This post is also available in: Spanish
In our Latino world, many compare our celebrities to their American counterparts. In the case of Ana Maria Polo, she’s our Judge Judy, but that’s not how she sees herself. She’s not a judge, but rather an arbitrator. In her show, Caso Cerrado, in which millions watch on Telemundo each week. She helps families deal with crisis that many can relate to in their personal lives. Her sound advice has made her very popular by both men and women and across cultures. Latino Connection is proud to interview the very popular Doctora Ana Maria Polo who this year marks her 15th year anniversary on CASO CERRADO!!
TLC: You don’t call yourself a judge, but rather an arbitrator. Would you please explain the difference?
AMP: A judge is a government employee, by definition every T.V. judge is an arbiter because they work for a T.V. network. An arbiter is usually an attorney or a person trained in the art of mediation or conflict resolution. In my case, I do binding arbitration, the litigants must comply with my decision if unable to reach a compromise.
TLC: What is the strangest or most surprising case that has affected you personally?
AMP: During my 15 years tenure, I have seen a lot of strange and surprising cases, however I always recall the one in which I lost “my cool” and acted aggressively against an unruly litigant by throwing a glass of water at his face. This man had been sexually abusing his 16 year old niece and turning her into a sex slave. To my surprise, the audience felt I should have been MORE aggressive.
TLC: Do you see Caso Cerrado ever crossing cultural borders and moving into the American television genre?
AMP: Absolutely, I believe the general market would fall in love with my style of deciding cases and the subject matters we deal with. I bring expert testimonies that are informative and enlightening, and we reflect upon the conflicts that affects the population of this great country of ours.
TLC: Do you consider yourself addicted to your work? Since it seems you have so many shows going on at the same time.
AMP: OH NO!!! I am not addicted to work. We have an incredible team of producers who really get it! In fact, we film 240 shows in 55 days!!! Quite efficient. The rest of the year, I attend numerous events with different agencies and institutions such as Stand Up to Cancer, Race for the Cure and fan events.
TLC: You are one of the influential leaders in the Latino community. Knowing you have a great following would you consider running for political office?
AMP: Although I possess a Bachelors degree in Political Science and I fully understand the importance of a healthy democracy, I have become quite disillusioned with the political process, especially during the ongoing presidential campaign. If I ever become involved in politics… it would be in my native Cuba. I left in 1961 and I have never returned but I hope to see a free and democratic Cuba before my death!
TLC: How do you respond to your critics who say your show portrays the worst of our Latino community?
AMP: The critics who say that my show portrays the worst of the Latino community have not followed my show consistently. The show portrays every kind of Latino that is willing to expose their conflicts to the world… the good, the bad and the ugly!!!
TLC: What do you do to get the energy needed to deal with so many human problems that could otherwise weigh someone down emotionally and mentally?
AMP: I cannot denied the fact that some cases are emotionally draining and that there have been times in which I have gotten very sensitive. From the bottom of my heart I have HOPE in humanity and I am a true believer that justice will always reveal the truth. In addition to that, during the time that I am not taping I try to disconnect myself by doing the things that I enjoy, like reading, meditating traveling etc..
TLC: What other projects are you working on the future?
AMP: I am always working on new projects. For one, I am attempting to take my show to the general market without getting lost in translation. I am also working on a game show for latinos as well as various documentaries on relevant subject matters. I believe that television is a powerful communicator.
TLC: In what ways has fame changed your life?
AMP: Fame is a difficult consequence of this trade. It has changed my life quite significantly although I take it in stride. Loss of anonymity sounds simple but it is difficult to deal with. However, I must admit that most of the attention I attract is quite respectful and loving.
TLC: We know you are an advocate for Women’s health and in particular breast cancer awareness. Would you please send a message to our readers, both men and women on why do you feel it is important?
AMP: Health is the most valuable asset we have in life! Cancer in particular, is a silent killer. We tend to react only to health crisis instead of keeping a preventive regimen. If you are facing a serious diagnosis, keep calm, inform yourself and follow your doctor’s advice. Have faith and surround yourself with positive people.
TLC: Have you ever regretted a decision you made on your show?
AMP: I have regretted some decisions…. but I always have the chance to correct it. That’s the advantage of the legal system, it’s why we have appellate courts.
TLC: Do you watch television? If so, what kinds of shows do you like watching? What is your guilty pleasure?
AMP: I am an avid television watcher, in fact, I am a binge watcher. I devour my favorite series once their out! Orange is the New Black, Masters of Sex, Homeland, Nashville, Shameless, to name a few, and naturally, CASO CERRADO!