Joseph Rincon is a 22-year-old Chicano who grew up in the city of Lakewood. Rincon is a full-time student at California State University, Long Beach majoring in electrical engineering.
Rincon was originally a photographer who has now taken up modeling for Chicano brands as a freelancer. As a proud Chicano, Rincon showcases his culture and style by educating other Brown people on social media and breaking down stereotypes in the Chicano community. He currently has 63,000 Instagram followers and 125,000 followers on TikTok.
He also inspires others to embrace who they are no matter what part of America they come from. Rincon praises his Brown Chicano community with his style. He wears flannels, creases up his pants, wears dress shoes, his hat and sometimes his black shades and he slicks back his hair.
People on social media think he only dresses like this for attention, but this is his way of life. What is unique about Rincon is that he stands out from everyone else in his generation. They call him “OG Kid” because he’s always been old school, which means being old-fashioned.
When he was younger, it was not popular to dress the way that he did with flannels and dress shoes. Kids in middle school would bully him because they weren’t educated enough to know that he was a Chicano.
“[As a kid] my parents didn’t want me to wear white tee shirts. They wanted me to grow up without the same discrimination they had to face,” Rincon said. “This is partially why I dress the way that I do. I show the world that you can be Brown and more than just a gang banger or drug dealer.”
Rincon tries to break down the stigma of dressing like a Chicano and hating on the Brown brothers and sisters because they live on a different street or different city.
Rincon’s family were some of the first Chicanos in California; they were Pachucos and Pachucas. Rincon’s great-grandmother, Josie, was not allowed to speak Spanish in school as a child. This led to generations of his family members not speaking Spanish. Rincon was discriminated by his own culture for not being able to speak Spanish. To this day, many Latinos face some kind of shame for not speaking the Spanish language.
Rincon explains how Chicano is the assimilation of Mexican and American culture. He says his people were rejected by the Whites and the Mexicans because some were too brown for the Americans and too American for the Mexicans. “The border moved; we didn’t. That’s why I will be Chicano until the day I die,” Rincon said.
Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
JOSEPH RINCON, 22, LAKEWOOD, FULL-TIME STUDENT / FREELANCE MODEL/ HE/HIM, CHICANO
WHAT DOES BEING CHICANO MEAN TO YOU?
It’s almost like a social outcast because you are not accepted by the Mexicans or by the Americans. You are more like a subgroup of both of them. It’s having Mexican and American aspects collide into one. Growing up there was a distinction: we weren’t Mexican even though we were from Mexico. We were Mexican once upon a time, but that was generations ago; we just never associated with Mexican culture. Chicano is a concept that many might not understand. It means having Brown pride and caring about your Brown brothers and sisters. It means to better yourself in life so you are the best version of yourself. Being a Chicano is not a trend; this is my culture, and this is my way of honoring my ancestors. I show them that what they are taught is not forgotten.
HOW DID YOU GET EXPOSED TO THE PACHUCO STYLE AND WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE?
I have been exposed to this style my whole life. My mom and dad have been dressed like this since I can remember. My dad’s uncles are Pachucos and his great-grandma was a Pachuca.
When I was younger, my parents didn’t want me to wear white t-shirts. They knew from the color of my skin that I would get looked down upon for wearing a white t-shirt. My parents grew up in a time when only gang members and drug dealers wore plain white t-shirts like that. My parents wanted me to grow up without having to have the same discrimination they had to face. This is why I dress the way that I do. I want to show the world that you can be Brown and more than just a gang banger or drug dealer.
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO PEOPLE CONFUSING YOUR STYLE WITH A GREASER?
I hate it when people would confuse me with a greaser. I think personally, quote on quote, a greaser and a rockabilly embrace colonized 1950s culture and I’m not down with that. My prime example is the movie with Johnny Depp, “Cry Baby,” in the big scene where in the background there is a big rebel flag, a big Southern flag, and it glorifies the colonized culture from back then.
Growing up, my parents wanted me to dress like a greaser because they didn’t want me to get deemed any less at school. Teachers can make fun of you for looking a certain way and my parents wanted me to fit in more, but I was like “ No, sorry. I can’t do that.” Kids used to make fun of me in middle school or ask me, “Why do I wear slacks to school?” Or “Why do I wear dress shoes to school?” And my response would be “It’s because y’all don’t know this.” Before all these social media platforms came in, I was 13 years old, shining my shoes and creasing my pants to look good in school.
People on social media always think that I dress up like this for clout, but no, I’m doing it for the culture and that’s a big difference. On social media, I showcase who I am. I didn’t adapt to social media to be who I am. I get thousands of haters on social media. It’s hilarious. This is funny because it’s always like 30-year-olds that don’t have a job or 14-year-olds that comment “I’m banging in my hood” and I’m like, “Go to school.” They always want to represent their hood, but it’s like “You are on Instagram” so it can’t be that hardcore. My reaction to all these comments is just me laughing it off because there’s just too much to reply to all of them. When I do reply to some comments, it has to at least be funny.
SIX YEARS AGO YOU SAID YOU’D BE A MODEL, WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE A MODEL TODAY?
I don’t know. It doesn’t hit you that you’re doing it, but sometimes it’s a trip. I used to do photography myself, but I always felt like I was [too] good-looking to be in the back of the camera. Having that experience in photography has helped me as a model because I know what looks good. Every time I’m with a photographer, I’m always working in the direction that they want me to. Sometimes I’m like, “Wow, I’m that model.” I try to do mostly Brown brands and I do my research for it.
My first modeling encounter was when I went to the Zoot Suit Cruise in 2020, and the reason why I went was to take pictures of the cars. I was dressed like I’m always dressed in slacks, my dress shoes and a vest, and this photographer approached me and was like “Hey man, can I take a picture of you?” And I was like “Me?” And of course, I said yes. I told him to send me the pictures and I also mentioned to him that I had old cars. My dad has always had old cars since I was little. I grew up in the back of a ‘51 Chevy and we would always be cruising and he would also take me to school. One of my first memories is cruising in that car, which didn’t have any seatbelts. The car had this rope that you would hang on to and I was like four years old holding on to that rope in the back, just moving side to side while my brother was in the front seat with my dad. My brother also owns an older car and I also mentioned that to the photographer and I told him we should collaborate.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO SUPPORT CHICANO MODELS AND CHICANO PHOTOGRAPHERS?
It’s funny because on Instagram and other social media platforms a lot of people just want to tear each other down. These people are always trying to be on top and they only think about themselves. I think differently. If I’m able to get to the top, why would I show you the way to get to the top? Like, why wouldn’t I want everyone at the top with me? At the end of the day, we are all Brown. We also need to support Chicano models and photographers because we need to preserve our culture through our style and our way of life. We pay homage to those Chicanos who came before us.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST CUSTOM ENGRAVING YOU HAVE EVER DONE? HOW DID YOU GET INTO IT?
When I first started, I made a record for my sister and it was pretty good. I did it with an Exacto knife. The reason why I started engraving was that I was honestly curious to scratch records. No one has ever done that, so I thought it was a cool thing to do. I recently engraved my Acura car. People have reached out to me to do it in their car but they are two hours away. I’m just like, “Do you really want to drive two hours for me to engrave your car?” I wouldn’t drive two hours to engrave someone’s car at all. Some people are like, “ Just wait till I get paid and I’ll come to you” and I’m like “Si Señor.” For car engraving, I charge about $300
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE OLD-SCHOOL ARTIST?
That’s a hard question, but the main three would have to be Lil Willie G from the Midniters. Carlos Santana, even though he is technically not an oldie, I always have to put him in my top three because he is Chicano like that. And Joe Bataan.