Who’s That Geek? It’s Leo Camacho!

I’m just going to put this right here…

Hey! Snap out of it! I am sure all of your minds have been blown by the awesomeness of this video: Traci Hines as Ariel, and my Who’s That Geek, Leo Camacho as Prince Eric! Not only is he the most perfect Prince Eric the world has ever seen, but Leo seems made for Disney cosplay. He’s donned a few particularly fabulous costumes, including an epic Aladdin and Jack Sparrow (pictured later in the post).


Leo as Aladdin. A whole new world…. of adorable tiny vests.

Leo’s cosplay prowess is not limited to Disney – he’s done a fabulous Darkwing Duck and Wolverine as well. He’s into Disneybounding, as we all should be. For those who don’t know, “Disneybounding” is a term coined by Leslie Kay that refers to building an outfit around a Disney character. And be sure to check out some of the other great cosplays under his belt like Team Rocket Grunt and Broba Fett. (Don’t ask.)

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Leo as Darkwing Duck and Wolverine!

Did I mention he is a fantastic cartoonist and sketch artist? If you check him out on Tumblr you will be sure to see a lot of sketches, but he also has a really rad gallery on DeviantArt. Be sure to scope out “The Unusual Suspects,” “Sure, she’s got everything,” and “Malware detected.”

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“Super 16 Bit Heroes”

And a final note on the geekiness of Leo… his day job is so awesome, he works for Google Lunar XPRIZE!!! Space and robots, ftw. Obviously since you now love him as much as I do, check him out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And if we’re offering suggestions here, my suggestions to Leo for future cosplays would include Captain Hook, Clark Kent / Superman, and Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones. Thanks again to Leo for answering all of my questions in a most thorough manner!

1. Obviously the world would probably most easily recognize you as “that guy who did the perfect Prince Eric.” What was your first cosplay, what is your favorite cosplay you’ve ever done, and what is your future dream cosplay?
Ha! Yeah, the Prince Eric thing is pretty funny. It’s gotten to the point where people who haven’t seen any of my Prince Eric stuff online just randomly tell me I look like him. He’s a stud though so I guess that’s a good thing!

Before I was a Disney prince, I was a Disney pirate. My very first cosplay, and conveniently my favorite, was Jack Sparrow from Pirate of the Caribbean. I always thought the character was cool in the films and for me personally, the fun in cosplay is channeling the characters you get to portray, so naturally this seemed like a fun first pick albeit an audacious one. It took me a few iterations to get it right. A trip to the thrift store and about $60 worth of material provided a pretty passable Jack for the time. This was before the huge cosplay wave hit the mainland and crappy costumes were still considered “not bad”. After SDCC (my first cosplay outing) I put the costume up on ebay for $40 and it sold for $450! I though to myself “Well maybe I should use this and make a good one!” I did just that and I still rock it occasionally to this day. I mean, who doesn’t like acting like a drunk pirate in public?

Who knows what the future will hold. I have a few in the pipeline I want to get out there including a movie accurate Prince of Persia, the male demon hunter from Diablo 3, and possibly some old school stuff like Keith from Voltron or Link from Zelda II. Lets see what time, opportunity and budget allow for!


Leo as Jack Sparrow. Spot on, and why is the rum gone?

2. Apocalypse! The world ends, and all people are destroyed, except for you and 1 other person (real or fictitious) that you have to re-populate the Earth with. Who is it?
Allison Brie from the show “Community”. That girl is really something. I’m all about those hot nerdy girls. We could make beautiful thick eyebrowed babies and make each other laugh all day. She also seems tenacious so that might come in handy when warding off zombies and such. I would also have to take Kate Beckinsale into consideration as well. I mean, she has experience fighting vampires and werewolves and that could prove handy in a pinch. Tough decisions. Life is hard.

3. What was your favorite cartoon as a kid? How about now?
My favorite cartoon as a kid was undoubtedly Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was (and still am) a MASSIVE fan and I definitely had turtle fever. I collected, literally, every single toy and I drew them non-stop. I still do these things but I’m saying I did that as a kid too. Let’s face it. I’m still a kid. Today I might have to go with a few other jewels in the animation museum like Samurai Jack, Adventure Time, Archer, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I really like cartoons btw. Like, a lot.

