On Shadowhunters, Alberto Rosende stars as human-turned-vampire Simon Lewis. Over the past two seasons, fans of the hit Freeform series have watched Simon transform from a normal teenager to one with strong supernatural powers. But even as he changed physically, Simon remained the ultimate good guy—and in last week's episode, his longtime loyalty and patience paid off in a major way.
After years of keeping his feelings for his best friend, Clary Fray (played by Katherine McNamara) a secret, he finally professed his love for her and sealed it with a kiss. Viewers freaked out about the latest development in the show’s key love triangle, which began with Clary dating fellow Shadowhunter Jace Wayland, played by Dominic Sherwood—and they’re not alone. Truth is, even Rosende is pumped to see what’s coming up next for his onscreen persona.
“This season has really been about each character's individual journey to grow—especially Simon,” the 24-year-old actor told InStyle during a recent visit to our New York City offices. “He’s changed a lot since season one, and we’ve watched him go from someone who had no idea what was going on to becoming this vampire who's learning his place in the world. I’m very excited to see what happens.” With the series’ winter finale airing tonight at 8 p.m. ET, there’s sure to be plenty of curveballs coming our way—and Rosende is sure to be right in the middle of the action onscreen. Before tuning in, scroll down for 8 things that we learned about the star during our chat.
1. He’s more than happy to get in shape for the show.
“My character was a normal guy until he became a vampire, so this season has been a lot harder for me, physically,” said Rosende. “His body has to be on a different level now, and I pretty much just got in shape as the show’s stunts went into overdrive. We were training six days a week for six weeks before we started shooting, and our action and fight sequences are way more badass now. Training-wise, it's been the ultimate dream to get paid to learn all this cool stuff. It's a huge perk—you're like, ‘Wait, this is my job. My job is to get good at boxing.’”
2. He’s down to do his own stunts.
“We all do our own stunts, up to the point that they say it's too dangerous for us to do them,” said Rosende. “Thankfully, we all work really hard to be able to do what our characters can do. I think that's part of the job, to try to be the person as much as you can and really devote yourself. Everyone takes that extra step to do everything we can until we’re told, ‘No you can't jump out of this building,’ or, ‘No you can't fly twenty-five feet down’ because the hazard is too high.”
3. He doesn't require much variety in his diet.
“Before we were shooting the season, our diet was very strict during training,” said Rosende. “Dom and I went to the same restaurant every night because we knew we could get meat and vegetables, so we became regulars at this restaurant in Toronto. And thankfully, our craft team was really good this year on the set. We could ask for protein shakes whenever we wanted, and every morning when I got to my trailer, there was a coconut water, green tea with lemon and honey, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich waiting for me. It’s a very solid breakfast—although not the healthiest.”
4. He can never have enough sweet snacks on hand.
“I’m a big snack person, and I have a terrible sweet tooth,” said Rosende. “I’d rather work a bit harder in the gym and be able to eat what I want, and I like having things to munch on throughout the day. When we’re shooting, I'll snack on fruit and healthier things, but I definitely have hidden candies. I'm always at craft services getting cookies, too. I’m like the Cookie Monster—that's my go-to snack. If I had to choose one thing to have on a desert island, it would be a lot of cookies. There are so many different types that you could never get bored.”
5. He likes to engage in a bit of method acting.
“My best friend, who’s also an actor, keeps his characters close to him by recognizing things that the character would do—like ordering a turkey sandwich at a restaurant and mentioning that his character would want the Reuben instead,” said Rosende. “When you treat them like a real person, then they’re more complete. For me, when the new Star Wars movie Rogue One came out, I knew that Simon totally would be at the movie theater to see it at midnight. Probably in a Star Wars t-shirt. He definitely went all out for that, and thinking about him being there helps keep him alive.”
6. His character impacts his playlist preferences IRL.
“I try to listen to music that my character likes to get more in his mindset,” said Rosende. “You can figure out a lot about someone by what they’re listening to. I think Simon was really upset when Leonard Cohen died this year, and Yo La Tango was a band that he really liked. I actually model Simon after my friend Dave who listens to a lot of lo-fi. The band I use most is Guided by Voices—especially the song ‘I Am A Scientist.’ Their music sounds like it could be six guys in a garage, but they say things that are poetic. I think that artistic vision speaks to Simon and the way he sees life, and he also likes that it sounds like these guys did it themselves.”
7. He can appreciate a vampire with a sense of humor.
“My character is very self-aware of being a vampire and aware of other vampires in pop culture, so he's trying to serve up that type of vampire that he's known for films and TV in our world,” said Rosende. “But he's also a terrible vampire—and he's only been one for like two weeks. So he brings a lot of comedy to the show, whereas I think a lot of vampires are these sexy, powerful men who have been alive for hundreds of years. I like vampires that are funny and offer that comedy, and that's what I try to model Simon after. Less of the brooding Edward Cullen—Simon's not very brooding—and more Vladislav the Poker from What We Do in the Shadows, who was one of my favorite vampires.”
8. He was never fully Team Edward or Team Jacob during Twilight’s heyday.
“I think I went back and forth because they each had their moments,” said Rosende. “First, everyone's team Edward. I mean, come on—Jacob was skinny and he had weird hair. It’s not until he comes back like a total boss that you think, ‘Oh, he could actually protect this girl.’ But then you go back to being Team Edward again because you see that Bella really loves him. It kept changing.”