EDINBURG — University of Texas-Pan American alumnus and Hollywood actor Valente Rodriguez paid a special visit to UTPA students Wednesday (Feb. 4), sharing his experiences and discussing opportunities for Hispanic actors in Hollywood.
Rodriguez addressed a full auditorium of students in the Communications Arts and Science Building, advising them on the different entertainment careers available in Hollywood.
“The entertainment business has grown amazingly,” Rodriguez said. “We are all going to be seeing a lot of Spanish work develop in Hollywood within the next 15 years, so you need to know how to speak Spanish.”
Rodriguez also addressed his own difficulty in pursuing an education.
“I was born in Edcouch on a kitchen table,” Rodriguez said. “My first language was Spanish, and because of that I was left behind a bit in school.”
Rodriguez said he had to take several remedial courses in English and mathematics to catch up.
“But let me tell you something, those classes work,” he said. “ I didn’t want to be poor anymore, and that was my motivation to get through school. Pan Am gave me a chance, and I took it and it paid off. Don’t be afraid to set high goals for yourself.”
“We are living in an age when you can make a living at whatever it is you want to do,” Rodriguez said. “If it’s your passion, just do it no matter what it is. If you love what you are doing, you’ll get very good at it, and people will take notice of that. But remember, if you want something, you’ve got to work hard for it.”
Rodriguez has performed in a number of films including “Roosters” (1993), “Guy” (1996), “The Big Squeeze” (1996), “The Rich Man’s Wife” (1996) and “Volcano” (1997), and he will be making a special guest appearance on an episode of the television series “The X-Files” scheduled to air in February.