Eric Ochoa, 10 latinos to watch
Michael Buckner for Variety Latino

When asked to describe himself, Eric Ochoa, one of Variety Latino’sTop 10 Latinos to Watch” said, “He’s an actor, an entrepreneur just from getting involved in the YouTube world. He loves to act and he loves to impersonate people. He discovered that after years of being shy as a little kid that if he just impersonated some people maybe people would laugh— and they did!”

Ochoa, who grew up a part of a religious Mexican America family with roots in Compton, felt a bit sheltered from the world. He remembers not being allowed to watch The Power Rangers for example because there was an evil witch on the show. Since he wasn’t spending much time in front of the television this gave him more time to be out observing people around him in his everyday life. Doing so motivated him to step out of his shell in order to make people laugh. It was in high school that he and two high school friends teamed up to create videos they uploaded to YouTube.

“One of the first videos I put up was called ‘How to be a Cholo,’ because I was raised around a lot of them although I never became one. I knew how to emulate them a bit— in a non-offensive way of course. The first time a cholo saw me at the mall, he looked at me and said, ‘hey, you’re that dude that does the videos, huh?’ My heart was beating so hard. I looked at him and responded nervously, ‘yeah.’ And he goes, ‘hey your s–t is funny dude!’ From then on I felt cool that people were down with it.”

Today, his videos have millions of views and his channel has nearly 2.5 million subscribers. Although he no longer lacks the attention he yearned so much for as a child, he stills remains close to his mom who supported him and gave him advice not only when he started making videos, but always as a constant fountain of inspiration.

“My mom is definitely a big part of what I do. She’s a very silly person too. She’s always played a lot of different characters when I was growing up around the house. She was like kind of a chameleon. So I see a lot of her in me.”

Since finding stardom online, Ochoa has expanded into acting and writing. You can currently find him on the YouTube Red dramedy Single by 30 alongside Glee alum Harry Shum Jr. and newcomer Kina Grannis. He’s also writing a script for a feature he wants to produce about a kid looking for his luchador father. The only way he can find him is by battling his dad’s prodigy.

“The underlining message there has to do with divorced families,” said Ochoa whose own parents divorced by the time he was 13-years-old. “As soon as I can find someone to give me the money to make it, I’m going to do it. Hopefully, I can also have a Plan B like Brad Pitt has Brad Pitt Productions or I can have my own Happy Madison Productions like Adam Sandler and create my own films and open up doors for any talent.”

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