We've already had a few conversations with Ron Mustafaa, but the more we interview the guy, the more we love him! In the upcoming US adaption of the hit British teen drama Skins, Ron plays Abbud, a teenager torn between uber-religious parents and a serious need to party. In real life, Ron’s an enthusiastic actor who balances Skins with college and unintentionally drops some of the most hilarious one-liners! This time around, Ron opened up about his first day on set, his mom, and his dream acting role.
Wetpaint: What did your first day on the Skins set feel like?
Ron Mustafaa: It was crazy. It was like, oh my God, I’m doing a TV show—my dream has finally come true. You know when you’re like, am I really do this? Everyone was running around, all the scripts for the ten episodes hadn’t been written yet and we didn’t know where our characters were going to go. We were kinda scared but at the same time, we took it as a challenge, as a team, to be on the set of this amazing, huge show.
WP: So Skins has a young cast. We have to ask—any onset romances?
RM: No, no onset romances. Plenty of on-screen romance.
WP: Does everybody get along?
RM: Yes. I room with Jesse, who plays Chris and we all actually live in the same apartment building while we’re filming. We’re almost a family onset and off set, we always hang out together. We go out, watch Jackass 3D, go out for dinner all the time. None of us have ever gotten into a fight — we always get along. I never thought it would work out that way. But it’s a cool, big family — everyone has their own unique personalities and skill sets. They’re all really cool people. And all the parents get along.
WP: Speaking of parents — the show is kinda famous for sex, drugs, and drinking.
RM: Funny story. My mom is really traditional — she’s quite Indian. I had a couple sex scenes, like proper sex scenes, and I was like, “So Mom, I’m going to be making out with one of the characters, blah blah blah but it’s going to lead to like, stuff.” And she was like, “Ron, what are you trying to get at?” When I told her, she had to take five minutes to collect herself but then she was “I love Skins and I believe in the show. I know everything’s done tastefully.” It was quite funny explaining to my mom that I’ll be having whatever whatever on screen. You can just picture this Indian lady wearing a sari and me telling her.
WP: Is there anybody you would be embarrassed showing Skins to?
RM: No, not at all. Like I said, when you’re acting, it’s not about anyone judging you because they know it’s not you. And we’re doing it because it makes sense in the script. We’re not trying to preach sex, drugs and rock’n’roll—we’re saying kids do this and we’re just showing it onscreen.
WP: So you’re balancing both work and school — how’s that going?
RM: Funny story. I have an essay due in two hours and I’m kinda freaking out. My profs have been great. I’m taking political science — I wanted to go to law school initially. Skins has been great with me and my school. When I go to school, people are like, dude, where have you been? I felt like the biggest douchebag. I couldn’t hand in an assignment on Monday and I was like, Sorry Professor, I was in LA doing a GQ photo shoot — I hope you understand. He hasn’t gotten back to me yet.
WP: That’s one of those excuses that he can check in a few months. It’s not like, oh my grandma had a stroke.
RM: Yeah, that’s something he can verify in March when it comes out.
WP: Let’s talk a little about how this all happened — you’re from Toronto?
RM: Yeah, I grew up in this little town called Oshawa and I go to school at the University of Toronto.
WP: So as an actor kicking around Toronto for a while — what sort of stuff have you done?
RM: I started acting when I was 12 or 11. I did some community theater in Oshawa and then I got an agent and was sent out for auditions and I had some rejections but you learn from those experiences. I did a couple of shows and commercials and then I went to Skins open call and thank the Lord that I got it.
WP: Why did you want to act in the first place?
RM: Since I was like 10 or 11, my mom really wanted me to be an actor and I was like, okay Mom, let’s give it a shot. She grew up in India and she really wanted to get into acting but never had the opportunity. She wanted me to get into it but she didn’t want to pressure me to do anything that I didn’t want to do.
WP: So not exactly a stage mom but —
RM: No, not a stage mom. She really supported me during the whole process. And acting was something I really wanted to do because when you’re onstage, you honestly let go of yourself, no one judges you from “action” to “cut!” and it’s almost like therapy. You can’t experience that anywhere else.
WP: You said that acting means no judgment. As an actor, how do you take criticism?
RM: After it’s cut, you tend to see yourself and be like, maybe I can change it up. Maybe play around with it a little because I think acting has to be fun at the end of the day. I do criticize myself of course because you can’t really grow without it.
WP: But it’s only after, when you’re back to being yourself?
RM: Yeah, when you’re acting you can’t really be like, oh my god — my eye line was off because then you’re acting and not really in the scene.
WP: So if you weren’t acting, would you be a lawyer?
RM: I would. I always wanted to be a human rights lawyer because you just want to help out these people who are in need. It’s a really hard job and there are lots of ups and downs. You know, with acting, if I hopefully hopefully hopefully make it big, I could see myself being like a UN Ambassador and going to countries like Angelina Jolie. Or being like an ambassador to different causes like what Leo does for environmental causes. I just want to help people at the end of the day. You can do it in different ways; you don’t always have to be a lawyer.
WP: As for continuing acting, what sort of role would you like to take next?
RM: I’m a really awkward guy, kinda weird, so I could see myself doing like a Michael Cera role. Or something cool, like Basketball Diaries with Leo? Him just going all out like raw and real onscreen — something that really challenges me. I like intimate movies, not action movies. The thing that I like about Skins is that the characters are not one dimensional and that’s what I would like for my next role too.
WP: In that same vein, if you could guest star on another TV show, what one would it be?
RM: Entourage. I love that show.
WP: What role would you want to play?
RM: Anyone. I love that show — I wouldn’t mind being one of Vinny’s groupies. Or one of Vinny’s best friends. I also love Jeremy Piven — so maybe one of his other clients. Anything would be amazing.
WP: Why do you like Entourage so much?
RM: There’s something about the friendship they have. It’s not about the Hollywood lifestyle that they lead—I don’t really care about that. It’s the fact that these four guys from Queens, NY have stuck together and are still the same guys they’ve always been. There’s something so down-to-earth about Entourage that is so enticing.
WP: Very well put.
RM: The fact that they stay the person they always were, that’s something that I want to do with my life. I always want to stay who I am. There’s a professional side but I also just like doing normal kids stuff.
Read our other interviews with the Skins cast:
Sofia Black D'Elia, Camille Crescencia-Mills, and Ron Mustafaa on Being Besties and Filming Sex Scenes on Skins
Rachel Thevenard, James Newman, and Daniel Flaherty Dish About Homeless Chic and On-Screen Lip-Locking on Skins
Exclusive Interview! Ron Mustafaa on His “Fricking Ridiculous” Skins Audition