By Allison J. Waldman
Special to TelevisionWeek
At this week’s Leaders of Spanish-Language Television awards presentation in New York, some might look at honoree and think she’s too young to receive such a prestigious award. That might be true if not for the fact that the performer, who is known simply by her one-word name, has been a singing and acting dynamo since she was a pre-teen.
“The best blessing I have in my life is that I started when I was just a kid. I was singing and acting at 10, then I did soap operas and movies and albums,” said.
Today is a Spanish-language superstar. In Mexico, her home country, she’s as big as Britney Spears and has the multiplatinum albums to prove it. The National Television Academy award recognizes not only her music but also her TV work. “I’m really proud that I’m receiving this `Latin Emmy’ because it’s a very, very prestigious award because it’s from the people who make television,” said. “This award for the Latin performers is really good for Hispanic people. It’s very satisfying to know that my work, my job, my efforts are being recognized.”
began as Lucerito, a child star with a prodigious talent. She landed her first series, “Chispita,” on Spanish-language TV when she was 13. Since then she has moved easily from acting roles in telenovelas to musical performances on variety shows. Today she is one of her country’s most beloved stars.
“What I have now is a culmination of all my experiences,” said. “I have spent more than half of my life doing what I love to do. Experience is a great thing to have when you like to do something because over time, you get better and better at it.”
Like other performers who move from music to TV and movies, wants to do more, not less. She can’t imagine pursuing just one thing. “I try to have my singing complement my acting so it’s all one. When I sing, I act a little bit and when I act, I like to sing,” said . “Since I was a kid, I always saw great performers like Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra who could do a little bit of everything. They could act and sing and be funny. And they were big stars in everything they did. When I sing, I’m and I am connecting with the audience. When I act, I’m hiding behind different characters and showing different faces. I would prefer to act and sing my whole life and not have to choose.”
In a career filled with international success, one of the high points for was singing for Pope John Paul II. At his request, appeared at the Maracana Stadium in Brazil in 1997. “It was the most exciting experience for me, spiritually and professionally,” said.
For now, remains primarily a Spanish-language sensation. However, there have been opportunities to cross over into the English-speaking market, and she has been tempted. “I never say never, and I would be thrilled if I could do something in the United States,” she said. “I had a couple of conversations in the past with people in the business, but that would have meant living in the United States for some amount of time.” Her family came first, keeping her in Mexico with her husband and children.
“Being a wife and a mom comes first, so I decided not to pursue it,” she said. “Also, my English is not perfect but I think I could make it a little better with lessons. If I have another chance to make a movie or do a TV series or something, I would go for it.”
‘s future may also include taking more control of her career. “But my primary goal, my first objective, is to sing in my Mexico, singing in Spanish. If I can make a crossover with my songs in Spanish, that would be fantastic. If I have to sing in English to cross over, I would do that. But sometimes my priority is more with my Latino people,” said .
She mentioned Barbra Streisand as someone whose success she would like to emulate. “I’d love to see myself like her in the future. I would love to be able to do everything,” she said. “If I could do more, I think I would feel complete and more satisfied with my career.
“I have different goals for the future, but I will always continue acting and singing. If one day I could direct a movie or TV show, that would be like the cherry on the sundae.”