(Photo Credit; Maxine Baker Photography)
(Photo Credit; York In A Box)
Born in San Dimas, California to Cuban immigrants, Leo is the only child and first generation of his family who migrated from Cuba, setting their sights on living amongst the ‘Land of the Free,’ in efforts to escape a poverty-stricken country. Currently living within central city limits of Los Angeles, Camacho was raised and grew up near Pasadena, attending school in West Covina. As a child, he grew up surrounded by constant love, attention and affection from his Grandmother, his Aunt’s, Mother and Father — who each delivered their own unique presence in Leo’s early upbringing around pop culture.
Raised speaking Spanish with his family, he began learning English when starting Kindergarten, explaining that “he was unaware of the difference between Spanish and American culture, as they seemed to morph together as he ventured into young adulthood.”
At a very young age, Leo became very engaged and interested in gaming and had a strong passion for Nintendo. He was then introduced to the Disney franchise and spent most of his time watching every film imaginable, incorporating his family’s shared love and passion, together as one. Admitting that a majority of his family time was spent watching the ever so popular films together, they also stayed committed to an annual visit to Disneyland each year, making clear that the ‘house of mouse’ stayed prominent in the family in every way.
Leo explained that he was also inspired by artistic approaches and practices, diving into his creative craft and producing art when he was just a mere child. He was able to appreciate the multitude of genres that represented pop culture as he was exposed to a vast range, from Dick Van Dyke to Mary Tyler Moore, which his parents introduced him to at a very young age, to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other related ‘80s animated television shows, allowing him to form appreciation for both retro and current nostalgic trends.
Having a strong appreciation for growth and progression of pop culture, media and a mind-blowing understanding and devotion to each era, he feels that the blast-from-the-past approach to the wacky and odd development of many popular shows such as Masters of the Universe and Turbo Teen will always hold a secluded, special place amongst his heart.
Believing that media has been, and will continue to be the carrier for bridging the gap of pop culture, Leo takes a unique approach to explaining the progression of nostalgia and culture in society and fandom from his perception.
It’s refreshing to see an individual like Leo Camacho take on the world of pop culture and appreciation with full knowledge of the progressional era from which it came, and continue to stand behind what helped to build his foundation and core, from the very beginning of his life, transitioning into adulthood, to present day.
We then found ourselves on the subject of social media, online presence and popularity, as well as YouTube integration in the media, agreeing that marketing has found itself amongst a vast universe of potential with every outlet at your fingertips.
“If you’re willing to put in the effort to reach the achievement, you will.”
He also stated, “It totally makes sense that now the YouTube generation incorporates all of that, and also why it is so popular now. Because we’ve been given the chance to re-explore everything with each other on a whole new massively spread out media platform that is Youtube. We’re redefining all of the wacky ideas and trying to make new ones. It’s really cool.”
It’s apparent that we’re now living in the world that has a strong appreciation and understanding of fandom, geek-related culture and the franchises among the world of ‘nerdists.’ However, during the transitional stage of ‘80s to ‘90s pop culture, there wasn’t much of a basis to build upon which is what partially fueled the end of childhood in many adults today. As children, growing up in that era, many of us were raised to believe it was okay to play with toys and obsess over fandom when we were young, though as we grew, the fact that we must ‘grow up’ and ‘let those passions go’ was driven into our minds. For those brave and strong individuals who chose to stand out among the masses, many were labeled as a ‘geek’ or a ‘nerd,’ a term that was once not as cool to self-label yourself or be titled as it is today.
“When you’re young it’s so easy to obtain a label. I was a five-sport athlete but no one even cared, because I was more of a nerd than I was a jock, or at least perceptively. This changed in High School when I learned to manage my social interaction, though I was always known as a nerd because I had been labeled as such before mainstream media said it was okay.”
Camacho holds the title for one of the most appreciated ‘cosplayers’ in North America, which has been the proving success for his fame amongst the crowds, helping to also build his multiple fan clubs and social media channels. Leo didn’t end up branching out into the world of cosplay until much later in life than expected, as he explains, ‘cosplay’ hasn’t been around in the United States for very long; at least not when compared to Japan and other parts of East Asia.
In the early 2000s, Leo became very into Naruto, when it was first released in Japan, and dove right into binge watching the first season. “I thought, this is just awesome, and I kind of want to put together a costume based on one of the characters for Halloween, even though no one will know who I am.”
He explained that he began looking up costume tutorials and ideas on the internet and found people that had already been doing the same thing, and explains his first initial reaction to his discovery was ‘what is this?’. Eventually, this led him on the path of researching specific ‘cosplayers,’ which steered him to unearthing the word ‘cosplay.’ He then explains that he became enthralled with the whole new world that he had just uncovered and thought ‘how cool would it be to go to a con and dress up?’ Though he had no idea where to even find ‘cons’ or how to even get started, he still attempted to learn all he could from the new, crazed community stepping outside of the box of normal approaches to suggested lifestyles and normality.
“Eventually I decided that I wanted to finally put together a costume and attend a convention in it because it looked like a lot of fun and I decided to give it a shot.”
Leo then explained the beginning factors of what sent him into his binge-crazed obsession and developed a strong passion for cosplay and portraying characters from our favorite television shows and films, so perfectly that it’s hard to tell the difference. From scratch, he put together a Jack Sparrow cosplay, assembling random items, mostly found at second-hand store Goodwill.
Feeling out of place from other seasoned cosplayers, Camacho still expressed his enjoyment of attending his first convention and explained how after the event was through he ended up selling his first costume on eBay totaling over $500. For which he then took his newly earned profits, and invested his finances in a high-quality and more accurate Jack Sparrow, which he debuted at Anime Expo in Los Angeles, CA.
“I really liked people stopping and taking photos, and appreciating my costume for what it was. I just wanted to keep doing ‘this’ and making more costumes, and even though I still wasn’t very great at it yet, I truly enjoyed it and was really into Jack Sparrow.”
Famed for his resemblance to dark-haired Prince, Eric, in Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid,’ Leo ideally portrayed the character so perfectly, cast along side famous cosplayer and public figure, Traci Hines, in a self-produced and created live-action music video of ‘Part of Your World,’ which went viral in its pre-production stage. Suddenly, the face of a young stranger began to soar across the great lengths of the internet, and word quickly began to spread that ‘Prince Eric was real!’
Leo explained that the past comparisons made towards himself and Jake Gyllenhaal were definitely appreciated, for which he could see the similarities, but as soon as Once Upon A Time was released, he would hear the uncanny likeliness and comparison to character Killian Jones upwards of 30 times per day.
Camacho is bringing reality to the world of fantasy and allowing others to experience the wonders of the fantastical world in actual reality. It’s truly uncanny how one person can resemble two favored and popular fictional characters in such a perfect way.
“One of the reasons I am pursuing this dream so soon is because I already have enough work lined up to where my day job was actually getting in the way of these opportunities. I also plan to spend more time dedicated to working on and progressing with Thingamavlogs, as well as working on the brand as a whole.”
(Photo Credit; Maxine Baker Photography)
“I want to be a multi-media entertainer. The advantage of having a digital marketing background is that I can apply myself to the promotional, marketing, and management side of things and help to fuel the fluidity of implantation.”
It’s evident that Leo Camacho’s notoriety is on the rise, and for good reason. I’ve yet to meet an individual who truly loves, supports and encourages fandom in such an awe-inspiring way, constantly helping to pick others up, and motivate them to follow their own aspirations and passion. Leo has an honest, deep affection and attachment to the pop culture and fan-driven communities, and his appetite for all things ‘geek’ is sure to be the crowning point in his achievements.