The first thing you notice when you talk to Anthony Mendez, the narrator from “Jane the Virgin,” is that he doesn’t have a Spanish accent in real life. OMG! But even with his off-duty voice, he’s still a smooth talker.
The Bronx-born star took an unlikely path to his unseen stardom, having grown up in Washington Heights and New Jersey in a bilingual Dominican family with a headstone-making company. His brothers still run the family business. Mendez, meanwhile, started out in the music industry before colleagues started noticing that his irresistible voice made him a natural fit for vocal work on radio and television.
The Emmy-nominated voiceover actor is now in his third season as the unseen star of the CW’s acclaimed comedy drama and known officially as its “Latin Lover Narrator.” On the show, Mendez’s character has at once the all-knowing perspective of a traditional narrator and the “Whoa, did that just happen?” voice of the friend you want next to you with the popcorn when the plot pulls its biggest shocks.
Salon spoke to Mendez via phone recently about how he thinks the narrator fits into Jane’s story and what visibility means when you’ve built a successful career being invisible.