37th Annual Calle Ocho Music Festival

Wilmer Valderrama to judge fashion contest, costar in new cable TV series ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’

Mike Windle / Getty Images for NYLON Magazine

The Calle Oche festival is getting some Hollywood star power this year. Native son Wilmer Valderrama — he was born here and moved to Venezuela at age 3 — is back in the 305, ready to judge some fashion. The That 70s Show alum will be hanging out at the CoverGirl & Tide Style Center, channeling his inner Michael Kors from noon to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Well dressed ladies are invited to strut their stuff for Valderrama, who is in charge of the selection process for the 2014 Style Mavens of Calle Ocho contest. Four winners will be called up to the Univision stage, at the corner of Southwest Eighth Street and Beacon Boulevard, and be awarded $500 in prizes.

We caught up with the 34-year-old actor, who is costarring in a new TV show, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, debuting 9 p.m. Tuesday on El Rey, the new English-language cable network from filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, who also directed the original vampire classic from 1996.

Can you talk about how you will judge the fashion show?

I’m here to celebrate Miami’s everyday style mavens. Because we know that the heart of Miami style is in the neighborhoods, not on the runway.

What do you like to do when you're in town?

The first thing I do is put on my running shoes and go to the boardwalk above Collins and run a few miles. It’s the only time I get to be as close to the ocean as I can be.

On your Twitter account you write “Self-discovery is my daily hobby.” What does that mean to you?

Every day I try to reflect, in hopes to grow into a better version of myself so I can be of service to the world around me.

How did you get attached to “From Dusk Till Dawn?”

I had some meetings with Robert Rodriguez about the show, and I tested for him for another creative direction. A couple of weeks later, when I thought maybe it wasn’t going to go further, he sent me a text and said that he had hand-crafted this character Carlos Madrigal for me. I said yes immediately, even before knowing what character I was playing. And when I landed in Austin, Texas, to start shooting, imagine my surprise when I learned I was playing the villain.

How would you describe your character?

Carlos Madrigal is a very powerful crime lord. He uses organized crime as a cover for something that is deeper and darker within his soul. Eventually, throughout the season, you start scratching the surface and you find out that the pond is deeper than meets the eye.

How did you prep physically?

I’ve been doing mixed martial arts for a long time, and I’ve acquired a diet that allows me to be more of a consumer for fuel over pleasure. Of course, like any Latino, I have to embark into unnecessary amounts of grease. I definitely have a couple of cheat days a week where I break even in my diet. But I do try and stay consistent in eating healthy and well rested, especially when I have really, really long days of shooting.

What was the camaraderie on set like?

The chemistry is incredible. The cast is amazing. We’ve all become a great family, and it’s amazing to have a support system like that. It truly feels like I’m part of something very special. And all of us are embarking on a new chapter, not just for our careers, but also for a new generation of programming, curated by our captain and big boss Robert Rodriguez. It brings us a level of unity to one another and it’s preparing us for what’s to come.

What did you think of the original “FDTD” with George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino?

I love how unpredictable it is. It starts out following the escapades of these two bad-ass brothers, doing what they can, breaking rules and making their way through life. And eventually, it makes a turn, a turn that all of sudden breaks the genre in half, creating a cult classic.

Do you stay in touch with your friends from ‘That ’70s Show?’ We won’t ask about Mila and Ashton’s wedding, but if you want to contribute anything, that’s fine.

[Laughs]. OK. We shared almost a decade of our lives together, spending more time with one another than we actually spent with any family. And one of the things we have as a gift is to be able to count on one another to stay consistent and stay on track when it comes to this unpredictable land we call Hollywood.

Madeleine Marr

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