BOTTLING HIS EMOTION: Fabi�n R�os plays the suave and controlling Tom�s Villamayor in Labour of Love.

In the television landscape, irrespective of country or genre, writers have a penchant for blurring the lines between good and bad. In Telemundo's latest telenovela, Labour of Love, model-turned-actor Fabián Rios finds himself exploring the full gamut as an antagonist while also imbuing his character with some redeeming qualities, writes Debashine Thangevelo.


REMEMBER that scene in Crazy, Stupid, Love when Emma Stone’s character was gobsmacked after Ryan Gosling took off his shirt; revealing a body that looked as if it had been Photoshopped (and needed to be oiled down)?

Well, that’s the kind of effect Fabián Ríos generates – to a degree, of course – when he steps into a room.

Dressed in jeans and a shirt that hugged his sculpted body beautifully, he was great eye-candy for 10 whole minutes.

The Colombian actor has a look that could see him easily oscillate between playing the good and bad guy. And it has served him well in his career in telenovelas.

In this instance, his character Tomás Villamayor isn’t likeable; he is powerful, demanding, controlling and possessive.

Chatting through his translator, he said it had been wonderful working with his co-star Ana Layevska as she was very professional.

Interestingly, the 34-year-old actor studied drama in Bucaramanga, Colombia, but was lured to the modelling sector.

Of his pre-acting journey, he says: “I did a lot of campaigns in Colombia. I really did enjoy cameras, but I was never any good on the catwalk – I am a little introverted. But the cameras helped me lose that shyness. Of course, acting is what I studied and what I love doing. It is what I am passionate about. For me, it goes beyond working. When I act, I play!”

What I admired about Ríos were his heartfelt and well thought-out responses.

In agreement about his character’s odious personality, he says: “Tomás is very authoritarian. He is, as you said, controlling. He always wants to have his way. He is an architect and one of the best in town. He is very strict as well. He comes from an abusive childhood (rationalising his character’s behaviour). I have a lot to inject into this character. There are so many components. I think one of the most interesting and challenging things is the fact that Tomás is an alcoholic. Everything changes, from the way he walks to the way he looks. But I also like to bring in a bit of good.”

On the shoots in Miami and Los Angeles, he shares: “Miami was fantastic. It has the best beach, it has the sun… and lots of parties and happiness. With LA, as soon as you get there, you can breathe art and cinema. It is a city full of mystery for me.”

Although he is still creating his footprint in telenovelas, the actor has been approached to do TV series and movies.

He points out: “At the moment, I’m very concentrated on my telenovelas. I think it is going to be a process where I will consider the offers (one day). In my personal view, you can’t have two or three characters at the same time or do telenovelas and film. Each character deserves the respect of your full attention.”

Level-headed, hot looking and serious about his craft – Ríos will clearly be around for some time.