Manny Jacinto is a Philippine-born television star who is immensely popular for his role in the 2016 Michael Schur comedy-drama TV series, The Good Place, wherein he portrayed Jason Mendoza. He started his acting career starring as Kenji in the 2012 short Canadian action film, Broken Sword: Shadow of the Blade. A graduate of civil engineering from the University of British Columbia, Manny has made his mark – not only in the Canadian entertainment industry but also secured a spot in Hollywood.
Other remarkable films and TV series Manny Jacinto has graced with his talent include Supernatural, The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story, Dead Rising: Watchtower, and The Romeo Section. He was also cast in the action-drama film, Top Gun: Maverick alongside Tom Cruise and Jennifer Connelly. There is no doubt that the Canadian actor has a long way to go if he must become one of the most accomplished entertainers of his time. But it is also true he has come a long way in the quest to popularize his name in the industry.
Playing a Non-stereotypical Asian Role in “The Good Place” Made Manny Jacinto a Big Deal
Manny Jacinto made his big-screen debut starring as Kenji alongside Andrew Fudge, Owen Kwong, Ludi Lin, and Henry Mah in the 2012 Canadian action movie, Broken Sword: Shadow of the Blade. 2013 was a busy year for the young actor as he made his first TV appearance as Quon in one episode of the multiple award-winning TV series, Once Upon a Time. He went on to feature in three films (Tele, John Apple Jack, and Fix) and two TV series – Supernatural and Untold Stories of the ER that same year.
The actor got his first shot to fame with his outstanding portrayal of Wing Lei in the 2015 award-winning TV drama series, The Romeo Section. His performance on the show was greatly acclaimed, earning him a Leo Award nomination for Best Supporting Performance in a Dramatic Series.
Nonetheless, none of the roles he had played propelled him to mainstream popularity like being Jason Mendoza in the critically acclaimed American comedy-drama series, The Good Place, wherein he starred alongside Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, and D’Arcy Carden. Among other things which include the success of the series, the role made Jacinto a big deal because he lived up to the expectations, putting up a good portrayal of a non-stereotypical Asian character.
His Character Was a Fan Favorite that Contributed to the Success of the Show
The series, which debuted on NBC on 26th September 2016, earned many awards and nominations, including winning the 2016 Most Exciting New Series gong of the Critics Choice Television Awards, 2018’s AFI TV Program of the Year, bagging two Golden Globe nominations, two Primetime Emmy nominations, and much more. In all, the fantasy comedy which concluded on the 30th of January 2020 received no fewer than 70 nominations and won at least 10.
Undoubtedly, several factors contributed to the success of the show but then, it wouldn’t be out of place to assert that it may not have been well received as it was if Manny wasn’t one of its main cast. A deceased amateur DJ and drug dealer who ends up in the Good Place, his character was dumb and childish but kindhearted. This goes against the expectations of Asian characters often portrayed as smart and hardworking. As such, it was a unique aspect of the NBC series.
— Manny Jacinto (@MannyJacinto) September 27, 2019
As his character was a major one, funny, simpleminded, and easygoing, it was easy for Manny to retain his spot on the show. His popularity soared with that as he went on to feature in 50 episodes of the series created by Michael Schur from 2016 to 2020. Apart from The Good Place, you will find the actor in Bad Times at the El Royale, Brittney Grabill: Goodnight, iZombie, Dead Rising: Watchtower, and many others.
Manny Jacinto Was Born in the Philippines But Raised in Canada
The amazing actor was born on the 19th of August 1987 in the city of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. He was named Manuel Luis Jacinto by his parents whose identities have not been revealed to the media by the actor.
At the age of 3, his family relocated to Canada and he spent his childhood in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Regarding his ethnicity and nationality, Manny Jacinto is an Asian-Canadian of Filipino descent.
He was highly energetic while growing up as he was very active in playing basketball and baseball that he even considered pursuing either of the two as a career.
Manny Jacinto is an alumnus of Vancouver College, an independent university-preparatory Catholic school for boys in the Shaughnessy neighborhood of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Soon after he completed his high school education, he enrolled in the University of British Columbia where he graduated with an Applied Science Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering.
The Actor Studied Hip-hop and Is a Skilled Dancer
When he was 19 years old, Manny Jacinto attended Fresh Groove productions situated in Richmond, British Columbia where he learned hip-hop. Complementing that is the fact that he is a skilled freestyle dancer who has participated in many tournaments for which he emerged victoriously.
He participated in the 2012 Artist Emerge National Street Dance Competition held in Edmonton and finished second in the 2011 World of Dance Tour Vancouver. He is also one of the participants that represented Canada in the 2013 Hip Hop International World Championships held in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they clinched the 10th position.
In addition to the foregoing, the actor has a modeling career. Yeah, he is also a runway model who has walked for many top brands, including Ark and Handihood clothing labels. This is hardly a surprise given his 5 feet 10 inches (1.8 m) height that complements the rest of his body features.
He Is Engaged to Dianne Doan, a Canadian Actress
More than being his breakout project, The Good Place has influenced Manny Jacinto in a lot of ways which includes inspiring him to propose to his long-time girlfriend, Dianne Doan; this happened in November 2019. According to the actor, he had been pondering asking the big question for a long time and a line from the series gave him the nudge he needed to do so.
The Good Place star happened to be very romantic, judging by the way he popped the question. He related that he took the actress to locations that were significant to them: where they first met, where they had their first date, and what have you.
At each of the five locations he took her to, he would have her open her eyes to read the messages on a canvas he held up; each of the messages was about why the locations were significant for them. At the last location, he had their families gathered waiting for them. There, he proposed and got a resounding yes.
A Canadian actress of Vietnamese descent, Dianne Doan was born on the 8th of September 1990 and is popular for playing Lonnie in the musical fantasy television films, Descendants and Descendants 2.