By ALICIA RANCILIO
NEW YORK - Puerto Rican actress Roselyn Sanchez has found fame using English, her second language.
Sanchez is one of the stars of the new Lifetime series "Devious Maids," from producer Marc Cherry, which airs Sundays on Lifetime (10 p.m. EDT).
The show follows a group of Latina maids who work for wealthy Beverly Hills families but dream of their own success. Like "Desperate Housewives," the first season also features a murder mystery.
Sanchez's character, Carmen Luna, is an extremely ambitious, aspiring singer, who works for a singing superstar. Luna hopes to be discovered for her own career.
"She doesn't think or believe she has no money or is a maid. In her mind she's already a star. ... All her money goes to her wardrobe. She always wants to look fabulous," the 40-year-old actress said in a recent interview.
Sanchez said she had to learn how to play Carmen, make her funny, but not overdo it.
"That was a struggle for me with my character because she's bigger than life. It was finding that line that I'm not playing funny, you know? It's just who she is," she said.
Sanchez has played more dramatic characters, including special agent Elena Delgado on CBS' "Without a Trace." She's appeared in comedies but played the straight character
What helped her prepare for "Devious Maids" was a role in a comedy called "Familia en Venta" for MundoFox.
"It was my first time working in Spanish even though it's my first language, so it's interesting I've made my career in the (United) States in English when I don't speak great English," she laughed. "And God is just incredible because I went to Colombia to do that job that was a real comedy. I learned so much that it was almost like going to school, and it prepared me to tackle `Devious Maids' and be really comfortable with it, so everything happens for a reason."
Sanchez grew up performing. She took ballet when she was 9 and played the piano. She dreamed of performing on Broadway. "To this day, I've done it all but that," she said.
She went to college for three years and then moved to New York, where she landed a role on the soap opera "As the World Turns" while pursuing musical theater.
Her parents were finally at ease with her career choice when she got a role in the 2001 film "Rush Hour 2."
"When the premiere happened in Los Angeles, I flew my family out because it was such a big deal for me, and I think that was the day that it clicked to mom and dad. They looked at it and they were like, `OK, she'll be fine. She'll be fine.' It was really beautiful to see that moment of them accepting finally my choice of leaving Puerto Rico and going to find a future somewhere else, you know?"
Alicia Rancilio covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow her online at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar
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