An Interview with Jesse Borrego

When I was a child, there was no bigger star in my eyes than Jesse Borrego. Jesse joined the cast of the television series Fame in its fourth season. Fame was an amazing television program about students and faculty at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts. You had to be damn talented to be on that show because every week there were intricate new dance numbers, challenging new songs, and dramatic scene work.

Jesse played Mexican-American student Jesse Velasquez for three seasons. His passionate vocal and dance styles resonated with me. I wanted to exude the same confidence and virility that poured off the screen when he performed.

Much like another of my idols, John Travolta, Jesse Borrego was captivating to watch dance because he didn’t lead with his shoulders, he led with his pelvis. Talk about mojo! I knew immediately that I wanted to dance that same way. I’ll tell you what, once I started dancing the way Jesse Borrego did, my dating life got really exciting.

Jesse’s career did not end when Fame went off the air. Far from it. Jesse has been a series regular on 24, Dexter, American Crime, Fear the Walking Dead, and Vida. He has guest starred on such hit series as Miami Vice, China Beach, Married with Children, Chicago Hope, The Magnificent Seven, Touched by an Angel, CSI: Miami, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and ER. His film career includes the iconic Blood In, Blood Out, the Nicholas Cage feature Con Air, and the television movie Tecumseh: The Last Warrior. Most recently he starred in the indie feature Phoenix, Oregon – a winner in the Klamath Independent Film Festival. On stage he has appeared at the Joseph Papp Theater in New York, the Goodman Theater in Chicago, and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. The guy gets around.

If you’ve never seen Blood In, Blood Out, do yourself a favor and buy a copy. I’d tell you to rent it, but once you see it, you’ll want to own it. It follows the life of two Chicano stepbrothers and their biracial cousin in East LA starting in the 1970s. In the film, Jesse gives an award-worthy performance as a talented artist who succumbs to heroin addiction. It also stars Damian Chapa and Benjamin Bratt and is based on the life of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca.

So why this trip down memory lane regarding the career accomplishments of the great Jesse Borrego? Let me tell you!

On Friday, January 22, for my radio show It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee I will have the tremendous honor of interviewing Jesse Borrego. We will talk about how he got his start in the business, the various roles he has played over the course of his career, and the fantastic work he does with youth and independent film.

It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee featuring my interview with Jesse Borrego airs on Friday January 22, at 3 PM Central on 101.5 FM in the northern Chicagoland area, those outside the broadcast area can easily listen online by going to and clicking on the “Listen Live” graphic.

Once the interview has aired, you’ll also be able to listen to it as a podcast. Visit:

When stars take time out of their lives to share their knowledge and expertise with me and my listeners, it really means a lot to me. People like Jesse Borrego embody everything good about the entertainment business.

I hope you will listen in on my interview with Jesse. He’s a really cool guy. Not only is Jesse  very knowledgeable, he is also committed to sharing that knowledge with others. Plain and simple, Jesse Borrego is a class act.

Peace. Love. Trust.

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