Star of top ranked Netflix show, Gentefied, Joseph Julian "J.J." Soria, sits with host Kurt Caceres.
Updated: Mar 18
Joseph Julian "J.J." Soria was born and raised in the same neighborhoods of Los Angeles that his character Erik Morales now lives in the Netflix top 10 hit show, Gentefied. "Life is always giving you signs if you're aware, I see you life", says J.J. He knew he was meant to play one of the lead cousins in this series when they shot scenes at the actual hospital he was born at in the Boyle Heights area of East Los Angeles. "I'm just trying to represent, finally tell our story, the world is ready".
He is absolutely correct, many Latinx themed family shows have come and gone with valiant attempts over the past decades, but they arrived to soon. The nation wasn't ready to embrace watching other cultures until recently the African American collective finally took their foothold in the mainstream media, television and film. This finally opened the doors for Asians and Latinos to step through and stake their claim to what is rightfully owed to all of humanity. That of equality and fair representation.
J.J. himself blasted onto the scene when he was promoted to a series regular on the Lifetime show, Army Wives. This is when real momentum started for this young man, who hits his career with the same focus, drive and work ethic of a professional athlete. "I shadow box when I'm on set between every scene" says J.J. He works out six days a week with strength training and a regular boxing regimen. He has been blessed to play some amazing roles since Army Wives, including a stint in the hit show, Animal Kingdom. He worked on that show with one of the co-hosts of the What's Your Name Again? podcast, Rey Gallegos. J.J. says Rey's character had to rub Peanut Butter on his balls and released the rats to eat away the peanut butter as his torture for betraying Ellen Barkin's character, Smurf.
It wasn't always easy, especially as a Latin male in Hollywood. The progression for most is the same when first starting out. Play "Thug #4", maybe a "Thug #2" or "Drug Runner", then promote to a "Droopy" or "Puppet". Finally when you play roles like "Wade", "Tory" or "Erik", you've reached the pinnacle. "You know you've made it when you get a last name" says the boys during a recent interview on the podcast. Hollywood definitely still plays to the stereotypes for latinx actors and the journey up the ladder is usually one filled trying to breakdown barriers and typecasting.
A show like Gentefied is amazing and historic for television and the Latin culture. No it's not quite going to make all the typecasting and stereotypes disappear, but it is a step in the right direction. And Joseph Julian "J.J." Soria is riding the wave of his life at the moment. A jet setter, traveling from press junket, to interview, to podcast session. From city to city, he is one of the current frontmen and faces of the Latinx movement. Taking the steps towards educating the rest of Hollywood and the world that Latin families are no different from anyone else. Mothers, Uncles, cousins, love, food, tears, laughter, marriage, breakups, school, friends and so on...............we are one Nation. One People. The human race.