Issa new column, y’all! Welcome to the first edition of #MCM — a new post section comin’ atcha the first Monday of every month about your fave celeb crushes. Sometimes, it’ll be an extended look into our print issue’s Bae Watch and other times, it’ll be someone we haven’t featured yet. Let’s get to it. First up: da’Vinchi.
You know him as Cash Mooney from grown-ish, but 22-year-old Abraham D. Juste, AKA da’Vinchi (nicknamed after the famous artist, of course), is so much more.
“[Leonardo] da Vinci was a Renaissance man … he was a mathematician; he was a botanist; he was an engineer, a scientist. He did so many different things, and a lot of people know him just as a painter,” da’Vinchi explains. “Just like me; I’m not just an actor. I started off in the industry as doing music, rapping … [There are] so many skills that I have, and I feel like that name fits me. I’m a Renaissance man.”
In fact, besides his lyrical game and before landing the role of Cash, da’Vinchi almost joined the Air Force — and had an ultimate career goal of making detective. He’d get his degree in criminal justice from the College of Central Florida, spend a few years as an airman, and then, work his way up the law enforcement ladder.
But, acting was always a secret love of his. And all it took was an acting elective during his senior year of college to set him on a journey he never saw coming. “At the end of that class, the final exam, my teacher told me I should pursue it,” da’Vinchi says. “I tried it because it was something I was into that I always aspired to be, but it was one of those things that you would never tell anybody because they would laugh at you to think you could make it in the industry.”
After graduation, he went all in and moved from Florida to New Jersey, right near NYC, for his dream. After grinding it out in the city for awhile, da’Vinchi knew it was time to make another major move. “I decided to book a flight to L.A.,” he explains. “I booked the flight off pure intuition, and I didn’t plan a return date because I was going to stay there for a long time. As the flight was landing, I took my phone off airplane mode, and I checked my e-mail. I saw I had a next-day appointment for what was then called, college-ish.”
From the moment he stepped off the plane, da’Vinchi began to study his lines for the audition, and after his initial tryout, he got a callback. This time, he was in the room with the show’s producer, boss man, Kenya Barris (of black-ish fame, too). The next day, he received a call from his agent that would change his life: he’d booked the gig.
Originally, he was only supposed to be on one or two episodes, but the crew decided to keep him on for a few more, even up to the first season finale. And even though we now know Zoe picked Luca over everyone else, da’Vinchi thinks there’s a good possibility Cash might return for the beginning of season two — but that’s still up in the air.
His breakthrough role under his belt, da’Vinchi counts it as a blessing to have been a part of a project that was attached to more established actors, such as Yara Shahidi, Trevor Jackson, and Francia Raisa. “I was very fortunate to be on a project that they were on,” he says. “They’ve been doing this for way longer than me. I feel like learning from them was great.”
Right now, acting is his main focus, and if you didn’t already know, you can catch dude on an episode of Marvel’s Jessica Jones season two on Netflix, too. He’s also working on some music, which should be out in a few months.
Also on deck? “I’m going to be in a movie, and there’s a great chance I’m going to become a series regular soon. And you’re going to see me playing a superhero one day,” he says.