Alfonso Ribeiro is best known for his iconic role on the ’90s sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Carlton Banks. But while fans love his character, it became somewhat of a double-edged sword for the America’s Funniest Home Videos host. While Ribeiro is no doubt humbled by the opportunity, he does wish the character didn’t hold him back from other opportunities in his career. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Ribeiro revealed how fans often help actors like him not become cornered into one specific character for life.
“I’ve always said that the idea that you can do something so well in your life that no one will allow you to do it again, is very difficult to go through,” the 49-year-old explained before also discussing his recent partnership with Cheez-It Snap’d for their Snap’d My Sandwich sweepstakes. “Imagine being the greatest home run hitter in the game and never being allowed to go hit home runs because you hit home runs. Doesn’t make sense. But in show business that sometimes is the case. So having to reinvent myself by turning myself into myself, which is weird, but being able to do that and get a nomination and get the recognition for what I’ve been able to do with that was very special.”
Ribeiro, along with other ’90s stars from beloved classic sitcoms who became so well known for their roles, often express today how they understand what it feels like to be constantly recognized for their TV roles more so than the person they are in real life. However, Ribeiro shares that fans have the ability to help actors not become boxed into a point where they struggle to land other roles. “Every actor typically gets one, maybe two opportunities after whatever they’re really known for. Support them in those roles. Really, if you’re a fan of somebody on a show, and they do something else, make it a priority to go watch whatever it is they’re doing even though it’s not what you’re used to seeing them do,” he explained.
“Be a fan. Support them as a fan. And at the end of the day, it’s always box office. If you go and do something new and it does really well, guess what? You get to keep doing it. If it doesn’t, then they start thinking, ‘Well, really, they just love him for that character.’ So just if you’re a fan of someone, watch everything they do. And that, to me, is probably the only way to break that cycle of like, ‘They’re famous for this. Well, that’s all they can be famous for.'”