Fresh to the scene, Fernando Carsa stars in Apple TV+’s highly anticipated bilingual comedy series “Acapulco.”
Based on the 2017 film How To Be A Latin Lover, Fernando shines as ‘Memo,’ Maximo’s supportive yet often naive confidant who joins him to work at the resort. When his plans go wrong, Memo lands in the laundry room, bringing heart and hilarious one-liners to the series.
Created by Austin Winsberg (“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”), “Acapulco” is a one-of-a-kind series honoring Mexican-American culture. It also stars Derbez, Damian Alcázar (“Miss Bala”), and Chord Overstreet (“Glee”).
Check out my interview with Fernando!
Your show “Acapulco” has premiered. How exciting is that?
Fernando: Oh my god, it’s the most excited I’ve been in my whole life. I’m really excited, really happy, very proud and I can’t wait for the entire world to see it.
That’s awesome. And this is your first big project, right?
Fernando: Yes, it’s my biggest project yet and also my TV debut, all in one! It’s unbelievable. I’m still pinching myself. It’s crazy.
What sparked your interest in acting?
Fernando: Well, I was very lucky because both of my parents were actors, so I grew up in a household that was filled with art. My dad is also a painter, and music was always playing. We would go see plays and we would listen to music often. Art was instilled in my life, really, really early in my life. However, my parents say that the moment I started making noises with my mouth, they could tell that I was inclined to do music, and I would bounce a lot to the rhythm or a beat or just any song, so they quickly realized my love for art and for performance. When I was really young, there was this artist, she still writes music, her name is Tatiana and she performs music for kids and I was obsessed with her. I think she was my introduction to what a singer is and what a performer is. From the moment that I saw her on TV, I was like, ‘that’s what I want to do.’ My parents pushed me to go into training. I started training at the age of seven and I haven’t stopped since. And now we’re here! I’m about to make my TV debut on Apple TV+ all over the world. It’s insane.
You booked the show right out of college, right?
Fernando: Yes! It’s still kind of crazy to me. I can’t fathom it. It had been six months and it’s really interesting because, when I was about to graduate from UCLA, my showcases got canceled because of the pandemic. This miracle came my way regardless of what was going on around the world like God truly blessed me with these opportunities.
Do you have any advice for other students that are looking to break into this industry?
Fernando: Yeah, I think I would say, there are three main things that I would say. The first important thing is to train. You don’t have to go to school to be an actor and you don’t have to get a degree per se, but you can train at a studio, take workshops, train, train, train, train. You have to study. There’s only a handful of people that are born with the ability to just show up and do the work. Most of us have to work harder than them, so my advice is to train. My second advice is to develop a really strong work ethic, literally being responsible and respectful to everybody and always be on time and always be prepared. It also means that you have to learn to sacrifice, you have to learn to make sacrifices. That’s part of your work ethic. If you really want this thing, you’ll be smart about what things you wrestle with, it’s not just gonna come your way. And the third, and I think this is the most important one, actually, is embrace who you are because what makes you different is what makes you special. I feel like sometimes people who want to go into this industry get really, and I’m mentioning this from my personal experience, we get very obsessed with the idea that we have to look a certain way, we have to act a certain way, like you have to be this other person. And that’s the worst thing that you could do for yourself. You have to learn about your strengths and weaknesses, but you also have to understand that those strengths might not be what you want to have but it is what you have and the more that you lean into those things, the more people will recognize you and the more people will see you. What makes you different, is what makes you special so you have to embrace that. Leave your life and your career with pride and love yourself. I’m doing the show because I embraced who I was, yes I am plus size, yes I have an accent when I speak English. I truly believe that being yourself exactly as you are is what’s going to take you places.
That was all amazing advice. So, what can people expect from the show?
Fernando: You can expect, first of all, a lot of fun and a lot of really heartfelt moments. It’s definitely a show that was created with the intent of making people happy. I feel like we’ve been through such a rough year and a half, these last eighteen months have been so tough on all of us and we definitely need something that brings back the joy of life and love and kindness and humanity, and unity. It’s a very universal story so I feel like every person might see themselves represented on screen, one way or another. You don’t need to be part of the Latinx community, you don’t need to be bilingual, you don’t need to be Mexican, it’s a show for everybody. That’s why you can share with the entire world. You can expect a really good time in a show with a lot of heart and a lot of feel good moments.
