In an interview with Peopleenespanol.com, the Latino female impersonator who made it to the Top 20 finalists on the show America's Got Talent tells us about his struggles to succeed
Despite being the target of sarcasm and criticism for his performances on America’s Got Talent (NBC), Luigi Padilla, AKA Boy Shakira, achieved what he has longed for a decade – to be well known. On July 24th, just a week after being eliminated from the competition [and after managing to snag a spot among the top 20 finalists] the 30-year-old entertainer of Mexican descent owned up to Peopleenespanol.com about the obstacles he has had to overcome, his projects and, of course, his wish to meet Shakira.
What was your experience like on “America’s Got Talent”?
Spectacular, it gave my career a big jump-start. They gave me the opportunity to be the entertainer that I am after a 10-year struggle with my concept, my personality and with who I really am.
Why do you think you managed to remain among the top 20 finalists?
Because what you see of Boy Shakira on TV, is what you see in real life, I’ve always been authentic. And, of course, also because of my talent, I entertain people, I make them feel good, I make them laugh, have a good time.
What’s Luigi Padilla really like?
An open-minded, energetic, natural person, A person who gives his heart and soul to what he loves to do: female impersonations.
How did Boy Shakira emerge?
I began to impersonate Shakira in 1995 when she released her first album Pies descalzos. To prepare for my act, I watched her videos, her moves, [listened to] her songs, and later I began to learn belly-dancing by reading mystical books about the origin of this dance form, then I practiced in the desert and on secluded beaches.
But why Shakira?
I chose her because she’s a true artist, she’s authentic, a natural, and she has her feet firmly planted on the ground. In her songs she always talks about her experiences and that’s what has also happened in my life. I love what she does and who she is.
Would you like to meet her?
I don’t know how I’d react if I met her! But let me tell you, I’d be very happy. It would probably be the happiest moment of my life. She probably already knows about me and I hope she considers me a good impersonator.
What other stars do you impersonate?
Gloria Trevi, Selena, Tina Turner, Madonna. I can impersonate anyone, I am a natural talent.
How well do you take to criticism?
I respect criticism a lot. I don’t mind negative opinions, because this is who I am. In real life I have had to struggle a lot, so I don’t care about any comments, life’s been hard for me, so bad reviews mean nothing. I am strong and I am moving forward.
What’s the hardest thing you have had to face?
The acceptance of my style and of my personality. Accepting that although many people like what I do, others don’t get it. Some folks are simply not mentally ready to accept what I do.
Has your family been supportive?
Yes, very much so, especially my mother. She’s like my right hand, of my life, of my being, of my career.
So, what are you going to do now?
I’ll be happy to accept any TV offer that comes my way, be it in English or Spanish-Language TV, because I am Latino. My grand plan right now is to have my own show in Las Vegas and to find a good manager.
What’s your favorite food?
Like any good Mexican, ranchero steak and pozole. I love to eat; I won’t deny it, although I got to watch what I eat.