By Minerva Canto
Special to TelevisionWeek
She has been a popular presence on Spanish-language television in the United States for decades, starring in soap operas, hosting variety shows and singing. Now Verónica Castro, one of the most popular performers in Mexico and throughout Latin America, is being honored by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
She will receive an honorary trustee award June 3.
Ms. Castro said she was surprised and pleased to be among those receiving the honor. “After 38 years of work, it was like a gift from heaven,” she said. “This comes from the companies that have had faith in me and have given me the opportunity to work. It’s not easy to come by those kinds of opportunities.”
Ms. Castro celebrated 38 years in the entertainment business last November, but the 52-year-old performer shows no sign of slowing down. Popular among Spanish-language TV viewers since starring in the well-received rags-to-riches telenovela “Los Ricos Tambien Lloran” (“The Rich Also Cry”), she now hosts the Mexican reality TV show “Big Brother 3R,” a hit among younger viewers.
Through the years, she said, she has discovered how the U.S. entertainment industry varies from that of her native Mexico. “It’s totally different,” she said, “from ratings to the type of programming.”
These days, as she tours Mexico and the Southwestern United States to promote “Por Esa Puerta” (“Through That Door”), her latest album, featuring Tex-Mex-style norteño music and her vocals, Ms. Castro appears equally comfortable in the worlds of English- and Spanish-language entertainment.
She is still best known for her late-night variety show “De Noche a Noche” (“Night to Night”). She will soon start a new variety show on Univision called “Viva Vero” (“Very Veronica”). The series carries her nickname “Vero,” perhaps as a way to capitalize on the legendary actress’ popularity.
Despite her busy schedule, Ms. Castro places a priority on spending time with loved ones, some of whom are also in show business. One of her two sons, Cristian, is a pop singer; her two brothers are TV producers; and her sister works on some of Ms. Castro’s projects.
She said she has been fortunate to be able to hopscotch from soap operas to singing to variety shows to the theater, which is where she started her career as an entertainer. Last year she even tried her hand as a circus performer. “I never get bored,” Ms. Castro said.
Of all of them, Ms. Castro said she considers soap operas the most draining, partly because, unlike U.S.-style soaps that rarely, if ever, wrap up, Mexican telenovelas have limited time spans.
Ms. Castro’s versatility and down-to-earth personality have been keys to her success, which she said she never takes for granted. In fact, she said, she still approaches each new project with a bit of anxiety.
What could she possibly be nervous about after all these years of success? “Will it come out well? Will I be able to do it? I think we always have a great responsibility to the public, who I work for, after all,” she said.
Title: Actress, singer
How long in career: 38 years
Year of birth: 1952
Place of birth: Mexico City
Who knew? While starring in the landmark soap “Los Ricos Tambien Lloran” (“The Rich Also Cry”), Ms. Castro earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.