There aren’t too many people in the world that have as diverse of a life story as Jesse Borrego. Diverse can refer to his Latino background, and how that manifested itself in some of his on screen roles.
It can also hearken to the various roles he played, which ranged from young teenager trying to make it in performance arts, to an undercover domestic terrorism agent looking to protect the United States.
Jesse Borrego serves as a veteran mentor to younger performers hoping to make a name for themselves, and is keen to give back to a community that was critical in giving him his start over 35 years ago.
Jesse Borrego’s story starts on August 1, 1962 in San Antonio, Texas. He was born to parents Jesse Borrego Sr., and Gloria Flores.
According to reports, the young Borrego was not very close to his parents, and credits his grandparents as being the primary guardians of him and his brother. He lauded his grandparents efforts, and their support for his dreams. Borrego was also thankful to his sister, Marina, for teaching him how to dance.
Borrego attended Harlandale High School, but was not the strongest student academically. Due to his mediocre marks in the classroom, Borrego was going to have a hard time advancing through a traditional academic trajectory.
However, he did fall in love with acting as a teenager, and was able to network with people who were instrumental in laying the foundation for his future. It was through these relationships that he was able to land a spot at the University of the Incarnate Word, which would end up being the springboard he needed for his career.
While there, Borrego would dance ballet, and perform singing waiter roles. However, he knew that if he really wanted to realize his aspirations, he would have to test his talents out west. In 1983, he moved to Santa Clarita, California to enroll in the California Institute of The Arts Program.
Putting himself in a position to get noticed turned out to pay dividends for Borrego in his early twenties.
A year after he moved to California, he got an audition for Fame, which was a popular dramatic TV series throughout the 1980’s. Borrego did not have to look far to acquire inspiration for the show or for his character, Jesse Velasquez.
Fame was set at a fictional high school in New York City, and the premise of the show tracked young adults in their wishes to be the next successful dancers, actors or performers. Considering that he was living that plotline out in his actual life, Borrego was able to authentically pour his heart and soul into Velasquez’s character.
Blood In Blood Out
As inspirational as his work on Fame was, perhaps Borrego’s most memorable role came in the 1993 movie Blood In, Blood Out. The film follows three Latin-American relatives through a rough lifestyle, through gang warfare, imprisonment and drugs.
Through it all, Borrego’s character, Cruz Candelaria finds solace in his artwork that depicts real life through his eyes. The film, and the main characters in it, receive a lot of acclaim for creating an accurate visual of the Latino community across the United States.
With his versatility on full display, Borrego was also well known on the action packed TV series “24”, starring Kiefer Sutherland. During season three of the hit show, he appeared as new agent Gael Ortega working alongside main Counter Terrorism Unit leader Jack Bauer. Ortega is killed off on the show as a result of being exposed to a deadly virus.
In the chilling Showtime series “Dexter”, Borrego was cast as a serial killer, in a different mold than star Dexter Morgan, played by Michael C. Hall. Borrego played George King, whose modus operandi was to skin people alive in order to intimidate them.
What is he doing now?
With a treasure trove of amazing skills cultivated over the years, Jesse Borrego is determined to share what he has learned with acting students.
He still acts himself, having appeared in a few shows in 2020, but appears to be more primarily focused on imparting knowledge. He started Cine Studio San Antonio, a production company which focuses on all aspects of a show.
Even though he wasn’t the most accomplished student in school, Borrego has carefully observed how every member of a production does their job, and conveys the value each person contributes to his students.
He is also quite active on his Instagram page.
Jesse Borrego is married to Valeria Hernandez, who is also an actress. Together, they have one daughter, named Tonantzin Borrego.
It appears as if Tonantzin has a couple of interesting options available to her from a career perspective. She has a couple of IMDB credits to her name, but is also fascinated by the mechanics of the fashion economy.