Actor Pablo Azar is well-known for his work in telenovelas, which are popular with Spanish-speaking audiences around the world, and often set in worlds of luxury and wealth.
But for Azar, the onscreen glamour does not reflect his reality. Actors in Telemundo productions are not protected by SAG-AFTRA, which means they don't get the same pay as they would for English-language programs and they don't get benefits like health insurance, pensions or residuals. For Azar, that meant driving an Uber to supplement his income when he was between acting jobs.
SAG-AFTRA has been working to unionize Telemundo productions, a battle that heated up earlier this year when Telemundo announced it was building a new $250 million production facility in Miami.
The difference between union and non-union work came into sharp focus for Azar when he recently appeared on the TBS show Wrecked, a comedy about a group of people stranded on an island after a plane crash. It was small part, but as a member of SAG-AFTRA, Azar was covered--unlike for much bigger roles on Telemundo shows.
We got Azar on the line in Miami, where he told us more about the challenges of being a Spanish-language actor in America, and why he's not afraid to speak out.