They’re stars on Vine and now they’re starring in a new series about two broke dudes, No Cents. We caught up with Jay Mendoza and Oscar Miranda to talk about how they met, their growing Vine stardom and what they’ve got planned for the future.
Where are you from and how’d you meet?
Jay: I’m from Venice, California. Me and Oscar met about a year ago.
Oscar: I was born in Bakersfield. My mom moved out to the San Fernando Valley when I was two.
Jay: I first saw Oscar through his Vines. I reached out to him because I was on Vine and there weren’t that many Hispanic people actually out there doing videos. We shot one Vine together and it was basically like bubblegum – it stuck.
You’ve got great chemistry on Vine. How about when you’re off social media?
Oscar: Yeah, not only do we have a relationship through social media, we’ve become really good friends. We’re together almost every day. I think I talk to Jay over the phone more than I talk to my girlfriend – and my girlfriend lives with me. We’re like … peanut butter and jelly.
Have you gotten love from fans for representing El Salvador?
Oscar: Yeah, you know what, I don’t think many people knew that we were Salvadorian. They assumed we were Mexican. When we posted a promo about us being Salvadorian, everyone was like “Oh shit, you’re Salvadorian?” All of a sudden, hella people were Salvadorian. I think that was kinda dope. People were like “Oh, you’re putting it down… nobody really comes out and represents our country.”
Do you guys have aspirations to be in TV or movies?
Jay: I think both of us, our ultimate goal is to be on TV. Being on social media is a blessing because there’s people out there who are actors… they’ll do one thing, one film, and then they’re out of a job for a year or two before they’re actually on something else. So for us, we can go on TV but we’ll always have a [social media] following that we want to make happy.
What was your first Vine?
Oscar: Our first Vine together was based off a Latino theme. It was a pantunfla video … so pretty much, we put french bread on our feet and used them as “pantunflas.”
Jay: Yeah, and we used the song “J’s On My Feet” for it.
When you’re creating Vines, is it all improv or do you write things in advance?
Jay: I think we’re like other people who spend time on our phones just browsing, so sometimes you’ll get inspired by something you see. Sometimes it’s a thing you’re going through in life or something that happens while you’re cooking… or shopping.
What’s the fan response been like?
Jay: It’s at the point that wherever we walk we hear “Hey I like your videos” or “When’s your next video?” It’s crazy, man, the amount of love that we get now. Especially from Latinos.
Is there someone out there you really want to work with?
Jay: We’ve both talked about Fluffy (Gabriel Iglesias) and George Lopez because they’re kinda the original ones that did this, you know? Fluffy has watched our videos and he’s reached out to tell us he likes what we do.
In No Cents, your characters are always broke. Can you relate?
Jay: Oh hell yeah.
Oscar: Realistically, Jay is the dumb one.
Jay: [To Oscar] Do you relate to being broke, though?
Oscar: Oh, all the time! We’re still broke!
Jay: When I first met Oscar, I had just gotten laid off and Oscar didn’t have a job. We used to go places and I remember sometimes my card would get declined and Oscar would have to get me. Or Oscar would need money and hit me up.
Oscar: It was at the point where we would have to check our bank accounts to see if we had enough money for a $5 meal.
What type of stuff would you do when you were broke? Eat tortillas de sal?
Oscar: I still do stuff like that to this day. I’ll just get a tortilla, put it in the microwave and add string cheese. It’s broke food, but it’s so good! I’ll get tortilla chips and some Kraft singles and I just throw em on top so I can make nachos. I eat Top Ramen. I’m still very basic, you know? Nothing’s changed, I’m still the same dude.
So doing Vines full time was a risk?
Jay: [Doing Vines together] It was one of those things where we believed in what we were doing and we knew we just had to keep going forward and it would all be successful.
Oscar: The reason it was a risk for me was that my son was two months old when I decided to do this. I was doing security, making $200 every two weeks. They eventually just let me go and I was like, “Damn, what am I gonna do? I got a newborn baby, I have to figure out a way to make money.” For some reason I said “make a YouTube channel and become an actor.” That was the first thing that came to my mind. So I created a YouTube channel and through that I discovered Vine. Through meeting one person, I met other people and it kinda just evolved.
It was really like a leap of faith. If you have a dream, just chase it. If you’re confident in your craft you’re gonna do well. A lot of people were telling me I was wasting my time, but a lot of them are the same people who are congratulating me now.