3-Time Tony Nominee Robin de Jesús Was Told He Would Never Make It
November 21, 2022
Robin de Jesús has proven his haters wrong.
On Monday’s episode of “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” the “Welcome to Chippendales” star told Jennifer that in his youth, he had a voice teacher whom he “loved.”
However, Robin said the teacher told him he would never become a success because of his height and ethnicity.
“You’re short and Puerto Rican. You’ll never make it in musical theater. Go to opera where they don’t care what you look like,” Robin recalled the teacher saying.
Because he was a kid, Robin said he was forced to listen to her because she was his elder.
Years later, Robin realized, “That was her stuff,” and that the voice teacher was projecting her own fears and insecurities on him.
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“Luckily, the universe allowed me to rinse myself off of that,” he said.
In addition to starring in the new Hulu series, Robin has received Tony Award nominations for his roles in “In the Heights,” “La Cage aux Folles,” and “The Boys in the Band.”
Check out more highlights from Robin’s interview, below:
Robin on Praying to Sing as a Child
When Jennifer asked Robin if he had always been a singer, he said no — explaining that as a child, he “prayed to sing.”
“I could not match pitch. It was a mess,” Robin said.
However, Robin said that when he went through puberty, he was able to find his pitch.
“I was a whole new person,” Robin said about the experience, continuing, “I found power. I found posture. I have something to contribute that I had no idea.”
“The blessings of puberty,” he hilariously added.
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Robin on His Parents Not Being Wowed by His Tony Nods
Noting that his parents were born and raised in Puerto Rico, Robin said they had no idea what the Tony Awards were.
“They didn’t know an award show existed for [theater],” Robin explained.
When Robin called his mom to tell her about his nomination, she calmly responded, “That’s cute, baby.”
“I’m like, ‘Ma, that’s the Oscars of Broadway,’ and she’s like, ‘That’s cute,’” Robin recalled.
However, Robin’s mom understood the hype after the media went crazy for Robin’s “In the Heights” co-star Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda, also of Puerto Rican descent, received two Tony nominations for his work in the production.
Once this happened, Robin’s mom was ready to attend the Tonys!
“At 4 p.m., mom called, ‘I got two dresses, hair extensions, I will see you on June 5,’” Robin said.
Robin on His Mom Fangirling at the Tonys
At the Tonys, Robin said his mom couldn’t contain her excitement when she saw actress Catherine O’Hara, famous for her roles in “Schitt’s Creek” and “Home Alone.”
“Robin, I have to say hi to her. I have to ask her, ‘Where’s Kevin?’” Robin recalled his mom saying. In “Home Alone,” Catherine’s son Kevin was left behind while the family traveled to Paris.
Though Robin told his mom not to, she ended up speaking with Catherine while Robin was giving an interview.
“And Catherine was so sweet,” Robin said about the moment. “[Catherine] said, ‘Oh, thank you.’”
However, when Robin went to do another interview, she saw Mexican singer and actress Thalía.
When Jennifer showed pictures of Thalía at the Tonys, Robin’s mom was hilariously in the background.
“She’s living her best life,” Jennifer said.
“The Jennifer Hudson Show” airs weekdays. Check your local listings.