RBD: So Hot, So Fast
As they juggle an international concert tour with ongoing filming in Mexico City of their daily TV soap opera "Rebelde," the members of best-selling Mexican pop group RBD are living on the run.As they juggle an international concert tour with ongoing filming in Mexico City of their daily TV soap opera "Rebelde," the members of best-selling Mexican pop group RBD are living on the run.
Between the hit show and the tour, the group fits in constant promotional work: autograph signings, award show presentations and other public appearances.
The final episode of "Rebelde" will air in June in Mexico. But a spinoff TV project is already under discussion, with details under wraps.
RBD's six teenage members -- Anahí Puente, Alfonso Herrera, Dulce Maria Espinoza, Christian Chavez, Maité Perroni and Christopher Casillas Von Uckermann -- also expect to begin work on their first feature film, possibly by this summer, and will start recording their first English-language album in October.
Three members of the group grabbed moments on the phone with Billboard just before the 2006 Billboard Latin Music Awards were held on April 27, where RBD's album "Rebelde" received honors for the Latin pop album of the year by a duo or group and the Latin pop album of the year by a new artist.
Speaking in Spanish, they talked about how RBD has changed their lives and what lies ahead. The translations of their replies follow.
What work did each of you do before RBD?
Alfonso Herrera: I was in a project called "Clase 406," which was also produced by ["Rebelde" creator] Pedro Damian. It was also a program for TV. I was practicing on that, more or less. All that was part acting and also trying to be a singer. Also, in some way we also had a group in that TV program. Obviously nothing like the magnitude of RBD or what we have in "Rebelde."
Christopher Uckermann: Before "Rebelde" and RBD I had worked in several children's soap operas on the Televisa network. And when I was very young, I appeared in several commercials.
Maité Perroni: I studied acting for two years at the Center for Artistic Education, which is the school of acting for Televisa. And after two years at that school, I joined this project [through] Pedro Damian.
Why do you think you were chosen for "Rebelde"?
Herrera: Look, I simply appreciate the fact that I was chosen. Obviously it is a very important project. That is why I appreciate Pedro Damian, who took me into consideration. And I am not sure, but I guess they saw something in me, my capabilities, and fortunately, here I am.
Uckermann: I went to the casting call. I had already done other soaps. I actually went three times when they finally chose me for the soap.
Perroni: After the casting call, they called me, and fortunately I became the character of Lupita.
How has your life changed since you joined the cast of "Rebelde" and began performing with RBD?
Herrera: The structure of my life has changed a little. But we no longer have the time that we had, to be with family. Sometimes you can't even spend any time with friends because you are working so hard. You're either on tour or on promotion or suddenly we're taping the soap opera.
So then in some ways, yes, it intensifies the work we have, because you leave areas of your life that you no longer can pay any attention to in those moments. In this moment, it is a time for work and later we will have moments and a place to relax, where you can spend time with your family and your friends.
Uckermann: It has changed a lot, because the other projects I was in had success, but this has been totally crazy.
Perroni: It has definitely changed a lot. It has been an incredible experience, and I have been able to develop myself professionally. Fortunately, I had the luck to be able to begin to work and realize my potential in something that I like to do, and in something I had wanted to do, which was acting. That [this show] became so popular so quick has been incredible.
Can you describe the best part and the worst part of being on "Rebelde" and in RBD?
Herrera: The most beautiful part is the traveling, and getting to know different cultures [and] different types of people [and] to perform in very, very important venues in each country.
Also, knowing that your work is being recognized not only in Mexico but also in different parts of the world. That, to me, gives me a lot of satisfaction. To be able to put Mexico's name in a high place.
Also there is the opposite part, which is not ugly. It is just different. It is not being able to be with your family or your friends. I don't think there is anything more difficult than that.
Uckermann: The best part is that you get to know so many new places. You are always traveling. And you are with your friends, and you are singing, doing what you like. The worst part is the lack of [personal] time. There is no time for anything [else].
Perroni: It has been an incredible experience, because I have definitely learned a lot of things. It has given me the skills to be able to be onstage and the opportunity to be in front of thousands of people, singing and doing what I like to do.
So it is beautiful, to see that, in addition to being with friends and doing what you like to do, to be able to develop yourself and to also enjoy yourself in these incredible moments.
The worst part is the difficult moments when suddenly you are away from your friends and your family, and you can't be close to them because you are working. And sometimes there are birthdays or Mother's Days or some problems at home when you can't be there. So, it becomes a difficult thing.
But at the end of the day, the family understands because they realize that you are fulfilling your potential.
What do you enjoy more, filming the soap opera or performing live?
Herrera: Personally, I enjoy both a lot. RBD complements "Rebelde" the soap, "Rebelde" complements the group. Both are equally important. Both are good. And I think we have to respect both.
Uckermann: I like them both. I think it is 50/50. When you are onstage, you are in front of everybody, they are all screaming and applauding. When you are not onstage, there is no public. There are only the actors, and you make your scene and that is it.
Have you ever wanted to participate in writing songs or arrangements for RBD?
Herrera: As of this moment, I have not come up with anything. I think that at some point, something will come to me and if I want to write something, I will.
Perroni: Well, I would like very much to do that. And maybe in the next project we'll have that opportunity to, I don't know, maybe give some ideas, or create some things for the record, writing our songs and stuff. That would be very nice.
How has being in RBD helped you prepare for future work in film or music?
Herrera: I am not sure. I think that at this moment, I am trying to live the moments we're passing through. In the future, I will see where the future will take me. Of course, in this moment I am enjoying a lot of what we are learning and what they are teaching us in the group.
What I am trying to do right now is simply focus on what is happening right now. Obviously, I would hope there are [future] opportunities.
Uckermann: This is a training that is very thorough because you get to do both -- act and sing. And we have now almost two years of doing this, doing both things -- singing and performing on the weekends and filming the soap opera each day of the week. It has helped me a lot for my future.
Perroni: I think it has been something that has given me very high visibility. I think it has been very important for me, because this is the first project I have been in. It has been a surprise. Imagine, to be studying and then suddenly come out of school and come into a project and quickly realize that it is a project that works really well and that the people really like. It is like, “What a nice gift life has given me, no?" And so this has been something that has given me many benefits.
What else have you learned during your time in the group and the soap opera?
Herrera: It has been a total learning experience in music as much as in theater. They both go hand in hand. At the end of the day, I see it as funny, it is all one big stage play. You know what I mean? Because no matter what problems Alfonso may have, or anyone in RBD has problems, you have to leave it all behind and give your 100% to the public. At a certain point, you are not playing someone when you are on a live stage. Onstage you're simply trying to please the public.
Any career plans for life after "Rebelde" and RBD?
Uckermann: Concrete plans, no. But in the future, yes, I would like to become a solo act or dedicate myself to film work.
I like to do both. But certainly it would not be at the pace we are in with RBD. It will be at a much more relaxed pace.
Perroni: Fortunately, we still have a lot of work. There are still a lot of projects more to do in RBD. And luckily, there is still time before the soap ends. But when that happens, I would like very much to do film work, to do theater. I would like to prepare myself, to keep singing, take singing classes, dance classes.
And well, everything I can still learn, because the more prepared I am, the better my future. So, I think this is about being dedicated and making a hard effort. In the long run, I think we will see the results, and hopefully they will be good.