Roselyn Sánchez is one of a few Latin American stars who has conquered the difficult world of entertainment in Hollywood, due to her talent and perseverance. The beautiful Boricua of ‘Fantasy Island’ is unstoppable and enjoying one of the highlights of her career, but it hasn’t been easy behind the scenes.
Spending many months on set and away from home, health problems complicated everything, but this brave woman faced her challenges and is stronger because of it. In this exclusive interview with HOLA! USA, Roselyn opens up about her professional and personal life, like never before.
“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders and made sure my career was nice and clean so it can serve as an inspiration to others.” - [Sánchez]
Both. I’ve never had terrible problems on a personal or professional level, and I’ve always made an effort to keep my career intact. I had a very normal upbringing, from good and humble people in Puerto Rico. My mother taught me to be of strong character, but never mischievous. I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders and made sure my career was nice and clean so it can serve as an inspiration to others. I dislike people who have successful careers based on gossip and scandals.
Of course! I’m tough! Just imagine, I was the only girl, and the youngest sibling. I grew up with three brothers, the third one is five years older than me. Then there’s my father. I always say I was raised by five men because my mother also has the temperament of a man. This is what I know, what I’ve lived. There were two sides to my life. On the one hand, I was a big fan of boxing. We’d always watch boxing matches on the weekend at home. It’s my favorite sport. Before marrying Eric, I loved going to see live boxing matches. But on the other hand, I love ballet. I’ve been practicing it since I was very young. I loved boxing with my brothers, climbing trees and playing in the mud. But my feminine side was satisfied by being a lady with my hair done up in a ribbon and wearing a white tutu.
I can’t complain. That would be ungrateful of me. I thought that it would be easier than it actually was. I’ve lived through so much happiness but also lots of tears. But it’s like anything in life, if I were to retire tomorrow and write a book about my life, it would be 90% gratitude. Gratitude towards God, life, my angels… because I’ve worked consistently for 25 years. However, if I were to close my eyes and think about how I believed my career was going to turn out when first I moved to New York, it would have definitely been something better. I’m certain that I have much more potential than the opportunities that have been given to me. Why? Because of my accent, the way I look and where I come from. Because of stereotypes! Now age is also a factor. But I’m not complaining! I’m 48 and the main character in an American television series. Life has blessed me with the opportunity to continue working, and apparently I can still do it for many years to come. I have to admit I look younger. Thanks to this, I’ve been able to extend my career an extra fifteen years!
Honestly, I’ve never been afraid of aging. I didn’t even think about it. But it’s different now that I’m a mother. I had my first child at 38, and the second one at 44. I can’t deny that I’m a bit afraid of aging, especially because of health reasons. I always pray to God, “I have two young children and I have to look after them for many years to come.” I look at my parents, they’re over 80 now and doing great but I remember my father as a very athletic man and full of energy, he was the life of the party. Now between the sciatic nerve and the knee. He is a shadow of his former self. Now as a mother I think, “OMG when my son turns 25 I’m going to be an old woman.” I stay fit with exercise and take care of my health. This has always come naturally to me and it’s been part of my life without even thinking about it, but now I feel that it’s become a duty. Now it’s not about exercising because I like it, I tell myself, “Roselyn, you do this because when your boy turns 30 and gets married, you have to be there.”
My last two jobs have added a great deal of stress to my life. Before Fantasy Island I spent three months in Miami shooting another series, add to that another three months and a half in Puerto Rico, that’s almost seven months away from home. It’s been hard, it’s hard on a marriage and difficult as a mother. Whenever I tell Eric I have to leave for six weeks to film a movie or a series, he understands. He’s respectful. He has to deal with the same issues as an actor himself. It’s a major nuisance because we both depend on a business that has us constantly traveling and requires endless hours. I don’t think Eric loves it. I recall hearing reproach in his voice once when he said to me, “Hey Roselyn, you have to think things through when you accept a job, because you have to leave again… What about the kids?” But at the same time, he has always respected and supported me. He’s not the typical man that makes you choose between him or your career. He doesn’t like it, but he puts up with it. As an actor he has to deal with the same thing. I have to admit that he works on this relationship more than I do. If I’m honest, he’s much more romantic and aware of things than I am. Whenever I return home and try to set my schedule, he’s the one telling me we need a date night at least once a week.
It’s incredibly difficult regarding motherhood. The children came to visit me for two weeks and then another four days while I was in Miami. I was shooting a series that will come out next year with Kate del Castillo, Jeimy Osorio, and Silvia Sáenz. A spectacular project and my first series in Spanish. It was an incredible experience as an actor. I’m a big fan of Kate’s work and I was dying to do something in Spanish my native language. But I have to confess, it was terribly difficult. This time in particular was extremely hard to be away from my children. Everyone on set was aware of this, the crew, the actors, hair and makeup…They become like your family. If it wasn’t for that hair and makeup trailer, I would have gone insane. Filming in the middle of all that chaos, without my children and still recovering from surgery.
Yes, it was a major surgery. I wasn’t supposed to work for a while, but I accepted the offer right away without giving it much thought because I’m very determined and love to work. When I realized what I had done, it was too late, I had already committed. It drained so much energy out of me. I had to look fabulous for my character, she’s a beautiful and fierce woman. I had to be in top shape. I’d say to myself, “I feel good, nothing hurts.” This is what I would repeat to myself in order to get through the day, and that ends up consuming all of your energy. I would look spectacular on camera, but after they yelled “cut” all I wanted to do was crawl into my bed and cry. I learned quite a lot from that experience. Thank God I’ve always been strong and have my angels beside me. People won’t be able to notice when they watch the show, because I was always ready and prepared like the professional that I am. Nobody will notice that I was suffering incredible pain, that I wasn’t supposed to wear heels, that I hadn’t seen my kids in a month. As they say, “The show must go on.” People have no idea what actors have to live through behind the scenes in the world of entertainment.
