Elias Kacavas’s Pretty Little Life

The "Euphoria" actor on tacos, New York City and a new season of "Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin”

Elias Kacavas, who is currently staring in "Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin" We spoke with the actor before the debut of season two, "Summer School."
By Paolo Sandoval

Five minutes into our conversation, the pleasantries have been exchanged and I am fully prepared to bust open a can of gotcha journalism on Elias Kacavas.

To be clear, I am in no way trying to embarrass the actor, or trying to secure a clickbait sound bite from the 20-something for InsideHook’s nonexistent TikTok. Despite only meeting once prior, Kacavas chats with me like an old buddy, a fact I appreciate, and cuts quite a likable figure in general, quick to throw out a laugh or flash his disarmingly charming smile. 

Nonetheless, I’ve stumbled across a scintillating tidbit in my preparation for the interview (in the Manchester Ink Link, no less) that demands to be addressed. Maybe it’s under the direction of a crack PR team, or maybe Kacavas can read my antsy energy, but the actor addresses the scoop before I have the chance to organically bring it up. And the rumors, thank god, are true. He confirms what I had previously read: “I have been asked to be the grand marshal for my hometown taco tour.”

Shirt & Jacket: Versace; Pants: Willy Chavarria, Sneakers: Emporio Armani

We both find this objectively hilarious, but it makes sense that Kacavas was selected for the prestigious honor, responsibilities of which include eating an inaugural taco and riding around in a golf cart and shaking hands with the townsfolk. Raised in the relatively small pond of Manchester, New Hampshire — where the residents number around 115,000, a farm town by the standards of New York City, his new home base — Kacavas’s recent success in film and television made him a no-brainer to be a trophy bass for the city. 

(In all fairness to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Elias, the actor was quick to point out that the discussed festival is actually a fairly big deal as a foodie destination, drawing crowds upwards of 20,000 people.) 

Dolce & Gabbana

The whole thing feels good. Kacavas has racked up a stack of notable credits in recent years, including My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, hit HBO drama Euphoria and Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, the second season of which landed last week on Max, but the actor presents more like the type of guy who would revel in the simple pleasures of being Taco Czar than an aloof movie star. If anything, his vibe skews lacrosse bro who has a beagle named Vinny and the good looks of an Abercrombie model circa 2006.

This is not so far removed from the truth. In between chatting about push-pull-legs splits — “I’ll always throw some abs in there when I can” — and upper decky memes, Kacavas readily cops to childhood dreams of playing in the NBA. And he does actually have a family beagle named Vinny, as well as a face that would make you delighted to be baptized in $12 cologne.

Emporio Armani

But despite a camera-friendly figure and a serious cache of Golden Retriever boyfriend energy, Kacavas has proved to be much more than a Gronkowski-style hometown hero: a deft portrayal of the young and troubled Cal Jacobs on Euphoria, which earned him serious plaudits, and the actor’s nuanced performance as bad-guy-but-maybe-good-guy jock Greg Mantzoukas, which has seen Kacavas graduated from a supporting role to main cast for the second season of PLLOS, should be proof enough of that fact.

It’s apparent that Kacavas is humble enough to see the humor in the Manchester appointment, but there’s also a sense of confidence and charisma emanating from the actor that genuinely makes me believe in his ability to properly oversee soft shells — and believe that he’s destined for silver-screen greatness. When Kacavas, discussing the new season of PLLOS, tells me, “This is my first season as a series regular, and, at the risk of sounding overly confident, I was very happy with what I did,” it reads like a fact, not a boast. And at least according to early reviews, he’s onto something — the new season is sitting pretty at 83% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Alexander McQueen

I’m way too scared of organic chemistry, it’s not something I think I’d love to do. I’m a performer.

It’s true that Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin marks a new chapter in Kacavas’s career, a full realization of his evolution from a small-time actor to main-cast buoy. The change is appropriately reflected in his character, too. “It’s a big arc for Greg this season, going from who he was in the first season, which was a very confused, complex jock and bit of a not-so-good guy,” Kacavas says.

Shirt and Jacket: Canali, Pants: J.Lindeberg

It’s a big arc for Kacavas, as well. A foil to Timberlake-style showbiz lifers, Kacavas didn’t even remotely consider acting until his final year of high school, when university loomed large and the prospect of pre-med looked particularly grim. “I just had a conversation with my dad where I said, ‘I’m way too scared of organic chemistry, it’s not something I think I’d love to do. I’m a performer.’” 

Instead, Kacavas moved to NYC on his own, found an agent, slept on couches and paid his way through a crash course in the Strasberg studio at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts — he describes the skills he honed there as his “grounding as a actor” — by barista-ing at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Brooklyn. A daunting task, but fodder for sensory-based acting that Kacavas tries to bring to life on screen. “[Acting] is just pulling as many true life experiences and parallels that you can to your character,” he says. “Let me pull from this and try to make it as realistic as possible.”

Shirt and Jacket: Canali, Pants: J.Lindeberg

Kacavas actively chases the same vein of exciting, sometimes hectic experiences that run through much of his (admittedly young) body of work. He seems perennially busy: scarfing steaks and pumping iron to get “bulky” for his Pretty Little Liars character, jet-setting to the likes of Budapest for future projects, living the characters he’s set to play in unannounced forthcoming projects. More, I’m not allowed to say, but Kacavas details them with gusto anyways, excited at even the prospect of a new challenge.

When I got to New York, I realized I could be whoever I wanted to be.

Nor does the buck stop at acting. He regales me with stories about meditation, watching a church burn down while housesitting for a friend, modeling for a Rhode Island-based vintage store. His band, The Vanity — yes, he has a band — had just played a 300-cap when we spoke. They’ve since repeated the feat. (Kacavas is on lead guitar, naturally.) It’s a type of gung-ho carpe diem-ism you don’t normally see from the TikTok generation, an adventurous mindset that has me saying “Yup, that checks out” when he cites The Deer Hunter and Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï as two of his favorite films. 


While he credits his move to the city as part of growing up and branching out — as he tells me, “When I got to New York, I realized I could be whoever I wanted to be” — it’s all love for Manchester, hence the grand marshal gig. “I’m so grateful to [Manchester],” he says. “When I wasn’t under the umbrella of my parents, the city raised me.”

I don’t feel like I’ve completely made it yet. I will say, I feel like I’m in the door.

Kacavas is staying humble. Humble, but hungry. “I don’t feel like I’ve completely made it yet,” he says when I ask him as much. “I will say, I feel like I’m in the door. I think Euphoria was me putting my foot in the door. I think Pretty Little Liars was putting my leg through the door. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a little bit of the torso. Hopefully [my next projects] are going to completely open that door for me.”

I, for one, believe him.

Ami Paris


Editor: Paolo Sandoval 
Photography: Mark Grgurich
1st Assistant: David Eristavi
2nd Assistant: Erica Lin

Grooming: Avery Golson
Creative Direction: Kevin Breen

Location: Pier 59 Studios

Exit mobile version