NCIS star Wilmer Valderrama is partnering with a whisky brand to help small business owners.
Together, he and Carin Luna-Ostaseski launched a $250,000 program called The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch. Luna-Ostaseski started SIA Scotch back in 2012. And it was launched via kickstarter.com.
“We’re trying to inspire others to follow their dreams!” the NCIS star posted on Instagram. “I’m SO PROUD of this work!”
Valderrama is best known for playing Nick Torres on NCIS. He’s a former undercover agent who now works with Gibbs (Mark Harmon) in the Washington, D.C. office. American audiences first fell in love with Valderrama, who is 41, when he played Fez, the flirty foreign exchange student, on That 70s Show.
He was born in Miami, but moved with his family to Venezuela when he was three. The family moved back to the United States when the future NCIS star was 14.
But for as long as he’s been acting, Valderrama also has been backing causes important to him. On the acting front, he’s worked to bring more representative roles for Hispanics on TV and movies.
NCIS Star Also Is Involved With Voto Latino
He also gives his time and money to political projects. Valderrama worked to help register people with the U.S. Census. And he helped with voter registration drives through Voto Latino.
“There’s nothing like being able to go out there and having the freedom of voting into leadership [someone] who really speaks on the behalf of your needs, interests and loves,” said Valderrama, the NCIS star. “That’s what my other passion is, and I spend a lot of time on it.”
Valderrama’s Work with Entrepreneur Fund Fits with His Other Projects
Partnering with Luna-Ostaseski on the entrepreneurial fund fits with Valderrama’s other passion projects. The program will provide funding and mentoring. Luna-Ostaseki is a first-generation Cuban American. Her company specializes in Scotch whisky.
The NCIS heartthrob said of the partnership:
“Throughout my career I have always pushed for inclusion and diversity in everything that I do,” Valderrama said. “I believe that their work will make a big impact, especially during these difficult times.”
When the pandemic forced NCIS and the rest of Hollywood into a shutdown, Valderrama decided to emphasize another passion — “an hour a day.” It’s about self-care. And if you’re a fan of the NCIS star, you’ve probably noticed the hashtag.
“It’s been fun,” Valderrama said. “And it’s built major accountability when it comes to, you know, who I am and how I love myself.”
Earlier this week, CBS announced that NCIS will premiere season 19, Sept. 20.
Valderrama shared a message with his NCIS fans to tout the premiere date. He posted on Instagram:
“You’ve been warned. See you MONDAY NIGHTS at 9pm! You know what 9pm means?… We get to be provocatively dangerous. #NCIS.”