Telenovela star Angelica Celaya appeared on "Burn Notice" Thursday, marking her English-language TV debut. The Arizona-born actress joins legions of other Latino celebrities like Salma Hayek and William Levy who have successfully made the transition from Spanish programming to the English market.
Celaya, who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, said the transition to an English TV drama was difficult at first because of the change in language. During her 10 years working in Spanish programming, such as "Perro Amor" and "Gabriel," the bilingual Celaya always related to scenes in Spanish, rather than English.
"My head is always going through the scenes in Spanish and I had to change the internal chip to English," Celaya told THR. It was difficult because it was out of my comfort zone. After a number of years working, you know where your voice level is at and you're in control."
Celaya plays Angela Flores, the girlfriend of a Russian engineer, on the USA Network spy drama starring Jeffrey Donovan. As the love interest of a suspected criminal, her position makes her a valuable asset to the CIA.
Despite her English-language crossover, Celaya plans to continue working on Spanish soaps. After all, telenovelas are booming in the U.S., while their American counterparts have seen a decline in viewers.
Miami, where "Burn Notice" is usually filmed, has differentiated itself as the go-to place for telenovela stars. Dubbed the new Latin Tinseltown, estrellas de telenovela have flocked to Florida's glitzy metropolis to film the daily Spanish soaps.
According to The New York Times, Spanish-programming producers spent $40 million on filming in the Miami area in 2011, as compared to $11.5 million in 2009. The dramatic increase in production may be attributed to the influx of shows being filmed in South Florida by Spanish-language heavyweights like Univision and Telemundo, who once shot primarily in Mexico.
Although Celaya's role on "Burn Notice" is not a permanent one -- for now, anyway -- Celaya hopes to branch out in the English market, following in the footsteps of other Latina celebs who made it big in Hollywood after getting their start in telenovelas.
“It’s time to put our faces out there,” Celaya told Fox News Latino. “It’s that moment when Latinos have more presence in media. Latinos are making their point in the arts industry [and] it’s an opportunity. When the opportunity comes, you have to take it.”
Check out the gallery below to see other Latina celebs who have made it to Hollywood.