Cruel Love’s Carlos Ponce got his start in telenovelas but has since carved out a diverse career path.
Puerto Rican star Carlos Ponce will never forget the moment he was told off by a stranger while dining at a restaurant. “I remember sitting at lunch with the lady who played my mother a couple of times in telenovelas. She played the bad lady. And there was a couple sitting next to us in the restaurant who got up, threw a few insults (at us) and walked away,” recalls the 41-year-old actor in a phone interview from Mauritius.
“And because I was the good guy in the telenovela, they looked at me like I was a traitor for having lunch with this lady. They told me I should be ashamed of myself. I guess we are doing our jobs when people really believe we are these characters we play.”
Some would say a good job, in fact.
Ponce, with his baby blue eyes and chiselled jawline, was barely in his 20s when he landed his first TV soap role in 1993 on Guadalupe, after catching the eye of a talent director at a Mexican TV station. His career took off after that, and he landed a leading role his second TV project, Sentimientos Ajenos, signally the start of a series of successful TV soaps.
Now after two decades in the business, Ponce says telenovelas haven't changed much in 20 years and calls it a “classic genre”. Nevertheless he believes Telemundo, one of the biggest American-Spanish TV networks in the Americas, is shaking things up.
“They are very avant-garde. They are always trying to think outside the box when it comes to storylines. We don’t just follow the typical Cinderella type of telenovela. There is always something fresh, something new, like a whodunit?” he says.