Since it is bilingual, what would you say to people who are maybe new to watching bilingual shows, or maybe a little bit nervous about it?
Fernando: I would say that I feel that language can be such a beautiful thing. We live in the United States, we’re so blessed that we have so many people that speak so many different languages and can share that part of themselves and where they come from with us. So, I feel like every language is beautiful in its own way and it’s so special that we get to experience other languages and cultures through media, with types of opportunities like our bilingual show. Honestly, the way that he was written, the dialogue that’s in Spanish in the show, happens in Spanish for a reason. So, I think the message is bigger than just being shown in Spanish or in English. It shares this immigrant experience of you going to work or to school and you learn another language, you have to learn English, and then you come home to your family and you still speak your native language. I believe that’s a very universal emotion or a very universal experience. It’s not only in the states, there’s people everywhere. I invite people to watch more stuff in other languages, not only our show, to enrich themselves with cultures all over the world.
I hear that you credit Britney Spears for helping you learn English. Can you just explain that?
Fernando: I know it sounds a bit weird. It makes people crack up every single time but basically I fell in love with Britney Spears first when “Oops, I did it Again” came out. I was three years old, but I was over the moon with that red bodysuit and that ponytail, so, I have loved her my whole life. I went on my journey of becoming a teenager and my focus shifted to Disney Channel and High School Musical and all the other Disney Channel Original Movies and shows. But then in 2009, and I remember this vividly, there was a thought in my head and I was like, ‘what happened to Britney Spears?’ She had gone through her 2007 period and that was very public, so we all knew what was going on in her life, but I still was really curious as to what happened to Britney Spears. At the time, she was doing her Circus tour, so I went to YouTube and I looked her up. I found footage from the tour and I went head over heels, I lost my mind. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, this woman is amazing,’ and I completely fell in love with her all over again. I was so taken by the music that I felt the urge to translate the lyrics. I wanted to know what she was saying. So little by little, I started translating the lyrics, singing along, learning the dances, you know, and without noticing, I was learning an entirely different language. And that came in handy now that I moved to the states and such. I believe she was my English teacher and the best part is that I learned the language through a really fun activity- karaoke in my bedroom.
Oh, I love that! Have you ever been to Acapulco?
Fernando: I’ve never been, I don’t get the chance to travel a lot, I’ve never had that opportunity. But I’ve heard it was amazing in the 80s. (laughs)
Where did you film the show?
Fernando: We were filming in Puerto Vallarta at the beginning of spring and we went all the way through the beginning of summer. So yeah, we filmed in Puerto Vallarta at this really amazing hotel that they completely redesigned and redecorated for the show, specifically. And it was amazing because there was so much nature around us and we could really appreciate the beauty of Puerto Vallarta. I mean, a lot of people say, ‘well, it wasn’t even filmed in Acapulco,’ like there’s a bigger power that makes those decisions. But at the end of the day, I feel very proud that in one way or another we still get to showcase the beauty of Mexico,
What are some of the things you love about your Mexican culture?
Fernando: Oh my god, honestly, the thing that I love the most and the thing that I’ve always carried with Christ the most, is our people. Even when we were filming the show, we were living at the hotel where we filmed and the hotel employees, the actual real employees from that hotel, were still working there, so we got to go on this journey alongside them. They’re just such kind, beautiful people who want to work hard and the service that they were providing us with came from a place of being genuine and caring. That’s genuinely how people in Mexico are. I mean, you can go and check on the news, whenever there’s a major disaster, the first people to go and help are the population. They move and they collect food and when there was an earthquake back in 2017, in Mexico City, it was the people from Mexico City that wanted to take action the most. And that’s just who we are and that’s my people and I feel so proud, and that’s also just the Latin American community. I mean, also the food, but mostly the people. We have big hearts and just so much kindness and solidarity.
So, what’s up next for you?
Fernando: Just going through the hustle that every actor goes through. I mean, I’m auditioning, and that’s another thing that a lot of people don’t realize. This is a roller coaster, you know, but you have to be prepared, you have to be ready, you have to accept that that’s how it is. So, at this point, I don’t have any projects or anything lined up, yet. However, I’m still auditioning and I’m really eager to get back to continue my training. I don’t ever want to stop training. But I guess what I have next is the premiere of “Acapulco” and everyone should login and watch it!