Though I’ve never been one for poetry, I specifically remember ONE work I encountered while in high school English class with Mr. López: Langston Hughes’s ‘Harlem’ (which up until this moment when I had to Google it, I thought it was called ‘A Dream Deferred’—my bad!). Either way, the premise remains: what happens when we place our hopes and dreams on hold? Do they “dry up like a raisin in the sun” or “stink like rotten meat?”

Well, let’s just say I’m unwilling to find out. I moved to New York City in 2010 armed with two degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the kind of ambition you’d probably find incredibly annoying. But I didn’t care. My parents worked extremely hard to help me become the confident person I am today. In fact, it’s the kind of confidence that allows me to now host an interview-based Web series that boasts my own name.

It’s MORE than me, though. This show is called ‘Hey Xorje,’ because I like hearing from others; I love listening to their unique stories and finding commonality when it appears that none exists. I’d venture to say we all have similarities to one another. In the case of this, our first episode, I’m a gay Latino JUST like Antonio Vilchis Garcia of Mexicocina restaurant in the Bronx. And like Cars 3 star Cristela Alonzo, I’m pure Tejano. Altogether, we’re busting our asses to live out the dreams that society would have us believe are impossible. Of course, we’re FAR from alone.

Making this show is a reminder to me that persistence and hard work pay off, especially if you surround yourself with people who hold themselves to the same standards of excellence. ‘Hey Xorje,’ is a team effort, and it’s a WONDERFUL team that’s bonded through hours of production shoots, retakes, editing, and mixing — all for the sake of creating a product that resonates with our viewers.

Best part? Episode 2 is around the corner, y’all!