Inspiration and guidance from a Cali Cartel godfather…?

    New Theory has a candid interview with Pêpê Rapazote, star of Netflix’s smash hit 'Narcos'

    Pêpê Rapazote, otherwise known as the Portuguese George Clooney graced New York with his presence this week for the premiere of season three of Narcos.

    He is the main focus on the Narcos 3 Trailer:

    Source: YouTube

    Second to his charm and rapier wit are his vintage Hollywood leading man looks. New Theory met Rapazote for a casual afternoon of cigars and brown liquor at an Upper East Side cornerstone establishment. He arrived wearing an artfully styled outfit of light washed jeans, suede boots, a freshly pressed shirt (open collar and untucked, obviously) with an unbuttoned olive green vest. With his salt & pepper hair and a crack of his smile, I defy you to consider Rapazote anything but effortlessly cool. Millennial guys, take notes because you could learn a thing or two from this man.

    This polyglot (he’s fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, and English) recounted his 17-year journey to success, what we can expect from Narcos and humorous but poignant pearls of wisdom.

    A 17-year journey? Go on

    Rapazote wasn’t always Portugal’s leading man turned international star. In fact, acting wasn’t in his original plan. At 46-years-old, Rapazote is an overnight success 17-years in the making.

    Born and raised in Portugal, Rapazote is truly a creative and graduated from college with a degree in architecture. With an insatiable appetite for the arts, he pursued his childhood passion for music and was the lead singer of a rock band, a role befitting for a guy whose name translated in English actually means “Big Boy”.

    While designing Lisbon’s buildings by day and rocking and rolling by night, Rapazote discovered that his sanctuary was the stage. Rapazote carved out time for another passion and began his foray in acting in 2000.

    In what he considered “a two-year period of transition,” Rapazote continued to work as a dedicated architect and acted in his spare time. It’s clear that he was working a side hustle before the world could even come up with a term. Only after he found steady success, he left his career as an architect and pursued acting full time.

    Stick to your guns

    Before Rapazote’s dramatic talent was validated by landing prominent roles in Showtime’s Shameless and Narcos, he put in the hours. A perfectionist, Rapazote is still a student of acting and shared that he can rehearse and rehearse, film a scene and agonize how he could have done it better.

    Rapazote implored all the dreamers of the world to be self-conscious in exploring your pursuits and passions. With some honest reflection, you will understand where your talents measure to those around you. Finding success and creating a livelihood in your new passion takes time. Take it from Rapazote, “you have to bump into a lot of walls”.

    With the right complement of talent, determination, and grit, Rapazote landed a staring role on Narcos.

    Hang on—season three? I thought Escobar died at the end of Narcos season two?

    You’re not wrong. Season two of Narcos concluded with the death of Pablo Escobar and his regime. However, in the latest trailer, DEA Agent Javier Pena explains that “Cocaine cartels are about succession. The day Pablo went down, the Cali Cartel became public enemy number one.”

    While the world was focused on Escobar, the Cali Cartel operated under the radar and were bringing in $23.5 billion (!) annually from cocaine. The Gentlemen of Cali, as they referred to themselves, operated more like “a Fortune 500 company” and less like your average cartel. Caveat: if Fortune 500s functioned as a murdering, thieving, menacing, violent and corrupt companies.

    And that’s where we meet Rapazote’s character, Chepe Santacruz Londano, one of the four godfathers in the Cali Cartel.

    Without giving away any spoilers, Rapazote shared that fans are in for a wild ride that takes viewers from the jungles of Colombia to New York City in a blaze of early ’90s glory.

    Catch season three of Narcos on Netflix on September 1.

    Listen to the podcast:

    Follow Pêpê Rapazote:

    Instagram: @peperapazote



    • A born and raised Jersey Girl, Stephanie now calls New York City home. Stephanie enjoys yoga, traveling and spending time with gin. Her favorite dinosaur is a brontosaurus and her favorite Beatle is George Harrison. Visit her blog at

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