“Dynasty” Star Rafael de la Fuente Shares His Secret Guide To L.A. & Atlanta

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Rafael De La Fuente is a man on the move. The Venezuela-born actor and singer splits his time between Los Angeles and Atlanta, where he can be seen as ‘Sam ‘Sammy Joe’ Flores’ in the CW reboot of “Dynasty.” We chatted with the star—who’s also known for playing Michael Sanchez, Jussie Smollett’s love interest on Fox’s “Empire” and Ricardo Canto on ABC’s “When We Rise,” about his top spots in each city, bringing “Dynasty” back in a current, cool way, and how he brings a little bit of Venezuela into everything that he does.

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What are your favorite places to eat, stay, play and shop in both Los Angeles and Atlanta?

Los Angeles

Bestia, Sugarfish, Craig’s, Gracias Madre are some of my favorite places. Saltair in Abbot Kinney is hands down my favorite. I usually stay in West Hollywood/Hollywood Hills when I go for work because it’s convenient and fun and there’s so much available. La Petit Hermitage and The London are two of my favorite hotels. I like to hang out in Silverlake/Los Feliz as well.

Atlanta

There are so many good restaurants in Atlanta, and me being the foodie that I am, have enjoyed amazing dining experiences. Sotto Sotto for amazing Italian, Umi for sushi, Aria for New American Fare, JCT Kitchen for Southern and Barcelona for Spanish. Those are hands down my faves. I like to go out in Inman Park and Edgewood sometimes. I live in Midtown so I go to bars around there too.

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“Dynasty” is working its way through its second season. What drama can fans expect for the remainder of the season?

Ooff…there is so much coming. I have so many comedic scenes in the next few episodes but also some really intense dramatic moments like we haven’t seen on the show before. This season has definitely brought that “Dynasty” “dramedy” it’s known for to a whole new level with the comedy being funnier and campier and the dramatic situations having higher stakes. Every episode feels like a rollercoaster.

Do you think the series is a successful modern update of the classic show? Why or why not? What has changed for the better?

I would say it definitely is. We have created something that stands on its own yet it constantly pays homage to the original. It lives in the campy primetime soap tone that people loved from the original, with the heightened language and one-liners, plot twists and cliffhangers galore, yet up-to-date and diverse. I think that is the key point when it comes to how it has changed for the better; it is much more inclusive and diverse as far as race, nationalities and lifestyles. Proof: Sammy Jo 2.0 is now a gay Latino immigrant. Talk about intersectional minority representation! Also, we won the “Best Revival” People’s Choice Award this year so people seem to be digging it!

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Do you have a dream project, or a dream person to work with? What, and who, if so?

I have many dreams and many things I’d like to do. As an actor I’d love to continue doing TV and also more film and stage. A movie musical would also be a dream for me. I want to direct as well, something I am starting to really go after. Definitely lots of people out there who I admire like Pedro Almodóvar, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo Del Toro, Wes Andersen, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, Martin Scorsese, Spielberg, etc… Cate Blanchett, Gary Oldman, Javier Bardem, DiCaprio.

What is something of your Venezuelan culture that always have with you (be it a food, personal belonging, etc)?

I have Venezuela in my heart always. My country is going through a severe crisis and even though I have been away for 13 years, it is with me every day. The Venezuelan situation has changed the life of all it’s people, my parents had to leave after an entire life and career there. Venezuelans take Venezuela with them wherever they go, the music, the food, our warmth and our parties. I love my arepa breakfasts often.

Project-wise, are you working or preparing for anything, or is “Dynasty” your sole focus?

Laser-focused on “Dynasty” right now. In conversations about a movie during my hiatus but still in early stages. Fingers crossed!

Photographer: Blair Devereaux
Groomer: Shaneka Murray

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