Handsome actor Jay Hernandez was born Javier Manuel Hernandez, Jr., Feb. 20, 1978, in Montebello, Calif. One day, while riding with his parents, Isis and Javier, Sr., in a Los Angeles high-rise elevator, he was approached by a fellow passenger, casting agent Hunter Tyner, who had happened to squeeze into the car as the doors were closing. Tyner felt Hernandez had the magic that it takes to be a star, and before they reached the lobby, the life of young Javier Hernandez, 20, had already taken a new direction.
Tyner enrolled Hernandez in acting school and distributed photos of his new client throughout Hollywood. Within three months, Hernandez appeared in his first acting job, a commercial for a digital camera that has only been seen in Japan. In 1998, Hernandez made his major acting debut on television in NBC's Hang Time and, in 1999, joined the cast of MTV's sexy show Undressed. He made his movie premiere in the independent film Living The Life ( 2000 ) .
Soon, Hernandez emerged as the magnetic lead opposite Kirsten Dunst in the film Crazy Beautiful ( 2001 ) , in which he was highly praised by movie critics and adored by movie patrons. Unfortunately, Tyner died of a sudden heart attack during the launch of the film, for which Hernandez was nominated for an ALMA Award. That same year Hernandez followed this success with a role in Joy Ride ( 2001 ) . His other films include The Rookie ( 2002 ) , Torque ( 2003 ) with Ice Cube, Ladder 49 ( 2004 ) with John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix, Friday Night Lights ( 2005 ) with Billy Bob Thornton, Carlitos's Way: The Beginning ( 2005 ) , Hostel ( 2006 ) , World Trade Center ( 2006, ) with Nicolas Cage, Grindhouse ( 2007 ) , Hostel: Part II ( 2007 ) , Stop-Loss ( 2008 ) , American Son ( 2008 ) , Quarantine ( 2008 ) and Lakeview Terrace ( 2008 ) .
In February 2008, Jay Hernandez began work in Chicago on the film Humboldt Park with co-stars Freddy Rodriguez, Luis Guzman and Alfred Molina, who all frequented Rumba Super Club. There, treated like royalty by Rumba founder Edwin Rios and the staff, they enjoyed the fantastic live music of the Rumba Orchestra led by musical director Wo, and the sensational cuisine designed by chef Benjamin Soto. At Rumba, dozens of grown men and women often giggled in delight just looking at Hernandez, many hoping to meet him and all the other stars, who gladly and graciously posed with their fans for me.
Hernandez has two older brothers, Michael and Gabriel, and a younger sister, Amelia. In 2006, Hernandez was selected by People Magazine as one of the newcomers in its Sexiest Men Alive issue.
True stars are those who appreciate their fans and treat them as their friends. What would they be without them?
Photos by Steve Starr Feb. 7
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Photo of Steve Starr in Chicago, September 2, 2006, by Patrick Hipskind