In the last few years Venezuelan-born actor Rafael De La Fuente has made quite the name for himself in Hollywood. While he started out on Nickelodeon Latin America, he quickly became recognizable with his recurring role as Michael Sanchez on Fox's hit series Empire.
De La Fuente currently stars as Sam Jones in The CW's Dynasty reboot and he spoke with Her Campus about his career beginnings, his love of animals, what he'd like to be doing in 10 years and more.
Her Campus: You started your acting career out in telenovelas, what was that experience like? Is there anything you learned then that you’ve carried forward?
Rafael De La Fuente: I started on a Nickelodeon show in Latin America project called Grachi, which was like a hybrid between a telenovela and a kid’s sitcom. It was a huge learning experience in which I acquired tools that I still carry with me. From camera training, to networking, touring Latin America and building an audience—it truly jump-started my career.
HC: You've had several roles throughout your career, but which has been your favorite so far?
RF: Every role I have played has challenged me in a different way and has prepared me for the next one. But I think so far, my favorite has been Ricardo Cantú on When We Rise. It was a huge responsibility, and both heartbreaking and humbling to play a real-life person that becomes HIV+ right in the middle of the AIDS epidemic in the '80s. Also, playing opposite one of my acting heroes, Guy Pearce.
HC: Have you always wanted to be an actor, or was there a point when you intended to go down a different path?
RF: When I was a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian because I love animals. Then in my early teens, I wanted to just sing and make music. It wasn’t until later (18-19), when almost by chance, I ended up shooting a guest star role in a telenovela in Venezuela, that I fell in love with acting. I still sing and love animals though...
HC: Are there any Venezuelan movies that inspire(d) you or that you recommend? How does the entertainment industry in Venezuela differ from Hollywood?
RF: There are lots of Venezuelan movies I love: Secuestro Express, Punto y Raya, Desde Allá, Azul y No Tan Rosa, Tamara to name a few, but the list goes on. The entertainment industry in Venezuela is obviously much smaller than Hollywood. Nonetheless, there are incredibly talented Venezuelan filmmakers, writers and actors.
HC: If you could work with anyone in Hollywood, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
RF: There are just so many people that I would want to work with. I don’t know where to start...I’d love to be in a Scorsese movie, Spielberg, Matt Ross, Wes Anderson, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Javier Bardem, Daniel Day-Lewis, Marlon Brando and Gene Kelly, .
HC: What goals or projects do you hope to accomplish in the next 10 years?
RF: I hope to continue to work as an actor in projects that inspire and challenge me—hopefully Broadway at some point—and have my own production company running and producing amazing content.