We had the good fortune of connecting with Elíseo Equihua and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elíseo, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
How incredibly fun and fulfilling it can be when you finally get to a place where your purest expression is on view. Everyone will say they have a love and passion for it but being a brown boy growing up in east Los Angeles, I also find it to be an immense privilege to do what I do now. In fact, my work has become a compulsion for me, pulsing through me to such a degree that I can’t imagine doing anything else now. I finally have the chance to use my brown body as a form of expression in ways that I never saw myself when growing up. To create myself through fashion and portraiture, well, I feel so fortunate for it because it was incredibly difficult for me, a person of color mapping out totally new forms of identity, to work in such a fierce but at times, closed off industry. All people of color for so long have had to be smarter, fiercer and stronger to even be allowed in these rooms. The discipline and persistence it takes to do things you’ve never seen anyone like you do is immense to say the least. This is why whenever I get stopped on the street by people who have seen me and vocalize admiration for my work, it’s profound meaningful to me. I really see myself in so much of the L.A. community and have a love for this city I live in means understanding all those people before me just trying to survive so I could thrive in this way, well words fail me at how important it is for me to be absolutely unapologetic about what I’m here to do.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Hello my name is Elíseo Equihua. Im a gay Chicano artist, model, actor, DJ, and creative director from East L.A. I am very passionate about all my creative outlets. They are very personal to me, I grew up close to my mom who is a very creative individual. She owned a few shops in an indoor swap meet in Lincoln Heights and made a lot of the things we sold. Being in an environment where someone is constantly making beautiful creations whether it was floral arrangements in the gift shop or a crystal embellished Tiara for the Quinceañera and Bridal Shop my siblings and I working with my mom, were always around creation. That is where my own imagination and creativity flourished. My creativity is allowing me to use my brown body as a form of expression and has grown to be like a pulse for me. To be a person of color and be able to pursue an artistic life is an immense blessing in itself and I don’t take it for granted. When I started taking modeling seriously and using it as a form of expression, I started to experience a lot of doors opening for me. I started to realize I am the first openly gay Chicano from East L.A. to have worked or collaborated with a lot of these brands and companies. To be highlighted in the biggest billboard in Times Square. I felt a huge sense of responsibility and discipline to measure up to the work I’m doing. I want brown boys to see more for themselves. I want people to see brown boys the way I see us, with beauty. We are more than just the popular stereotypes you see about us in movies and in the media. I hope my visibility allows more people like me who come from humble beginnings to go after their own dreams in their own way and live a life that is authentic to themselves.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would say lets go to one of my favorite views all the locals go to East L.A. Lets catch the sunrise or sunset. Or if the California beach is more their thing I would take them to El Matador to soak up the sun and sand. Definitely check out some of the best burgers in East L.A. Boyle Heights to be exact. One of my guilty pleasures is food so if you let me know your vibe I know the best plan. King Taco for the best Mexican fast food, In N, Out, the good stuff. I’d take them to Placate Olvera during the day on the weekend. Bottomless Mimosa Brunch at a local drag bar. My out of state friends love to visit me.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents. Without them none of what I do is possible. They are also what fuel my resilience.
@marcoaroman @snapshotlopes @edmarphoto @rodrioscar @mollydelle @anthonywx @quillemons @kaipo81 @wethemus