Earlier this month HOLA USA! shared an exclusive digital cover introducing the new era of Latino Podcasters. A part of that list was the amazing podcast “Hyphenated” brought to you by Pitaya. The show is hosted by comedy stars Joanna Hausmann and Jenny Lorenzo and is about the experience of living “hyphenated” between two cultures. As Latinas in the United States, both have developed their comedy around what it means to be bicultural. Every week, Jenny and Joanna have hilarious, and inspirational conversations about the peculiarities of being both American and Latina. You might already be fans or have seen these ladies on your screens in one of their viral videos. Joanna is a Venezuelan-American comedian, writer, and actress who became a star on ‘Flama,’ Univisión’s bilingual digital platform and her viral videos have more than 70 million views online. Jenny is a Cuban-American actress, writer, and content creator, known for her YouTube sketches with characters inspired by her Cuban heritage. Jenny is also one of the founders of ‘PeroLike,’ BuzzFeed’s Latino content platform. Her videos have more than 25 million views on YouTube and millions more on her other social networks. In this exclusive interview, HOLA USA! had the opportunity to talk to the hosts about how it all go started, and how they hope the podcast helps listeners feel ‘less alone in their hyphen.’
JENNY: It was a long time coming because Joanna and I had known each other because we were both working for major digital media networks at the time. She was at Flama, and I was at BuzzFeed and Pero Like, so we were essentially competition. but Joanna was one of my favorites over at Flama and I think we- first of all- we have only seen each other in person a number of times... like three times or something, yeah (laughs). So I think we first met officially in person at one of the VidCons some years back and when we posted the photo of us together on our socials everyone went crazy. Our audiences have a lot of crossovers and they were so thrilled, but they wanted more than just the photo, they wanted to see both of us working together, making videos together and it took a bit because obviously we live across the country from one another but this podcast was just perfect and people are so happy that we’re doing something together.
JOANNA: Yeah I think for me and Jenny since we have so much in common, even though we are different types of Latinas and you know have different types of backgrounds, grew up in different places, we have a lot of similarities. To the point where when I need advice on something, there is very few people that I can ask that are Latina and American and comedians and content creators, and you know we see the world through a very similar filter. So when thinking about what kind of podcast I wanted to be a part of, I was like I want to be in the same room as someone who sees the world similarly where we can dissect the world through our although different but similar lenses.
I feel like since I was born I did not make sense to anyone. [JOANNA]
JOANNA: Oh my goodness… we talk about this on the podcast so much me and Jenny but I feel like since I was born I did not make sense to anyone. No one can say my last name in Venezuela and I looked super, what I look like- an Irish barmaid. And here in the states, I was American but I didn‘t know who John Candy was and all these American references and I never felt fully in the culture. Literally, the only thing I felt like I knew I was- was funny. So comedian was like the one thing that no one- except for like YouTube comments- could take away from me and it’s ironic because it’s through comedy that I was able to figure out my identity crisis and realized everyone has an identity crisis. Everyone is being told they’re not enough of this or not enough of that when you’re a multi-hyphenate, and that’s problematic to me. I think we should embrace our identities, no matter how complex they are and although I’ll never be cast as ‘a Latina’ in any show we can create our own content, where we are the Latina in the show.
JENNY: And it also goes beyond just cultural. I know the podcast recently launched but Joanna and I are talking about including other ways that you can be in the hyphen that doesn’t have to do with nationality or ethnicity. You know it could be religion, it could be what you do for a living or, a topic that I like to cover a lot is a ‘geeky Latina’ because typically for Latinos and people of color in general, there seems to be this weird idea that you can’t be a geek and Latino- like that’s unheard of. Or you can’t listen to folk music and be Latino, it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know who is writing these imaginary rules but it is something that I struggled with quite a bit growing up in Miami where to me it felt like you have to fit a certain mold, you’ve got to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, go about this specific life trajectory and if not you were not enough for some reason. Or you were just an outcast or weird being that, so we are definitely going to be delving into that as well and I’m pretty excited about it.
JOANNA: I think we want people to feel like they are part of the conversation, that they are at the table with us- we are speaking about our lives and our perspectives but always keeping in mind that we want to remind people that they’re not alone in their hyphen, they’re not alone in feeling like they don’t fit any mold- that’s actually a strength. Having multiple perspectives and points of view actually helps you understand culture and the world better, it’s not something that makes you weaker or lesser than.
JENNY: Yeah so I agree obviously with what she’s saying. It’s always a pleasant surprise when people say that they relate because we really are speaking from the heart and we’re speaking from our own individual experiences and I think that’s obviously something that we’ve also experienced in the comments section of our videos. Where it’s like all right you know I’m just going to make a video about that peluquera (hairdresser) I used to see all the time and its so specific to me and my upbringing and then all these comments start flooding in where people are saying how much they relate and there and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re of Latin American descent either, which is even more surprising, but it makes me super happy. So that’s how I feel about the podcast, it’s like Joanna and I are just talking about our own experiences and even getting down to the nitty-gritty like embarrassing stuff, like when we talked about the dating and sex and double standards episode, I was very open about the fact that I used to lie in high school about my promiscuity that was non-existent and just really being vulnerable. And then people still tweet and comment like ‘oh my God same’ which is really nice, and yeah… that they’re walking away with this feeling of like ‘I’m not alone.’
We want to remind people that they’re not alone in their hyphen, they’re not alone in feeling like they don’t fit any mold- that’s actually a strength [JENNY]
JOANNA: I think we’re living... we’re living in a time where we are all together, alone. So I think, in an effort to create this podcast, and also for me to not feel as alone- I hope people feel less alone with us. I think that’s something that I hope people understand.
JENNY: Yeah you know I wish in my time podcasts or even videos on the internet really existed, and I know I’m aging myself- because I desperately needed this kind of representation growing up. Because I was an outsider, I was. It took me a while to figure myself out because, again it was that whole fitting into a mold thing and so I want people to know that our podcast really is about being true to yourself, not having any shame in it, and just knowing that it doesn‘t take away from who you are as a person, it doesn’t take away from your culture whether you know Spanish perfectly whether you have a certain body type, you are enough, and I think that’s the big big take away that I want people to the have.
JOANNA: I‘m currently head writing a new Disney series that is set to premiere in 2022 where we actually see a mixed family of American and Latin parents. Which is something that was added during development, not when the series was picked up so we’ve been able to incorporate in the room with a really diverse writing room, half Latina writer room and we’re trying to hire Latino animators so that’s coming up.
JENNY: I don‘t know when they’re going to announce it but I’m on two animated shows right now voice acting as a recurring character. One of them is on “Victor Montesino” so for those who are looking to fill their representation and seeing themselves in animated form as Latinos, Victor Montesino is a really great and funny show on Cartoon Network, I voice Lupe. [Retracted because it hasn’t been announced yet]. I’m also co-hosting alongside Andre Meadow’s official Disney Plus YouTube channel, it’s called “What’s up Andre Meadows.” So it’s pretty cool Joanna and I both work for the “mouse.”
You can listen to ‘Hyphenated’ on Pitaya.fm, Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music & YouTube