Tuesday, December 22, 2009

010 - SpaHa Jose

This week I feature someone with sass, style, Puerto Rican roots and this person just happens to get home "on the 6" train.  No, it's not J.Lo, it's J. O. or Jose Ortiz.  Jose Ortiz 2nd is 39 and was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.  [Coincidentally J Lo or Jennifer Lopez is also 39 or perhaps she is 40.  It depends on which source you read.]  Jose now lives in Spanish Harlem, the Manhattan neighborhood which he affectionately calls SpaHa.

He studied architecture in college but is now a Visual Merchandising Manager for "a major fashion retailer known for its jeans and t-shirts."  He has been with the company for over six year with the past two being in the field of visual merchandising.  On the day of our photoshoot, we were short in time and short on mannequin parts.  That is the reason for the lone hand.  Jose has promised me a second photoshoot in the near future.  Jose is very inspired by Simon Doonan "for making kiss ass displays!"  He continued by telling me that "his [Simon's] Barney's windows would stop traffic, get people talking and interested in shopping...not to mention that he is over-the-top gay!"

I asked Jose about his other influences and he did not have to think twice before answering - "Mom for teaching me how to have faith."  I asked him to elaborate and he did by telling me "well its just the belief that if you think positive, surround yourself with good, positive people and vibes then you will always be happy and healthy..."  And happy and healthy he is.  One childhood ritual that he still enjoys when visiting his family, who "are all in Jersey" is a unique meal. "...my mom would make me corned beef, white rice, and canned corn...Yum!"

Besides his family, Jose has another reason for crossing the Hudson River.  "Well now that I have a bf in jersey, [I go] every weekend."  Jose shared some of his holiday plans and wishes with me. "One thing that I'm really looking forward to, aside from my spending time with my family during the holidays, is the fact that I will also be spending it with someone I met 5 months ago...he's a terrific guy and yes it is love so just spending it alone with him is the one thing that I am really going to appreciate this year...oh and I will be going to New Orleans for the first time with him for New Years Eve."  Jose, have a Hurricane for me!

The retail world can be challenging, especially at this time of year.  Right now Jose is working on "getting over the holiday hump and right into Spring 2010."  In his free time Jose enjoys reading, photography, fashion, shopping, and taking walks.  Can there possibly be a more walkable city than New York City?  Can there possibly be more colorful characters than in New York City?  Jose posted this on his FaceBook page and told me that I could share it: "
so I'm walking in the city and some guy walks up to me and asks if I can spare a $20! WTF, are times really that hard? then he asks if I'm broke after I give him the nastiest look!"

Since this is being posted just before Christmas, this Joe would like to wish all his readers a safe healthy holiday.  I asked Jose if he had any special holiday wishes - "Well one of the Christmas wishes that I have is that my relationship with my bf gets stronger and better." 


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