I may have asked you this already but where were you when you first heard about Millennial Loteria? Pero like ... where?! The day the brand dropped online, my social circle was sent into a frenzy. I could literally hear the *yas* screams through my phone. You see, to me, Loteria is more than just a bingo game I played with pinto beans at my abuelita's house. No no, to me, it's permanence. Believe it or not, I have one of the cards written on me, tatted on my left rib. It is something that I will always hold onto. These symbols are largely the poster children of Latinx culture in the United States, often mass produced and sold everywhere from the local flea markets to boutique stores. I've seen prints of them sell for .50 to $150. They've become relics and until this year, Loteria hadn't had a facelift. Meet Mike Alvaro. He created our generation's version of Loteria. Pretty sick, right? And they are so relatable! I'm so honored to be interviewing this visionary. He has been featured on Vivala, Pop Sugar, Latina, Telemundo, Remezcla, Hello Giggles, Huffington Post, Megalopolis MX, and now here. Read on to learn how he rejects dated Hispanic stereotypes with a modern twist.
Can you tell us a little bit about your personal upbringing and where you are from? I was born and raised in Guatemala City, Guatemala until I was about 17. I came to the US for college.
What is your artistic background? I think I read somewhere that you are a writer and creative director. What got you to these roles? I studied PR, Advertising, and Television Production at Chapman University. After graduating in 2010, I worked at different ad agencies, focusing on millennial and Hispanic consumers. I've written a lot of different TV and digital campaigns for clients like Jack in the Box, Honda, the LA Rams, and Taco Bell, where I was part of the team that helped market the Doritos Locos Tacos.
I have a "La Luna" tattoo that I share with my sister. When I saw "the face swap" label, I laughed so hard. If you could, who would you face swap with? I'd face swap with Batman. Batman is always the right answer for anything.
What made you interested in creating a Loteria card deck/design for a "new generation?" The old one just felt so dated, I wanted to give it the "reboot" treatment. Make it something that felt relevant to our generation again. Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, but when it's also funny, it becomes something shareable.
How do you decide which symbols to feature? I pick a random card and just create different modern scenarios for it to be in. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes it takes a day or two of thinking. It's hard when you've got two good ideas for one specific card, but that's a good problem to have. I just see what makes me laugh more, and go with that.
How do you think the older generation of Loteria players will relate to this? It seems almost educational...in the same way that Loteria was to us as children. I can already hear myself telling my parents, "This is Tinder!" "This is Uber." "This is how heavy my student debt feels!" Haha, I didn't think of it that way but you're right. There's a reverse angle to it now that's pretty cool. I've gotten some bad comments from older people who say the original Loteria shouldn't be messed with, but I think that's to be expected of older people who already are critical of millennials. I'm not replacing the original Loteria, I'm just making a more relevant version for my generation. It's a parody account that's supposed to be taken lightly, and some older people take it way too serious.
Which card do you identify the most with? El Nerd. Hence the previous Batman answer.
Describe a perfect day in LA. Watching an outdoor Selena movie screening, drinking Bulleit Rye whiskey gingers.
Where do you like to day trip for inspiration? The movies. I go to the theater once a week on a regular basis.
It seems like you are about to pop off and I wish you so much success. What is next for you? I'm pitching a TV show to a couple of streaming services. It's a comedy about a millennial Hispanic immigrant who realizes he's about to get deported. It follows him and his friends as they deal with the issue. It's called Barely Legal and hopefully, you'll get to hear more about it in the future.