I’ve suffered from endometriosis ever since I had my first period at age eleven. Millions of women throughout the world suffer from this condition, but many women don’t like to talk about it. It’s an off-limits subject to some. This condition changes your life. You’re in excruciating pain a few days a month and suffer from terrible inflammation, which also makes it painful during intercourse. It’s not fun. Your pelvic area is always in discomfort. Everyone knows I’ve had issues with fertility and that it was very hard for me to become pregnant. This was part of the problem. I was told I would have it under control after having my two children, but in my case it got worse. So I decided that I didn’t want to live like this anymore and endured this major and complicated surgery where they removed my entire endometrium. In the same surgery, I had an incomplete hysterectomy, my ovaries (which are very healthy) were left intact. The surgery lasted five hours. They removed my uterus, cervix, Fallopian tubes, and even my appendix. It was a complicated surgery and recovery would be very long. That’s when the opportunity to be in this series with Kate for Telemundo - NBC Universal came to me. I was incredibly excited about the script and the idea of working with Kate. I said to myself, “I’m getting out of bed and I’m doing this.”
I’d never had surgery in my entire life. It was the first time I had set foot in a hospital except for giving birth to my children. You never know the risks you take when you have a major surgery. It’s a little scary because you can’t explain it to little kids because they wouldn’t understand.
Eric is a great man, I would love for them to learn this about him. He adores his mother. My mother in law divorced her husband when Eric was a little boy and never remarried. So she devoted her life to her son. Now she’s very devoted to our children, her grandkids, I’ve been incredibly lucky with this. I’ve had a nanny since my daughter was six weeks old, and I also have the support of my mother in law. So I have two women taking care of my children as if they were their own. I got lucky, it’s a great blessing. I want my children to learn to be disciplined like their father, it’s marvelous. He’s also incredibly kind, he has many beautiful qualities.
From me? Oh my goodness! I would like for them to have my perseverance and to not take no for an answer. I’d like to teach them how to spread their wings and also about my good work ethic. Ever since the age of five, I keep reminding my daughter that she has to be independent, self-reliant and that she has to work so she doesn’t depend on anyone. It’s very important for me that she learns this. I truly hope she does. Whenever I leave for work I explain to her that I do this so she can have a good life and an education.
Before I left for Miami to film the show I was talking about earlier, I said to my little girl, “Mommy has to go to Miami because she has to work.” She looked me in the eye and said, “Mommy doesn’t have to work, she chooses to work.” I almost died. That’s when I had to sit down with her and said, “Honey, do you know how happy mommy is when she’s acting? God gave me this gift and I want to make good use of it. I want you to do the same when you’re older. I want you to love what you do.” She listened to me, and I don’t know for sure if she understands. I don’t know because she just looks at me intently and she’s bright. I just hope she understands.
“Doctors claim that leading a healthy life consisting of good habits like eating healthy and getting enough rest is fundamental to good health. I’ve never gone to bed with my makeup on, but I’m not a big fan of beauty products and I’ve never had plastic surgery.”
Yes, very difficult to balance, but we’re getting there. She’s nine and my boy is three and a half.
I’m very impatient; I hope they don’t get that from me. Also, I don’t want them to inherit my claustrophobia. This worries me because they’ve witnessed my panic attacks as a result of this condition, and it would be horrible if either of them were to experience it.
I get naked in front of people, it’s terrible!
Thinking about those downtime moments when I’m with my children in their playroom watching them dance together. It doesn’t matter if they fight often, there are moments when they love each other, then a minute later they can’t stand one another, just like all siblings. But when they’re in a good mood and practicing their choreographies, the girl pretends to be the boy‘s mother, and you can see they’re a couple of happy kids. I say to myself, “WOW, I must be doing something right because I have two very happy children.” This is what makes me happiest. It’s funny, I don’t remember my life before giving birth. My life began January 04, 2012, the day Sebella was born, that’s amazing.
Anything negative that has to do with my children, that really brings me down. Obviously. Other than that, it would have to be when a dog of mine dies. I love animals. My first babies were my dogs. If one of them gets sick or passes away, I feel like I want to die.
I exercise a lot. I’ve been dancing ballet since I was four, and have been practicing it constantly throughout the years. It’s very important for me to keep moving and stay active. I’ve never been a drinker or a smoker. I don’t know for sure if this is the reason why I look younger. Doctors claim that leading a healthy life consisting of good habits like eating healthy and getting enough rest is fundamental to good health. I’ve never gone to bed with my makeup on, but I’m not a big fan of beauty products and I’ve never had plastic surgery. I practice a bit of discipline and I’m good to myself.
Photos: Nunu @nunupictures
Makeup & Hair: Paul Anthony @paulanthonylove
Wardrobe: Poshenko @posshenko
Location and Catering: Chef Misael Guerrero @misael.chef
White shirt: @maisonpriveepr_la
Dress: @rccaylanatelierofficial / @regardstylehouse
Dress: @rccaylanatelierofficial / @regardstylehouse