Moving from her home in Mexico City in 2003 to study fashion design in the California, Fernanda Romero never aspired to become a telenovela star, TV host, movie actress, or model. Five years later, she’s all of the above and more.
While taking classes in fashion at Santa Monica College, Romero, who was working on some jean campaigns at the time, was introduced to a casting director who thought she would be perfect for the modeling the same style clothing she was marketing.
A career in the entertainment industry came natural to Romero as she started her career in print and television ads for Rock and Republic, Clean and Clear, Pepsi, Apple, and JC Penny.
Although she was having fun as a model, Romero wanted more. Enrolling in acting classes paid off when she was introduced to the world of Spanish TV by landing a role in the Telemundo telenovela “El alma herida.” One more novela and eight movies later and Romero has surprised herself by what she has accomplished.
In her most recent film, “The Eye,” which was released on DVD last week, Romero stars as Ana Christina Martinez, a young girl from Mexico who is haunted by supernatural images. After Ana’s death, her eyes are donated to a blind girl (Jessica Alba) who begins to see the same bizarre visions.
During our interview, Romero talked about what makes Mexico City special to her, what it was like working with Jessica Alba, and how shy she can get during a photo shoot.
You’ve worked as a singer, dancer, actress, TV hostess, and model. How do you keep everything balanced?
I’m going crazy. (Laughing) It’s hard, but I am dedicated to what I do. I love what I do so I try to balance it out – a little bit here, a little bit there. My priority is acting though. I love acting so when I take on a project I am 100 percent devoted to that.
What led you to acting?
When I was a little girl I always like the arts. I was in theater in school and would always sing. I liked it but I didn’t think I would be doing it as a career. It’s destiny.
What do you miss most about Mexico City?
The energy and the people. I go back home and see all my family. I miss the culture. You don’t appreciate a lot of things when you have them. I got to appreciate my family and friends more and the flavor of Mexico. I like to go back there to refuel.
As a Latina actress, is Jessica Alba someone you look up to in the industry?
Absolutely. She is a great girl. My experience with her was great. She has had a great career.
What was the experience like working with someone as talented as Guillermo Arriaga (screenwriter for “Babel,” “Amores Perros”) for his first film as a director “The Burning Plain?”
For me it was an amazing experience. I was my first time working with a Mexican director. I was so glad it was him. He is very good with his actors. It was an honor to work with him. With him and Charlize [Theron], it was really a great time.
I just saw your video photo shoot for Maxim Magazine today.
Oh, don’t tell me that. I get so shy about that video.
Well, Maxim is known for their sexy and tastefully revealing photos, so how comfortable do you have to be with yourself when the photographer asks you to remove another piece of clothing?
Oh my God, I am very particular with that. Between shots I am wearing a jumper. I may not look very shy, but I am. They tell me, “Okay, we have to make it a little sexier” and I’m like, “Really? Aww, I don’t want to take any more clothes off.”
Is your family old-fashioned? What do they think about the modeling part of your career?
In the beginning it was kind of weird for them because we are part of the Latin culture. They didn’t think I could get a career as an actress. They wanted me to get a typical job, find a good boy, get married, and yada, yada, yada. Now, they got used to it and support me. They know that this is what I want to do.
Other than being attractive, what makes a good model?
Being in the moment and having fun with it. I like to have a good connection with the photographer. I like to go with the flow. I don’t like attitude and don’t like divas. When people are having a good time, it’s the best photo shoot.
So, you don’t want to be the next big Latina diva?
No, I like to keep myself really rounded. I like to help people and keep my feet on the ground. It’s important to me not to forget who I am.