When an artist in the entertainment industry decides to perform under a different name than they were originally given, it can often be an ambitious choice for the sake of artistic representation. Examples that immediately come to mind are the popstar Prince or wrestler-turned-actor, formerly known as The Rock, before utilizing his original name of Dwayne Johnson for a career in film. These new titles often convey who they are as an entertainer while representing their own form of art. For da´Vinchi, formerly known as Abraham Juste, a name was chosen that would reflect his desire for multiple artistic endeavors. Basing his name off of Leonardo da Vinci, he hopes to avoid pinning himself down under a singular title. Just as Leonardo lived his life as a “jack of all trades” being a painter, sculptor, mathematician, etc., da´Vinchi wants to continue enjoying a career in the industry as an actor, musician and lyricist with a dash of modeling. Sticking to one single medium is simply not in the cards. Just recently, da´Vinchi decided to make his name change legal.
“There is a lot that comes with this entertainment industry and I feel like you need a separate name…to separate you from your actual self. So when there’s things going on in the entertainment industry about da´Vinchi, that’s not Abraham, that’s da´Vinchi. There’s a character under the character and I feel like this is really important because it helps you keep your head…you have to try to separate the two things because they’re not the same,” he said.
Just within the last year, da’Vinchi has made a name for himself as a professional actor earning a small role on the hit Netflix series Jessica Jones, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. But it is his notable role as Cash Mooney on the new Freeform series Grown-ish that has made him a recognizable talent. The highly-anticipated spin-off of Black-ish has opened new doors for him with his portrayal of the star athlete on campus. “[Cash] is the top division one shooting guard in the nation. He’s a phenomenal athlete…he’s the most popular kid on campus because he’s a superstar…and most likely I’m going to get drafted to the NBA. And I deal with a lot of the problems that college athletes deal with that’s not really talked about. You learn a lot from my character and what college athletes go through,” he remarked.
While da´Vinchi is beginning to get his acting career rolling, he continues to write and record his own brand of spoken word/rap music. He bases his lyrics off of personal life experience from his formative years on the streets of New Jersey. Storytelling has always been a passion of his and this platform in particular allows him to artistically express those experiences and the lessons that go with them. As of late, he has devoted a lot of his time to writing and recording. “I’m actually writing right now…a bunch of material right now. I’m going into the studio next week. What inspires me to write music is that I feel like the way I see the world is different from many people. And sometimes it’s the same and I feel like when I talk about my experiences, it’s done in such a way that people are fascinated by it and I feel like I’m a good storyteller…I feel like I have a gift of words,” he said.
Over the course of his career, modeling has not been a primary focus. Dabbling in small projects on the side, da´Vinchi chooses to involve himself in shoots for clothes that he wears himself. Fashion is not a priority but a reflection. Whatever is hanging in his closet is what appeals to him. He confirmed, “As long as it’s stuff that has substance and it’s meaningful and it means something to me, then I’ll do it. I’m not going to do a project or a shoot that does not resonate with me…suits, athletic wear and some urban stuff but that’s really it. I wouldn’t consider myself like a real model, I just happen to have the stature and build.”
When asked about any current endeavors and upcoming projects, no specific comment could be made at this time. He plans to record new music and release it sometime later this year. Da´Vinchi can currently be seen on Grown-ish airing on Freeform every week at 9pm EST, while his appearance on the second season of Jessica Jones is slated for a release in early March. With a lot of opportunity flying his way, 2018 is looking to be his biggest year as of yet. But being a jack of all trades, this should only be the beginning.