Roselyn Sanchez first erupted onto the big screen with her role as sexy Secret Service agent Isabella Molina in the second installment of Brett Ratner's Rush Hour. Sultry and exotic, the Puerto Rican beauty sizzled onscreen. And now, a decade later, she's managed to maintain her career, proving that she boasts a whole hell of a lot more than just stunning good looks.
An actress, writer, producer, and philanthropist, to say Sanchez stays busy would be an understatement -- even following the departure of cop drama series Without a Trace. And she's all about taking on new projects such as Los Monólagos de la Vagina, a Spanish-language production of the infamous Vagina Monologues, which plays in Miami this month. We recently got a chance to catch up with Sanchez to talk about her career, her success, and her long-time desire to flex her funny bone.
New Times: Your first big break was Rush Hour 2. It's been a long road since. How have things changed for you?
Roselyn Sanchez: Immensely.
It was a huge break for me, that movie, that I will be eternally
grateful to the director, Brett Ratner, for. At that moment, it opened
so many doors. And I've been very blessed. I've been working non-stopped
since that movie. In this business it's up and down. And I can't
complain because it's been pretty consistent, the way Hollywood has
treated me in terms of work.
And I think doors are opening for
Latinos, though it's still a bit of a battle, raising your hand and
being like, "I'm here, I'm here. You know, I don't always have to play
the Latina. I'm an actress. See me as something more general." But I
can't complain. It's been really wonderful.
Your next movie was Chasing Papi, with Sofia Vergara, and she's had tremendous success recently with her ubber-Latina role on Modern Family. What do you think it says about Latinos' role in American entertainment these days?
think the business in America was ready now to embrace a character like
that, compared to five or six years ago. I think it is a testament that
things are changing and they're more open to us.
You've done a lot of comedies. Is that a natural aspect of your personality that you embrace?
I would love to do even more, especially after doing five years on Without a Trace.
I've done a lot of comedies, but I'm not the funny one in the movies.
I'm always the normal element. I'd love to do something more comedic,
but I think people see me more as playing the lawyer, the cop, these
serious roles because of Without a Trace.
So I've been fighting to do more comedy. One of the reasons I did Vagina Monologues in Miami, is because the material is so rich. And it can be really sad, but also very funny.
Tell us a bit more about the Monologues.
loved it. It was just incredible. I took some time off after Without a
Trace, and I really was looking forward to doing something that was just
going to feed my soul and make me fall in love with acting again. And
it was my first time basically acting in Spanish. It was just the most
surreal experience. I'm madly in love with it.
Back to Without a Trace. Tell us about that experience.
became a family. That was the most beautiful thing for me, besides it
being a huge show and being so recognized. I made friends for life. I
wanted to move on, because when you do a procedural cop show, you don't
feel, as an actor, like you're doing a lot. So I was looking forward to
doing something else. And now we all miss it, and I'm like, I wish I
could've done just one more year. Because I miss everyone.
You've accomplished a lot thus far. What are you most proud of?
proud it makes my family feel, I think. I left Puerto Rico at 21
saying, I just want to act. I want to be a star. And I was able to pack
my bags and leave, and actually make something out of it. And it really
makes me proud to see that they are proud of me.
And I think the
platform that my position has given me in Puerto Rico--to be able to do
charity work and have a voice because people know who I am--that's been
the most fulfilling thing ever.
Tell us a bit about all that charity work, and the Triathalon for Life.
the godmother and the spokesperson for this organization called the San
Jorge Children's Foundation, which is a foundation for kids with
cancer, lupus, but mainly cancer. And it's just parents that are low
income families that don't have the money or the education to be able to
deal with these horrible sicknesses that their kids get. So I do a lot
of events in Puerto Rico throughout the year, and then last year I came
up with he idea of doing something that was health-related, and that I
could involve the committee and raise a lot of money. And I just came up
with this triathlon and we put it together last year and it was an
incredible success. And it's just amazing. It's a lot of work, but at
the end, it's incredible the experience everybody has.
give money to another foundation called Casa Cuna de San Juan, which is
another organization in San Juan for kids that have been abused and have
been removed from their families and are up for adoption. And there are
just these horrible stories that you hear. And in that temporary place
before they get adopted, there's a lot of need. So I help raise money
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for all those nurses and social workers and volunteers that take care of
them until they get adopted.
Rosalyn Sanchez appears in Los Monólagos de la Vagina at the Trail Theater (3715 SW 8th St., Miami) Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7. The production is entirely in Spanish. Tickets run $20 to $35.