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On this episode of Yahoo Finance Presents, Actor, Host, and Entrepreneur Mario Lopez sat down with Yahoo Finance's Brian Sozzi to discuss the start of his acting career and his childhood. He also discusses his recent partnership with United, Chase, and Pack Up + Go for traveling; and talks about his business inspirations and his children following in his footsteps.
BRIAN SOZZI: Joining me right now for our latest Yahoo Finance Presents is Mario Lopez. Mario, you really don't need any introduction here. Thanks for joining us here. So it's Mother's Day. Very curious on what your mom has meant to your career.
MARIO LOPEZ: Well, thanks for having me, first of all, Brian. And as far as my mom, I always say I wouldn't be the man I am today and wouldn't have accomplished anything without my mom and her backing. You know, I'm a child of immigrants. And my mom and dad came here not knowing anything about the entertainment industry. My dad worked for the city, my mom for the phone company, just blue collar folks.
But there was an opportunity for me to get in a lot of trouble in the neighborhood I grew up in and especially being a hyper kid. So she kept me very busy. And I was the only dance and wrestling, karate, drama kid I knew because I had an activity every day after school. And it eventually led to kind of falling into this business. So, you know, I owe everything to my mom. And I'm blessed to still have her with me.
BRIAN SOZZI: How did you get started in this business?
MARIO LOPEZ: I was a little kid and was, like, nine years old, almost 10 years old. And I think I was at a dance competition. And there was a local talent agent and approached my mom about doing print work or commercials if I was interested. And my mom was like, yeah, well, he reads really well as a kid and doesn't shut up. So let me ask him, and we'll give it a shot. So she asked me. I was like, all right, let's try it, whatever. And so I was just kind of listening to my mom. And she kind of got me into it. And I guess, the rest is history.
BRIAN SOZZI: How did she-- what did she instill in you in terms of just staying humble? You've had a phenomenal career. You've done, really, countless number of things. Of course, a lot of our viewers, obviously, know you, I'm sure, from "Saved by the Bell." But you've since Broadway and hosting, but how have you managed to stay connected?
MARIO LOPEZ: Oh, well, thanks. I mean, like I said, we're a very close family. And my parents just celebrated 50 years. And the blue collar work hard, kind of keep our head down, work hard, and strong work ethic was always sort of stressed at home and instilled in me. And I've always thought of kind of everything I do as a temp job because it is just that, a temp job. In this business, you never know what the next thing brings. So I've always sort of had guarded optimism and continue to have that hustler mentality. And not a day goes by that I'm not appreciative of what I've been able to do.
BRIAN SOZZI: At this stage in your career, does that fear of the unknown, does that drive you?
MARIO LOPEZ: Yeah, every day. Every day. And I've never been busier. You know, I'm doing three shows for NBC, Access Hollywood, All Access, Access Daily. So I'm on literally two hours of live television a day on NBC. I've got a nationally syndicated radio show, "On With Mario," in, like, over 100 markets. I'm doing another season of new "Saved by the Bell."
I just shot a Christmas movie with my daughter called "Holiday in Santa Fe." So I'm very blessed to be as busy as I am. And I'm producing a bunch of other stuff and going to host "Miss Universe" next week. So, you know, pretty-- I got to take it day by day. Because I got so much going on, I forget what I'm doing.
BRIAN SOZZI: You've had such a varying career. You've certainly done well for yourself. What type of-- you know, what's the best business lesson you ever got?
MARIO LOPEZ: That's a good question. Business lesson I think is, you know, at the end of the day, it's-- we're in the people business. And I really like people. I love being a host, whether it's hosting game night at my house or having barbecues or national TV shows. And I think you just being a people person naturally and being nice and I think being a gentleman goes a long way. And I think people respect strong work. I try to stay out of any drama, just kind of keep my head down and try to work hard, stay focused, and do the right thing. And I hope the right things happen for me.
BRIAN SOZZI: Do you have any role models in business?
