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Latin Times EXCLUSIVE Interview with Actress Ivonne Coll, one of the first Puerto Rican actresses to cross over from the Latin world to Hollywood.

Latin Times Interview with Actress Ivonne Coll,

one of the first Puerto Rican actresses to cross over from the Latin world to Hollywood.

By: Victor A. Padilla



Latin Times: Ivonne, please tell us about your family and where you come from.

Ivonne: First I want to say “Saludos para todo mi gente!”  I am Puerto Rican.  My mother was Rosita Mendoza, a very famous award winning hair stylist and Platform Artist back in the 60’s and 70’s.  She was a teacher to new hairstylists and came out of the mountains of Calle.  At age 9 she got on a bus to the next town over, “Caguas” to get Coffee in a little Café y un señor le dice, “Que hace una niña linda esta hora de la mañana por aqui?” My mother replied “Buscando trabajo, Señor” Y el senor le pregunta, “Usted sabes cuidad niños?” Mi mama no quieria nada de eso, pero dijo “Si”. The man and his wife were Venezuelans and owned a beauty salon where my mother began working and learning about being a hairstylist at the age of 12.

My father didn’t raise us because my parents were divorced when I was two years old. So I didn’t see him after that. We stayed in Puerto Rico and he went to New York.  In 1988, I had come back home from filming up in New York, and I ran into my father at Las Plaza Americas in Puerto Rico. We established our relationship and I was able to meet my brothers who are all wonderful.

Latin Times: What inspired you to become an Actress?

Ivonne: I was cast in the God Father 2 at the age of twenty-two.  I was a singer named Yolanda from Cuba, when Francis Coppola came to Puerto Rico to find places for filming.   One day I went on location and Al Pacino was there. I had never seen Pacino in my life and they were doing the scene where Michael gives Fredo a Sicilian Kiss. When I saw that scene I said to myself, “I want to be an actor.” It inspired me because it was an extraordinary scene. I saw Al Pacino later at the Actor’s studio and he remembered me from the Cuban Scenes in God Father 2 and he said, “Well you’re in the right place if you’re here to be an actress.”


Latin Times: Tell us about Jane the Virgin?

Ivonne: I am currently working on Jane the Virgin in its third season where I play Jane’s (Actress Gina Rodriguez) grandmother which I am proud to have the part.  I am also training with the Director on Jane, shadowing her to learn producing.


Latin Times: What is your favorite Latin Food and how do you like your Cuban Sandwich?

Ivonne: I like Cuban Sandwiches, but what I love is Asopado with some mofonguito adentro. MMMM.


Latin Times: Are you working on any upcoming projects?

Ivonne: YES, I am producing a short film, that I am also acting in. This film is about an undocumented immigrant woman.  This will show the other face of the coin where I am not playing an abuela. I am going to put it in the film festivals. It’s a 10-minute short, so let’s see what happens!


Latin Times: You love your native Puerto Rico, why?

Ivonne: I go to Puerto Rico to see my sister and to take care of my mother’s house.  I fix a lot of things at the house so I’m able to contribute to the local workforce and give someone work. I was going to retire before Jane the Virgin but, here I am.

Puerto Ricans are reinventing themselves and there is a new wave of young farmers that are growing food and selling it at the farmer’s market. Another young group that invented growing food without water through compose. One group invented a way to get electricity to everyone and it would only cost the government eight cents a day. The Puerto Ricans that are staying, struggling, despite the conditions are patriots of the Island. Puerto Ricans must reinvest in Puerto Rico, it should be an obligation.

MissPRNationalCostume MissUniverse67Latin Times: Who in your life has been your hero and inspiration?

Ivonne: My mother, I go no further, my hero, my inspiration, and it’s very hard now that she is gone, because I have to remind myself she is not here, but she is my devotion and my Puerto Rico, an incredible race of people. Hasta el Aguacate.




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