Cristo Fernández is channeling his inner Dani Rojas

Cristo Fernández
(De Los; Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
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Life has shown Cristo Fernández that when one door closes, another one opens. And sometimes it happens in the most unexpected ways.

Fernández has seen that adage play out up close as his dreams of playing professional soccer were promising, playing on the developmental teams of the Tecos of the Liga MX at 15 years old. By 2014, he was playing first-team soccer with Guayama FC in Puerto Rico before injuries began derailing his playing career. It was at that point that his parents urged Fernández to focus on his studies.

“My parents advised me to study and I didn’t want to, but I listened to them. And then I found something that I never thought would turn into a new passion. Before that it was all soccer, but then I discovered acting,” said Fernández.

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He studied communications at the Universidad del Valle de Atemajac, where he focused on acting. In 2016, he moved to London to get his master’s at the Guildford School of Acting at the University of Surrey.


When he started to exercise his creative ambitions by filming funny videos for social media, his friend would tease him because up until that point his whole life had always revolved around soccer. Like most struggling actors, Fernández had several odd jobs working as a waiter, a photographer and insurance salesman.

Fernández landed his first big break in 2020 when he was cast as Dani Rojas on the hit show “Ted Lasso,” winner of 11 Emmy Awards and 61 nominations over three seasons.

Man smiling
Cristo Fernandez poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film ‘Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One’ on Thursday, June 22, 2023 in London.
(Vianney Le Caer / Vianney Le Caer/invision/ap)

The native of Guadalajara has several projects in the works and he understands the importance of hard work and perseverance to continue in an industry that often excludes Latino stories in television and film.

“Sometimes we don’t understand why certain things happen in life, but everything happens for a reason,” said Fernández, during an interview with L.A. Times en Español at the recent LAFC Leagues Cup match. “I’ve grown, thanks to my friends and family, to believe that you always need to think big. You have to shoot for the moon. You can’t just pray to God for things, you have to work hard as well.”

Fernández mentioned that he learned a lot about himself by getting out of his comfort zone after moving to England to study. It took him four years of struggle before landing the role on “Ted Lasso.”


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“For three years I was focused on what I could create, my own opportunities,” recalled Fernández. “I was doing my videos and getting into spaces where people could see my work. Then, comedy and soccer, everything came together for me.”

“Even though things didn’t go my way in terms of playing soccer, it has come back to me in my acting and also in the brands I represent,” said Fernández. “You can’t be afraid to fail, it is what makes you better a person and opens doors.”

Fernández can next be seen in the Disney film “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” and the series “Acapulco” on Apple TV+.