Many have derided Telemundo productions as the indulgence of lazyhousewives and idle young ladies, but what cannot be denied is the addictive power of these telenovelas. Orignally, from South America, they have captivated audiences, including Nigerians, around the world with themes that mirror real topical issues. Vanessa Obioha recently interracted with David Chocarro, a Telemundo star, who is very much admired for his phenomenal performance

David Chocarro is mostly known by the characters he interprets in different telenovelas. In the 2012 Telemundo production, ‘Behind Closed Doors’ (La casa de al lado), where he played a dual role, he was known as Adolfo and Leonardo. It was the first time the handsome Argentine actor was introduced to the Nigerian audience. In ‘Someone’s Watching You’ (Alguien te mira), his first lead role in Telemundo productions, he was known as Benjamin Morandé, a philandering physician who engaged his sister-in-law and, together with a group of colleagues is pursued by a serial murderer. He would play one of his highly acclaimed role, Diego, in the 2014 telenovela ‘Part of Me’ (En otra piel). Telemundo also featured him in ‘Face of Destiny’ (El rostro de la venganza) where he played Diego/Martin Méndez; and more recently in ‘Iron Rose’ (La Doña), where he plays an attorney, Saúl Aguirre, who is dedicated to defending victims of gender violence and other young women struggling to overcome poverty and unemployment to build a better future.

Telemundo is a media company that produces and distributes Spanish-language content for Hispanic audiences in the United States and around the world. With each telenovela, Chocarro’s popularity grew among his Nigerian audience. Although he claimed he was aware that audiences across Africa watch him on the Telemundo Internacional network, he was however unaware of his growing popularity.

“It is great to find this out, and it makes me very happy,” he wrote in an email to this reporter.
Of course, he was able to connect with some of his fans from Nigeria and other countries in Africa through social media. He disclosed that he would love to visit Nigeria if ever the opportunity comes.
“I like to travel and see new places; it would be a pleasure to visit Nigeria.”

Chocarro easily typifies the conventional telenovela actor. With his enviable physique, the product of a healthy lifestyle and plenty of exercise, Chocarro brought his irresistible charm to the screens. He effortlessly joins the league of Latin American actors like Mario Cimarro of ‘Second Chance’ (El Cuerpo del deseo), and Marcelo Cezán in ‘María de los Ángeles’ who have delighted fans with their beauty, as well as, their talents.

Originally a baseball player, Chocarro was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on April 5, 1980. He began his artistic career in commercials for leading global brands. Modeling naturally led to the opportunity to host television programmes and events such as “Spa de Hombres” and “Top Show” on the international network Utilísima. This c inadvertently opened the door to pursue his true passion, acting.

Chocarro’s early roles were in telenovelas such as ‘Floricienta’, ‘Casi Ángeles’, ‘Amor mío’, ‘Sos mi vida’ and “Malparida’ were not particularly significant. Chocarro’s big break came with Televisa, which cast him in “Los exitosos Pérez.” His performance in this telenovela attracted executives at elemundo and earned him a lead role on the network’s ‘Someone’s Watching You’ (Alguien te mira). Since he joined the network in 2010, Chocarro revealed that the network had helped his career earn international acclaim “I am very grateful to be working with Telemundo as they have always considered me for complex characters. My career has taken greater heights since I first started working with Telemundo. And, I can share that one of my next projects is portraying one of the greatest characters I’ve come across in my life. You will hear about it soon.”

Indeed, the Argentine has always taken up complex roles. For instance, in ‘Behind Closed Doors’ he interpreted a dual role. As Adolfo, he pretended to be his handicapped brother Leornado (himself) whom he and his older brother Gonzalo (Gabriel Porras) harboured a revenge plan against his sister-in-law’s family, the Condes. He described the role as one of the most difficult roles he had ever played.

“I enjoy interpreting characters that are my total opposites, because I have more fun, and it gives me the opportunity to play around a lot more. My character in ‘Behind Closed Doors’ was one of the ones that I’ve enjoyed the most, and one of the most difficult ones to create.”

Already, he has become a favourite in ‘Iron Rose’ (La Doña), currently showing on the Telemundo channel on DStv. His character, Saúl Aguirre is an intriguing and interesting character as he is caught between a mother and daughter who are unknowingly falling in love with him.

Beyond the apparent love story, Chocarro’s character is greatly admired for defending women who have been victims of domestic violence. At a time when domestic violence, majorly against women, is on the rise, his character is easily relatable with his Nigerian audience.

