Catching Up With Jorge López
The Chilean actor starring in Netflix’s Elite speaks on social distancing.
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The first season of Spanish Netflix show Elite was a new pinnacle in streaming, scoring 20 million hits in four weeks according to a company-authored memo. Besides ratings, the memo also provided early proof of the Netflix-star phenomenon—that is, young unknowns acquiring global, virtually overnight fame: Stats showed its stars’ Instagram followings had all soared north of a million that month. Chilean actor Jorge López might have been among that case study, were it not for his pesky intuition. “I was [still on another TV show] when I saw the announcement for [Elite]—I really wanted to screen-test for it, but felt I had to properly close that chapter before starting something new,” he says. Luckily, the universe would reward López for his patience. “When my agent surprised me with the script for Elite Season 2, I knew that Valerio was the role for me.”
López, now Madrid-based, has followed his nose since leaving his winemaking hometown at 17—initially without mom and dad’s blessing. “I was chasing my dream, which my parents saw as an act of rebellion,” says López, who, after fits and starts, would earn a cult following on the Disney soap, Soy Luna. “That [experience] was four years of a beastly work and sacrifice, which I’m still very proud of.”
He continues to capitalize on his rebellious streak via the guilty pleasurability of Elite. The show’s unspared PG-13 content, like Valerio and his half-sister’s incest-lite subplot, only fuels thirst. Besides Lopez’s six-million-plus follower count, his growing stateside presence offers further evidence of the actor’s appeal. At Art Basel Miami last year, López served as a Desigual ambassador, generating content for the brand’s “Love Different” initiative. One photo-opp saw López at the hot-pink threshold of an inflatable, yonic funhouse—suggesting the 28-year-old may share Valerio’s taste for testing taboos.
His apparent go-with-the-flow attitude also informs López’s self-care routine. “Bikram yoga helps me connect with myself; I find it offers many physical and psychological benefits,” he says. Having shot Elite Season 3, dropping in March, López’s next spiritual pit stop may be the yogi capital of the West: “For me, [moving to Los Angeles] would be a next-level challenge,” he tells us. “But it’s not something I obsess over. I am super comfortable in Madrid.” Wherever his yoga mat takes him, López is sure to keep stretching limits.
Since March 2020, we’ve caught up with Lopez during the recent pandemic. “It’s a very hard situation indeed. On one side, the world completely stopped and everyone had to change their way of working. In my case, as the audiovisual industry canceled all the shoots, that meant a huge negative impact financially.”
On the contrary, everything that has aired during this time has had exponential feedback with the rise of entertainment consumption. But for Jorge, the main issue is uncertainty. “At this point, the uncertainty of ‘coming back to the normality’ as nobody knows how things will be managed from here on,” says Lopez.
Despite not being able to work and the anxiety of the uncertainty as to how long this will last, Lopez retains some positive learnings in regard to self-exploration. “I have personally learned to slow down, to relax, and not [become] frustrated from not having every aspect of my life under control,” he explained. “I was actually living frenetically, trying to cope with all the requests coming from the industry, and then finally, a moment of reconsideration of many things came along.”
Just like the planet, he also needed a break from society as well and feels it’s a time of reflection, healing, and peace. Lastly, social distancing in light of the pandemic helped him reinforce his emotional bonds.
However, like many of us, the pain that is separation from the ones we love remains paramount. “Due to the current situation, the only thing I really wish I could do is hug my family again and spend much more than a couple of days with them back home,” Lopez admits.