What is it about the University of the Incarnate Word that generates Latin stardom? Ricardo Chavira (aka Carlos Solis of Desperate Housewives) may not be the only Incarnate Word alum to grace Hollywood. Juan Enrique Carillo of San Antonio recently returned from L.A. where he auditioned his acting abilities in the passionate world of soap operas.
Unlike Chavira, Carillo did not pursue theater in college. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in nuclear medicine science and currently works at University Hospital. Recently, Carillo got his big break when he tried his skills at another, more notorious hospital.
On May 5, SOAPnet's "I Wanna Be A Soap Star Live!" Tour took over Sunset Station, giving many soap-star wannabes the chance to audition for a walk-on role on the daytime soap opera General Hospital.
"It was cool because you saw a lot of talent there, and you could feel the energy from everyone," says Carillo. "At the end of the day, three finalists had to perform a monologue in front of the judges."
The judges deliberated after each monologue and, in the end, announced Carillo the winner.
"I was so ecstatic and light-headed because of the heat," says Carillo. "I was at a loss for words. It was so overwhelming."
In L.A. Carillo competed with five other winners from Austin, TX, Kansas, MO, Louisville, KY, Raleigh, NC, and Philadelphia, PA. Although he did not win the contest, he says he was star-struck with the city and the experience.
"It's total stardom when you are out there; you can feel the vibe from everybody," says Carillo. "Every morning when I woke up I would see the Hollywood sign. It was such a beautiful city."
Rather than succumbing to the agony of defeat, Carillo is now more confident than ever.
"It definitely reinforces my determination," says Carillo. "It is definitely a confidence booster. You know that you can go that far; it is possible, and it is not out of reach."
Carillo plans on establishing himself in the theatrical scene after finishing his masters degree in healthcare management at Our Lady of the Lake University.
You can check out his audition when it airs Monday, June 26. Carillo plans on watching his performance, but has reservations, noting that it's not his best.
Carillo was also voted the "Hottest Latino in San Antonio" last October; I have to admit that this does give me more incentive to watch.
- Christina Martinez