Hulu’s expansion of exclusive programing is aiming content at a new generation of viewers, the Latino millennials. With on-demand entertainment, it is no question Hulu has become a preferred online platform for network and cable television. And with 21 million Latino millennials in the United States, it was only a matter of time before Hulu catered to their cultural interests and greenlit 28-year-old Alex Corral’s new Winter series Los Cowboys.
The show chronicles Alex’s life as a charro, the Mexican version of a rodeo cowboy, and introduces viewers to the nuances of his Hollywood and Charro lifestyle. MiLLENNiAL caught up with Alex and his crew on set of Los Cowboys in La Puente, CA. The smell of horses became increasingly stronger as we walked into the pristine stone walled stables and said good morning to the friendly faces that poked their heads over the railing. Petting one of the stable horses, it became apparent that Alex’s love for horses and the sport of charreria was deep rooted. “I’m drawn to it because it is something that is in my blood,” he says with pride. “No one loves animals more than a charro.”
The History of Being a Charro
Alex’s roots go all the way to a small rural village in Northern Mexico, where his parents and grandparents were raised. He tells us that the town had limited economic infrastructure and heavily relied on horses and agriculture. Spending the summers with his grandparents, Alex recalls, “It was like going back to the Wild West.” This is where he learned to ride horses and became a fan of the sport charreria. “The rodeo was something you go do on Sunday, it’s a fun family activity.” Coming from a long line of charros, it was only fitting that Alex join in the tradition.
Today’s competitors come from at least five generations of charros. Before World War I, there was no separation from the American rodeo and Mexican charreria. In fact, athletes from Mexico, the United States, and Canada would compete in all three countries. By 1921, a national league of charros was formed, and film was used to promote the sport, much like the American cowboy movies. Over the years, the popularity of charreria waned in the States, but became a national sport in Mexico. Now every October, charros compete at the Mexican Federation of Charreria for the championship. And this year, the series follows “Los Cowboys” as they venture to Guadalajara to vie for the title. “It’s hard to master the sport if you’re not constantly practicing,” Alex says. Lucky for him, his team has compiled some of the most talented charros in the country.
Targeting Latino Millennials
Recognizing the potential his American team has at winning the championship, Alex decided to create a show based on their pursuit. Having worked on such shows as Biggest Loser and Master Chef, Alex has a strong reputation as a producer and saw an opportunity to showcase the sport of charreria with American viewers. In particular, he believes the show will resonate loudest with Latino Millennials who were raised with similar backgrounds. “We pride ourselves on being able to live and navigate in both worlds.”
Alex insists this show will speak to all audiences. “At the end of the day, people just like a good story.” Fans of charreria come from all walks of life, but Alex points out, it’s not just about the sport but also calls out their heritage and puts viewers in touch with Mexican culture. From head to toe, the charro uniform is authentic. Complete with a three piece riding suit, boots, and a large embroidered sombrero, Alex looks as if he just stepped onto the set of the Three Amigos. “It’s an honor to be able to dress like this and say this is my culture, this is my pride…we’re badasses.”
Tossing his cell phone to his assistant, he jumps on the oversized saddle straddling his black stallion, Brujo, and takes off for the training arena to show us some tricks. The crew informs us the enlarged saddle horn was designed as a way for charros to stay on the horse during risky moves. And the evidence of that quickly emerged as Alex barreled down the track on Brujo, pulled back on the reigns and made the horse slide 18 meters. Then the horse started spinning in a circle, almost as if he was doing a pirouette. After witnessing some incredible talent, it was clear Los Cowboys is certainly taking urban country to a new level.
A Production Company with a Mission
This is Alex’s first independent production and he is already making a huge impact. With Fiat and Dodge sponsoring the show, and Hulu distributing it as an exclusive program, Alex is paving the way for more Latino millennial producers. As someone who understands his target demographic, Alex is adamant about producing English-language programming that speaks to Latinos across the country. “It’s not about speaking in language, it’s about speaking in culture.”
His production company, Corral 360, aims at changing the media landscape for Hispanic television. The goal is to reframe the image that is portrayed of Hispanics and lessen the polarized extremes. In the case of Los Cowboys, he says, “It’s not just about the ranch, it’s about the lifestyle.”
Be sure to catch Los Cowboys on Hulu when it debuts on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. By subscribing you can binge watch the season or tune in weekly for free episodes. Follow the charros on Facebook and Instagram to see behind-the-scene action of the cowboys on set.