"My parents and I were in this elevator in Hollywood. The door was just closing when this guy squeezed in. We rode for a couple of floors together when he asked if I'd ever considered modeling or acting." Jay Hernandez
Mexican-American actor Jay Hernandez captured the attention of the public after portraying the love interest of Kirsten Dunst in the teen drama Crazy/Beautiful (2001), in which he received rave reviews for his bravura acting performance. He also is well remembered for playing roles in the newer movies Joy Ride (2001, along with Steve Zahn and Paul Walker), The Rookie (2002, opposite Dennis Quaid), Nomad (2004), Torque (2004, together with Ice Cube), Ladder 49 (2004, alongside John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix) and Friday Night Lights (2004, starring Billy Bob Thornton). Venturing into horror films, Hernandez will be seen in Eli Roth's Hostel (2005).
On the small screen, Hernandez first appeared as series regular Antonio Lopez on NBC's sitcom Hang Time (1998-2000) before moving to MTV's over-sexed soap Undressed (2000, portrayed pizza delivery boy Eddie).
Off screen, Jay Hernandez posed for Gap's Down on Khaki Street ads in 2002. Sadly, Hernandez's agent and mentor Hunter Tyner reportedly died of a sudden heart attack in 2001, at the same time Jay's breakthrough movie, Crazy/Beautiful, was being launched in Hollywood. Being asked about his feelings after the death of Tyner, the 27-year-old star said, "There are so many things going through my head. I keep hearing his words. He has been more than my manager - he's like a part of my family."
Childhood and Family:
"I come from a very tight, loving family and I was raised just 15 miles from where Carlos lives in crazy/beautiful. I still live at home with my two older brothers and younger sister. I'm third-generation Mexican-American whereas Carlos is only second generation, so most of his issues were never mine." Jay Hernandez
Son to Javier and Isis, Javier Hernandez, Jr. was born on February 20, 1978, in Montebello, California. The third of four children, Hernandez has two older brothers, Michael and Gabriel, and a younger sister named Amelia. He attended Don Bosco Technical Institute (High School) in Rosemead, California.
Unlike many actors who begin developing an acting career from childhood, Jay never thought to pursue acting until talent manager Howard Tyner discovered him while they shared an elevator in Los Angeles. Tyner then signed Jay up for acting school and sent his pictures to casting agents. A few months later, Hernandez's got his first job, which was appearing in a digital camera commercial. Commenting about his first job, Hernandez said, "I've never seen it because it only airs in Japan. Maybe that's a good thing because I was pretty raw."
5' 8½ inches tall Hernandez currently resides in Montebello, California with his parents and three siblings. Just like his character in Crazy/Beautiful, Hernandez enjoys playing sports and reading during his off time.
Spotted by a talent manager when he was in an elevator, Jay Hernandez quickly made his acting debut in 1988 when he was cast as series regular Antonio Lopez on NBC's Saturday morning comedy Hang Time (1998-2000). Being asked about the series he said, "It's a Saturday morning series liked Saved By the Bell. I played this cool-guy basketball player for two seasons."
After his recurring role in the show, Hernandez made his move to feature film by debuting in Living the Life (2000, played Kikicho), a drama about a Latin youth. He next worked for MTV in the second season of the over-sexed soap Undressed (2000), portrayed pizza delivery boy Eddie.
"Here I am starring with the girl from Interview with the Vampire and Bring it On. I was really intimidated by the thought of acting opposite her. She was so generous and helpful. I know she could tell how nervous I was." Jay Hernandez on Crazy/Beautiful co-star Kirsten Dunst.
Hernandez's breakthrough moment came when he landed a leading role, opposite Kirsten Dunst, in the big-budget movie Crazy/Beautiful (2001). His outstanding portrayal of a well-adjusted, well-mannered, smart Latino high school student and Kirsten Dunst's love interest, Carlos Nunez, received acclaimed from critics, promoting him toward stardom.
Another big budget film followed when Hernandez costarred in the drama Joy Ride (2001), along side Steve Zahn and Paul Walker. In Disney's hit movie Rookie (2002), the young actor had the supporting role of Joaquin 'Wack' Campos, a pupil of the real-life baseball pro Jim Morris, played by Dennis Quaid.
In 2004, Hernandez received roles in more films. He was seen starring in Ivan Passer's Nomad (2004, portrayed Erali) before heading to the fast-paced adventure, set in the world of motorcycle racing, Torque (2004). With Joseph Kahn (directed) at the helm, Hernandez played the role of one of the lead bikers, Dalton, alongside Ice Cube.
The same year, Hernandez was seen with John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix in Disney's Ladder 49 (2004). Commenting about his experience in filming Ladder 49, Hernandez said, "For Ladder 49, we went to the fire academy and stayed there for I don't even know how long. It was a good amount of time we spent training and doing everything that the firefighters do. And then after that we rode with the fire trucks and stayed overnight, went out on calls, and experienced how it is to be a firefighter. That was a very interesting experience. I gained an appreciation for firefighters, especially that they had a lot of the limelight after 9/11 and what happened to them."
Additionally, Hernandez played the role of Brian Chaves in Peter Berg's Friday Night Lights (2004, starring Billy Bob Thornton), a film based on the adaptation of the H.G. Bissinger novel Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream. Talking about his character in the film, he said, "I think Brian, my character, I think he's done pretty good with his life. He went to Harvard and studied and became a lawyer, [and] actually came back to Odessa. He left a small city and something about that city drew him back to his hometown. Now has a law firm out there and he's doing pretty good for himself."
During Hernandez's busy schedule working on films, he also had guest starring roles in USA High, One World, and American Family, as well as appeared in shows like The Sharon Osbourne Show and Tinseltown TV.
"I just sat down and wrote the sickest, most violent thing I could," he explains between set-ups. "Within weeks it was ready to go. I wrote it to be set in Eastern Europe with Eastern European actors, two Americans [Jay Hernandez and Derek Richardson] and one from Iceland [newcomer Eythor Gudjonsson]. I then flew to Prague, interviewed production people, met with a really good team of co-producers and here we are!" Director Eli Roth on Hostel
After portraying Carlito Brigante in Carlito's Way: Rise to Power (2005), Hernandez will venture into the horror genre by starring in the movie Hostel (2005, playing the character of Paxton).