J.W. standing behind a podium speaking.

Meet Our Neighbors: J.W. Cortes

Voice actor behind Mateo on Alma's Way!

Tell us about yourself and your role on Alma’s Way.

I had the incredible honor of bringing "Mateo" to life! My roots trace back to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where I was raised by two remarkable Puerto Rican parents. My journey has been a tapestry of roles: from serving our nation in the Marines to protecting the people of New York with the MTAPD, to lighting up television and stage, and even lending my voice. Yet, my most cherished roles are that of a dad to my amazing sons, Jaiden and Jonah. 

Do you have a favorite episode and character on Alma’s Way?

"Alma Goes to Puerto Rico" holds a special place in my heart. It's a vibrant journey through Puerto Rico, reminiscent of my first visit to my family's roots. Witnessing Alma embrace the island's beauty, sounds, and culture is an invitation for everyone to experience the richness of Puerto Rican heritage. It's about celebrating diversity and the splendor of our beloved island. 

What inspires you?

My wellspring of inspiration flows from the magic of storytelling. It's the profound connection it forges, touching souls on a deep and emotional level. Whether through acting, music, or artistic expression, I'm fueled by the prospect of lifting others up. Moreover, I'm galvanized by the opportunity to champion diversity and inclusivity in entertainment, striving to craft a more embracing world through my craft. 

What else are you working on these days?

I'm embarking on a thrilling new chapter as I pen my very first memoir. It's a journey into my life's adventures, trials, and triumphs - a tale I can't wait to share with the world.

What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?

Ah, the '80s were a golden era for TV! I can still feel the excitement of those unforgettable theme songs. Shows like Family Ties, One Day at a Time, The Greatest American Hero, Reading Rainbow, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and The Wonder Years had a profound impact on me. They were more than shows; they were cherished memories. 

What do you like to do when you're not working?

When the spotlight dims, I revel in quality time with my loved ones, cherishing each moment. Music is my soul's language, so I sing my heart out, embracing everything from Latin rhythms to soulful R&B to the magic of Broadway. Staying active and nurturing a healthy lifestyle keeps me invigorated - you might catch me breaking a sweat or savoring outdoor adventures. And, of course, there's no greater joy than immersing myself in a good book or exploring new hobbies. Yet, above all, it's the precious moments with family that truly define the essence of life, echoing Michael J. Fox's wisdom: "Family isn't an important thing, it's everything."