Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Jane The Virgin’s Jaime Camil on TGI Fridays, Oprah, and medical waste

Camil with co-star Gina Rodriguez
Camil with co-star Gina Rodriguez

In 11 Questions, The A.V. Club asks interesting people 11 interesting questions—and then asks them to suggest one for our next interviewee.


Though Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez has been dubbed Jane The Virgin’s breakout star, viewers know the show’s real scene-stealer is Jaime Camil’s Rogelio De La Vega. Jane Villanueva’s newly discovered dad is the show’s most over-the-top character, something that says a lot considering that Jane is already based on a pretty insane premise, and Camil’s portrayal of the self-centered telenovela star is both spot-on and insanely charming. A multi-faceted performer who has released albums and appeared on Broadway, Camil splits his time between Los Angeles and Mexico City.

1. What’s the worst job you ever had?

Jaime Camil: The worst job I ever had was when I had to try to sell a service for medical waste treatment.

The A.V. Club: Did you go to doctors’ offices or hospitals?

JC: Yeah, to hospitals. “Hey, how are you? Do you have legs or arms? If you have amputees, we can throw them here.” Oh my God, it was just so not fun. Not fun at all.

AVC: How long did you do it?

JC: I did it for quite a while, actually. Probably a year or something.

But it was in Mexico, so it sucked. Here, you have the EPA and the regulations and whatever, so if a company does not comply with the law, then they cannot provide the service. So the hospitals need to go with the best company. We were representing the best medical waste company in the U.S. in Mexico. The problem was that another company that wasn’t approved by the EPA bribed the guy from the hospital, or they took the guy to a strip joint or whatever, and he signed the contract. And I was like, “What is this? We have the best technology out there, and, for some reason, it’s not working out.” All around, it wasn’t a fun job. For sure.


And now I’m going to be forbidden from going into my country for these remarks. I’m going to be banned.

2. When did you first feel successful?

JC: I don’t know if I felt successful, but I did feel a difference in my career, or in how people perceive me, or how people reacted on the street right after I did the Mexican version of Ugly Betty. That show was a complete success, thank God. It broke historical ratings records in Mexico and also the U.S. I don’t know—that show just had a beautiful star above it. And it definitely translated into what happened to my career afterwards.

3. If you were a supervillain, what would your master plan be?

JC: This is tough, but you know what? I wouldn’t go to the worldwide scenario; I would stay local. This is going to sound like a supervillain and hero at the same time, but my superpower would be to always provide my kids—my beautiful daughter and my beautiful son—with the best advice possible. And try to do it always with love and try to make them supervillains as well for this task, which is be a good but evil human being.


I don’t know, the villain doesn’t quite apply, right? But I think my plan would be to guide my kids and be the best dad that I can. But I guess it does apply, because, in Despicable Me, it’s kind of like the same storyline, right?

4. What were you like as a kid?

JC: I was very active. Very hyperactive and excited. So my mom told me one time that we were doing an Acapulco trip by plane, and I was the classic kid who ran from the bathrooms to the cockpit of the plane, like, “Boom! Boom!” The classic kid where you’re like, “Dude! I love that kid, but, please, for the love of God!” So my mom told me that she gave me one quarter of a Valium to be calm. And it didn’t really help me out, because now I’m crazy, and I’m even more hyperactive! So I think that my mom was trying to be nice to the passengers but made some damage in my brain.


5. Who was your celebrity crush when you were younger?

JC: When I was way younger, probably—what was the name of the classic blonde on the poster? Heather Locklear? Probably Heather Locklear. Which, by this fact, I’m giving away my age, 41. Which, I don’t care. [Laughs.] But yes. It was definitely Heather Locklear. For sure.


6. If you had an entrance song, what would it be?

JC: I’ve always been a fan of Five For Fighting’s song “Superman.” It’s like an anthem, and I love it. But now recently I heard one, a rap song, that’s like, “Every time I win, and keep your hands up, keep your hands up.” What was that song—have you heard of it?


AVC: That’s DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win.”

JC: I think that’s the song I would like to walk in to on a talk show or, if I was a boxer, into a boxing ring. That song is kind of cool now.

7. What have you done so far today?

JC: I woke up, I gave my daughter breakfast—which, I love giving her breakfast and taking her to school, that’s my happy of the day—just being able to take her to school, pick her up from school, maybe take her to swimming classes. So, sure enough, I gave her breakfast, I took her to school, and this is my third interview, and I’m on my way to the gym.