MARIO LOPEZ: Well, I had the pleasure of working with Dick Clark and calling him a friend. And we got really close before he passed. So he had a big influence in my life. Obviously, he was on TV for decades and became more sort of iconic brand. And he also did a lot of business outside of the entertainment business. So, you know, I loved him. And I said to myself, I want to be the Latin Dick Clark. That's what I want to do.
BRIAN SOZZI: What did he teach you about the entertainment industry?
MARIO LOPEZ: That you don't-- again, that you don't have to look at yourself or put yourself in one little box. You can-- you'd be open to doing many different things, whether it be on Broadway or in television, acting or as a host. And but he really wanted me to lean into the hosting because he could tell that I liked people. I had the personality for it, I guess. And just me, as Mario, he said, you'd be welcome into many family rooms for years to come. I'm going to never forget he told me that. So I said, OK, thanks. I'm going to go for it then.
BRIAN SOZZI: Well, I would definitely welcome you into the Yahoo Finance guest hosting spot. I know you're a pretty busy guy, but an open invitation to you, Mario Lopez. I do know you're an avid traveler. You've been traveling around for some time. How have you been traveling during the pandemic? I imagine far less.
MARIO LOPEZ: Far less, unless it's turned out to be work related. But that's one of the things about my family. And travel is a big part of it. I love experiencing new places, especially when it comes to my kids seeing a new place for the first time. And, you know, you have these incredible experiences and memories and these pics, right, that you're always looking back at. That's why I was looking forward to planning my next trip and using my own United Quest Card to kind of help get me there.
Obviously, we missed out on creating a lot of moments and experiences. And I know people, after all this time at home, are probably chomping at the bit for some spontaneity and adventure. So I was happy about this partnership with United Quest Card. You know, especially with the whole spontaneity thing, and then they surprise you with the trip. And then they hook you up with 1,000 bucks. I just thought that was a really cool thing to be a part of.
BRIAN SOZZI: Have you ever-- what, the service, if I have-- it's called Pack Up and Go. You go on to the website, and I guess you put in some-- where you would like to do and a little bit about yourself. And you get put on a trip somewhere. Have you ever tried that? I mean, that sounds-- I've never done it before.
MARIO LOPEZ: No, but it sounds awesome. And I would love to do it, try and convince the wife, and I think she's down for it. And I think people will appreciate it because the spontaneity makes half the fun. And they're hooking you up and taking care of everything, giving you money to boot. So it doesn't get better than that.
BRIAN SOZZI: Do you see your children following you in your footsteps in terms of acting?
MARIO LOPEZ: Well, my daughter is starring in this new Christmas movie with me, "Holiday in Santa Fe." Excuse me-- she did a really good job. And my son is hosting some stuff on Access with me. So, you know, they're having fun with it, but I'm not trying to encourage them or discourage them, one way or the other. It's going to be supportive, whatever they want to do.
BRIAN SOZZI: Before we let you go, to those watching this and they followed your career for all these years, if they want to be Mario Lopez, or they have children who aspire to achieve what you have achieved, how do they go about doing it?
MARIO LOPEZ: I mean, I think getting into it now with all the opportunities you can sort of create for yourself online, I wish they had that. Like, my daughter wants to do her own YouTube show, wants to-- you can literally create your own platform, create a lot of content, and build your own reel. There's just so many great opportunities that if you're serious about it and you're passionate about it-- I will say, you know, you get into it for the right reasons, because you love it. It's something you want to do, not necessarily because you just want to be famous or on the cover of US Magazine. I think if you go into it with the right reasons and passion that you put in the work, then the work should come to you.
BRIAN SOZZI: I just realized that when I was growing up watching on "Saved by the Bell," there was no phones. There wasn't any people--
MARIO LOPEZ: Yeah, there wasn't.
BRIAN SOZZI: It's strange. Yeah, well, there is now. And really good to see all of your success and we look forward to keeping in touch with you in the future. Mario Lopez, thanks so much for joining Yahoo Finance Presents.
MARIO LOPEZ: Nice talking to you, Brian.