirt. He definitely went all out for that, and thinking about him being there helps keep him alive.”
What more? He also likes listening to a certain kind of playlist that he believes would help him get into the character's mindset. That, and of course, sweet snacks, which he said he can never seem to get enough of.
And then, there's Bella Rosende - his dog - whom he finds exceptionally hard to part with. Round these all up, and it is simply impossible to tell Rosende apart from Simon on 'Shadowhunters' whom we have all grown to adore so much!