Alejandro de Hoyos boasts a hefty resume on the big screen and as an entrepreneur.
“The Latino James Bond,” a moniker he earned due to his resemblance to the secret agent, has more than 20 film credits to his name, owns real estate, construction and other businesses.
His movie credits include ‘The Contractor,’ Netflix's "I Think You Should Leave" with SNL Alum Tim Robinson, ‘Free Dead or Alive,’ and, an upcoming film, ‘The Man from Toronto,’ which stars Ellen Barkin, Woody Harrelson and Kevin Hart.
His acting career blossomed in his 30s while his life as an entrepreneur flourished. Despite the success, even in his late 50s, de Hoyos continues to grind like a rookie working his way toward stardom.
“What motivates me? The desire to continue growing,” de Hoyos said. “It’s not that you’re not thankful for what you have, but you can be successful not just financially, but doing what you want to do.”
He said assisting young Hispanic men and women with their careers also motivates him to continue to thrive in life.
de Hoyos will speak at ¡La Vida! on Aug. 27, which takes place from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. at The Country Club of Colorado at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. Ahead of the event, he spoke with the Southeast Express on his career and his ambitions.
What about ¡La Vida! made you say, “I have to be here?”
It’s about the community and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce community. Not that if it were a different nationality I wouldn’t be interested. It’s always good to support what they’re doing. As Hispanics, if we unite more then we’ll be a lot stronger especially in this type of environment – film, TV, production, etc.
How do you hope to show the Latinx community in Colorado Springs that they have different options as far as work?
I’m a businessman, so we’ll discuss how someone who came to this country in his 20s created nine different businesses. Some have failed and some have succeeded but just the fact that we can talk about that from not just a Hispanic point of view, but from an immigrant point of view is something people will be interested in. That and the fact I’m working as an actor now. I started [acting] in my 30s and for a while I was doing it on the side because I was growing my companies and family. Now that I’m a little more established with those things, I’m working a lot more as an actor.
As an immigrant on top of starting when you did, how vital is that background to show people you don’t have to fit a certain mold?
As an actor, I always hear stuff like, they didn’t hire me because they gave the work to white people. Then I talk to white friends and they’re like they’re giving parts to Hispanics or African Americans. You’re going to find competition no matter what. You just have to keep trying. You have to continue working on your craft no matter what it is: business, acting or teaching, anything.
Working on your craft, what does that look like from your perspective?
If it’s about acting, I have friends who are actors and they’re frustrated they’re not getting ahead. Then I ask if they’re in a class and they say, “Oh, no I don’t take classes anymore.” I know they’re good but any of the big basketball players or boxers continue to train. They don’t get in the ring and fight without preparing. I’d say the same thing to anyone like an actor, businessman, teacher: train. You have to do your homework and stay active in whatever you’re trying to do. It’s easy to become disappointed because success doesn’t come easily. If you’re working on something and trying every day, then you’re already successful because you’re going for it.
How did the business aspect of your life begin?
That’s life, life sends things your way and you either take those things or you don’t. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to have my own money and do my own businesses. I was doing martial arts tournaments and things. You start with one business and something seems interesting and you’re like, “This will be good, too.” To be an entrepreneur you have to be a little crazy and take a lot of risks. If you fail and close a business and open another, that’s how you continue. It gets to a point where you say, If I have a restaurant but the restaurant goes under, what if I’m doing real estate at the same time. You diversify. … For me to discover what I really wanted and really liked, I had to go through a lot of businesses and failures. Once you discover what you like you have to go for it.
What was one of the best lessons you learned from one of your failures?
I’ve had so many to be honest. Financially, sometimes you think something is a done deal – there’s no way you’re going to lose money. I invested in something where the [potential] returns were really good. The reality was it was unbelievable because that company went under quickly after I invested all my money and then I lost all my money. It wasn’t much, at the time it was like $25,000 so that’s a considerable amount in your 20s. Whatever looks easy and simple, it’s not. Think about babies and how many times they try to walk. We forget about those things. A baby tries hundreds of times until it gets up and starts walking. Then it’s like, “Yeah! I knew you could do it.”
You financed your movie ‘The Contractor.’ ($1.2 million budget). During the ¡La Vida! event, how do you hope to highlight that just because someone said no, doesn’t mean that’s the end of the road?
I’ll show them how not to get complacent and say, “Oh, I have the secret and it’s all taken care of.” I still have a company that’s struggling but fortunately the others are doing well so they all help each other. But with the examples of my companies, I think I can convey how some of the businesses work and how you can’t give up and you have to continue working on what you’re trying to accomplish. If they’re kids, I’d suggest figuring out what they like, whether that’s teaching, being a physical therapist or a nurse. Whatever they want, go for it. Nobody can stop you if you know what you want.
In your upcoming film ‘The Man from Toronto,’ you got to work with Ellen Barkin, Woody Harrelson and Kevin Hart. What was that like?
It was an amazing experience. This is what I would love to continue doing with my projects. I get there on the set two weeks into quarantine in Toronto and the first person I see is Patrick Hughes … and then Kevin comes to shake my hand and gives me a hug. At that point I’m like, are we allowed to hug? But everyone on set had been tested so we were safe. Woody was a little more respectful like, “Nice to meet you, sir.” It was an amazing experience, Ellen Barkin, we got along great, Lela Loren was great, it was a great environment, which was surprising for such a big project. Sometimes you hear how some people think they’re celebrities. But we’re all human, I was very pleased that everyone was down to earth. We’re there to work, no one is there goofing around. Yeah, you might play a little during breaks but when it’s time to go, everybody is working. That was an amazing experience. … There’s a photo of us relaxing with Kevin. There’s a bed there and he laid down on it and there we were on the floor just talking. It was fun.
You’ve accomplished so many things at this point. What motivates you to keep going?
I wonder that myself. When people ask me about retirement, I don’t think of retirement. I love the idea of continuing to do films and I love real estate and have a few projects going right now. Remember how I said having different businesses helps you realize what you really like? This made me realize I love construction and creating. Acting and producing are similar to that where you combine the business part with the creative part. You want to train horses? That’s awesome. You want to be the best waiter? If that’s what you do and you’re successful, then that’s awesome. I love the idea of putting Hispanics in a better light. I feel like it’s getting better but, in the past, most of the parts were gangbangers and parts I didn’t want to do. I didn’t really have an agent – I just got an agent a couple of years ago – and before I was just doing commercials, like 200 or so commercials. I feel like I just started my acting career a couple of years ago after the movie I produced. Before I was just acting on the side. I did some commercials, some plays, TV whenever someone recommended me. My career is starting. And now we have the pandemic so my career sort of stopped and now it’s picking up again. In my late 50s I started my acting career in movies and TV.