interview | jorge lópez

jacket. Diesel
trousers. Borja
necklace. 99 Toys
jacket. Diesel
trousers. Borja
necklace. 99 Toys

We all feel fear; it is something human. Perhaps our fears are caused by high school, going abroad alone, taking critical professional risks, uncontrolled fame… Or it’s just summed up as the classical fear of growing up. Rising actor Jorge López has faced all these situations — and has emerged victorious.

The Chilean actor always felt that typical restlessness felt amongst artists; the feeling that makes you want to break what is established and with what others expect of you. Dance was his first way of expressing himself, but it did not take long for him to take risks and throw himself fully into the world of acting. The success was instant. His character Ramiro in the Argentine fictional Disney Channel series Yo soy Luna became one of the most appreciated characters for the millions of followers that enjoyed the series. But that was not enough for Jorge — his desire to dream and challenge himself led him to be part of Netflix’s teen super hit Elite with some of the riskiest, most sensual, and most provocative plots yet seen on tv. 

Now, after becoming a mass idol, López wants to continue taking on new challenges and with the thriller Silent Cargo, he has achieved it again. More mature and dangerous than ever, the new Jorge López sheds his skin to embody a dangerous but vulnerable drug trafficker. The applause of the critics and the public has been unanimous and everyone has reached the same conclusion: Jorge López is a man without fear.

Schön! chats with Jorge López about his beginnings as an actor, his new thriller Silent Cargo, and more.

Many people don’t know but it all started with dancing, right?

Yes, I studied dance and I am a classical and contemporary dancer. Since I was a toddler, I have participated in numerous activities related to ballet and dancing, however, I gave up dancing around my twenties. In addition, I studied theatre in high school. Before all that, I had participated in musicals and chamber dance in Santiago de Chile. Thanks to winning a contest, I was able to do a masterclass with Madonna.

With Madonna herself?

It was incredible! It happened unexpectedly. Madonna owns a chain of gyms called Hard Candy, so I joined one in Chile. I became a member the same day the auditions took place and I won the contest. For the first time, I left the country and travelled to Toronto to dance with her. I even had the chance to hug her and talk to her. I felt a lot of energetic feedback from Madonna.

Did she give you any advice?

No, but in a way it brought me luck. A week later I started working abroad. Disney hired me, so I moved to Buenos Aires for four years to shoot the series Soy Luna. Since then, wonderful things have not stopped happening to me at a professional level. I think that experience with Madonna brought me some kind of fortune; it was something that unexpectedly changed my life. It was quite a gift and it helped me work on my future since dreams do not come true without working.

And how was moving to Argentina?

Disney Latin America is located in Argentina and the show Yo soy Luna was filmed there. We filmed three seasons and went on a world tour with stadiums filled with thousands of people.

Your character was Ramiro, right?

Yes, his name was Ramiro. I do not know why Disney chose me to play him. Maybe it was how that character was written. I always get complex roles, [like] boys who do not follow the rules and fight against the odds. Ramiro had a lot of complexities and was conflictive.

Did you share traits with him?

Perfectionism. However, it is a characteristic that I have removed from my personality. It is unbearable to want to do everything constantly right. What does “doing things right” mean? What does it mean to reach a goal? Life is not about that and when I understood it, I assumed it and evolved. But, at the time I played Ramiro, I did share that part of his personality.

Do people still recognize you for that character?

Of course, the same thing happens to me with my Elite character. Years have passed and people have not yet forgotten.

Some characters remain etched in the memory of the viewers.

Yes, but it is something hard to get used to. I have been lucky to build a career where I have participated in a Disney series, then in a Netflix hit like Elite, and now in Silent Cargo where I do something that I had never done before. In this series, I play a tough guy, speak with a Galician accent, and drive boats. I would prefer not to participate in hollow projects and I am confident that I am going to build a career that matches what I want to do as an artist.

It all seems that you are evolving into more mature and strong roles like the one in Silent Cargo, where you no longer play a teenager with the typical concerns of that age…

Now I am playing characters of my age. Luckily, the conflicts in those roles are more serious and mature. A new spectrum of possibility has opened before me. Nevertheless, in my opinion, no one lives forever young so it is important to take the opportunity to play young roles when they’re offered to you.

You have spent many years navigating adolescent concerns, did it make you revisit your youth?

I started working at seventeen but, beyond that, I had a super normal adolescence. I lived through all the stages of being a regular boy. I did spend my twenties working but I also enjoyed them since I love what I do. Being an actor has a lot to do with travelling and meeting people. Today I feel somewhat more reserved and I prefer to hang out with my close friends.

Do you keep your high school friends?

Two, and they are my true team. I suffered in my adolescence more than I enjoyed those years. But I had a great time; I did not feel like a victim but objectively school is a jungle where in most cases you try to survive.

Would you go to a high school reunion?

Sure! I would go with a big smile and my best outfit. Also, recently, a former classmate — one of the bullies — ran into me on the street and asked me to take a picture with his son. In my mind, I thought about how life can ironically change. I did not say anything but I think we both remembered what happened back then. 

jersey. Borja
boots. SHOOP
belt. Diesel
coat. Mans Concept
t-shirt. Crack

Tell me a little about Elite. How did you jump into that hit show during its second season?

