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  • Herb Jackson Jr

For Carlos PenaVega, Dreams are a Reality—Big Time!

We often hear the phrase, “Living the Dream.” Well, my guest this week is doing just that. As you’ll see in our interview, Carlos PenaVega is teeming with excitement and energy. He’s clearly happy and proud of the life he’s built for himself—and he deserves to be!

As a kid, he participated in school musicals and plays, which is where he began to dream of making it big. By the time he was a teenager, he’d started his career as a commercial actor and worked his way onto popular shows like ER and Judging Amy. Thinking back to those days, Carlos remembers the strangeness of being on set, juggling school and acting. “It was a learning process,” he says, “but it was so much fun.”

Carlos was also part of the renowned boy band Big Time Rush who recorded music, toured the world, and had a reality TV show. This opportunity gave him an amazing amount of exposure! “That’s what set me on my path in my career,” he explains. Funnily enough, Carlos almost didn’t audition for Big Time Rush, feeling at the time that he wasn’t cut out for boy band gigs. “I had just finished a reality show called Making Menudo; they were remaking the Menudo boy band. I got kicked out at number seven or eight—not even close!” Carlos admits he felt bitter and was uninspired to send in a tape for Big Time Rush. However, a close friend convinced him to give it a shot, and, as Carlos says now: “The rest is history. I booked it, which is crazy to me!”

For nearly six years, Carlos and his band mates were together all the time—on set, on tour, and in the studio. They became a family during that time. “We all fought like brothers; we all loved like brothers,” Carlos says. “It was fun.”

Family is the heart of Carlos’ life—it’s the reason he does what he does. His wife, Alexa, is a celebrity performer best known for her role as Carmen Cortez in the Spy Kids film series, and together they have two children. The couple moved their family from L.A. to Hawaii to live a more connected, meaningful life. But they’re still working. I think of Carlos and Alexa as the pillars of the Hallmark channel. They recently released the third installment of the Picture Perfect Mysteriesfranchise, a project they both produce and star in.

“Hallmark is such a great, safe place to work. We love it,” Carlos says. “It never compromises any of our values.” Plus, he gets to bring his family to set. “All the kids are in a big trailer. We come in between shots and we hang out with them. I’m sure once they’re doing schooling we’re going to be… checking their math and doing stuff like that.” It sounds like things have come full circle for Carlos, who used to worry about his own schooling on the set of ER.

Carlos shows us that having a rock-solid foundation is so important to achieving your goals and to living your dreams. Check out the YouTube channel that Carlos and Alexa share to see more about how family and career work together for the PenaVegas.