4. What would you tell someone who was just starting out in cosplay, but was nervous or scared?
(Leo had posted to Tumblr a while ago and provided 5 tips to new cosplayers… and here they are!)
a. Love to cosplay. You’ll know you love it before you even do it.
b. Find a character that resonates with you. The main reasons my cosplays work so well is because I tend to find characters I look like and that is like a 75% advantage already. This isn’t for everyone though and it’s not important. I do think it’s important to highlight though because I am no master costume designer and this is why I get away with any praise at all. Secondly I look for characters who’s personality I feel I can channel. I can be a bit of an actor so I love this part and it come naturally. Lastly, I find characters I think look cool so that I can feel cool when I become them. Find who you want to be and do it. That’s what cosplay is all about
c. Take on tasks that you can manage and give yourself time. Never cosplayed before? Then don’t pick a complicated character with 40 layers of armor and expect to finish it in a week. You have to keep in mind that cosplay has become a refined artform over the last 15 years here in the states, roughly and many tricks have slowly surfaced over that time. Don’t expect to master more complex techniques over night. Give yourself time to learn and fail and rebuild. Manage your expectations and you will get more done sooner and be able to add more later
d. Don’t be shy. I know its hard to go in public dressed as a dinosaur robot with a 12 foot neon sword that looks like a dildo. Own it. I know you have to get gas before you leave. Look at people and laugh with them. It is ridiculous and that’s why its fun. Tell them the story. share the positivity. Fuck it. After all, you are a dinosaur robot with a dildo sword. Who can stop you?
e. Don’t judge others. Not everyone will be amazing. No one deserves to be slammed. Be constructive and offer tips but never shut someone down. This community is held together over the love of wearing silly shit pretending to be a fucking cartoon or something. Who are you to judge? Shut up and be nice.

5. Your drawings are fantastic! What medium do you prefer to draw on, what tools do you use, and what are your favorite things to draw?
Thank you! That means a lot considering I have no real formal training or anything so I’m glad you enjoy them. I always prefer to draw with a regular ol’ mechanical pencil. I generally follow up by inking with some Copic Multiliner pens and then perhaps some Copic Markers. My favorite means to add color is digital, so I usually scan my images in, clean them up, then color them in photoshop. I have the Cintiq tablet now but I used a general old Wacom crap-tablet 2000 for a long time. I actually colored most of my pieces with an optical mouse for a LONG time before I started with tablets. The point is, any tool is viable if it feels good to you. I encourage people to play around and try new things and find the groove that fits you best!

Living the Geeky Life (with purpose!): A How-To Guide.

Sometimes we become overwhelmed with all the little stuff in our everyday lives, that we forget to take a look at the bigger picture. What’s our purpose to life, and are we living it purposefully? My favorite example of a purpose-filled life is that of good old Charles Xavier. Charles is a mutant, with a mutant ability (aka an amazing superpower!), who builds his entire life plan around this ability.

Charles’ life story, the X-mansion, and its inhabitants, are the perfect parable for how one can live with geeky life with purpose. Charles had some struggles from the get go: a physical handicap, some toxic relationships (*cough Magneto cough*), and some cultural oppression from mutant haters. Charles sought to better the world, and wanted to train young mutants to use their abilities. He wanted to do mankind a solid, and to prove to the world that mutants were not a threat, while overcoming all of his obstacles.

His “Geeky life with purpose” consisted of creating the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning – aka the X-mansion and home to the X-men.

So how can you create your own X-mansion? Chances are, you’re not a telepath with a Westchester mansion at your disposal. But if you are, please call me. Anyway, to create your own X-mansion, take my advice.

