LIFE IN CHICAGO STAR Star Bright Currently starring on NBC’s Telenovela , Southwest Side native Alex Meneses continues to show that her beauty is far more than skin-deep. | By Joel Reese | DRAMA QUEEN Telenovela actress Alex Meneses relaxing with her dog, Baci You know your way around . Like Elaine on Seinfeld ? Exactly. It’s like that. I have my Elaine moment. I eat that kind of stu up. Oh, yeah. I still have a house here. I love Chicago. e people are so nice. It’s probably my favorite town in the world. It has so much culture, so much beauty. 42 | | Spring 2016 PHOTO BY MARCEL INDIK PHOTOGRAPHY Don’t write Alex Meneses off as just another va-va-voom looker. Meneses has lived all over the world, speaks ﬂ uent Spanish and Italian, and is a Strasberg-educated thespian. The charming actress recently told us about her role as the jealous aging diva Isabela Santamaria, her deep love for Chicago and what it was like going up against Raquel Welch. How do you feel about playing these “bombshell” roles, despite your other experiences? wasn’t right for this particular part. So now I’m back in the game. Is the show an homage to telenovelas or a spoof? Hollywood can be very stereotypical. I was a model, and in the earlier days, I played the pretty girl or girlfriend. But when you get to be close to 40, there’s not a whole lot going on in Hollywood for you. Maybe you can play the lieutenant or judge who does one out of ve episodes. People were like, ‘Eh, she’s too pretty to look like a lieutenant.’ ey didn’t know what to do with me. But it seems like your experience helped the role on Telenovela . It’s a love story to telenovelas. Our show is about the relationships the actors have once the cameras turn o , kind of like 30 Rock . It’s behind-the-scenes. How do you enjoy your role as the resentful older actress? I have to age myself in the show, so I draw wrinkles around my eyes and around my mouth. People are like, ‘Why are you doing this?’ I said, ‘Because that’s the part.’ Because I’m an actress and I enjoy it, and I love it. When you come back to town, are there any places you just have to go to? Eva [Longoria] called me and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got this great show, and it’s got this great part that I know only you can do.’ en I show up and I’m like, ‘Hi, Raquel Welch is outside. Do you really want me to audition?’ at was a little intimidating because she looks fabulous, unbelievable, but she It’s so much fun. I feel like a kid again. ey make me do the craziest things. It’s like, ‘Who’s going to do it? Oh, Alex will.’ In one episode, I have to dance, but not dance like all cool and sexy. I have to dance like a complete nutcase, like you’re embarrassed and want to walk away from me. De nitely Palermo’s on 63rd. I love the pizza. And Gibsons, one of my old staples. I have to go to the Lincoln Park Zoo. And I have to walk to Belmont and back. at’s my exercise. I walk from my apartment near Gibsons to Belmont, through the park and back.