Paul Guerra is an actor who has appeared on Univision, Comedy Central, Telemundo, PBS, and more via a range of television and movie projects. He has also appeared in commercials for brands including First 5 California, Nissan, Ford, and more. Having worked alongside Emmy nominees, Paul is widely known for his YouTube show and podcast called CineDharma, where he speaks about film, acting, and interviews fellow actors like American Gods Ernesto Reyes and Francis Cronin.
Paul Guerra was born in Ecuador and now lives in Los Angeles, California. Before moving to the US, Paul graduated from Law School at Universidad San Francisco de Quito. In LA, he graduated at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre. Recently, he was announced as the new TV host for Univision, where he’s already working on special articles.
Paul recently discussed his career and more via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get into acting, and how did you break into the industry?
Paul Guerra (PG): I remember as a child loving to imitate my neighbors, family, and even politicians on TV. At the time, it never crossed my mind that I could earn a living doing that, but life has its special twists and turns.
Seven years ago, I survived an intense car accident on Halloween night, and it wasn’t until I woke up in the hospital that I had an epiphany that compelled me to start pursuing my true calling. After that episode, I started training on my craft, working for free on any project that would have me to learn everything I could on set, reading all the books I could find, auditioning for the few projects that were around in Ecuador (we don’t have a big industry) and finally quit my job as an attorney to come to LA and pursue my dreams.
I broke into the entertainment industry back home first when I landed a hosting gig for a morning show called “El Club de la Mañana.” They needed a lawyer to give legal advice to the audience on their cases. Then in LA, funnily enough, I booked my two my first serious jobs as an actor on the same day after three auditions back to back (I wish I could keep that ratio all the time haha). The projects were a commercial for a company called EF English Live, which aired for almost two years in Latin America. The other one was a TV episode for a Telemundo show called “Milagros de Navidad” alongside Alicia Machado, former Miss Universe, and actress.
MM: What sorts of roles do you most enjoy playing, and why do you find yourself drawn to certain characters?
PG: I come from a theater background, so I’m naturally inclined to enjoy playing characters that have a deep conflict within, big ideas to share, and as Stella Adler would’ve said, a soul. I’m certainly drawn to characters that are extremely opposite to me because it’s more challenging and also forces you as an actor to dig deeper, to dive into the human condition, and explore the why’s of certain actions. That process alone is fascinating.
MM: What do you most enjoy: movies, TV, YouTube, or commercials?
PG: That’s such a hard question. Any of those platforms have a very unique and attractive quality that makes it very fun to work on as a storyteller. But, if I had to pick one, it’d definitely be movies. A movie set is something special; It’s raw, wild, and even insane sometimes due to budget and schedule. But at the same time, you’re surrounded by many talented and creative people synced to serve the story, and that brings to the table a powerful sense of community.
MM: What job experiences have been the most awesome and memorable so far?
PG: I’ll never forget the feeling while shooting at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, the same lot where many of my idols have worked before. I was the hero for the “Ghostbusters World” commercial, working alongside internet personality Greg Miller, and we shot that in the New York part of the studio, which was even more special. Time simply disappeared to me, and I was on my element, there were no worries, no problems, nothing. I was just having fun as when I was a kid. I’m grateful for that moment because it reminded me that I’m on the right path, and whenever in doubt, I go back to that feeling to keep moving forward. Also, recently, on my first day as a TV Host for Univision, I had to take a tour at the new LA Rams stadium that’s under construction and shoot an interview there. It was surreal; I simply couldn’t believe what I was doing and how a series of small daily efforts brought me there to that moment.
MM: What fan feedback has been most memorable, and why?
PG: My fanbase has always insisted and reminded me never to forget where I come from and to stay humble. Humbleness is a very strong theme back home, and it’s something that’s tattooed in my mind.
MM: How did you land a job as a tv host, and what is it like to fill that role?
PG: It’s one of those stories you hear around Hollywood, and it proved to be right: you never know who’s watching, who’s going to refer you, who could give you a hand, and be that bridge between you and your dreams.
A couple of years ago, I worked as a guest star on a TV show here in LA. It turns out that the makeup artist from that project reminded me and knew that I’m also a host, so she contacted me on Instagram and told me that they were looking for a new host at Univision, so I applied to the job, and they invited me to audition.
It was a long process divided into four parts. First, I had an interview with a couple of executives from the company. Then I auditioned for their producers doing a teleprompter test. Then I had to host an interview with a topic they gave me five minutes to prepare and finally hosting a commercial segment where I had to pitch a giveaway to the audience.
Getting this job and filling this role has been one of the greatest joys of my life, and now that I have the chance to do it on the biggest platform across the Hispanic market in America, it is an honor. I’m very humbled to have been given this opportunity. By the way, the name of the makeup artist who referred me is Yadira López, and I’ll always be grateful to her.
MM: How do you want your career to evolve over the coming years, and what’s coming up next for you?
PG: First, I’d like to give my best at Univision, which is a beautiful challenge that just came to me. I want to grow there and create amazing content with them. Then, as an actor, I want to work on American productions where Latino characters and stories are more relevant than before. Films like “Roma” and “The Laundromat” and TV shows like “Narcos” or “VIDA” are great examples of what I’m aiming for. Javier Bardem, Gael Garcia Bernal and Benicio del Toro (to name a few) paved the way for Latino actors, and I want to continue their legacy.
I’m keeping as busy as I can. For now, I have a lot of work to do with Univision. I’m working on a script with a filmmaker friend. I’m also hosting a YouTube show & podcast called “CineDharma,” where I talk about film, acting, and interview fellow actors, creators, and artists. They share their journey and the challenges they had to face to be where they are in order to inspire my audience to pursue their dreams no matter what.
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