Meet VJ RichPosted December 7th, 2011 At 8:55 am By MTV ASIA
Text: Natalie Yeo
Host, model, actor, writer, and now our new MTV VJ, Richard Herrera has plenty to offer! Shades and not much of a smile make him appear unapproachable but behind that facade lies a down-to-earth, traditionalist at heart.
Pushed by his spirit for adventure and inspired by his parents and love for music, VJ Rich reveals multiple sides of him in this interview. He carries with him a hope to re-engage MTV viewers and tells us more about himself as he embarks on his journey as MTV’s latest addition!
Welcome to MTV! Could you tell us a little background about yourself?
I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. Sports saved my life and kept me out of trouble growing up. Thankfully, I was a good test-taker but I wish I’ve paid more attention in school! I’m lucky to have the coolest parents ever. I left the United States in 2002 for Europe, and then ultimately ended up in Asia.
What were you working as previously?
I wasn’t the best behaved kid growing up but I started teaching and worked with handicapped and blind individuals when I was 15. My parents were teachers for the blind and that’s how they met. That was my first job, and then I got into concert production and worked as a roadie back in the US. Live music was a big part of my daily routine.
How did the experience of being a roadie branch out to becoming a model?
I was working and trying to finish school when the woman who was cutting (not often) my hair asked if I wanted to do a hair show for her where she would style my hair in front of people. One thing led to another but it gave me an opportunity to leave home and explore. I started off as a hair dummy of sorts.
For shampoo ads?
[Laughs] Kind of! And then it just spiraled into more opportunities. It’s a strange road to take but I ended up here in Asia. I have some family in the Philippines so it was a good place to start out and learn.
Looking at your build, you must do quite a fair bit of sports. What kind of sports are you into?
A lot of things! American football, ultimate Frisbee (just recently), baseball, mixed martial arts, etc. I train a lot and that’s actually great for stress relief and staying in shape. You don’t want to get soft in your old age because that’s what tends to happen. When I left the US, the whole craziness of it all got me away from training and I realized when I got back into it how much of a wimp I became, so I had to get tough again!
How often do you go to the gym?
I tend to cut the work-outs really short. When there is time, I try to go in and just get it done. 20-30 minutes tops! I’ve tried all different kinds of training and whatever people suggest really. The more insane they are, the better.
Now that we know how you keep in shape, could you tell us a bit about your personal style?
Well, my mother’s always had good taste with things so I try to keep it clean. I’m not a colorful guy but I try to spice it up every now and then.
With your background in production and modeling, do you enjoy show business?
Yeah, I really do. I ended up just getting thrown into it, but I never realized when I went to school that it was really something you could do as a career. My dad went to school for broadcasting and he’s the one that has all the talent and personality. He can tell jokes for hours and he really has dynamic performing abilities. Sadly, I didn’t inherit too much of that!
But you’re doing this today so you’re fine!
Well, I’m picking it up. I mean, I wasn’t born with it but I’m trying to get better at it so it’s a daily struggle to improve with everything. Meeting all these new people here really helps. I sit down, shut up and listen and learn. Eventually, I hope to put it all together like a proper VJ should!
What kind of music are you into?
I’m definitely open-minded. I will try to give a listen to pretty much anything. I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of DJ friends who really just keep new things playing all the time so I’m always asking them, “Hey, what’s this?” or “Make me a mix tape or something!” I’m really into Red Hot Chili Peppers and Armand Van Helden. At heart though, I’m a metal head. I find myself listening to the same heavy metal and hard rock over and over again. You can’t tell from my dancing but I do have a soulful side. Nevertheless, I’m trying to pick up some of this new stuff and get with the program!
You’ll be hosting the MTV Show next year. What do you think about the whole experience of hosting a brand new MTV show?
I’m fired up for sure. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done. I’ve already told the producers that we need to get out there, rather than do everything in the studio and take things to another level. I think we need to really get the viewer’s opinion on what they’re into and really everything that we do from now on; we should relate it to music.
How would you engage and draw in young viewers?
We need to find out what motivates people these days because that’s one thing everybody has in common is music. Everybody’s got their own trip with their own tunes. It means something different to every individual. Some people take it seriously, some people feel like their opinion really matters and for other people, it’s just something to kill the silence. I’d like to talk to people and find out more about what makes them tick because this is a learning experience for me too. Everyone, especially me, gets a bit lost in the whole internet circus and is slammed with so much new media that it’s hard to keep track of it all. At the end of the day, we are all selective as most of us don’t want to waste our time.
You will be working a lot with Holly from here on. What do you think of her?
Holly reeks of awesomeness. She reminds me of how I was when I was 21, only a thousand times more intelligent than I was! Her personality is plus for sure. Talking to her just reminds me how much of an idiot I was at 21. She has a really good head on her shoulders and she has an extremely promising future ahead of her. Hopefully, I can teach her some things from my experiences so we can learn from one another and help each other out.
Would you consider yourself a daredevil in life?
‘Rampage’ was a nickname was given to me by my friend who passed away a few years ago and it was given for good reason. I like to meet people and everything I do, I want to push it as far as I can. So far I’ve definitely taken a lot of risks. Some were not thought out too well and some paid off. I have more responsibility now so I have to make better decisions these days. The next few years will be very interesting!