“My art is what pushes me to the next level”
Code: Illustrator, Fashion designer, Video Editor, Creator
Inspo: “anything that makes me feel grounded, anything that makes me feel like a fucking queen—a high priestess, a monarch!”
Favorite Original piece: "Iconic Looks & Facts About Frida"
“The minute I graduated high school I hit the floor running. I said ‘I’m ready let’s worK”
Curly Velasquez is the Cinderella of the internet and our latest obsession. The warm and infectious head of curls is best known for being a featured face on Buzzfeed. He also contributed in the creation of their growing “Pero Like” series, highlighting the relatable and oftentimes hilarious moments of Latinx culture.
Before Buzzfeed, Velasquez took a dive into the art industry working as an intern under the famed photographer, David LaChapelle. He describes his first gig out of school fondly, catching glances of Hollywood A-listers like Madonna and Elton John. “It was a mecca for all artists--anybody you can think of”, he says, it was the factory of the mid-2000s”.
The beginning of Velasquez’s Buzzfeed days can be likened to the workplace Cinderella story of any intern’s dreams. He began as a receptionist in the rookie days of the digital media hub, greeting soon-to-be Buzzfeed legends including Quinta Brunson, “The Try Guys”, Eugene Lee Yang, some of the early Lady Like team. His charisma soon took him from behind the desk and into the spotlight. Velasquez credits his first successes on the Buzzfeed video team to Yang and Ella of Buzzfeed Violet who offered him his first appearance on screen. He says, “I went from holding sodas and putting them in the fridge to being moved to the illustrators’ side”.
As national culture and demand for representation grew the internet too began to adapt and introduce new narratives. “In that time period, there were no gay people who were out and who weren’t depending on their gayness for their humor”, he says, “there were no gay people who were strong characters who said: ‘Yah I’m fucking gay and who the fuck cares?’, and so we really started to take off”. His presence on the team was a quick success. The streams generated their fan buzz from his curls, his creativity, and his confidence.
“Creating and then removing yourself from the product and then peoples’ comments or statements is one of the hardest things that you have to do”
“Pero Like” is one of Velasquez’s newest projects and Buzzfeed’s only Latinx channel. Velasquez joined the team as a later contributor. “When they started ‘Pero Like” it was supposed to be a way to showcase Latinx producers making Latino content for Afro Latinos, Queer Latinos, Trans Latino… for everybody”.
The early days of Latin-themed content were received with some backlash for the validity and respectfulness of the “straw hat” portrayals. However, Velasquez says, “We try to shy away from perpetuating stereotypes, but if we do touch up on them we do it intelligently and with a lot of love”.
The channel aims to take over the internet by showcasing the realities of Latinx culture. Its dedication to validity and authenticity is quickly rocketing the channel to being an internet favorite, gaining six-figure streams. “[Pero Like] is for showing people what we really look like… it’s just getting bigger and better”. He shares, “We’re lawyers, we’re doctors, we’re artists, we’re singers, we’re poets...yes we are housekeepers too, yes we mow lawns, but we are that and so much more.”
Curly’s humility and kindness flow from his words and his sincerity. “I was already proud of being this Latino gay guy… I had already gone through a lot of battles of people talking about the texture of my hair”, he says, “I had already gotten to the point where I was like ‘it is what it is and I’m not changing it”. Velasquez is a strong, powerful, and necessary voice in the online, creative community. With no real disconnect from his on-screen and in-person persona, he is a great example of the power of authenticity and creative dedication.