ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Actor and producer Noel Gugliemi, who goes by Noel G, is bringing the story of his upbringing to the Duke City. The 49-year-old, who grew up in Santa Monica, Calif., was abandoned by his parents at a young age and, in turn, he got into a life of crime. Things could’ve been a lot worse but he says a friend’s kindness changed the course of his life.

“I was living with my parents until I was 13. They left me at 13, homeless for two years,” said Noel G. “Then I had a girlfriend that I moved in with. Her dad took me in.”

His girlfriend at the time wanted to be an actress, so he went to a class with her. He says it was the right place and right time.

“Producer sitting in class asked me to be in a commercial and I said, yeah, whatever. I thought it was fake. It ended up being real,” said Noel G, who did the commercial then started to receive the residual payments. “When you get the checks, I didn’t know about it at the time. I was ignorant to that, you know? I thought it was a computer mess-up. I asked, why do I keep getting these checks? He said, that’s the way you get paid.”

It was then he realized he wanted to be an actor. He started booking more roles with characters similar to himself.

“He started sending me in for roles but it was like Gangster One, Cholo Two, I was like, what? I grew up like this in real life. I thought I was here to act. So that’s how the acting career got started,” said Noel G. “I’ve played a lot of roles that are similar to me in real life, so it’s just, you put a camera and give me a different name, and I’m an actor. I always make a joke that if I’ve got to play a doctor, now I’m acting.”

Since then, Noel G has appeared in films like The Fast and the Furious — and later in one of the sequels, Furious 7 — Bruce Almighty, Training Day and The Mule, along with TV shows like Training Day — the only person from the original film to appear in the series — and Fresh Off the Boat. He says now, he’s starting to produce and create new roles to play.

“I have been trying to branch out. I’ve been doing some different roles lately. I just did a movie where I played a cop. That was interesting. I had no mustache, no goatee, no facial hair, full head of hair, looked completely different,” said Noel G. “I’ve been blessed. Other things are starting to take place now so that’s why I’ve been producing my own movies now to give myself the role that sometimes I can’t get. If no one’s going to give it to me, I’m going to give it to myself.”

He says it took a long time to break into the industry and get those roles. His biggest piece of advice for others, no matter what their career path is, is to never quit.

“It took me eight years to get my first film, so it was no walk in the park. I always think, what if I had quit on that seventh year? Where would I be today? I’d probably be locked up, jail, dead, whatever,” said Noel G, who says you also have to see yourself as a success. “If you can not see yourself being successful, you’ll never be successful. If you don’t see it in your own life. How can someone else see you in it, for you. Sometimes you’ve got to be your own cheerleader, your own motivator.”

Noel G just appeared in the new series Deputy which was filmed here in New Mexico. He says he’s also working on a couple of different movies right now.

Noel G is in Albuquerque for the Hispano Chamber of Commerce’s La Noche Encantada fundraiser where he will appear as a celebrity host. Tickets are still available online.