EXCLUSIVE: 'Corazón Valiente' Star Ximena Duque Dishes On Her Hollywood Crossover

Ximena Duque’s telenovela Corazón Valiente premiered on Telemundo last night, and we've got an exclusive interview with the 27-year-old Colombian actress!

Duque’s role as a bodyguard in the melodrama isn’t just her biggest telenovela role to date, it’s also her most challenging. The beautiful and talented actress took time out of her busy schedule to speak with Latina about her childhood dreams of acting, her thriving career in telenovelas and her hopes for an English-language crossover.

What can you tell us about your role in Corazon Valiente?

I play Samantha Sandoval Navarro; she’s a bodyguard. She’s a girl who has a lot of action scenes. I have bruises all over my body because I love doing the fighting scenes. She is everything that Ximena Duque can’t be in real life. She can fight with 10 guys and kick their butts! (Laughs). I love her!

Does she have a love life or is she just a fighter?

She’s in love with Guillermo del Castillo (Fabian Rios). He was her first love; they had a baby that was taken away from her. Then they’re reunited after 15 years; he doesn’t remember her. And, I have to work with him as his bodyguard but he doesn’t know that he’s the love of her life and that she’s his “Samantha!” It’s a really different role; and Samantha has a maturity that my other characters didn’t have. She’s a woman who has been through a lot. And, she’s really tough!

Did you always know you wanted to go into acting?

When I was young, I’d get my brother in trouble with my mom by creating drama, and she’d punish him! And, I thought, “You know what, I really like this!”

Who were your role models growing up, the actresses you looked up to?

Since I was little, when I started liking acting, I just watched a lot of movies. And, I liked a lot of actresses. But what I really did was practice in front of the mirror. I would create all these different characters. And, that’s when I started seeing what I was capable of.

Do you have a telenovela idol?

There’s a few that I really like and admired. And today I’ve been working with most of them. Like Sonia Smith, she’s working on Corazón Valiente with me. And, I told her the other day, “I used to watch you when I was a little girl!” I wanted to be like her. And, today I’m working with her. It’s amazing!

To what do you credit your success?

I try to be the best in everything I do. When I was 16, I worked in a store selling clothes. And, I remember my boss telling me, “You’re the best seller we have in the store!” I didn’t like that job, but I told myself that I was going to be the best. And, that’s how I live my life. I want to be the best in any role they give me. I put in the same passion and discipline in these roles that I did in my first one.

Which is your favorite telenovela role to date? And, why?

I loved Carola Conde, my role in La casa de al lado. It was a great role ‘cause it was really different. She was an alcoholic; and she was a little bit crazy. But I said, “I’m going to make people love this girl!” And in the end, people did! The other night I saw the writer of the telenovela and he told me, “I’m really proud of you because te pasaste las expectativas de Carola.”

Do you have plans to crossover into the English-language market, maybe break into Hollywood?

Yes, that’s why I am practicing my English with you! (Laughs) I would love to. I have an exclusivity [contract] with Telemundo, so I have two more telenovelas to do with them. After that, I would love to go LA. Take my kid, take my car, take all my stuff and try! With passion, discipline and love you can make your dreams come true. In Spanish I say, “Es mejor arepentiste de lo que hiciste y no de lo que dejaste de hacer!” So I have to go!