Now that our collective obsession with our most recent Internet Boyfriend, Pedro Pascal, seems to be dying down a bit (I’ll love you forever, Pedrito) maybe it’s time we shift our focus over to a newer, fresher face. A New Year is the perfect time to fangirl (and, okay, slightly obsess) over a new Latinx celebrity so, ladies, gentlemen, and gentlethems, consider this my official nomination of Josh Andrés Rivera as the new Latinx Internet Boyfriend.
You might recognize Rivera from his latest appearance on the Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, where he played Sejanus Plinth, a dystopian-era activist-type who always stands up for what he believes in (no matter the cost) and the voice of reason (for a while, at least) in his best friend (and main antagonist in the film), Coriolanus Snow. Despite TBOSS being based on a work of fiction, Rivera’s portrayal of the District 2 native turned Capitol darling feels oddly relevant to the world’s current state. At some point or another in the last few years, many of us have probably found ourselves asking people, “What is wrong with you?!” while screaming — internally or out loud — as Plinth does in one of my favorite scenes in the film.
Even though Josh Andrés Rivera is a relatively new face in the mainstream media, he is most definitely not new to entertainment. In fact, many might recognize him from his supporting role, Chino, in Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story (where he also starred alongside his real-life girlfriend and TBOSS costar, Rachel Zegler). He’s also set to play Aaron Hernández in Ryan Murphy’s American Sports Story on FX next year.
If you ask me, he’s the perfect candidate for the role of Internet Boyfriend: He’s Latino — his parents are both from Puerto Rico — he can act, and he can sing (he was part of the original company for the first Hamilton national US tour). He’s funny and has a great sense of humor (apparently he had a thing for passing notes — the kind we’d pass around as kids during a boring class in school — and doodles on the TBOSS set) He has a great personal style, a smile that could melt the coldest of hearts (maybe even Coriolanus Snow’s?) and the way he looks at Rachel Zegler in any and every video of the both of them makes me swoon (it also makes me incredibly jealous, but that’s beside the point).
On a more serious note, though, in a time where Latinx projects are being canceled left and right, our stories are getting cut short, and our voices are getting drowned out, it’s crucial to have Latino role models that stray from the clichés: deadbeats, absent fathers, drug dealers, gangsters, cholos… There has definitely been a shift in how society views Latino men and, in my opinion, it’s largely thanks to the rising popularity of actors like Oscar Isaac and, yes, Pedro Pascal (again, I love you forever, Pedrito!). Finally, there is room for Latinx men to be kind, sensitive heartthrobs — much like many men so many of us know in our real lives — and I’m talking leading men here, not just supporting actors. And honestly, I couldn’t be happier that the general public is finally falling in love with the man that so many Latinas grew up loving (*insert pictures of my teenage room filled with Gael García Bernal, Diego Boneta, and Diego Luna*). It’s about time!
Sure, I want to see pictures of attractive Latinx men plastered all over social media, but I also want to see Latinx men painted in a fair, non-stereotypical way. If the way we get to achieve this is through glamorous photographs, magazine covers, and a few thirst traps, who am I to complain?