Actress María Elisa Camargo was born December 21, 1985 in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She played the character of María Alegría Pimiento in the Colombian telenovela “La Marca del Deseo”. Her TV debut was during the first season of the reality show The X Factor in Colombia, and now she is the star of Telemundo’s soap opera “En Otra Piel.”

Reflejos reporter Paloma Greer had an exclusive phone interview with her recently. This is an edited excerpt of that interview:

Where you are from originally?

I am from Guayaquil, of Colombian parents. I was born in Ecuador and lived there until 18. Then, I went to Colombia.

When do you discover that you like art and theater?

Since I was very young I organized theater plays in the beach house. We produced “plays” and created things for our parents, so I kind of always liked that, the choreographies and stories. When I started going to school, while on vacations, my parents had me choose a course to get some training and I always chose theater. Let’s say that my natural formation is theater. I played with the concept of art.

About your experience in Colombian television, how did it start and what programs have you participated in?

Well, I started in college doing a show as a presenter. It was a very small show, enough to get me to be independent and give myself a life in Bogotá without asking my parents (for money). But while I was at it, the X Factor started, the “reality show“ in Colombian version. This is when my artistic career officially began. I participated in the singing competition, and because of that, television projects started to emerge for me, mainly musical projects. “Floricienta“ which was the “remake“ of a musical soap opera. I was one of the characters in the musical band of the telenovela. Then, “La Marca del Deseo“ which is the “remake“ of “La Juana“ which was also a Colombian production. We were 5 girls, and no other sang but me. I had to sing all the themes of the soap opera including the main one. These were the projects I did in Colombia, so I had become known as a singer. From there I came to Miami because I was supposedly going to make a musical career, but then that got chopped and I ended up in Mexico.

What does “La Marca Del Deseo” represent in your career?

It was my first lead somehow because we were five protagonists, there was a couple which was the main one in a way, but the five girls were really the protagonists. It was my second project, and I was given this responsibility, an amazing and wonderful thing ... and being able to share my two passions [ ...] be able to sing and act was wonderful for me. It was incredible. We had to film in Santa Marta, a beautiful natural place. It was nice because I’m very much a beach person and having the opportunity to be on the beach acting and dancing was like a dream.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced to conquer the American market?

Well, I’ve had my eye for a while on the Latino audiences in the United States. It drew my attention a lot. I think this audience is people who appreciates one’s work because they closely relate with one as an immigrant, right? So, I set out for it and it has really been (steady) work because with “Porque El Amor Manda”, which was the last soap opera I did with Televisa, I started to get noticed here in the U.S. because it was a very popular telenovela. But really with “Mira Quién Baila” was how I somehow became better known in this market. That was like the biggest challenge, wasn’t it? The theme of dancing and exposing myself to that level out of my “comfort” zone. Doing something which one has not studied, and competition also was the most demanding to me. And obviously, “En Otra Piel” has been the biggest challenge of my (acting) career.

What differences do you see between the Mexican market and the American market in your experience?

When it comes to work and filming it’s quite similar. As for the people who watch it, I say, in the United States I feel a great solidarity from the people who are also here fulfilling a dream. People in Mexico are watching at home. The people in the United States are very grateful because our work is nice for them. It brings a bit of their homeland through these (television) products. It’s a diverse population. I have my heart shared between Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico.

Tell us about the Televisa projects in which you have participated

“Verano De Amor” was very important because it was the first project I did with Televisa. Let’s say, the company that gave me the opportunity to be known in Mexico. The producer, Pedro Damian, was really exciting for me in Verano De Amor. I did not start in the company with a leading role, but a villain. Then I was in “Hasta Que El Dinero Nos Separe”, in which I had a small role but with which I made myself known. Then I participated in “Llena De Amor” which is a comedy, and I’m happy doing comedy. What enriched me the most as an actress was “Porque El Amor Manda” because that role marked me a lot, it gave me a lot of freedom, and I could be creative and it’s where I felt the love of the people the most.

What can you tell us about your latest project, “En Otra Piel“?

En Otra Piel is the biggest challenge of my acting career. It has been one of the most surreal roles as an actress for having to deal with a paranormal theme. Also, acting alongside Laura Flores, who does her role so beautifully. Filling those shoes and obviously interpreting situations that no one can really tell you what they’re like, that part has been the challenge.

Finally, what message would you give to young Hispanics here in the U.S. and to our readers of Reflejos?

I think we’re all together in this thing of leaving our countries and our roots to go elsewhere to fulfill dreams and we must appreciate the courage they’ve had, to continue going forward, to continue to persevere. I believe that Latinos are playing a very important role here in the United States and we must continue like this. And to the readers of Reflejos, to not miss a chapter of “En Otra Piel,“ it’s going to get much better. The story will give 10,000 spins, I assure you that you will not get bored. It will be intense.