1. Determine your purpose(s).
What cause do you care greatly for? What makes you happy? Maybe you love gaming, and want to share this love with others. Maybe you want to write a fantasy novel. Maybe you want to open a cosplay yoga studio in SoHo. My purposes are: To use my creativity to make art that spreads joy and positivity, to connect others with similar passions via the Internet, to build relationships with other positive geek women, and to empower others to do the same. These purposes help me to decide which projects I want to take on, and which ones I don’t.

2. Spread positivity to the other hoomanz.
We’ve got like 100 years (if we’re lucky) on this planet, and then we venture into the great beyond. And while to die would be an awfully big adventure, we need to make this experience right here, right now, a positive one …for as many people as we can. This means making ourselves happy. This also means making others happy, including people we don’t know. This means smiling at the jerk who cut you in line, and imagining he needs someone to hug him. This means random acts of kindness. This means making eye contact with people, listening to them, and connecting with them emotionally. This means loving ourselves and being secure in our mind, body and spirit, even though it’s not perfect.

3. Pick inspiring role models.
Some of my favorite geeks include Wil Wheaton, Nathan Fillion, Amy Poehler, Felicia Day, and Pewdiepie. They are giving, loving, humble, caring, funny, and fun! To me, they represent the ideal geeky life with purpose. On Geek & Sundry, for example, Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton allow talented vloggers to have their own part in the show, and they take auditions for new vloggers too! I also adore Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls – it’s positive geekery, that encourages. Their motto is: “Change the world by being yourself!” And Pewdiepie ran a donation campaign for Charity Water, using his fame for good! I would love to see you guys list examples of geeks doing good in the comments below!

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The Holstee Manifesto

4. Make goals, timelines, inspirational posters, daily affirmations, calendars, lists – organize the purpose.
Get a big chalkboard, and bright colored chalk, and write down your purposes in big letters, for you to read every day. Buy a Holstee poster, and hang it over your bed, or write your own Manifesto. Write a little encouraging jingle, and sing it to yourself in the shower. Make a list of daily affirmations and say them every morning before you get out of bed. Cut photos out of magazines or newspapers that align with your purpose and hang them all over your house as a reminder. Determine where you want to be in 1 week, 3 months, 6 months, 5 years. Write everything down in a journal and read through it when you are feeling discouraged.

5. Get others involved.
It can be difficult to stay motivated if the only person you have to answer to is yourself. But if you start a geeky endeavor with other motivated and positive people, the snowball affect can be fantastic. Whenever I feel discouraged or lazy about a project, I know that others are excited for it, and depending on me! That makes me want to press on! For them, for me, and for the people involved in the project. Co-running NEPA BlogCon and the Geek Girl Pen Pals has taught me that the amount of energy I have can be multiplied exponentially when other geek girls get involved. My project cohorts are like my flux capacitor, always charging me full to 1.21 gigawatts.

6. Allow others to encourage you.
Surround yourself with positive friends and family who will cheer you on, “like” your status updates, and wave flags down at the finish line. If people are making snide, condescending and negative remarks about your work, cut them loose! Allow positive people to be the Chewie to your Han. Going out for Geek Girl Brunches in NYC has been a wonderful way for me to talk to my geek girl friends. We grab mimosas, chat about our projects, and just spend time together! Remember to make time for real world encouragement, not just digital.

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Photo by Monika Kusheva of her Marmal brand

7. Develop your brand.
Having a strong sense of self and identity, built on top of your purpose, is a great way to have something to hold onto, and share with others. Coming up with a name, a look, a business card design, a phrase, a photo that you love: They can all work to be the bricks in the wall of the X-mansion.

8. Let your mind wander. Make time for the geekery, but make time for the nothing too.
As a geek, it’s easy to be obsessed with our computers. I am constantly blogging, Googling, Tweeting, and staying connected. But a healthy and purposeful life means getting back to our disconnected roots. It means leaving the phone at home and going out to the park with your dog, while letting your mind wander. It means getting enough sleep, and not sleeping with our phone. It means prioritizing our lives and giving attention to all parts of it. Ever notice how you get your best ideas right before bed, or right when you wake up? Let your mind wander and you might find your purpose comes to you quicker than you expect.