AVC: Do you guys shoot in Miami or in L.A.?

JC: Praise the Lord, we shoot in Manhattan Beach. We don’t have to go coast to coast or we don’t have to go to Toronto or Vancouver, you know? We are very privileged to be shooting in Los Angeles. And whatever a colleague bitches about “Oh, Manhattan Beach,” I’m like, “Dude! You could be flying to Toronto, so be happy.” Be happy that you only have to drive 30, 40 minutes, right?


8. What other celebrities have you been mistaken for?

JC: Probably this Latin singer Chayanne. Sometimes people are like, “Oh!” And I’m like, “No.” But it hasn’t happened for a while. Thank God now I have a powerful enough personality to not be mistaken, but, back in the day like a couple of years ago, they thought I was Chayanne, this Latin singer.


AVC: Is that flattering or unflattering? Do you like Chayanne?

JC: I’d rather take the Fifth. I’d rather not mess with that. I mean, he’s very successful. He’s from Puerto Rico and from a classic generation, like Ricky Martin or those other singers.


9. If you had to find another line of work, what skills would you put on your resume?

JC: I love marketing a lot, and I’m very creative when it comes to developing ideas for shows or publicity campaigns. I was the spokescelebrity for many brands in Latin America and pretty much I write the storyboard of how the commercial will be. I write the script and I write the storyboard, and kind of, like, lay out the campaign. I love being creative and just coming up with stuff.


But I would probably take the route of committing suicide and get reborn as an actor again.

AVC: Really, you couldn’t do it? No office jobs for you?

JC: Yes, I could, but I probably wouldn’t be very happy about it.

10. Do you collect anything? If so, what and why?

JC: I think the best thing that I collect is memories. I love traveling, I love remembering stuff, my family, my daughter, my wife. I just love collecting memories of my trips, my experiences. And I think that’s it. I’m not very glued to material stuff.


AVC: I believe Oprah said this, but basically, experts say the best way to use your money is by spending it on experiences rather than things. Rather than buying a couch, you should take a trip to Europe. That’s the stuff you’ll remember, especially with kids.

JC: Definitely. I agree 100 percent with Oprah, who I happen to know, and she’s a good friend. But I definitely agree with her. Yes, yes. Memories are best. And experiences, and trips, and travels. That’s the thing.


Of course, if you live in Los Angeles, you have to drive a nice car, blah blah blah, but no—I would lean more into the memories and experiences, yes.

11. What would your last meal be?

JC: Well, right now, I would tell you that it would be this: At TGI Friday’s, they have this amazing barbecue with Jack Daniel’s-infused baby back ribs. Have you tried them?


AVC: No, I haven’t.

JC: I will tell you this much. God himself comes down with his ribs from heaven, and he distributes them to the TGI Friday’s. And that’s how they get them.


AVC: Would you want anything on the side, or dessert or anything?

JC: There is a place in Los Angeles next to The Grove. I cannot remember the name. But they have this dessert that is a huge brownie with an even bigger amount of vanilla ice cream on top and then a hot chocolate thing on top with caramel. And everything comes down, like a fricking volcano, into the brownie, and it’s just—when God finishes delivering the baby back ribs to the TGI Friday’s, he goes up to heaven again real quick, and brings down this brownie dessert for this restaurant.


Bonus question from The Lucas Brothers: If you were a professional wrestler, what would your gimmick be, and why?

JC: My gimmick would probably be that I’m like this Krav Maga expert where I tear off just a tiny portion of my opponent’s ear, and I make him faint, like “UH!” Like that. Just like, “UH!” Like a tiny movement from my hand into his or her ear and they’re gone!


AVC: What do you want to ask the next person?

JC: Oh, my god, let me think about it. Do you know who you’re going to interview or where they’re going to be located?


AVC: It’s an actor, and they’re in L.A.

JC: What do you do in your car when you’re stuck in horrible L.A. traffic?

AVC: What do you do?

JC: I just blast off Pharrell’s “Happy” song. In L.A. you have time to hear it at least 25 times before you reach your destination. So I just get a dose of “Happy” Pharrell 25 times until I reach my destination. And of course I sing out loud, and I dance and people stare at me, but, you know, whatever. This is L.A., there are way more crazy people out here than me.