José Hernandez


 “It used to tear me down, now I just see it and think ME. That is who I am, this is me, un maricon y que?!” José Hernandez on owning being labeled a maricon. José talks the difference between masculinity and machismo, tackling body image insecurities, wrestling, making time for “me days” as well as advice for young queer Latinx suffocated by machismo and more…
Featuring our L.A. photo shoot with José and intersex activist, River Gallo. Shot by Jeremy Perkins and edited by @3rd_EYECHAKRA.


Break down the difference for us between masculinity and machismo?

To me, masculinity is the compound of what makes up men – what society associates with being a man.

Machismo is having pride in these qualities and making sure it is known that you are a “macho”. To me in a way machismo can be viewed as drag, meaning, exaggerating these qualities and living your life by them. Not showing emotions, walking around with your chest up, a hard interior and exterior. A drag caricature of what it is to be a man.

A fashion designer on your radar that we should know about? 

I came across Casablanca and I am IN LOVE.

I love their use of fabrics, prints, some of it is very Versace (90’s), Miami. It is fresh, sexy, and mature all in one. I, of course, love their monochromatic pieces and the pleated slacks and tracksuits!

You’re walking into a boxing arena, what would be your track?

‘Quien Tu Eres’ by Bad Bunny. This whole album is amazing. I was not expecting to like it to be honest haha, but this song!!! It just pumps me up!


How did you overcome constructs of machismo to be able to embrace feminity in your fashion and artistry and what advice would you have for young queer Latinx who might feel suffocated by machismo? 

Growing up in a traditional Mexican household and being the only boy (I have 2 older sisters), machismo was always on display. I wasn’t forced into acting a certain way but I definitely picked up on cues when eavesdropping on conversations between older cousins, tios and tias. I often felt somewhat of an outcast, or inadequate to my extended family.

What helped me overcome this and grow into myself were fearless QPOC that I found online who inspired me daily. Social media really opened my eyes to a bigger world. I was introduced to brave QPOC/LGBTQI individuals that offered a sense of relief and made me realize that I was not alone.

I began to work on myself (accepting who I am 100%) and started to put myself/needs first, I began to voice my opinions at home and fought for equality within my immediate family. With all this came the realization that life really is short and I didn’t intend on living my life with restrictions, I needed to live my life for me.

My advice for young queer Latinx who might feel suffocated by machismo is to find a group of friends whom you can be 100% yourself with. This can be IRL or online. Surround yourself with people who uplift you and inspire you. Whenever you are doubting yourself look to this group of friends for support or for that extra push to keep going. We all have different stories when it comes to finding our identity, but one thing is for sure: it hasn’t been easy for anyone.

“… the self-care ritual that I am putting into practice for 2019 is saying NO. Often I find myself saying YES to plans and then end up stressing myself over them.”

What does “redefine Health and Fitness” mean to you?

To me, “redefine Health and Fitness” means changing the look of what it means to be fit or in shape. The truth is all bodies are different and what works for someone might not work for another.

What’s your biggest insecurity about your appearance and how are you tackling this?

My biggest insecurity about my appearance is my torso. I have always been insecure about it, I just wish it would be much more toned and defined. I will say I used to obsess over having abs but I love food too much haha. I pretty much learned to accept that abs might not be in my future and that’s okay. Sure, I still beat myself up over my stomach area and lower back but I’m just tackling it day by day. I work out regularly but try not to kill myself over not having abs. I learned to love other parts of my appearance and work on that (i.e chest/skin routines), it helps relieve the stress when I do start getting a bit sad over my body.

Which of the following sporting attires do you find the most attractive: NFL, Tennis, Fencing, Wrestling or Baseball?

Definitely the most attractive might be wrestling. I almost said NFL because of the tight ends :p but wrestling is also a weakness.



Talk to us about beauty standards within the fashion industry and the commodification of “diversity.” Do you believe there’s a real positive change occurring that’s here to stay or a is it a marketing fashion fade?

I do think diversity in the fashion industry has come a long way – though we are nowhere near the finish line. I do believe there is real positive change occurring and as time goes on, I hope it becomes more of a norm. The public needs to see much more diversity in the fashion and beauty industry. With the way the world is now, I like to believe that people are ready to see more change in these industries. I think people would demand more diversity if we see a step back.

What self-care rituals do you have and what are your fitness and wellness goals for 2019?

I love having “me days” or “me evenings” where I put on a facemask, light candles and relax for the evening. Pampering myself in the comfort of my home. I will say, the self-care ritual that I am putting into practice for 2019 is saying NO. Often I find myself saying YES to plans and then end up stressing myself over them. This to me is a self-care ritual that I hope to put more into practice this new year. 

“We all have different stories when it comes to finding our identity, but one thing is for sure: it hasn’t been easy for anyone.”

Living in L.A. how do you navigate superficial expectations and maintain a healthy relationship with health and fitness?

Navigating superficial expectations and maintaining a healthy relationship with health and fitness is not an easy thing to do, especially in Los Angeles of all places. Listening to your body is a great way to remain grounded and sane. I have a feeling that a lot of people do not take the time to listen to their bodies and end up hurting themselves not only physically but emotionally and mentally. Always be mindful of your actions and who you are and what you want for yourself.

The first thought that comes to your mind when you see the word maricón?

ME – this is a word that is all too familiar. I’ve heard it as a kid, as a teen, walking down the street as an adult. It used to tear me down, now I just see it and think ME. That is who I am, this is me, un maricon y que?!


Three PROS and Three CONS of masculinity?

I honestly can’t point out three PROS and trust me, I dug deep and even tried to make some up but why? Three CONS of masculinity:

1. Presents a false ideal of what it means to be a man.

2. Sets limitations to what someone can be in the world because it rules out anything that doesn’t fit in with being ‘masc’.

3. Creates separation amongst families (making members feel inadequate).

What would you graffiti on the back of a toilet door?

“todos tenemos por donde.” (this is who I am, if you got the joke LOL – soy un payaso like my grandma called me) –  but in all honesty, I would write this because: don’t ever feel ashamed. We are all human. We are all one.

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