My manager sent me the tape to do the casting. When Netflix launched the casting process for the first season, I felt that I needed to be part of that project. My team told me that it was better to wait and finish my commitments with the series Yo soy Luna. After that finished, I focused on the Elite second season casting process and I did a lot of tests. In the end, they liked me and hired me. It was the only new male role coming into the sophomore season and it suited me perfectly.

The incestuous relationship that Valerio had with Dana Paola’s character was one of the riskiest plots that there has been in that fiction….

A lot of things were cut! But I did almost everything, including putting my genitals in a sock and appearing naked. I am not a person who feels very comfortable in a sexual role; I am shy and I have worked a lot on my self-esteem. When I have to do a vain character, it’s a challenge for me since I am completely different.

Inevitably there is an “eye candy” factor in Elite and has generated many controversies.

Yes, but I did not notice. I am someone who seeks to do his job well. For me, that is what is important. I closed myself off a lot after making Elite because people have a hard time distinguishing the person from the character. I shared certain traits with Valerio since he is full of mistakes but he also seeks to enjoy life. I identified a lot with his lust for life because I have come to this world to have a good time.

The series is just pure entertainment. It is a hyperbole of reality. For example, my character would do some coke at eight in the morning before going to school. I like to generate debate with my characters but they are not role models.

Your Elite character ended up associating with a corrupt millionaire. In Silent Cargo, you play a drug dealer who is in jail. Perhaps the two would have ended up sharing a cell… [laughs].

A few weeks ago Ramón Salazar, the director of Elite, sent me a text giving me very nice feedback. He even told me that he had not recognized me when I appeared on the screen. 

Did your career change much after the huge success of Elite?

I did not stay in Spain; I went to do projects in Brazil, Mexico, in the United States. I wanted to escape my comfort zone, to constantly reinvent myself by working with new teams. This is all about taking risks. I think it all makes sense because I have returned to Spain with a bang thanks to Silent Cargo.

And did all that huge success affect your personal life?

I freed myself from my prejudices and that as a human being made me evolve a lot and see life differently. I can be ironic and playful but I do not judge people.

With Silent Cargo you have made the transition from more adolescent to more adult roles.

Yes! Nando is an adult with a very turbulent past and in another project that I have yet to release, I am a scammer named Michi.

Now it seems that you like to play bad guys…

My characters are never just good or bad human beings, they have very complex personalities. Nando or Valerio are good but they behave in the wrong way. 

In Silent Cargo you play a character that Álex González played in the first season. Why do you think they chose you for that role?

They saw something in me and they liked my previous works but without asking me to do the same. I only had two weeks to learn Portuguese and give my voice a Galician accent. That is what I want to do — test myself, explore, and be vulnerable. I get bored very quickly and need new stimuli.

Does that need for stimulation apply to your personal life as well?

I have worked a lot to take care of my relationships because I travel a lot and that can affect them sometimes. 

top. Javi Guijarro
trousers. COS
coat. Mans Concept
t-shirt. Crack
boots. SHOOP

Did you speak with Alex González to prepare for your role?

No, I only saw his work in the first season. I chose to respect my creative process and just go with it. I have references but I don’t like to base my interpretations on other people’s work.

Did you not read or see any fiction related to drug trafficking?


Not even Breaking Bad?

I do not like to see what is trendy. 

It’s been over a decade since that series ended.

You are right! [Laughs]

It is ironic to think that when you have been part of Elite one of the most watched series of this century.

I know [laughs].

Are you still following the show?

No, I never see the projects in which I participate except Silent Cargo. I liked it, I am very happy with that work.

The role you play is something new in your career, have you noticed different reactions from the public?

Sure. The vision that many viewers have of me as an actor has changed. I do not want to be a child anymore. I seek to live from what I love, which is acting. I also love fashion but I am not an influencer with all due respect. I spend my time trying to learn, writing novels and poetry, away from social media. 

I didn’t know what you were also writing… 

I do it naturally, step by step while enjoying my acting career very much. The verses come out alone, maybe I’m with friends and we came up with something. My grandmother is always writing when we travel together because she is afraid that she will forget things. 

Do you miss your family?

Yes. I usually go to Chile once a year, during Christmas time, but this time, I think I will go to see my grandmother very soon. I recently took her to Rome to visit the Vatican. It was incredible.

Now that we talk about your land, have you ever contemplated a life far from dance and acting?

Damn it, I was going to study dentistry, I was very good at biology. When I told my family that I wanted to dance, they were very surprised and worried. I got all possible scholarships to be able to study. We all grow up with that fear of instability but I said no to the traditional path, I wanted to dance. I went to the national folkloric ballet where, after a while, my teacher told me that I should become an actor. I have always felt inspired by the Chilean actor Alfredo Castro. Now I have been able to work with Luis Zahera or Óscar Janeada, actors I admire. I feel very, very lucky.

jacket. GANT
underwear. Hugo Boss
earrings. COS

Silent Cargo is out now.

photography. Jesús Leonardo
fashion. Franco Giovanni
talent. Jorge López
hair + make up. Moi Freire
production + interview. Juan Martí
agent. Cristina Chaparro
publicist. Shahar Levi

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