He stole scenes as the lispy foreign exchange student Fez for eight years in That ‘70s Show, where he would become lifelong friends with hunky Ashton Kutcher. Now Wilmer Valderrama has his hands in many pots; acting, producing television shows, working on music and next Thursday he will be the master of ceremonies for Univision’s Premios Juventud, a Spanish language awards show that is part Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards and part MTV Music Awards with a line up of live performances by hot acts like Pitbull, Flo Rida and Juanes. Wilmer fills us in on what kind of host he plans to be (one with super powers!); his album, which is due out in the fall, and the many reasons Wikipedia is an unreliable source of information.
How did you get enlisted to host Premios Juventud?
I’ve done all kinds of awards shows like the Latin Grammys, Premio Lo Nuestro, Premios Juventud, before. I’ve been part of the Latin community for a while so I think was a very organic thing and they ask me a couple of months ago and I said it sounds like a blast. I do a lot of stuff in Spanish. I’m fully bilingual. Spanish was my first language. It was very natural me to accept a fun challenge like this.
Are you nervous about holding court for several hours exclusively in Spanish?
No biggie at all, I’m probably more Latino than any other Latino in Hollywood. I’m half Colombian, half Venezuelan, raised in Venezuela, born in Miami. I’m more excited to meet everyone that’s going to be on the show. It’s been very well developed. I’m excited more than anything.
Talk to me about your music project in Spanish?
It’s a fun new chapter for me. I’m really excited to express myself and sing about the things I’ve learned throughout my journey. It’s a very personal project. It’s one for my fans, and for my fans in Latin America. They receive me so wonderfully in Latin America that I wanted to do something for my fans. I’ve been singing and dancing since I was six years old but acting just happened to take off before.
How would you describe the music?
With these amazing producers I’m working with, we’ve created almost a new genre; it’s not pop, it’s not urban, it’s not electronic, it’s not dance but it has elements from all of the above. For me, Latin percussion is very important. I would say it’s more of storytelling, cinematic feel to the songs and the music.
Who are your favorite Latin artists?
I love Camila. They have done a really amazing job of combining our roots and making a mainstream sound. I love Fanny Lu and Juanes, how they stay true to their Colombian roots but still created a fun pop rock. Juanes is a friend of mine and I’m excited for his live album. I’m a huge student of the Supernatural album of Carlos Santana, with how he was able to get all these amazing urban sounds with pop and rock and the guitar.
The Premios Juventud is going to open with animation that turns you into a superhero. What super powers do you think your animated super hero should have?
Right now I know for a fact he’s got super strength, he’s got X-ray vision. He’s got heat laser eye contact. He can read thoughts, I tell you that there’s going to be some interesting things because I might be reading the thoughts of some presenters and audience members. I definitely can fly. I think all Latinos should fly at some point. I’m very excited because we are just having fun with the theme. I’m probably going to be taking the super powers thing a little more seriously.
Which one of the performers are you most excited to see?
You know what, I’m really excited about Frankie J. He’s someone that’s been through a lot and gone through really tough journey. I’m excited to see him up on stage. He has one of the best voices. I’m going to be not only a fan, but I’m going to be really rooting for him. I really believe in Frankie J and I think he’s about to do something very exciting.
Can you fill us in on any surprises the show may have?
I already told you that I’m going to be taking the super hero thing very seriously. Definitely expect something or someone fly. Definitely you’re going to see someone’s super powers throughout the show. It might be me or it might be me.
Do you still keep in touch with That ‘70s show alums?
We were a family and we still are. We very much supported one another through all the years. Back in 1998 when we first started we were all we had, we were very green. It’s fun to be able to say we have people around that really relate to the specific journey we went through.
Your friend Ashton Kutcher has become quite the tech investor. Does he ever give you any tips on good start ups?
Ashton and I are best friends, he’s my brother. He’s definitely smart when it comes to technology stuff. We exchange wisdom on a number of different platforms.
Was it ever established what country your character Fez on That ‘70s Show was from?
If you ask me he’s either an alien or he’s Canadian. We never actually announced it. We felt like Fez was for the world. We just kept him like one of those characters that made people laugh universally.
You produced a show called Yo Momma on MTV that took the yo mamma joke to new heights. Do you think that kind of a program would ever work in Spanish?
Yo Momma has played in Latin America. I think people understand the concept of just clowning. But let’s not get it twisted, Latin America has their own version of talking smack. We’ve mastered the art of comically talking (s-word) about someone.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you get back to Miami?
I love going to a little Cuban café on Lincoln Road. I love going to the beach, taking boats out. That’s stuff I don’t do in L.A. When I go to Miami it’s all about going to the beach. To be honest, one of the things I love to do most, and you may know because the paparazzi always catch me, is to go running on the boardwalk.
Are you bringing any particular lady with you?
Ha ha! No, no surprises like that. A few buddies are going to meet me and a couple of musician friends are going to meet me out there.
So you’re not going to bring Minka Kelly to Miami?
First of all, that’s not even true!
But I read it on Wikipedia, so it must be true!
Everything that’s on Wikipedia is not true. I’m also 5’9 and Wikipedia says I’m 5’8!