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Growing up, I was always a huge Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and In The House fan. One of the stars of both of those sitcoms was Alfonso Ribeiro. After years of playing memorable (and often snobbish) characters on TV, we are seeing a different side of the actor–as in more of who he really is outside of his roles. For so long people have only known Ribeiro as “Carlton,” even going as far to approach him on the street and address him as the character. But appearing on and winning Dancing With The Stars season 19 opened up some major doors and helped to revive the talented entertainer’s career. Not only is he the new host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, but he’s the spokesman for the Chex Mix Deliciously Unpredictable Road Trip. Ribeiro is hitting the road from July 9-13 with an everyday family, and they’re traveling from Yellowstone National Park to the Grand Canyon. What’s the point? According to Ribeiro, “It’s all about getting people out there doing their own road trips and vacations and experiencing the country.”

As Ribeiro prepares for some pretty impressive new experiences of his own when it comes to his career, we talked about his past, his present, and his future. Check out our chat.

 

Why He’s Doing Hosting Instead Of Acting

Right now I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing. Do I eventually want to produce or direct my own movie? That’s certainly something that I will look forward to in the future. But right now I’m doing exactly what I want to do. People were asking me, “What do you want to do? Do you want to act again? Do you want to be a host?” I actually said, “I want to be a host” after coming off of Dancing With The Stars. I’ve spent so long trying to get people to separate Alfonso Ribeiro from Carlton Banks that now that people start to know my name, it’s actually nice. To do another character that people might fall in love with and not know my name again is not what I wanted to do. I wanted to break that stereotype and let people see who I am as an individual and not that character that I played over almost 20 years ago.

Why He Isn’t Doing Broadway After His DWTS Win

I did Broadway. I did a Broadway show called “The Tap Kid” when I was 12 back in 1983. I’ve been offered a few opportunities to go back to Broadway, but they’ve just not been the right projects for me. They’re not what I’m passionate about right now.  I think when you go do Broadway and you’re taking a massive pay cut to do it, when you have a family and you’re trying to support that family, it’s hard to do passion projects when you’re not passionate about the project.

How Winning DWTS Changed His Career

I think Dancing With The Stars obviously opened up the door for me to get America’s Funniest Home Videos. But I think America really got to know who I was rather than just the character they saw on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Luckily enough for me, I guess they liked who they saw. I’m myself. I’m always going to be 100 percent true and honest in every circumstance. And I’m a positive person. I like to find the positive and see the glass half full rather than half empty. But I’m just happy that America got the opportunity to see the real Alfonso.

Why He’s Ready To Leave Carlton Behind

I’m definitely past the Carlton Banks referral. When people call me the name, I certainly don’t do it in a rude way, but I allow them to know my real name. I want people to see who I am, and I don’t want to live in the past. It’s over. Let it be in the past and stay there. I’m right now living in the current and the future, and I want to move forward.

But, you have to recognize that people are watching the show today on different networks, playing it ever day. And some people are seeing it for the first time and experiencing it as if it was new. So you have to understand that. I take it as a compliment because ultimately all they are saying is “We love what you did, and we want to recognize you for that.” I certainly look at it as a compliment, and I respect that. But I want people to recognize me more for the current rather than the past.

Support He Received From Trinidadians During DWTS Run

Obviously my family is from Trinidad and Tobago. So I had a lot of support. I had friends that came from Trinidad to see the show in L.A. Machel Montano, who would be the Michael Jackson of Calypso music, a friend of ours, he came and sat in the audience and supported. So yeah, I did know that I had my Trinidadian and Carribean support, it was certainly there. I absolutely appreciated it.

His Favorite Memories From His Travels To Trinidad Over The Years

I’ve got great memories of being in Trinidad. As a kid, we went every summer. That was always amazing. I’ve got great memories. I’ve obviously gone back as an adult many times to play Carnival. I even took my then fiancée, now wife, and we played Carnival and Bliss. I’ve absolutely enjoyed all my Trinidad connections, and it has been wonderful.

How He’s Been Able To Maintain Such A Tight Bond With Will Smith After All These Years

The thing about all that is simply, I knew Will before Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. We were friends before it started. And so the friendship wasn’t based on the job, the job came after the friendship. We’ve been able to maintain it throughout. Will and Jada are wonderful people. We all get together, and we talk and we’re students of life. So we really share a lot of deep thoughts and have a lot of deep conversations about life in general and how to live the best you can. We share a lot of common thoughts, so that helps to maintain that friendship.

I certainly kept in touch with a lot of the cast members from Fresh Prince. Not all the shows I’ve kept in touch with. You know, you get along with people. You don’t get along with some people. It doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong or right, it just means people have different things that they enjoy. In my life, I’ve maintained the friendships that I wanted to maintain and let go of the friendships that I felt weren’t necessary.

 

If you’re interested in taking part in the Chex Mix Deliciously Unpredictable Road Trip, and having the chance to win an awesome prize package, send in videos and photos from your own road trips and vacations. Use the hashtags #ChexMixRoadTrip and #ChexMixSweepstakes. Good luck!

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