Manolo Cardona Talks ‘Covert Affairs,’ Debunking Stereotypes & Colombia

Manolo Cardona, former telenovela hunk (the classic ¿Por qué diablos?), is guest starring in one of the summer’s most anticipated TV shows, Covert Affairs, which premieres tonight at 9PM on USA. On the crime drama, the Colombian actor portrays Teo Braga, a rebel leader. Here, Cardona tells us about his role, overcoming stereotypes and, of course, his beloved Colombia.

Tell us about your role on Covert Affairs.

Teo Braga is a Colombian extremist who comes into the drama with various secrets that have to do with Auggie (Christopher Gorham), Annie (Piper Perabo), and a couple of the people that work in the CIA. The secrets will reveal themselves throughout this season. I can’t reveal too much like Teo’s position is in this situation but he’s a super complex character. He’s very dry and direct.

You began your career in telenovelas. Would you ever go back or are you focusing on Hollywood?

My goal is to always find characters that challenge me. I’m very occupied in the American market, although, I also have a television film production company called 11:11 Films and TV and we have various things in development. Let’s just say that right now I’m very focused on working with USA, which to me, are a very magnificent group of people.

What has been the most difficult part of crossing over to Hollywood?

I think the most difficult thing always in this type of crossover is presenting a broader view on Latinos. I think the role of Teo Braga shows how Latinos are starting to have more important roles within shows and movies in the United States. But I think that’s the most difficult part—finding characters that break stereotypes.