Where did your passion for acting come from?
I was a shy boy growing up but always wanted to be an actor, which sounds counterintuitive. But I think at that age for me the permission to play and pretend allowed me to not be that shy boy. I remember trying to rally my schoolmates during recess to put on plays and musicals, which I don't think ever amounted to much but we got to tell stories and that was the fun part! As a kid, I also always wanted to be at the adult’s table. I fancied myself mature for my age so I always was trying hang and get a laugh from them. And that's what I get to do now, tell stories and hopefully make people laugh!
If you weren't an actor, what do you think you'd be doing?
Yikes! That’s a tough question. I can tell you what I wouldn't be doing. I wouldn't be involved in the sciences. That side of my brain has long been asleep. Maybe I would be in the fashion world, hopefully working alongside Grace Coddington.
Who are some Latino stars you look up to/admire? Why?
Bless Sofia Vergara…she's Colombian and killing it! But I have a special place in my heart for Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Rossy de Palma. Pretty much everyone who has ever been in a Pedro Almodovar film. They're brilliant to me, how they navigate the melodrama with such conviction and humor. Plus Cruz and Bardem have managed to have such dynamic careers working in both languages. No small feat!
If you could work with any Latino in the industry, who would it be and why?
Pedro Almodovar. Pedro Almodovar. Pedro. Almodovar. I'm obsessed in case that hasn't come across. May the record show I think he's a genius (I hope he's a Latina reader). First of all, his films are undeniably beautiful visually. I'm fascinated by the stories that he chooses to tell. Never a dull moment in an Almodovar film. You can also sense his joy for filmmaking and his humor tickles me endlessly.
Tell us a bit about your heritage and what growing up in your Latino household was like.
My parents were born and raised in Colombia. I also grew up in South Florida, which has a large Latin community so I never felt like a minority in that aspect. We spoke Spanish in my house, which I thank my parents so much for. Being fluent today has been major. My background also totally shaped my early exposure to entertainment. My first concert ever was Julio Iglesias. Julio! Not Enrique. Amazing concert at the Fontainebleau Miami! It was also an avid telenovela household. I was obsessed with Thalia. Marimar! She was my girl.
What is your favorite Latin dish?
I’m an eater, so I'm a sucker for a bandeja paisa. It's a popular dish in Colombian cuisine and has everything on the farm: beans, white rice, chicharron, ground meat, chorizo, fried egg, avocado and an arepa. In a dream scenario, I would have a Manzana Postobon to wash it all down.
Do you have any final words you want to share with our readers?
LUCHA, Latinos Unidos con Amor y Amistad. And tune into the Mystery Girls premiere Wednesday, June 25 at 8:30pm ET/PT on ABC Family!