Los Angeles – As if he weren’t busy enough, actor and “Extra” TV Host Mario Lopez is now also part of a national initiative looking to promote school attendance – he has partnered with Box Tops for Education for their “Don’t Be Absent from School” campaign.
The program, founded by General Mills 20 years ago, has raised more than $780 million to help schools with their specific needs.
“[They provide] art supplies, basic essentials, pens, papers, computers, whatever schools need,” he said. “We want to keep it going.”
Reminiscing about his own school experience, Lopez said he was more than just a popular jock like the one he played on the popular television show "Saved by The Bell" (1989-1992). He was a bit more well-rounded at his alma mater, Chula Vista High School, said 42-year-old Lopez.
“I was in the arts, in the drama program, I was also wrestling, so I was kind of a jock and a theatre kid at the same time,” he added.
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From a young age, Lopez juggled work and school. He started when he was 11 years old on the kids’ musical show “Kids Incorporated." And now, as a father, Lopez said he’s instilling that same work ethic in his children Gia, 6, and Nico, 3.
Daughter Gia, he said, is already dabbling in acting and other showbiz.
“She’s doing 'Elena of Avalor,’ playing a voice, she plays Estrella, one of the little jaguar characters that protects Elena," Lopez said. "She’s also doing a lot of stuff with me with 'Extra' - red carpets interviewing all kinds of stars - and she also does movie reviews for my radio show.”
Another of Lopez’s big projects this year is the upcoming launch of his own YouTube channel, which he said will have content that represents his brand, “family, faith, food and fitness, all the F’s and some pop culture stuff, along those lines,” he said.
The host, actor, producer and writer has been representing Latinos in the entertainment industry for more than 30 years, and has no plans of stopping in the digital realm.
“As I’ve gotten older, you sort of take on those responsibilities, but (…) I'm proud of my culture, my community and I want to represent us in the best way I can and try to provide some motivation for other young kids like me out there," he said.
Lopez said he’s looking forward to voting in November and, although he keeps his political beliefs mum, he doesn’t totally rule out going into politics himself.
"I find it fascinating especially this year, and it is something [I will do] later on perhaps, at least at a certain level,” he said. “It’s something that's always intrigued me."
Naibe Reynoso is a freelance reporter from Los Angeles, California. Follow her @naibereynoso