|I am the Commission: Jomil Luna, his LOL attitude, his ambition for success, and carrying a crown.
Jomil Luna is the recently elected Mr. Latino D 2013. This event, supported by the Commission, educates contestants and audience members about HIV prevention. Jomil, born in Camden NJ, was raised by his mother and lovely grandmother. The first in his family to graduate from college, he received his masters in public health from Rutgers University in 2013 and is currently working as the Assistant Director of Prevention at BoomHealth. Jomil enjoys working out, traveling, dancing, and spending time with friends and family. But his favorite thing of all is to laugh.
Statistically speaking, by you living in Camden -voted as the 2nd most dangerous city in the nation, your chances of success were limited. What did you do to overcome the negativity of your surroundings?
Growing up I knew there were drugs, poverty, and crime. But I had a good family that showed me excellent morals and values. My mother worked hard to provide for me and my grandmother always took me to church with her (where I met other young teens with dreams, goals, and aspirations). Obtaining my masters was a big accomplishment my family was very proud of. I always knew that education was important and that it would take me far. I rejected the negativity around me and I still do that till this day. I always try to have a positive outlook.
As a third-generation Puerto Rican American, how do you describe your “latinization”?
Growing up, the majority of the Latinos in Camden were Puerto Rican, so I was immersed in the culture, the language, and countless Puerto Rican Parades. It wasn’t until I got to college that I was exposed to tons of other cultures, especially other Latinos. I even lived on a Latino floor called Latin Images. Also important was that memorable first trip with my grandmother to her hometown of San Sebastian, Puerto Rico. It was especially fun try to catch the coquis and lizards, and chickens with my cousins.
As the recent winner of the “Mr. Latino D 2013” you have a platform to reach many gay latino men. How big of an impact are you planning to make? Would you like to work in some specific area?
As a recent winner of Mr Latino I would like to use my platform to educate and unite the Latino community. I plan to work closely with the community to make the biggest impact possible. My specific area of interest and campaign that I will be spearheading is to do an HIV Counseling and Testing Campaign. This is important because everyone, especially the younger generation who is at high risk, should get in the habit of getting tested on a regular basis and everyone should know their status. My goal is to bring this campaign to as many people as possible.
How do you explain some people still having unprotected sex? Is this ignorance or irresponsibility?
I think that we need to teach the importance of personal responsibility and the consequences of engaging is high risk behaviors such as unprotected sex. I do think that people sometimes have the "Superman Complex" and they think that it won't happen to them. I think a good balance of educational awareness with strong advocates in the community ,parents and teachers included, mixed with significant resources for prevention efforts can help us decrease new cases of HIV. To those infected with HIV/AIDS we must equally provide them with the same support and resources as those not infected.
Knowing how close you are to your mother, I assume your “coming out” was easy. Was it?
The honest truth, I was afraid to come out of the closet more so because of the pressures of society and thinking it was wrong. My grandmother actually asked me when I was around 19 or 20 and I admitted it. Nothing changed with my mother or grandmother, if anything it brought us closer. I think when they found out they wanted to protect me even more because of the pressures of society. Now in my life I have introduced them to friends, partners and they accept and respect me and my lifestyle choices.
Any beauty advice to share with us. Any tips to look good?
Exercise is very important first and foremost for your health. An added benefit is that it can help build your confidence. I'm very comfortable with my body and try to take care of it as best as possible. I work out about 4-5 times a week and I try to eat as healthy as possible. My diet consists of high protein, low fat, low carbs, and fiber. It is important to note that everyone's body is different genetically so what works for me may not work for someone else. I take pride in the way I look and present myself. I think a good self image internally and externally will transmit itself to those around you in everyday life in a positive way.
Boxers, briefs, trunks or commando?
I like boxer briefs (tight boxers) because I like the way they hug my body.
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