Our first Campus Celebrity for this semester is one of the most popular Viners in Puerto Rico. You may know him as simply Buoy, but there’s a whole other side to this charismatic young man: he raps, he composes, he studies, and he Tweets like the rest of us. Not only he is down-to-earth, he knows how to tell stories that anyone can relate to, and not just through Vine.
Name: Ricardo Javier Rodríguez Bravo
Hometown: Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Major: Advertising and Public Relations
Relationship status: It’s complicated (sorry ladies, there’s a special lady in his life :) )
HCUPR: Making Vines: is it a hobby or something more?
It started out as a hobby by simply doing pranks on my grandpa. I always followed the greatest Viners in the States: King Bach, Curtis Lepore, etc., since the beginning. I used their filming techniques as a guide to my own Vines. Also, I observed how they started to advertise and branching out and I was sitting here like: “they must be making loads of money with this”. And then I started thinking: there’s nobody in Puerto Rico that does this. At the moment I had about 5,000 followers and other fellows had a lot of followers as well: Rey Beyota, Jeansel, Eladio. And I said: “let’s do something, let me contact these people so we can get together and do the same thing the big Viners are doing in the States. Eventually, we’ll make money out of it.” It started out as a hobby, but always with the idea of going beyond.
HCUPR: What kind of inspirations do you take for your stories in the Vines?
Basically I use things that happen to me, or could happen to me. Before, I used to think up things that would make me laugh. But now that I’m working in the ad agency and they taught me about my target audience, which are you viewers from 10 to 17 years old. And frankly, my vocabulary isn’t the best. That’s why I’m more cautious about my vocabulary and I’m focusing on Vines that everyone can identify themselves with, and if not, well, at least they can see something funny about my grandpa.
HCUPR: Have you ever thought how useful can be Vine to promote causes?
Of course. I have some friends from a Pre-Veterinary in Mayaguez that every month rescue animals. I haven’t introduced [that as a concept] yet to Vine, but I have in Instagram (where I currently have about 13,000 followers). When they get the animals, I told them to send me their pictures and I would upload them in Instagram with their information. We have found home for at least 3 animals so far. Additionally, I’ve been contacted from a home for abused children to work on some campaigns. And, with the other Viners, we have planned on doing some campaigns for beach cleaning on the dates when the beaches here in the Island get very dirty, so that people can come to clean the beaches with us and spread a good message.
HCUPR: What has been the most difficult and complicated thing you have done for a Vine?
[Laughs for a long time] Damn… there are times where I do super-complicated stuff for a Vine and I end up not uploading because I simply don’t like it. A few days ago I was doing one with my grandfather. For the last part of the Vine, there was going to be a shot of me falling to the floor, and I did that so many times. I hit myself all over, and, well, I ended up not uploading it. It was difficult, but definitely not the most difficult one. There have been so many Vines I’ve done one can lose count of the complicated stuff.
HCUPR: Your relationship with the other Puerto Rican Viners: are you guys just pals or is there a genuine friendship?
I’ve have faith in them and in their talents since the very beginning. It’s weird to explain, but yeah, in a way we are all friends.
HCUPR: Your nickname ‘Buoy’… where does it come from?
One thing that many people don’t know is that I rap since the 5th grade. I have three brothers: two older, one yonger. My older brother was a rapper by that time. One day he was recording with a very old microphone at home and I sat next to him. Then he asked: “Do you want to record?”. I was like: “Sure. But what would I call myself?”. Then my brother answered: “Well, you’re going to call yourself Ricky Boy”. Right then we started recording and he liked what we were doing, and afterwards we got a contract. Artists at the same said their names in the songs, and there were a lot of guys with names that had ‘Boy’ at the end: Andy Boy, Franky Boy, way too many Boys. I was told that I needed to change my artistic name. I started to doing some thinking around and I eliminated ‘Ricky’ and added an ‘u’ to Boy.
HCUPR: What are your professional and personal aspirations?
Before I started in Vine, I was a rapper. It’s my thing. From the beginning, I wanted to create an audience and pass those followers on to my artistic life. We’re progressing with that. Therefore, my professional aspiration would be to become someone big in the urban genre. And in personal aspirations, I would like to transmit a good message and keep making everyone smile in every possible way.
HCUPR: You make a lot of Vines with your grandparents. How influent are they in your life?
They are extremely influential. I have lived with them since I was two. Everything I know is because of them: from my sense of humor to who I am. They have taught me everything in life.
HCUPR: Have they ever gotten mad about the Vines you make with them or do you have to insist?
[Laughs] I always have to beg. They’re older now (almost 80 years old), so I understand. At the end of the day, they love what we do. In the beginning they didn’t care much about the videos, but now they know we’re followed by a lot of people, so now they care a lot about the videos.
HCUPR: You transferred from Mechanical Engineering to Advertising and Public Relations, how was that?
My first option for college was Mechanical Engineering. I had the qualifications to get in, but in the year I applied (2012), the requirements went up. I didn’t get in because I was off by one point. My 2nd option was Journalism: but I talked with the department and I got the standard classes as if I’ve gotten into Mechanical Engineering. But I never changed my concentration officially so technically I was still in Journalism. When I realized I didn’t like engineering at all, I tried Business Administration and I didn’t like it all. And since I was at the moment making videos in Vine and I was like: I’m in Communications, why don’t try it here?
HCUPR: Being a Vine celebrity here in Campus, does it affect your daily dynamics?
Not really. But at times people stare at me: I don’t know if it because they know me or they’re not sure if they actually do. It can be kinda awkward sometimes.
HCUPR: Does it bother you that you’re known as “Buoy el del Vine”?
Never. What actually bothers me is that when a friend is going to introduce me to another person (that doesn’t know anything about Vine) and introduces me like: this is Buoy, you don’t know him? He’s really famous. For that person I’m just somebody else. I don’t like to be introduced as a famous person; if the person doesn’t know me, I’m simply Ricky.
HCUPR: Outside of Vine and college life, do you pursue any other hobbies or interests?
Outside of working for an ad agency, I write my own songs and I play basketball. Additionally, I’ve been doing Crossfit for almost 7 months, I’m really into it. And eating açai bowls.
HCUPR: Describe yourself in three words.
Sympathetic, funny and creative.
HCUPR: Say something many people don’t know about you –excluding the rapping-
Damn… I practically publish my life on Twitter. But something many people don’t know is that I had braces for 5 years. My mouth was a disaster. [Laughs].
Photo Credit: Ricky’s Instagram ( and Twitter.