`LL: Your career as an actress has also provided volunteer opportunities. Talk to us more about your volunteer work.
SP: I teach improvisation and acting to kids ages 7-18. I never really had that growing up, someone who was a mentor. And they are just so much fun to work with because kids, especially younger ones, have no inhibitions. They’ll tell you everything and anything! They’re the best actors because they’re not second-guessing themselves.
`LL: You’ve appeared in several soap operas for Univision and Telemundo. What have telenovelas taught you about love?
SP: The passion of it all, which is the way, Latinos are. Even for people who are not Latino, they can watch a soap opera and relate to that passion, which is why several telenovelas have become TV shows here in the US, like “Ugly Betty”. I think it’s beautiful [that] these stories of love by Latinos can be translated, or at least toned down, for other markets.
`LL: Is it safe to say that passion in telenovelas also applies when it comes to lust?
SP: Yes. I mean sometimes, telenovelas could exemplify that a little too over the top, but I grew up watching them, so I don’t find it as alarming as it really is…I don’t know, I’m very open about it. Passion and sexuality go hand in hand.
`LL: Where do you feel more like yourself, on stage or in front of the camera?
SP: It depends on the character, but I studied theatre in the beginning of my career, so I feel that it’s still home to me. I’m slowly trying to change that because I’m doing more TV and film now, which allows you to be more realistic, as opposed to being theatrical (laughs). But I guess in my nature I am very animated so the stage suits me. I can be as loud and big as I can be.
`LL: What would men be surprised to learn about you?
SP: My other passions besides acting are cooking and eating. I have a huge appetite, which I guess it’s not something very attractive to tell guys, but don’t be fooled; sometimes men love that, a woman with a good appetite. I’m also a huge wine nerd. That’s the key to my heart, good food and good wine. It’s so easy. If guys only knew!