Aaron Diaz knows a good role when he sees one.
Which is why he’s returning to Spanish-language television to play Ricardo Calderon in Telemundo’s Betty En NY, a reimagining of Yo Soy Betty, la fea (Ugly Betty), after the cancellation of ABC’s Quantico in May.
Calderon is Vice President of Business Development at V&M Fashion and is described as judgmental and superficial. His main goals in life are to bed beautiful women, adding them to his long list of conquests. Things get complicated for him, however, once Betty (played by newcomer Elyfer Torres) joins the company.
The Mexican-born actor admits he’s excited to return to his roots, especially since the “bad guy” role was too exciting to turn down.
“Ricardo manipulates everybody,” Diaz said about his vain and metrosexual character on Betty En NY. “There’s no other way for me to describe him than by saying he’s a total asshole. He gets away with a lot at work because he’s best friends with the owner. He’s a master manipulator and it’s been a really fun role to portray.”
Diaz admits it’s the right time to bring to light the “Ricardo Calderons” in the corporate world, especially during the #MeToo” era. Calderon has a lot to learn, and hopefully by the end of the scripted series he will have changed his ways.
“This character is a little tricky because we’re living in an era where a lot of things are delicate,” the father-of-two explained. “There’s a lot of stuff that he does and says that is not correct. So what do you do? You have to go all out and show he’s kind of a cliche, almost. Everyone watching will say, ‘This guy is such an asshole!’ Everyone knows he’s wrong. That’s just the kind of character he is.
I hope people will see some of his good qualities, he’s very charismatic. But everything he says is just so politically incorrect. These type of people really exist. I had some issues playing him at certain points where I’d try to play him without being so harsh but I just can’t. In order for a character like this to work, is that he’s played exactly as he is written so people can see him for exactly the person he is.
Diaz was elated to accept this role because it’s like none other he’s played before. Sometimes, audiences need a bad guy like Calderon so that viewers can learn about themselves, if the shoe fits.
“He’s a character like none other I’ve ever played and I like that,” he shared excitedly. “I’m ok with people not liking Ricardo because people like him exist. I don’t know how the story ends yet, but I really hope he redeems himself by the end. He has to realize at some how ridiculous he is and he decides to grow up.”
The longtime actor is pleased with how Hollywood is evolving, with more and more audiences watching Spanish-language content. Today, he doesn’t have to pick between working only in the general market but can continue to pick projects that he enjoys, regardless of language.
“Things have definitely changed during my 16-year career in television,” he said. “I naturally started working in the Spanish-language market as a Latino, but it could’ve happened the opposite way for me too. My mom is American and my father is Mexican. I grew up in Northern California since the age of 14.
But with me finding success in the Hispanic market, I will never abandon this audience that supported me. I can’t go away [to the general market], disappear and never come back. So even when I take on projects like Quantico, I’ll always come back to my core audience.
Especially, when it’s a project like this that has such strong female roles. I’m the father of two girls and I was raised surrounded by strong women and continue to be surrounded by them— I have my mom, my sister, my wife, and my grandmother. I’m a very proud feminist and support them in every way.
There’s nothing more beautiful than a female and we have to respect and empower them.”
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