Evevryone loves Jay Hernandez. We love him in Crazy/Beautiful, We love him in Hostel, we love him in Nashville, in Bad Moms, and in Suicide Squad. He is fun, charismatic, handsome, and his smile game is ridiculously strong.
We sat down with Jay at Silverlake favorite, Little Dom's (he ordered the Hot Soppresata and Provolone Panini, btw) and asked him some questions:
FC: How did you sleep last night?
JH: Last night? Pretty good. I had been out of town—in Vegas- so I did NOT sleep over there—I stayed up until 6am the first night I got there- I was surprised- because- let’s face it- I’m not 21 anymore—but I stayed up late both nights- the second night I stayed up until 4am- I was at the craps table gambling. It was a lot of fun- But it was great to get home, too: I have this awesome Sleep Number bed that inclines- It’s amazing. Once you get used to this bed- you can’t go back.
FC: Do you have recurring dreams?
JH: I dream about water all the time. Since I was a kid. Sometimes it’s sort of turbulent- with huge waves- One of the dreams that sticks out to me the most is: I was in, essentially, a flat plain- like desert sand- I was by myself. There was nothing else. Just sand to the horizon. You couldn’t see anything else. And then on the horizon I see something bubbling and boiling, and it was a wave that was slowly coming towards me. Eventually it overcame me and crashed on me- and as it crashed, I woke up. It was very strange and surreal- like a Dali inspired dream. That one never left me- But I guess my answer is yes: I have re-occurring dreams of water.
FC: …Are you a Pisces?
JH: Yes. I’m a Pisces. I don’t know whether that has anything to do with it—But maybe it does….
FC: Are you born and raised in LA?
JH: Yes. Born and raised in Los Angeles. Almost nobody that I run into (in the business) was born in LA. I grew up in Montebello.
FC: If we were to give you a FLUFFY CONCRETE assignment- what would you pitch us to write about?
JH: Here in LA? There are two directions I would go. One is Museums- and It’s kind of boring and obvious, but I really like The Broad, because I love contemporary art and it’s very accessible for people that aren’t necessarily into it. It’s visually stimulating. Cool and varied artists- that place is great.
The other thing I would do is go up Angeles Crest. It’s in the mountains. I live sort of in the foothills- close to Pasadena, and up at Angeles Crest (it was closed for many years so the wildlife has had a chance to bounce back), there are a million places to hike. There’s a trail that leads to these old trees called Limber Pines and some of them are 2,000 years old. You can go and hike up to the trees that have been there since, you know, Jesus was walking the earth. It’s just sort of different. I think when most people think of LA, they think of Hollywood or the Beach or something like that- and Angeles Crest is just a whole different side of Los Angeles once you are 10 minutes up the mountain- you don’t feel like you’re anywhere near the city.
FC: Do you prefer quiet contemplative spots or busy/exciting places?
JH: Probably more contemplative. There are cities you go to for loud and exciting, and my favorite place for all that is New York. But my family is here, my friends are here, so I mostly just chill when I am here- maybe I’ll go to a cool bar or dive spot- do you know of The Houston Brothers? They have a couple of cool clubs here, too.
FC: We love The Houston Brothers! We did a couple of posts about their spots. So, tell us: What were you like in High School?
JH: I was a chameleon. I would be able to hang out with guys that were straight-up gang members, as well as the punk rockers, the jocks and the “nerds”. I would find my way into any group, make friends and find comfort. Some people thought it was odd that I would sort of shift through so many groups- but for me, it was natural.
To this day, I randomly run into people that I went to High School with. Growing up here, I did see a few people who went down some wrong paths, went to jail, got into drugs, that kind of a thing—and my path was very different. I ended up being in Hollywood, and working in this business. It’s interesting, because growing up I didn’t have any aspirations on being an actor- that could have happened later in life.
FC: What did you want to be?
JH: When I was a kid I wanted to be an Archeologist or a Paleontologist. I was fascinated by King Tut and Egyptology and the Maya and Inca civilizations. Now, I'd want to be an Architect.
FC: Didn’t you get discovered in an elevator by a talent scout?
JH: It’s true, yeah, I did. I was 18. That’s when I got into acting. I had never been in a school play or anything.
FC: Had that not have happened—Do you think you would have been interested in acting?
JH: No, no- I don’t think so. It’s funny because I think about that day, and people have asked me- you know—it sort of brings up the question of destiny. What are you destined to do or not do-- There were a million things that could have happened just slightly differently that day- Whether it was a red light, or somebody calling me on the phone or whatever, that could have changed the course of my life because of not meeting that talent scout in the elevator. So… I don’t know- it does make me think about the question of Destiny.
FC: What would you cook for us if we came over for dinner?
JH: Steak. I would probably do an arugula salad or a Caprese salad to start… definitely some wine.
FC: What was your favorite 90’s JAM?
