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Meet Jose Hernandez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jose Hernandez.

Jose, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I like many queer people, feel that I am finally living my life now that I am in my late 20’s – quickly approaching the big 30. Those close to me know me as Veco. Those who follow me on IG know me as eseveco. I do feel like my story is still being written and I am trying to live each day to the fullest – making each hour of the day count.

When I think back to my childhood or teenage years, it almost feels like I skipped that part of my life. Yes, I was lucky enough to have great hard working parents, who sacrificed a lot to give my sisters and I the life they felt that we deserved, but the feeling of shame (being gay and in the close up until I was 21) took over my adolescence. A dark wave of sadness would come over me when friends would bring up childhood memories and I always felt like my mind went blank or I didn’t have enough stories to tell. I would always go to the same stories, the routines my family and I had growing up (visiting Guanajuato in the winter, the occasional Vegas trips). I always wondered why it was that I felt robbed from my childhood. It wasn’t until I was around 26 or so that I realized maybe it was the shame of being gay and having to live a double life that my mind filed those years away. It was probably a way of my inner self protecting itself/a revival.

I was extremely self-conscious growing up. It was more so me trying to compare myself to cousins my age; who were obviously straight, lighter skin, and favored by my aunts and uncles. I was obsessed with working out when I was in high school. I had this idea that if I was skinny, then that would bring me happiness and respect from those around me. As if looking skinny would take the focus away from my flamboyant ways/facial features. I figured if I lost weight, that would be one less thing bullies in school would be able to clown me on. It became a thing in my house, my older sister would poke fun at my constant working out on a specific hour in the day. (I love my routines #virgo). Coming out was not an easy thing to do, I feared the disappointment I would give my parents, I knew coming out would change my life 180 and not necessarily for the better., I was right, my life changed and I had to move out as a way to feel some sort of freedom/leave behind any negativity from my parents. Moving out, I thought would help the relationship between my parents and I. It really didn’t. The space was nice and terrifying, all at the same time.

A breakup and a move back home to my somewhat supportive parents was a vital point in changing the way I looked at myself and my life. I had a year of running around town, finding myself and meeting a ton of people. I went out alone and connected with others, something I never really did. I had ups and downs but looking back at that year, it was all for the better. I learned to value myself and live my life authentically and apologetically. I looked at how I handled past experiences and rather than regretting them, I looked into why I reacted a certain way or what good came out of those dark times. Being much more honest with myself and who I wanted to be sparked the glow up as my friends like to call it. Everything started to fall into place and I truly feel that I blossomed into a more mature Jose. One that is grateful for all that life has given him, one that is always growing and evolving yet remains with both feet on the ground.

In the last year, I have been lucky enough to walk NY fashion week as a model (who would have thought!) for Willy Chavarria, done a number of shoots for friends and independent designers, and most recently joined the Cholas X Chulas team as Design Director. This last opportunity (for CxC) is one that I am very proud of and excited about. Nydia, the founder of CxC, is a hard-working boss b*tch, and to have her trust me with my input/design ideas is truly an honor. Working with her and voicing my visions to her is a great confidence booster for me as I always felt that I lacked creativity or I wasn’t as artistic as I would have liked to be.

As cheesy as this may sound, it does get better. It gets better when you learn to appreciate you for you; when you stop worrying about fitting into the idea that someone has of you. The older I get the more I realize that life is extremely short and why waste it by living a double life? Be you. I am not sure of what the future holds but I am excited for it.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
A huge obstacle that I had with learning to love myself was getting past the fear of letting down my parents. After coming out of the closet, I did feel a weight off my shoulders but the feeling of shame was lingering. I had to put an end to that feeling and focus on bettering myself and owning my identity. I realized that in doing so I was happier, even if my parents did throw any side comments my way, they no longer phased me.

What else should our readers know?
It is odd to call myself an influencer but in a way that is how I would describe my ‘brand’. I am living my life and encouraging others to do the same. I am being that fearless adult that I needed growing up. I hope that my influence goes beyond social media and I am able to influence my young nephews to live life the way they want. To express themselves freely and unapologetically.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was loud and a clown, ‘Un payaso’ is what my grandmother used to call me. I was energetic and very focused in school. I wanted to be the best in school that I could be, my mom would always tell me to focus on school and so I felt the need to make her proud. Yes, I was loud and from the outside looked like a happy kid but deep down I was fearful of my identity. I did not want to believe that I was gay, there were times that I even prayed (my parents were very religious) and asked God to make me straight.

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Image Credit:
Photo by Natasha Ribeiro-Austrich for Cholas x Chulas collaboration with @eseveco, Smiling photo was for Artemis Apollo Jewelry Line, Rooster photo by Fabian Guerrero

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