”The thing that stands Saúl Aguirre out in ‘Iron Rose’ is that he is not perfect— he’s far from it. You will see a man who contradicts himself not only in love, but in his values. It is a character very close to reality,“ he wrote of his character.

The 2016 American telenovela written by José Vicente Spataro for the network explored storylines around corruption of the judicial system and the media, gangs, kidnappings and rape, among other crimes. It is based on the life of Altagracia (Aracely Arámbula), a woman who was raped as a teenager. Unfortunately for her, that incident produced a baby girl, Monica (Danna Paola) whom she couldn’t live with because she reminded her of her worst experience.

Altagracia grew to become a woman of wealth and power who treated men like scumbags and used her influence in the most corruptible manner. She also became very vengeful and vowed to deal with the perpetrators of her abuse. Fate will, however, unite her with her daughter after years of separation, when they fall in love with the same man. The novela also features prominent actors like Rebecca Jones, Gabriela Roel, Rafael Sanchez Navarro, Vanessa Restrepo, Andrea Marti among others.

Like most telenovelas, ‘Iron Rose’ addresses the prevalent issues confronting South America. From gender abuse, prostitution, gang rivalry to drug trafficking, most recent Telemundo telenovelas highlight these issues in their storylines. For instance, in ‘Part of Me’ which Chocarro featured, prostitution and gang rivalry was at the heart of the plot. There is also ‘Face of Destiny’ where he played the lead role, a man who was unjustly sent to prison at a young age. Chocarro admitted that these issues are very close to reality.

“Certainly, the topics you mention are real current issues in many of our countries. Several of the series I’ve worked in have created awareness of these issues and started community campaigns.”
He further wrote that the novelas had helped in curbing the crimes.

“Indeed, I think they have an influence on reducing crime rates. As artistes, we have to take advantage of our exposure to raise awareness on important topics. While I do not think that the production or the actors are responsible for educating, we should be able to share and create awareness on a personal level since we have a lot of people following us on social media.” Perhaps, these prevailing issues attracted him to ‘Iron Rose’.

“What I’ve liked most about ‘Iron Rose’ is having the chance to make an impact on society, because this story highlights many real issues. And I could not miss the chance to work with Aracely Arámbula and Danna Paola. This was my first time working with Aracely Arámbula and it has been a great experience. We have learned a lot from each other, and had fun in the process.”

Other notable actors whom Chocarro had worked with include Maritza Rodriguez, Saúl Lisazo, Danna Garcia, Christian Meier, Felicia Mercado, Gabriel Porras, Miguel Varoni, Ximena Duque and Daniel Lugo. Working on this project, however, had its ups and downs. For Chocarro, “The best thing without a doubt is the quality of the production, the casting, the story and the friends I made. The hardest part was that it was filmed in Mexico and I had to travel every week to Miami to see my family.”

His family he said is the best and satisfying gift in his life. He is happily married to Carolina Laursen – an Argentine actress, scriptwriter, producer, model and host. The couple are blessed with two beautiful daughters Allegra and Brigitta. When he is not shuttling between his movie location and home, his family travels with him to wherever he is shooting. This way, he said, his family is kept together and they avoid distant relationship.

Away from telenovelas, Chocarro is also prominent in the theatre world. He owns a theatre company, Chocarro Artistic Corp with offices in Florida, Madrid and Argentina. One of his successful stage features is ‘Casi un cuento,’ which earned him an award for Best Actor. In 2012, he directed his first play, ‘Futurofobia’ written by his wife, Carolina.

“Directing ‘Futurofobia’ was a beautiful experience because the play was written by my wife, Carolina Laursen, and the audiences had a great time. In fact, it has been my wife’s most presented play, with 300 shows in five countries.”

But the most challenging play that fetched him critical acclaim was in the 2015 Josep María Miró production: ‘El Principio de Arquímedes’.

The performance marked a milestone in his professional development, combining a challenging role with his first all nude scene. With a body to die for, we thought the role shouldn’t be laborious. But the Argentine actor disclosed that he didn’t really feel comfortable in his birthday suit.

“Honestly, I was never comfortable doing nude scenes, but my character did it naturally. It was needed in the play, as part of the story. I never thought about doing nudes in theatre, but when I got the script in my hands, I never hesitated to do.”

In addition to his onscreen work, Chocarro is very passionate about healthy living. He recently opened Padel Life Miami, a sports club devoted to promoting healthy lifestyle habits.

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