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10 Big Hollywood Stars Who Got Their Start on Telenovelas

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Telenovelas have historically gotten a bad rap in the entertainment media landscape. Melodramatic acting and outrageous storylines have relegated this artform to the livings of our tías and abuelita, but let’s be honest: telenovelas are a guilty pleasure that everyone secretly enjoys.

Telenovelas are such an institution that many of our favorite Latino actors and actresses made a name for themselves on these shows before chasing Hollywood stardom. Just for fun, we’ve compiled a list of 10 big Hollywood stars who got their starts on telenovelas.

1. Sofía Vergara

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Sofía Vergara became a household name when she was cast as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on “Modern Family”, but she started out playing the character of Irasema in a 1995 telenovela called “Acapulco, Cuerpo y Alma”.

2. Salma Hayek

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We know know Salma Hayek as an Oscar-nominated A-list actress, but before that, she was acting her heart out on telenovelas like tons of other Latino actors. Hayek starred in a 1989 telenovela called “Teresa”, where she played a poor young woman who used her smarts and beauty to enter a world of luxury.

3. Diego Boneta

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Diego Boneta was a telenovela staple before he crossed over into American TV shows. In Latinidad, Boneta was famous for his roles in “Alegrijes y rebujos”, “Misión S.O.S, and “Rebelde” before landing roles on “90210” “Scream Queens” and “Pretty Little Liars”.

4. Diego Luna

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Diego Luna appeared as a young boy in Mexican telenovelas “El abuelo y yo”, “El premio mayor” and “La vida en el espejo”. He now headlines Star Wars movies.

5. Jaime Camil

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Jaime Camil was also a telenovela heartthrob before breaking into the Hollywood scene as Rogelio de la Vega on “Jane the Virgin”. Camil’s most famous role was as sexy executive Don Fernando Mendiola “La fea más bella”.

6. Rodrigo Santoro

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You may know Rodrigo Santoro as the Latin heartthrob in “Love, Actually”, but this actor made a name for himself in Brazilian telenovelas long before he made his Christmas movie debut. In Brazil, he’s famous for starring in titles like “Explode Coração”, “O Amor Está no Ar”, “Suave Veneno”.

7. Eiza González

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Eiza González got her big American break in 2017’s “Baby Driver”, but before that, she was a telenovela teen queen. González starred in the telenovela cindererlla retelling “Lola: érase una vez” in a total of 224 episodes.

8. Karla Souza

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Mexican actress Karla Souza starred in the telenovela “Verano de amor” before making a name for herself in the United States with “How To Get Away With Murder”.

9. Kate del Castillo

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La Reina of telenovelas, Kate del Castillo got her start on “Muchachitas”. She became a bonafide crossover hit through “Bad Boys For Life”…and, of course, her El Chapo scandal.

10. Édgar Ramírez

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Venezuelan-born indie darling Édgar Ramírez appeared in the hit telenovela “Cosita rica” that aired from 2003-2004. He quickly became a auteur favorite in English language films like “Domino”, “Vantage Point”, and “Che”. This year, he starred in the highly successful HBO series “The Undoing”.

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