Why Marco from The Kissing Booth 2 looks so familiar

Marco from The Kissing Booth 2 may just be heading toward skyrocketing fame… or at least the actor who plays him, Taylor Zakhar Perez, is. While he’s not exactly brand new to the world of acting, Perez, who stars alongside Joey King and Jacob Elordi in the Netflix project, is still fairly green when it comes to his Hollywood resume. But with his smoking good looks and effervescent personality, chances are he’s going to become a Tinseltown regular.

Born in South Chicago, Perez got his start acting in musicals in opera houses in his community. It wasn’t long before he was bitten pretty badly by the acting bug, which is what inspired him to relocate to Los Angeles, according to an interview he gave to the Kahnversations podcast. After several years grinding it out and learning the ropes of Hollywood, Perez is finally starting to reap the rewards of his hard work.

Do you find yourself scratching your head, wondering where you may have seen Perez before? Curious as to what roles he’s landed that led him to star in The Kissing Booth 2? We dug up everything, so, without further ado, this is why Marco from The Kissing Booth 2 looks so darn familiar.

The Kissing Booth 2's Taylor Zakhar Perez had a one-line role on iCarly

If you go way back toward the very beginning of Taylor Zakhar Perez’s career — long before he was Marco from The Kissing Booth 2, you’ll see that he had a super brief appearance on a popular Nickelodeon show — iCarly. He appeared as the character Keith on the 2012 episode “iGet Banned.” However, it didn’t end up being what he thought it would be at the outset. “I was good enough to book a guest star on iCarly, which was then cut to a co-star, which was then cut to a one line, and that’s the history,” he explained in an interview with Kahnversations. Oof, that had to sting!

As to why things played out like that, Perez had a few ideas. “My theory is — because they offered it to me as a co-star but I went in for it as a guest star… my theory is that the person they wanted as a guest star couldn’t do it,” he continued. He added that it also could have been that his role was reduced because parts of the script wound up on the cutting room floor, which isn’t an uncommon occurrence in the entertainment business.

In 2013, The Kissing Booth 2's Taylor Zakhar Perez was in an episode of Suburgatory

Taylor Zakhar Perez always seems to be on the hunt for his next opportunity. Not surprisingly, he was basically typecast in his early days, often playing either the hot guy or some kind of athlete. “[For] Suburgatory, I went in for this jock,” he recalled to Kahnversations, referring to his part as Renaldo in the Season 2 episode “Chinese Chicken.” He continued, “I had, you know, maybe, it was like a full page of lines or something, and then it just got cut down, and then it just got cut out.” Given that the 2012 job he had for iCarly was also edited down to almost nothing, that had to be a bit of a kick in the teeth.

Fortunately, because Perez looked like the football player that the show must have hoped for, he was able to say one line. Hey, you take your victories where you can get them, right? Plus, as we know now, he would go on to have a big gig in a Netflix movie as Marco from The Kissing Booth 2.

Taylor Zakhar Perez was a hot guy in Awkward before he was Marco from The Kissing Booth 2

If you could choose one word to describe your adolescent experience in high school, what would it be? If you said awkward, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, from 2011 through 2016, MTV aired the teen drama Awkward., which starred Ashley Rickards as a girl named Jenna dealing with the aftermath of a freak accident. She wasn’t trying to take her own life like most people thought, but Jenna had to contend with the fallout nonetheless.

While Taylor Zakhar Perez didn’t have a recurring role on the series, though he would have fit right in with the rest of the cast, he did get the chance to flex his acting muscles in the 2014 episode “Auld Lang Party.” In it, he plays an attractive stranger that Jenna meets at a New Year’s Eve party, who asks for her name… before he’s interrupted by Jenna’s romantic interest. We bet that guy wouldn’t have interrupted Marco from The Kissing Booth 2!

Before he was Marco from The Kissing Booth 2, Taylor Zakhar Perez was in Young & Hungry

From 2014 through 2018, the sitcom Young & Hungry aired on the ABC Family network (now called Freeform). It starred Emily Osment, who’s had a stunning transformation since her Hannah Montana days, as Gabi Diamond, a Florida-born woman who’d moved to San Francisco and became the personal chef for tech millionaire Josh Kaminski, played by Jonathan Sadowski. Aimee Carrero was also a regular on the show, playing Sofia Rodriguez, Diamond’s roommate and best friend.

Taylor Zakhar Perez joined up with the regular cast in the 2015 episode “Young & Oh Brother!” In it, he played Rodriguez’s younger brother, who — on a visit to San Francisco from Florida — gets Diamond quite twitterpated, as noted by Just Jared Jr. This, of course, sparked the ire of Rodriguez, who wasn’t exactly thrilled to see her best friend and her baby brother flirt with one another.

In the end, things don’t work out for the pair, but there were certainly plenty of comedic moments to enjoy nonetheless. Maybe it helped him land the role of Marco from The Kissing Booth 2!

On Code Black, the man behind Marco from The Kissing Booth 2 played Ari Stricks

ER. Grey’s Anatomy. House. These are just a few of the medical dramas that have captivated viewers over the years, proving that the hospital is the perfect setting for non-stop emotional action. It’s also a place where you can make people laugh, as is evidenced by the success of the medical sitcom Scrubs

One of the more recent additions to the growing family of these sorts of programs is the CBS series Code Black, which not only tugs at your heart strings, but also keeps your ticker pounding as well. If you’re already a fan of the show, which stars Rob Lowe and Marcia Gay Harden, among others, you probably know that Taylor Zakhar Perez appeared on the episode “The Fifth Stage” back in 2016. Specifically, he stepped into the role of Ari Stricks. We wonder how Perez, who’d go on to be known as Marco from The Kissing Booth 2, enjoyed working on a medical drama.

