Chats With Matt Cedeno image

Matt Cedeno and Kristian Alfonso (photo by Kathy Hutchins)

Matt Cendeno, Erica Franco, Anna Arias and Yancey Arias (Kathy Hutchins)

Last we saw Brandon Walker on Days of Our Lives, he was drugged by Kate, woke up in bed with Sami and then left town. While we haven't seen the character since, his portrayer, Matt Cedeno is another story. I recently caught up with Matt to find out what he's been up to since his time on Days.

"Amazing how the time flies by," Matt marveled as we began our conversation. "Three years already since I last appeared on the show!"

Since he left Salem, Matt has kept busy guest starring on several primetime series, including, "That 70's Show," "CSI:Miami," "Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia," and "Psych." His other projects have included the indie movie, "Hot Tamale," featuring Carmen Electra and Jason Priestley, the TV movie "Romancing the Bride," and the film "Hoboken Hollow," starring Dennis Hopper. If you live on the West Coast, namely California, Arizona or Texas, you've probably also seen Matt in a series of commercials for the fast food chain, El Pollo Loco.

While he has definitely kept busy, Matt explained that opportunities in primetime dried up due to the recent writer's strike, and pilots and the like have yet to get back into full swing. That seems to okay though, as he has his hands full with his recently opened Body Language Sportswear store in Sherman Oaks, California.

The store, which he opened with his fiancée Erica Franco, friend and actor Yancey Arias and the line's designer (and Yancey's wife), Anna Arias, provides Brazilian sportswear for women. According to the actor/entrepreneur, things are going very well with the line as they have the store, a wholesale and may soon be carried in the high end, Equinox Gyms. A website is also in the works (Body Language Sportswear), which should be up and running in a couple of weeks for customers to purchase the clothing online and Cedeno and his partners are also in talks with another celebrity couple to help with the marketing aspect of the business.

The opening of his Body Language Sportswear store brought out several of his Days co-stars including Alexis Thorpe (ex-Cassie), Arianne Zucker (Nicole), Kyle Lowder (ex-Brady), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), Brandon Beemer (ex-Shawn), Eric Winter (ex-Rex) and Kristian Alfonso (Hope). "It was kind of a nice little reunion," Matt recalled.

Even though he's busy with his new business venture, that doesn't mean Matt's left acting behind. He's currently training for an upcoming independent action thriller and was recently in talks to reprise his role of Nicole's smoldering half-brother Brandon on Days. "I actually had talked to Ken Corday (Days' Executive Producer) earlier this year about [possibly returning], but we'll see. I don't know. He had said there was something immediate, and then I think it just kinda faded. He got sick and I haven't reached back out and vice versa. I wouldn't say never, but nothing in the immediate works," Matt stated.

His return would certainly go over well with the fans who still come up to him asking about his popular daytime role. As he told me, "I was shopping in Old Town Pasadena and there was a girl from Pennsylvania that was like, 'Oh my God! Are you on Days?' [She] was new to the west coast and hadn't run into many actors yet, so that was a nice treat. And then somebody else [that day] had said she missed me on Days. So yeah, I still get it."

As for his time on the soap, Matt has nothing but fond memories, sharing, "I really enjoyed being on the show.... I just really enjoyed working with everybody that was in my storyline, Alison (Sweeney, Sami) and Renee (Jones, Lexi) and obviously Arianne (Zucker, Nicole). Regardless of what the storyline was, we were just enjoying ourselves. That was always a treat."

In addition to his acting career and new store, Matt also takes time to support Padres Contra El Cancer (Parents Against Cancer). While he admits he was more heavily involved with the charity when he was more in the limelight, he still supports them when he can. He linked them to his campaign with El Pollo Loco, donated the proceeds from his store opening to the charity, recently played in a charity poker tournament and will be participating in the upcoming Spike for Hope volleyball tournament, which was started by Adrian Bellani (ex-Miguel, Passions) and Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) who are also huge supporters of the organization.

"Whenever I can I try to help out. It's a great organization, run by wonderful people working very hard to improve the lives of kids with cancer," he explained.

With his film and TV projects, new store and charity work, I wondered if Matt ever tuned in to see what was happening in Salem. "I did when I was talking to Ken a couple of months ago to see what was going on, to see who was on the show and what not, but not really. I've been kinda busy. You gotta be careful with those, they will suck you in," he laughed. would like to thank Matt for talking to us and wish him success with his store, upcoming projects and hopefully a return to Salem!

Lori Wilson