By Bridney C.
It is a pleasure to interview Ray Lugo for the Sweet Scoop.
With more than 6,500 followers on Instagram, Ray has solidified himself as an Instagram personality and model. Hailing from Newport, Rhode Island, although he is originally from the Bronx, New York, Ray says he is the first out of nine cousins to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
"I don’t come from a modeling or musical background. It’s all still very new to me, and I learn as I go," says Ray.
According to Ray, he considers himself a positive role model in his cousins' lives, and says he feels as though he needs to "set the bar high" for everyone to look up to.
In this edition of Q&A, Ray Lugo shared his favorite place he has traveled for model work, how big of an impact social media has had on his career, and his audition for Season 9 on The Voice.
Bridney C: Who are some people that have inspired your modeling career? Have you always been passionate about being a model?
Ray Lugo: Honestly, I never imagined being a model. One day I woke up and I was like "you know what? If other people can do it, I can too." From that day forward, I just started reaching out to modeling companies and pages through my social media platforms. To my surprise, a lot of them wanted me to model clothing for them as an ambassador, so it was such a relief to start doing it. Once I started with one, then another wanted me to work with them as well. I finally got my foot right through the door. It all just came fast. People who inspired my modeling career I would have to say are, of course, my mom, and my grandmother from my mom's side. The two of them stood beside me in anything I choose to do, while others weren’t as supportive and even doubted my abilities to reach my dreams.
BC: What is your favorite place you have traveled to for model work?
RL: My favorite place I have traveled to model, I would have to say would be Providence, Rhode Island. I fell in love with such a beautiful city and it’s also the state that I currently live in. I haven’t traveled to any far places yet — but I’m looking forward to it in the future. I’m just taking it day by day right now.
BC: What is your favorite photoshoot you have done so far?
RL: It’s really hard for me to pick one. Honestly, all of my shoots are my favorite it’s just that feeling when you wake up and see the new merchandise it’s like I’m a five-year-old boy again because I am just excited to want to show it all off and answer all the questions that come with it.
BC: Talk about being a fashion ambassador for men's clothing line Menstrendzz. How did that come about?
RL: The company Menstrendzz DM’d [direct messaged] me on Instagram and asked if I wanted to be one of their brand ambassadors for their clothes. I responded, "HELL YES!" Every time they release new clothing or accessories, they send me samples of their merchandise. As a brand ambassador, I have to wear them and promote them which helps to bring business to them.
BC: You are very popular on Instagram, amassing more than 6,500 followers. What kind of impact has social media had on your growing fanbase and exposure?
RL: Social media has a large impact on me because I always give my all, whether it's me posting a picture or writing a status. It’s all me — just me. A lot of people tend to have two different sides to them, their true selves, and the social media side which is a completely different person. Trust me, I have seen it with my own eyes. As for my fan base, I wouldn’t say I have a fan base. I consider my fan base my "Haters" [laughs]. I have a lot of people who think that I’m doing an amazing job which truly means a lot. I also have my friends who are waiting to see what my next big thing is going to be, but I also have those people who try to tear me down or even family members who tell me I shouldn’t be doing this or that. I’ve been told "don’t embarrass yourself" or "really, singing?" I’m at the age where it’s my life and I can do what I want with it. You can be with me or you can be against me but at the end of the day, I will still work towards a better me. When I did "The Voice" it opened my eyes to show me that if I put my mind to it I can accomplish whatever I want, when I want.
BC: You are also a singer. How long have you been singing? And what made you decide to audition for season 9 on The Voice?
RL: I have been singing since I was thirteen. I decided to audition for The Voice when I was joking around with my friends saying that I was going to audition and pulled it up on my phone. I decided to audition and at the moment I was like "FUCCCKKKKK." I was doubting myself and everything that I was working for, telling myself all these negative thoughts such as "I can’t do this, I’m not ready!" Then I thought, "what if?" What if I let the opportunity slide by and don’t take the risk? From that moment on, I realized that I was ready. I was ready to walk into that audition and hold my head up high. I made it to the last round before making it to TV. I found out that the season I auditioned for was the same season that Braiden Sunshine won. He was at the audition with me and ended up coming to the Garde Arts Theater a year later. Words truly can’t explain how I felt it was beyond unbelievable and I’m going to cherish my experience forever. Who knows, maybe next time it comes around I’ll try out again.
BC: When might fans of yours hear a new song? Do you still record music from time to time?
RL: When will fans hear a new song? I’m planning a comeback real soon. I’m just waiting for the right time. Do I still record from time to time? I took a five-year hiatus with my singing. I haven’t fully stopped. I just stopped posting videos as these past five years have taken a major toll on my life. I needed to focus on myself and my family. A little background info about that is I was pretty much homeless for over a year, staying in and out of friends' houses, hotels, and a couple of times I even slept in a car. I always had a job which helped a lot to keep me stable and it made me never give up. I also stopped to work on my voice to make sure that when I start again you can truly feel how powerful singing is to me. My emotions always got the best of me every time I performed. My last performance was at Three Rivers Community College where I sang a cover version of the hit song, "See You Again" by Charlie Puth. I dedicated my performance to my Grandmother and Uncle who passed away only a couple months apart shortly before this performance. It was still so fresh to me and I ended up crying on stage. The crowd was also crying because they felt my emotions. This was also the first performance both my Mom and Dad saw as well. It was so beautiful that it will never be forgotten, and still to this day I get messages from people asking if that was me performing that night.
BC: Do you have any advice for someone who may want to pursue a career in the entertainment industry? What are some helpful tips you can give?
RL: Yes, no matter what anyone has to say be it family or friends always follow your dreams. Do what you want to do. Never settle for anything less and always give 110%. My favorite quote of all time is, "there will be haters, there will be doubters, there will be non-believers, and then there will be you, proving them wrong."
To see more from Ray Lugo, be sure to follow him on Instagram @Ray3_95,