Here’s The “Encanto” Cast In Their First Big Role Vs. Now

Some have come a long way, while others have just landed their big break.

Disney’s Encanto has taken the world by storm, with its mix of fantastic storytelling and Lin Manuel’s catchy sing-a-long music. Some might wonder who are the voices behind these amazing characters and what were they doing before this massive hit of a movie.

Disney / Via giphy.com

Well, you’re in luck, because I found out what some of these great actors’ first big roles were and some you’ll be shocked to know while others you’ll be very familiar with. It’s been great to see that Disney has reached out and found some fantastic Colombian actors to help tell this beautiful story about a family that’s set in their beloved country. 

Now let’s slide on down to this list and see what these actors have been up to.


Stephanie Beatriz as Mirabel Madrigal

Before lending her voice to Mirabel Madrigal, Stephanie Beatriz made her big break playing the no-nonsense Detective Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, where she made fans laugh out loud with her straight-faced comedy and bullying demeanor.

NBC Universal

Though she had also made plenty of people laugh with her appearances as Sofia Vergara’s sister Sonia on Modern Family as well.

If you wonder how Stephanie could have done so well taking on Lin Manuel’s music it’s because she has had some experience already seeing that she was a part of the theatrical cast of In The Heights playing Carla alongside Daphne Rubin-Vega. 

Here’s Stephanie Beatriz now:

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Looks like we will be hearing more of Stephanie’s voice this year as she finished work on DC’s animated movie Catwoman: Hunted playing Batwoman and as Lady Kima for an animated show The Legend Of Vox Machina.


Diane Guerrero as Isabela Madrigal

Here she is as Maritza in 2013’s Orange Is The New Black:

Lionsgate Television

Diane Guerrero first captivated audiences with her performance on Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black as Maritza, though you might be surprised at what other projects she’s also been a part of. Around the same time she was wearing an orange jumpsuit, she was also playing best friend to Jane on Jane The Virgin as Lina showing why she is so natural at playing someone’s best friend.

And here’s Diane Guerrero now:

Frazer Harrison / WireImage / Getty Images

Like Stephanie, she has also had some experience with voice acting prior to Encanto, working with Disney on Elena Of Avalor as Vestia. The range from kid content to adult programming is pretty great seeing that as of late you can see her in DC’s Doom Patrol on HBO Max.


John Leguizamo as Bruno Madrigal

Here he is as Benny Blanco in 1993’s Carlito’s Way:

20th Century Fox

John Leguizamo has been in the industry for a long time and has had a long list of credits to his name. People might want to infamously remember him for his role as Luigi in Super Mario Bros. but I believe it was his role as Benny Blanco in 1993 Carlito’s Way opposite of Al Pacino that people really took notice. He later appeared in the classic Romeo + Juliet opposite of Mr. Dicaprio’s Romeo as the antagonist Tybalt.

Here’s John Leguizamo now:

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Prior to voicing Encanto’s Bruno he had another monster animated movie under his belt by the name of Ice Age, where he voiced Sid the sloth whose lisp and comedy timing will always stand out in my mind. He has been the king of one-man shows for decades as he’s brought multiple stories to broadway, including his last show, Latin History For Morons which like many others got critical acclaim. If you’re interested in seeing this history lesson, you’re in luck, as it is on Netflix for your enjoyment.


Maria Cecilia Botero as Abuela Alma

Cecilia hit big with the telenovela Dos Mujeres where she played Laura Blanco:

Canal 1

With most of her acting credits in Colombia, Maria Cecilia Botero has made her name appearing in many telenovelas like Dos Mujeres, Caballo Viejo, and recently Enfermeras

Maria Cecilia Botero now:

Michael Tran / AFP via Getty Images

She has become an influence in the world of acting and theater in her beloved country, which is why it’s no wonder they picked her to play the matriarch of the Madrigal family.


Angie Cepeda as Julieta Madrigal

Here’s Angie then, as one of the many telenovelas she starred in was Luz Maria as the title character:

America Television

Angie Cepeda, like Mrs. Botero, also rose to fame from telenovelas in Colombia like Candela, Luz Maria, and Pobre Diabla to note. She also has made her transition to some American shows and films as she made a few appearances on the CW’s Jane The Virgin, and was in Robert Duvall’s Wild Horses alongside James Franco and Josh Hartnett. 

And here’s Angie Cepeda now:

Michael Tran / AFP via Getty Images

Recently she is credited for being in the new Halo series for Paramount which will be another great addition to her acting credits.


Wilmer Valderrama as Agustin Madrigal

Here’s Wilmer Valderrama when he was playing the loveable Fez for That 70’s Show:

Casey-Werner Distribution

Before hearing Wilmer voicing Mirabel’s father in Encanto, he was mainly known for playing the loveable Fez on That 70’s Show, who for years made audiences laugh as the show ran for almost a decade. He then produced his own MTV show Yo Momma, where people could go on and roast each other for prize money.

And here’s Wilmer Valderrama now:

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Lately, he is most known for playing Nick Torres on NCIS, which has been such a far departure from his comedy days being a main character of such a famous cop drama.


Jessica Darrow as Luisa Madrigal

Here’s Jessica’s first big role in 2019’s Feast Of The Seven Fishes.

Allegheny Image Factory

Jessica is just starting to break out but after hearing her performance as Luisa Madrigal and her song “Surface Pressure” I’m sure we will be seeing more of her. 

Jessica Darrow now:

Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney

She already has made a splash in her role as Sarah in Feast Of The Seven Fishes, as well as appearing in the mini-series Following Hannah Stone as Taylor Reese, don’t be surprised when you see her acting credits stack up after this amazing performance. 


Carolina Gaitan as Pepa Madrigal

Here she is as Catalina Marin in the popular telenovela Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso.

Telemundo Studios

Like many of the wonderful Colombian Actors on this list she also built her acting resume doing some telenovelas while simultaneously working as a singer as she has lent her voice to several theme songs. 

Carolina Gaitan now:

Frazer Harrison / WireImage

As for her most notable jobs, she was most famously known for playing Catalina Santana on Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso, and also playing Marta Ochoa on Netflix’s Narcos. You’d be surprised to know that she also sang background for 2017’s The Greatest Showman which is most likely why with her experience Disney wanted her to play Pepa.


Mauro Castillo as Felix Mardigal

Here is Mauro in one of his first acting gigs as legendary Colombian singer Wilson Soako for the telenovela El Joe, la leyenda.

RCN Television

Playing opposite of Carolina’s Pepa we have Mauro Castillo playing Felix Madrigal and similar to Carolina comes with an amazing musical background. Though not many acting credits to his name he did play singer Wilson Saoko in a telenovela about famous Colombian singer Jose Arroyo called El Joe, la leyenda. 

Mauro Castillo now:

Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney

Most of his accomplishments have been in the music world earning multiple awards as being part of the band Grupo Niche. It’s clear he’s been doing well in his home country of Colombia but like many of the other Colombian talents on this list, it’s great Disney brought their talents out to in this love song of a film to their homeland.

What did you think of Encanto? Did you realize how many of these actors were just getting their big break here in the states? Let us in the comments if you recognize any of these actors from other roles.

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