Thanks to Vigie for sending this in!
“The Bright Pack”
Remember the original Rat Pack or Molly Ringwald and her 80s crew? Well,
these up-and-coming stars are also igniting the movie screens and music
scenes as the future Rita Moreno, Chita Riveras, and Jennifer Lopezes. Come
meet our five young estrellas (stars) for the next century.
All hail the queen
Leonor Varela is that engaging mixture of hip and deep–able to talk
about everything from her native Chile’s political history and her
proclivity toward evening prayer, to the best place to get a leg wax in Los
Angeles. She made her American debut last May playing the queen in ABC’s
history-making “Cleopatra”. But this 25-year-old is on her own world
domination trajectory with a role in “Texas Rangers”, a western that
co-stars James Van Der Beek (Dimension Films, Spring 2000 release) that just
may help her conquistar (conquer) the big screen as well.
Varela, who is half Chilean and half French, started her career in
France, in the film “Le Grand Cholem”, but then made an unconventional
career move returning to Chile to work on a telenovela (Spanish
Mini-Series/Soap Opera). Because of her outspoken political views and her
striking beauty, Varela was crowned el nuevo simbolo sexual (the new sex
Then cam “Cleopatra”. It’s a role, Varela is quick to note, that
allowed a Latina to play a non-Hispanic part – and, what’s more, that of a
queen. “I’m proud to be [destroying] cultural cliches and breaking new
ground,” says Varela. It was on that set where she met actor Billy Zane,
and the gossip pages have been keeping tabs on their romance ever since.
Keeping mum about the topic of marriage, Varela simply says, “We are madly
in love, enjoying the moments we can together.”
But who has time for romance? She’s busy in her role as spirited
circus acrobat, Perdita, who Van Der Beek tries to rescue from a gang of
bandidos in Texas Rangers. Even in a dusty western, Varela manages to hold
her own against Van Der Beek, Dylan McDermott, and Alfred Molina, and she
still looks como una reina (like a queen).
She’s got the Look
Melissa De Sousa is so good at being bad that you just love to hate her.
With just one look, she’s able to break down her leading man’s confidence.
But don’t be too quick to judge this Panamanian actress, its just part of
Raised in Queens, New York, 28-year-old De Sousa plays the conniving
Shelby in Universal Pictures’ “The Best Man” (opens this fall). But her
first true passion was dancing. Idolizing legends such as Chita Rivera, De
Sousa knew performing was for her. “I was so moved by it, I made up my mind
then and there that I wanted to be a bailarina,” she says. But despite a
two-year stint with the renowned Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre in Manhattan, she
moved to Los Angeles to try her luck in acting.
De Sousa recently finished the independent film “Lockdown”. Although
she generally takes the comedic route, this will be her first dramatic role.
Having proved she can dance, do comedy and drama, De Sousa is already
developing her next talent: singing. “Who knows,” she says. “I just might
do a Jennifer Lopez.”
Like a Champ
She had no acting experience when she competed with more than 2,000
other women for her first major role, but that didn’t discourage
Sophia-Adella Hernandez. Even when another actress was temporarily chosen
for the title role of Isabelle in the boxing drama “Knockout” (DMG
Entertainment), Hernandez continued training to play the Spunky East L.A.
Chicana who follows in her father’s footsteps to become a boxer.
After punching her way into the boxing ring for a final audition, and
sparring like a champ with a national amateur boxing champion, Hernandez
landed the role.
That fighting spirit has always been her formula for success. Growing
up in Taos, New Mexico, times were so rough for her father, a struggling
jeweler, that the family resorted to living in abandoned homes, caves, and
their car. Using props from a junkyard, Hernandez organized talent shows
with her three siblings to entertain themselves.
“I always wanted to make people smile, to make them feel happy,” says
the mexicana. With “Knockout” playing in select theatres nationwide since
October, Hernandez is clearly a winner.
Serving up Aliens
Unlike her excitable character Maria on the WB’s “Roswell”, on which
Majandra Delfino plays a waitress serving teen aliens, this 18-year-old
carries herself with a refined grace. No matter if she’s contradicting Bill
Maher on an episode of “Politically Incorrect”, or starring in the
soon-to-be-released indie film, “Unglued”, Delfino is embracing celebrity
and adulthood with open arms.
But this venezolana-cubana, who got her start on “The Tony Danza Show”
two years ago, is the first person to admit that she’s nothing more than a
kid having a good time. “Acting for me is like a fun job,” she says. “It’s
not a passion or obsession but a way to bring out my schizophrenic side.
The real me comes out on the weekends, when I can go to parties with my
friends like any other high schooler.”
Even with her work on “Roswell”, her independent films, and attending
high school, she still squeezes in time at a recording studio. With a
record deal pending at Reprise Records, Delfino is showing a more intimate
side. “Music is something that comes from me. It’s my own personal voice.”
Michelle Herrera Mulligan
Feeling the Passion
Her haunting eyes, that reflect the deep passion of a true mariachi,
peer out from under a huge sombrero. With ebony hair flowing just below her
waist, some might get the impression that Nydia Rojas is “an old soul.” But
then one is reminded that she’s not even 20.
Born in Whittier, California, Rojas is becoming one of the preeminent
female mariachi singers; Billboard magazine recently crowned her “a
crossover smash.” She belts out Mexico’s most beloved traditional songs,
such as “No me amenaces,” while giving the canciones (songs) her own special
touch – a unique blend of passionate delivery combined with her powerful
voice. “Singing mariachi is about feeling the passion,” she explains.
“…you’re not just performing a song…but singing someone’s life.”
Rojas composed the first single “No se mas de mi” from her latest
album, “Si me conocieras” (Hollywood Records Latin), with sensuous lyrics
abut young love. She wrote it for young female fans of superstars who
think, “If he only knew me, he’d know I am the one for him.” Rojas says,
“It’s every girl’s dream to have someone see that they are special.”
Nancy De los Santos