While Juan Pablo Di Pace is best known for playing the lovable Fernando on the hit Netflix series Fuller House, the 38-year-old Argentina-born performer is also turning heads with his impressive moves on Dancing with the Stars.
Before Di Pace partnered up with two-time Mirrorball trophy champion Cheryl Burke, he received advice from his Fuller House costars Candace Cameron Bure and Jodie Sweetin (both DWTS alums!) on pushing through the stress and enjoying his time on the show.
After a decade of singing, acting and dancing, the multi-talented star has become a natural at stealing scenes and hearts, both onscreen and off.
Here are five things to know about Netflix’s triple threat.
1. He was Meryl Streep’s dance partner in Mamma Mia
In his early twenties, his first agent suggested he rent and observe all his favorite actors’ films.
“He was like, ‘Ok, watch every single movie they’ve ever made and see what makes them special,’” Di Pace told PEOPLE. “I literally went to Blockbuster and saw every single Meryl Streep movie there ever was and I kind of got a sense of her personality through her roles.”
Less than a year later, he got a call from a casting director asking him to audition for Mamma Mia.
2. He is an introvert
“My very first love was drawing. I was one of those sensitive kids with no friends, who would literally sit in the corner and draw. I was obsessed with animation,” Di Pace said. “I was very shy.”
Despite spending his childhood behind-the-scenes, when Di Pace turned 17, he landed the role of Danny Zuko in a school production of Grease and became very comfortable on stage.
“All of a sudden this performing monkey came out of me. It was like a chemistry between me, the stage and the audience—it was electric. It was like, ‘This is what I’m meant to be doing,” the Fuller House star recalled. “It was bigger than me.”
3. He predicted he would go on Dancing with the Stars
After watching Jodie Sweetin, 36, on DWTS, he said, “I had a weird sense of déjà vu and I was thinking, ‘Oh no, I’m going to end up doing this show.’”
When he attended the Sweetin’s premiere he was struck by the production.
“I was in the audience and saw the machine work and realized it is a very well, oiled machine. People change the sets in like a minute and ten seconds and the whole stage changes and the camera work is impeccable,” he noted.
4. He is a singer
He released his first music video for his single “Broken,” in February and is already making more.
5. He fights cruelty against animals involved in circuses
Di Pace recently partnered with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Latino to fight cruelty against animals involved in circuses. As part of the campaign to “Extinguish Circus Cruelty,” he urges parents not to take their children to see shows with animal acts. “I wouldn’t want them to think it’s OK,” he says in a video in support of the organization. “Because it’s not. … You can really go to the circus watching amazing performances by clowns or acrobats or dancers. … [L]et’s stop [going to animal circuses].”
“To see what things are done to them in the circus is really upsetting,” he continues. “They sleep in tiny cages. They’re forced to do things they don’t want to do. They beat them up. What we see in the circus is just a fraction of what these poor animals have to go through.”