Alejo Hoijman

If there’s a common ingredient in John Leguizamo’s achievements, it’s his drive and a refusal to take “no” for an answer. And this, as it turns out, forms the thematic core of the new Pepsi commercial that aired last Thursday night during the Billboard Latin Music Awards.

Anyone who’s found fame as a performer can tell you a thing or two about working hard and overcoming obstacles. If that someone happens to be a Latino who paid his dues in 1980s comedy clubs and has succeeded onstage and on screen for the better part of four decades, he can tell you a lot about it.

John Leguizamo, a 54-year-old, Bogota-born, Queens-raised performer whose humor, nerve and remarkable ability to impersonate an abundance of ethnic voices landed him in a solo Broadway show by 1998, which led to an HBO special and paved the way for the TV, film and stage career he’s cultivated ever since.