Salma Hayek, Roselyn Sanchez, Eugenio Derbez & Other Hispanic Crossover Successes
Spanish-language celebrities who've found success and popularity among Latino audiences before successfully transitioning to English-language television, film and music are rare. Though, this may not seem like the case because prime examples of transitioning appear abundant. Salma Hayek, Roselyn Sanchez, Sofia Vergara, Penelope Cruz, Ricky Martin and Antonio Banderas, and likewise celebrities, make the transition from obscure to mainstream seem effortless because of their relentless charm, sex appeal and masterful screen presence; but, not all Latino-known celebrities are as fortunate.
Before becoming Hollywood-famous, each of these, and other, stars maintained a flowing list of admirers in their home countries.
Roselyn Sanchez began her career in her native Puerto Rico, where she co-hosted the variety show, Que Vacilon, and later was crowned Miss Puerto Rico Petite contest in 1993; her Hollywood break out role was that of a United States' Secret Service Agent and love interest to Jackie Chan in Rush Hour 2 (2001).
Penelope Cruz debuted in the Spanish comedy Jamon, Jamon(1992), and later met American audiences with her supporting roles in Blow and Vanilla Sky(2001).
Shakira may have rocked the American music scene with "Whenever, Wherever" in 2001, but the Colombian singer had already released four albums, including Pies Descalzos(1996).
Mexican funnyman, Eugenio Derbez has been appearing in television and film since 1981 in Mexico, but he is just becoming recognizable to non-Latino audiences because of his roles in Girl in Progress (2012) and Instructions Not Included (2013).
For many Latino stars, the road to Hollywood was paved with experience acting in telenovelas. Telenovelas, similar to American soap operas, has become a source for Latino talent according to many. And, this is evident when names like, Sophia Vegara, Salma Hayek, Demian Bichhir, Diego Boneta, William Levy, and Gael Garcia Bernal all got their start in telenovelas.
Grace Wu, the executive vice president of casting at NBC Universal, once stated, "Novelas are a training ground for real talent and breeds stars that have great crossover appeal -- and as the competition for U.S. talent heats up, we have more incentive to look outside this country and tap into other platforms to find fresh faces."
Hollywood casting agents also fish from this pond of talent so that they can find highly attractive individuals, while snagging Latino fans.
That said, successful careers prior to moving to Hollywood does not guarantee success, and when it is found, it does not occur overnight. Many Latino stars have found that it takes years for them to break into the Hollywood scene after years of garnering fame in their native land.