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Catching Up With Novela Star Carlos Ponce


Carlos Ponce began his novela career in 1994 quite by accident. While visiting a friend in Mexico, the Puerto Rican-born actor was offered his first role inGuadalupe, starring Adela Noriega and Eduardo Yáñez. This was followed by his star-making role inSentimientos Ajenos, for which he also sang the theme song.

More recently, Ponce starred as attorney Humberto Cano in the Telemundo novelaSanta Diabla and as Chceco Fernández in Univison's Arranque de Pasión. Now he has his "dream job" as Felix on the ABC comedy Cristela.

"This is what I've always wanted to do," Ponce says. "Unfortunately, in Spanish, we do stereotype ourselves a lot… I've played ten lawyers in the novelas.  For some reason in Spanish, I have not done one comedy, and all I've done in English is comedy, even though my work in America is limited … because I'm in a comfortable place in the Latin market. "

In this interview, Ponce talks about how the comfortable the role of Felix is, growing up in Puerto Rico, keeping his clothes on and more.

You have this image in the novela world of being this hot guy, but on this you are the funny brother-in-law. Are you happy to make the transition?

You know what it is? It's who we are at home. He is my brother, and my manager, and we are always hanging out. Again, he's the funny one. I love to laugh. I love to make fun of myself. My kids even  have a song, Bad Jokes Dad. They make fun. So to me, I'm doing this for a living and it's great. Acting is acting no matter which role you get placed in.

Did you have to work on your comic timing?

Again, I come from a household where we are all laughing, from my grandmother, who is still alive at 96, to my dad and my mom.  

Are your novela fans going to be disappointed because you are not going to be taking your shirt off in this?

No. They won't be. I hardly ever take my shirt off in novelas. I am shy. The first time I ever wore a Speedo was in Couples Retreat and we had to put makeup on my legs because they were so white.

You live in Miami. You don't do sun?

I do with my kids but I wear long shorts.

Cristela is shooting in Los Angeles, so does the family come with you from Miami?

I go back and forth. I have four kids and they are all in school in Miami. They have come here. I've always had an apartment in L.A. I'm back and forth for the auditions and the movies. They come during summer. Most of the time, I am home on the weekends. With a sitcom, where you get beautiful schedules, I get to be home even more.

You also do voiceover work. How did that happen?

I got into it when I was younger. I would do dubbing for some of the shows into Spanish. Then I was the voice of State Farm prior to being hired as an image. Then, I started sending audition tapes to some of the studio. I did Rio, the cartoon Mya and Migueland Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure.

What is the advantage of growing up in  Puerto Rico as opposed to your kids who are growing up in Miami?

I think Puerto Rico is similar in the fact that you have the ocean, you have the Latin flavor, you have the same kinds of food because of the Cuban influence in Miami, and my parents are Cuban. Puerto Rico is very similar to Miami in that sense. In the sense of media, Puerto Rico is big with 10 television channels, 20 magazines, it is crazy. You have no private life in Puerto Rico.

Halloween is just around the corner. Are you a Halloween person?

I am not a Halloween person at all. I don't celebrate. I don't dress up. I don't like it.

What do you like about the fall?

It all comes down to food for me. At that time of the year in Puerto Rico, as a commonwealth, we do a lot of the same things as the United States does, so we do Thanksgiving and the gathering of the families. We have extended holidays, so our Christmas vacation will start the day before Thanksgiving and last until the 12th of January. We are just drinking, eating and having fun. 

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