Jai Rodriguez (Brian To/WENN.com)

“It’s just a really honest coming of age story and discovering who you are.”

On January 12, Jai Rodriguez will guest star on “Days of our Lives” as Mateo, a friend of Freddie Smith’s character Sonny Kiriakis, who is the first gay character in the NBC soap’s 46-year history. Both actors recently sat down for a telephone press conference to discuss how their characters will factor into Will’s (Chandler Massey) coming out storyline.

Mateo, who Rodriguez described as more edgy and urban than your typical Salem denizen, will first be introduced through Sonny, who brings his buddy around regarding an investment opportunity. Viewers can expect Will and Mateo to hit it off immediately, but since Will isn’t ready for anything more, Mateo, along with Sonny, will serve as a role model and help make him feel more comfortable in his new reality.

Smith previewed that Sonny, who will start playing the field, will be there to support Will as he comes out to his family and friends. “What a better person to talk to than his best friend who’s gay and he can help him, you know, tell stories of how he came out and what he went through, so Will knows kind of what to expect. But then Sonny also was saying how it’s always different. You know, some parents are so cool, others are very surprised. And there’s other gay characters who are coming in as guest stars and their stories are touched on as well. So you can see the different ways how people react. I think it’s great because when people come out there’s different reactions and they’re hitting a lot of them, so this way a lot of people can relate.”

While Mateo makes an instant connection with Will, he’s only slated for one episode at the moment. However, he could return, as Rodriguez mused, “I think there’s definitely room for it, for sure, because it just seems like as the storyline develops there might be a natural place for me to come back and visit every now and again, but we’ll see.”