We had the good fortune of connecting with Juni Cuevas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Juni, career-wise, where do you want to be in the end?
I think the hardest thing in life is finding a purpose. We often go through life just wandering around endlessly trying to find something to give us meaning to what we do and who we are. We find ourselves working jobs, trying out hobbies and dating people just to see if any of those things will guide us in the right direction. But not everyone is like that, there are people who know who they are from the beginning and what they want to achieve in life and I was envious of those people, until now. It has taken me nearly 30 years to finally figure out who I am and what I want my end goal to be. As a gay person I struggled with the common rejection that many others from the LGBTQIA community constantly face. Growing up in a Mexican-American household I was raised with the toxic machismo mentality of men are the workers and women are there raise the children and cook food. But being raised by my mom and my 2 older sisters I never really aligned with the expectations I had imposed on me by simply being assigned male at birth. I enjoyed spending time with my mom in the kitchen and loved playing with makeup and my sisters’ Barbies. I struggled with my sense of identity not knowing who I was or what I was going to be growing up. I didn’t want to do the jobs the other men in my family had such as auto mechanic, carpenter, plumber or farmer.
After I came out at the age of 17, I had to learn to become independent because my family, particularly my father, did not accept my sexuality. It was at this moment that I began to explore my future options and continue to foster my creativity. I became a vegetarian and began to cook more, I started dabbling in makeup and started looking into a career in entertainment. I had big dreams and no clear path on where to begin. It wasn’t until after I finished college that I started to more actively pursue what I considered hobbies as a viable career option. I was doing drag shows, started a food blog, and took on an acting coach. I am an ambitious perfectionist so I wanted to make sure that everything I did was always done at a professional level.
Now a decade later I can confidently say who I am: Juni is an Actor, a Cook and a Drag Queen. I have so much creativity in me that it is nearly impossible to contain in this small frame. Every day that I live my truth and continue to pursue my dreams, aspirations and goals gets me closer to becoming a household name. I want my crafts to take me a level of success similar to that of Chrissy Teigen. I want to be known as the actor who has written multiple amazing cookbooks, I want to be known as the drag queen who has a cooking show. In the near future I see myself achieving all those goals and more. I want to use my platform to inspire other LGBTQIA youth to look to the future and continue to pursue their creativity because in the end the present is only temporary and the future holds endless possibilities.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am such a creative person. I am constantly overflowing with creativity and just not enough hours in the day to do it all. I got to where I am in life through hard work, dedication and a bit of luck. It wasn’t easy though. I started pursuing my passions while living in North Carolina. I felt like a big fish in a little pond. The acting roles I got were far and few and had very little interest from people wanting to attend the in home drag brunches I hosted. I knew that I needed to get out of NC if I wanted to succeed. I moved to Los Angeles because I knew there would more opporJUNIties for me and I was right. Though now I was a small fish in a big pond. It has been hard living in a place with so many amazingly talented individuals but I’ve learned that you can’t compare yourself to others. Everyone advances in life at a different pace and it’s up to you to figure out your rhythm. Since being in LA I’ve been able to apply all the skills I’ve learned over the years in projects I would’ve never had available in NC. My most proud accomplishments to date are getting to star in lead roles in indie films, appearing in a full face of makeup in a commercial for the 2021 MTV VMAs and winning the cooking competition Tiny Food Fight on Discovery+
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles is incredible! My favorite thing about LA is how diverse it is from people, to landscape, and most importantly the food scene. There’s literally every kind of restaurant you can think of here! Whenever I have guests there’s a few places that are a must for us to go to: LettuceFeast has THE best vegan fried chicken sandwiches and seasoned fries.
Will Rogers State Park hiking trails give you some beautiful views of the beach and the city.
King and Queen Cantina has a delicious margarita flight and a fantastic tamarind mezcal cocktail.
Santa Monica beach and pier of course because we have to do touristy things at some point.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We as gay people get to choose our families. When many of us are ostracized due to our sexuality we find others who we can connect. I want dedicate my shoutout to my “chosen family” who are an incredible group of friends that have been there for me for such a long time. They have guided me and been there for me cheering me on from the sidelines in every step of my creative journey. I would be so lost without them. Thank you.
(green photo) Photo Courtesy MTV