JH: It would probably be a Tupac song, like Picture me rollin or something. Back in those days, I listened to a lot of Hip Hop. It’s funny, you know how I said I was a bit of a chameleon in High School? Well, I also listened to a bunch of different music. I grew up listening to country music (because my dad listened to it) I had a punk rock phase for about 5 years, and I loved gangster rap. I would listen to all types of music- like simultaneously- that really confused everyone around me.
FC: Please tell us you wore a bandana
JH: I did.
FC: How can we tell if you’re having a bad day?
JH: If I am having a bad day, it’s gonna be hard to tell, because I usually keep my bad days to myself. I like to present myself as if everything’s going fine.
FC: Who would play you in a movie?
JH: I have absolutely no idea! Michael Pena? I don’t know!
FC: What is your preferred way to communicate?
JH: Text. Definitely text.
FC: What are your current dietary restrictions?
JH: I eat everything. The one thing I don’t like is raw onion- But I’ve traveled a lot, and food-wise, if it’s on the menu and it’s weird, I’ll try it. I didn’t eat red meat for over 10 years- but then—I had bacon one day—it smelled so good! And it got me back to eating meat.
FC: Bacon is totally a gateway drug. What did you learn from your mom?
JH: My mother’s sense of undying love. My mother represents the heart of our family, the heart of everything. She’s had a pretty hard life, and my dad was kind of a hard-ass macho dude. But my mom, no matter what, if you made a wrong step, no matter what you did, you could turn to mom and she would always give you that love.
FC: What do you consider a challenge?
JH: My challenge would be controlling myself, and my impulses. I used to have a bad temper when I was younger, and I used to get into a lot of trouble because of it. But that’s all mostly in the past.
FC: Do you exercise every day?
JH: Not every day. But maybe about 4 times a week. I ride my bike, I run, occasionally I’ll go to the gym.
FC: What are you reading right now?
JH: It’s an autobiography of the evolution of Black Flag. One of the lead singers of Black Flag wrote it.
FC: What is in your fridge?
JH: My father has a chili recipe that my Grandmother passed down. It’s fucking delicious! It’s very hot. Jalapenos, tomato, a little garlic. My father roasts all the vegetables, takes the skin off, and chops everything up. It’s so good! I put it on eggs in the morning. I dip chips in it, too. What else: white wine, ALWAYS cheese. I’ve also been on the Kombucha. I love the way it tastes.
FC: What was the last thing you saw at the movies?
JH: It’s been a while! Oh—it was SING. I went with my kids and family.
FC: Are you a popcorn person?
JH: Buttery popcorn. It doesn’t have to be salty, but it has to be buttery. It’s all about the butter.
FC: If you could go to a different place or time right now— what and where would it be?
JH: The 20’s or 30’s. It’s an interesting time period because there were a lot of technological advances. Art was doing interesting things. The Industrial Revolution happened. The world was changing in a way that it was a new paradigm after the 1900’s started. My grandfather was born in 1909 and when I think about his life and the evolution that he’s seen in just his life time. How much the world has changed in 100 years- because my grandfather lived until 104 years old. So, when you think about any other time period- the massive amount of change that happened from 1900-2000---I don’t know if the world has gone through such a fast rate of change as it has during that particular time period. So, I think it would be interesting to watch that unfold.
FC: Admittedly, this is a weird question- but: Would you rather be a woman for a day or an animal for a day?
JH: Okay, okay. How about this for an answer: I would rather be an animal, and that animal would be a woman. No, I would have to be a bird. Some sort of eagle. I would have to fly. I have had lucid dreams in the past where I kind of get to decide to fly and it’s really awesome.
FC: What are your worries? How do you handle them?
JH: I worry about (of course) the politics in the US. I think some things are happening that if we walk down that road it could be dangerous. And when you think about bringing life into the world and think about how things can advance and potentially go bad, that’s one thing that can keep me up at night. I worry about the environment: what’s happening to, and what we’re doing to the planet.
I worry about this sort of misinformation situation of discrediting facts…disregarding science and truth is very dangerous, and if we don’t do anything about it there will be very bad repercussions as a result.
As far as handling it, things will happen as they’re supposed to. Ultimately, the only thing you control is your family, your little unit.
FC: What do you think about when you act with green screen really pretending to see things that aren’t there? Can you apply those thoughts that talent in other areas in life?
JH: It’s a bit strange! For example, I had to throw fire out of my hands in a movie—so that was obviously in front of a green screen. I think the most important thing is to just feel safe- with costars and the director- feeling comfortable with them, you just figure out what feels right. It’s a collaborative process between you and the director. But if you know that your cast members have your back and you feel safe enough to experiment and play around, you find what works. Once you get over that initial hump- it’s fine. It just takes a minute.
FC: Here at Fluffy Concrete, we pride ourselves on our uncanny ability to mimic animal sounds. Give us your best impression of an animal RIGHT NOW.
JH: SQUEAAAAAAL!!!!! [Knocks our socks off with a beyond epic pig squeal.]
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