Román Zaragoza is a mixed-race actor of Akimel O’otham and Mexican descent on his father’s side, and Japanese and Taiwanese descent on his mother’s. He has worked with Native Voices at the Autry, the only Native American Equity theatre company in the U.S., for the last 10 years.
When Zaragoza was 3 years old, his dad, Gregory Zaragoza, played ‘Chief Sitting Bull’ in the original cast of the revival of “Annie Get Your Gun” on Broadway. Seeing his father on stage sparked something in him at a young age. Zaragoza acted in plays and musicals throughout school and worked on Disney Channel’s “Austin & Ally” while in high school. The big shift in his career took place when he was 18 and had the opportunity to dive into an intensely meaningful role of Nick, a young, troubled Tlingit wordsmith, in “They Don’t Talk Back” by Frank Kaash Katasse, at Native Voices at the Autry and the La Jolla Playhouse. Through this work with his artistic family at Native Voices, he was invited to work at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where he fell in love with Shakespeare and truly found his voice.
Recently, Zaragoza finished a three-season run at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, including portraying Orlando in “As You Like It.” His television and film credits include “Stumptown,” “Austin & Ally,” “Those Who Can’t” and “Shadow Wolves.” Zaragoza graduated from Cal State Northridge with a B.A. in film production and is currently producing his senior thesis film titled “This Is Their Land,” about the Modoc War of 1872-1873. His mission is to raise the voices of the oppressed and help build a geography of hope for underrepresented and marginalized people.
Zaragoza grew up in a 450 square foot studio apartment on the ancestral lands of the Lenape, or what is now known as Greenwich Village in Manhattan, with his parents and two sisters. When he was 11, his family moved to Los Angeles to support their family’s pursuit of acting in television and film. He has enjoyed playing soccer since he was young, enjoys exploring nature with his camera, martial arts, yoga, fitness and dance. His birthday is May 8. He can be followed on Instagram @romanzaragoza.