Jaci Velasquez is trying out Hollywood. Not surprising since she longed as a little girl to be a Navy pilot like Tom Cruise’s character in the movie “Top Gun.” Starring in a romantic comedy tentatively titled “Papi Chulo,” this 2000 DOVE Award Female Artist of the Year is expanding her portfolio to include acting. Always quick to laugh and keep the mood light, Velasquez confides that if she could change places with anyone it would be TV and film actress Jennifer Aniston. After all, Aniston is married to Brad Pitt, isn’t she? Although the 22-year-old Texas girl is enjoying her movie role as the daughter of a European diplomat, she says making Christian music is her first love, and her main priority. She feels led by God to reach people with her music, believing that her style of R&B music attracts fans who may not know Jesus.

CMP: What is your role in the movie, “Papi Chulo”?

Jaci: “Papi Chulo” is just a working title. It’s a romantic comedy, not a Christian film. It’s about this guy who has three girlfriends, and they find out about each other by chance. We want to make him choose between the three of us. It’s a comedy of errors. I play a snobby, wealthy New Yorker, who is the daughter of a Spanish diplomat.

CMP: You have recorded several Spanish-language albums in recent years. How has being Latina helped or hindered you in Christian music? And how are Latin audiences responding to your music and its message?

Jaci: Being Latina in Christian music has helped me in every way possible. I have never felt like it was an issue. The Latin industry has been so open. It’s so funny, because the parents buy my records for their little girls hoping that their kid will suddenly decide, “Yeah, I want to be like that.” When parents see me in an interview they say “Oh, she’s the little 22-year-old virgin singer.” They know they’re not going to hear anything bad from me. Suddenly, I’m OK.

CMP: What do you think is special about your music? Why do you think people connect with your songs?

Jaci: There is so much R&B music in the world – in pop music, not in Christian music. Rhythm & Blues fans who don’t know God, but who like my music can listen to my songs. My music is an alternative to what is on the radio, because it always has a bit of Latin flavor. So, it makes you feel something a bit differently than other genres of music.

CMP: Now that you have acquired so much notoriety and fame, what would you want to do if you were not a music artist?

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Jaci: I love doing people’s makeup. So, I would want to be a makeup artist. Truthfully, I don’t love to be in front of the camera. I’m good at it, and I have the ability to put a smile on when necessary, but the truth is, I love photography and doing people’s makeup. I love children, taking black and white pictures of children.

CMP: What would you say is your most unusual or unique talent?

Jaci: My fingers are double-jointed. I can bend them all the way to the back of my hand. It’s pretty disgusting! My mother says it’s because of a calcium deficiency, but I don’t know.

CMP: You have sold millions of records, but what would you like to be remembered for?

Jaci: When I was young, I made a lot of mistakes thinking that people would understand me if I let them see the real me right away. Sometimes people don’t really understand someone’s humor and personality – that they’re just playing. I want to be remembered as a nice person. I want people to say, “You know what? That girl was so funny. She made me laugh.”

Copyright © 2004 Christian Music Planet, used with permission.

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