If you watched 12 Deadly Days, you might have seen the actor behind Marco from The Kissing Booth 2

It’s not uncommon for actors and actresses starting out in Hollywood to accept roles in a wide variety of films, even if they’re not exactly what they envisioned themselves doing in their dreams. That often includes horror films, which is where actors like Jamie Lee Curtis and Reese Witherspoon gained fame. Sometimes being a scream queen can really pay off, especially if it gets you noticed by Hollywood bigwigs!

Like the many aspiring thespians that came before him, Taylor Zakhar Perez — aka Marco from The Kissing Booth 2 — also had a role in a horror project back in 2016. Specifically, he played Zac in the “Singers Slaying” episode of 12 Deadly Days, a YouTube Red original series. On IMDb, the episode’s description reads, “Sinister forces target a babysitter scrambling to cover up the accidental death of her ward.” If you’re a fan of scary TV shows and movies, you might want to check it out!

Taylor Zakhar Perez was in the 2016 reboot of Cruel Intentions before he was cast as Marco from The Kissing Booth 2

When Taylor Zakhar Perez was booked for the pilot episode of Cruel Intentions, a reboot of the 1999 cult film of the same name, he was sure that he had finally landed his big break. “That was the one where you go, ‘Oh, this is it. This is it,'” he told Kahnversations. He added, “This is an IP that everyone knows.” Plus the cast was super impressive, as it included Sarah Michelle Gellar, Peter Gallagher, and Nathalie Kelley, to name just a few of the show’s stars. Perez’s character was even slated to be recurring down the road!

However, despite the fact that everything seemed to be going swimmingly, NBC declined to pick up the show in the end, as noted by Deadline in December 2016. That meant that the project was pretty much dead, something that took a long time to finally play out. “We called it ‘cruel contention,’ cause it was in contention for nine months,” Perez continued to Kahnversations. That had to be super heartbreaking.

Still, despite the series never making it to air, people looking forward to the Cruel Intentions project may have seen Perez’s face in casting announcements before he’d be Marco from The Kissing Booth 2.

In addition to appearing in High Expectasians, the Kissing Booth 2 star also produced it

In the 2010s, Taylor Zakhar Perez became busy with a project that he also helped to produce. In the 2017 mini-series High Expectasians, he played a boss not unlike the kind you see in the cult classic film Office Space, demanding that his employees finish last-minute work even though it’s near the end of the day. To make matters worse, Perez’s character also leaves the office for the day without any visible compassion for anyone but himself. Remind you a little bit of Bill Lumbergh?

Perez only appears in one episode of the show, but he clearly believed in it enough to lend his name to the producing team as an associate producer. That’s pretty impressive not only for someone fairly new to the acting world, but also someone who’s so young. Who knows what kind of producing he’ll get involved with down the road, especially now that he’s gained more fame as Marco from The Kissing Booth 2?

Taylor Zakhar Perez, aka Marco from The Kissing Booth 2, played Noah Torres in Embeds

Taylor Zakhar Perez was lucky enough to land a major role in the 2017 journalism-focused comedy Embeds. On the show, he played reporter Noah Torres, who — along with four other recent college grads — is an embedded reporter on the presidential campaign trail. And as Perez tells it, shooting the series wasn’t unlike being on the campaign trail. “We’re all staying in the same hotel, we have call times at 5 a.m., we’re working until 7 p.m., then we’re learning our six scenes for the next day,” he told The New York Times. He continued, “So we’re sort of living our versions of the embed life.”

During that time, Perez — aka Marco from The Kissing Booth 2 — was feeling great. He was booking job after job, and he found his optimism building about the future of his career. In addition to that, Perez was starting to establish real connections and bonds in Los Angeles, including on the Embeds set. “It was where I made one of my really close friends, Chloe [Brooks] … who just booked Hawaii Five-0,” he recalled in a chat with Kahnversations. He added, “When friends work, you’re like, ‘I love that my friend is working.'” Amen to that!

Before he was Marco from The Kissing Booth 2, Taylor Zakhar Perez was in an episode of Scandal

According to Taylor Zakhar Perez, at the start of 2016, he was pretty sure that it was going to be a bang-up year for him. He was fresh off of getting cast in several solid roles, and he was finally starting to get some real traction in Hollywood. But that’s when things took a bit of a left turn for the actor. “Then it was dry for two years,” he lamented in an interview with Kahnversations. “I think I had a co-star on Scandal and I helped produce this project [High Expectasians], and then it was just a dark time.”

Indeed Perez did appear on an episode of Scandal, specifically “Army of One” in 2018, before his days playing Marco from The Kissing Booth 2. According to IMDb, he played the role of Calvin, which had to be a light for him during a very difficult dry spell.

You can see the actor behind Marco from The Kissing Booth 2 modeling for Dockers

One of the first things you notice when you lay eyes on Taylor Zakhar Perez is that he’s a total stud. He’s literally the archetypal tall, dark, and handsome man, so it’s no wonder he was cast in The Kissing Booth 2. It can’t be easy to walk in Jacob Elordi’s footsteps (Noah from The Kissing Booth), but if anyone can, it’s Perez.

It’s not surprising, then, that Perez has found some success in modeling. Most notably, he was the face of Dockers in a campaign he shared on his Instagram page in March 2020. “Felt cute, might delete later,” he quipped in the caption. 

In the ad, the man behind Marco from The Kissing Booth 2 looks totally dashing, sporting a dark suit jacket over a plaid shirt paired with gray pants and white shoes. He’s flanked on either side by equally dapper gents, with a quintessential Los Angeles background — palm trees and a food truck — to round out the look.

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