Latino Actors Who Overcame Jail Time To Find Success In Hollywood

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Life has its ups and downs. Some times, life is great and everything is really going your way. Other times, life gets tough, you make bad decisions and those decision can haunt you. These Latino actors didn’t want to have their rap sheet be the only thing people knew about them. They worked hard on getting sober, overcoming obstacles and eventually found starring roles in feature films and TV series. There is always room to honor those who have grown and changed to be the best they can be.

1. Danny Trejo

Around his 20s, actor and restaurateur Danny Trejo was in and out of jail. Trejo’s acting break came when he was a youth drug counselor for an actor on the set of a movie and Trejo was asked to be an extra in the film. From that role, Trejo continued to land additional roles in film and TV series. In 2016 he took his talents outside of just the entertainment industry and opened his first of three restaurants, Trejo’s Tacos. 

2. Michelle Rodriguez

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Often seen as tough Letty Ortiz in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, Michelle Rodriguez conquered a troubled personal life to make it to a lead in a blockbuster film franchise. Rodriguez had been arrested for assault against her former roommate before charges were dropped, and she also been arrested for DUI. She completed her community service requirements in 2009 and has not had legal troubles since then.

3. Johnny Ortiz

By the time he was 18, Johnny Ortiz had been surrounded by an upbringing filled with drugs and gangs, and had already spent time in jail. He shared with Project Eñye that while he was in jail, he prayed for a second chance. That second chance came in the form of an acting role after meeting his future life coach at a career day. He has had roles in the feature film “McFarland, USA” and in the TV series “American Crime.” In the video, Ortiz shares an important nugget of wisdom we could all learn from, “You create if you want to be happy, if you want to be sad, if you want to be mad.” Good to know he is creating his own reality. 

4. Richard Cabral

“American Crime” actor Richard Cabral went from being a gang member looking at the possibility of a 35-year sentence to being up for an Emmy after his role on the ABC series. After turning his life around through the help of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, Cabral was able to focus on casting auditions and eventually landed his Emmy-nominated role.


READ: Meet The Priest And Program Who Helped Richard Cabral Go From Gang Member To Emmy Nominee

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