By Colby Tortorici
Jozea Flores, currently starring on MTV’s Ex on the Beach, is no stranger to reality TV. Starting out on CBS’s Big Brother 18, he didn’t last long, being the second evictee of the season.
Wanting to show more of himself than viewers saw during that short stint on Big Brother, Flores needed a chance at redemption. Sooner rather than later, he would get that opportunity.
That shot came as a spot on The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars. Landing on the latter side, he performed much better on this show, which allowed him to go on to compete in another season of the show Final Reckoning. On this season, he was paired up with fellow Big Brother, Da’Vonne Rogers, who played a role in getting him eliminated on his season of Big Brother. Once the two were forced to work together, it changed the dynamic of their relationship. The drama and miscommunication once between them dissipated and they realized they enjoyed working together.
After that season ended, Flores knew that he wanted to portray a different side of himself. He got that chance with his latest venture, a spot on MTV’s Ex on the Beach. He knew a more reality-oriented show like this would allow him to show his true colors. He told Echo that seeing him in his day-to-day life on the show is much more representative of who he is. It shows his fun side, and highlights more of his personality; he also noted that his fun side and his drunk side “work very well together.” The program has given him the opportunity to really be himself; to show that there’s more to him than what first meets the eye.
He also found Ex on the Beach to be a great chance to show off another side of the LGBT community. Flores is mindful of how he is portrayed on TV. He realizes that reality shows such as the ones he has appeared on are one of the few that spotlights the LGBT community, and he feels that gay men are often portrayed as the same basic queen archetype.
He makes an effort to break the mold of the roles where that typecast him. He wants to show that gay men can be just as diverse as everyone else. His interests include staying active and going to the gym, having fun and partying, and showing his many facets as a way to emphasize that LGBT people are just that — people.
He wants to use the platforms these shows have given him to break down homophobia. Jozea pointed out that many of the housemates on Ex on the Beach found it odd that he and a straight contestant, Corey Brooks, would cuddle and nap together. That’s one type of behavior he wants to normalize. To Flores, ‘human’ is an extremely powerful word. He wants people to see themselves as humans above all else. He knows that homophobia needs to end and hopes that continued positive representation of members of the LGBT community, such as himself, we will make our way there.
So what’s next for Flores? He would love to extend into territory like Dancing with the Stars. He says that he is a great dancer — through a healthy mix of having professional dancers as friends and his Latin culture —telt and that he would be perfect for that side of television. He also has his sights set on being the first out hip-hop artist in America. If he could collaborate with one rapper, he would absolutely choose Cardi B. He says their latin energy would work well together.
Flores has big plans to capture the public’s heart while making sure to spread a message of LGBT inclusivity. Whether it be through TV, dancing or music, we are surely just seeing the beginning of Flores. With his drive, passion and a fashion sense that he describes “avant-garde, spicy and different,” his rise is sure to continue.