BESTS…WITH CHRISTINA OCHOA

Beautiful. Whip smart. Creative. Three words that sum up Christina Ochoa, beguiling star of Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming action drama, Matador. From the producers of Transformers, Star Trek and Mission Impossible 3, and playing opposite Alfred Molina and Gabriel Luna, Ochoa is in fine company. We catch up with the MENSA member to talk style, science and her exciting new role.

‘MATADOR’ STAR: CHRISTINA OCHOA

BEST THING ABOUT GROWING UP WITH A FAMOUS SCULPTOR FOR A DAD: Two things: 1 – The freedom, nay, the encouragement to be as “eccentric” of a child as I wanted — I was a geeky, antisocial girl into science, who brought her pet snakes to school and hid them in her locker and had a severe issue with authoritative figures or the status quo. Second – a deep appreciation for hard work. We all know luck, talent, opportunity…all play key roles in most artists careers, but my father is successful in large part due to his work ethic; his perseverance, his obsessive dedication, his time and effort, and his perfectionism.

BEST PIECES IN YOUR CLOSET: I have a few staple pieces from BCBG that I wear constantly. A simple dress with sandals, a few pairs of flattering jeans and tops. I usually stick to the basics, but use shoes and accessories to be a bit more playful or experiment. I find them to be good conversation pieces to the detailed eye, without being too distracting if you are, say, in a meeting. Also, Im a big fan of buying something that fits well, in several different colors and variations. Fit is everything, right?

BEST DESIGNER RIGHT NOW: Philip Lim, Alexander McQueen and Vanessa Bruno are my top three. They have definitely distinct styles, but they all do one thing I love very well: experiment with volumes, textures and the mix of dichotomies like Masculine/Feminine, Soft/Hard, Revealing/Conservative…making every outfit an intriguing look.

BEST JUICY FASHION FIND: An Eva Savahl dress made out of silicone rubber paint. Its a thick rubbery feel over mesh and as the evening progresses and the paint is heated by your body – warmth, the elastomer’s flexibility increases and it “molds & contours” to your body shape. I love it. Unfortunately its red and quite the statement piece, so wearing it multiple times has to be done few and far between.

BEST BEAUTY SECRET:  Putting the obvious aside (sleep, laughter, and healthy habits)…Korean-brand BB creams. It leaves your skin glowing and healthy.

BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MAD SCIENTIST: Mad scientist? Hahahahaha!
Learning and being challenged on a daily basis. Using the skills that a science background has given me, in dealing with daily issues. Rationality, experimental procedures and critical thinking are basic to my understanding of the universe, and hence, my own reality. I believe more people want a life filled with exploration and discovery (instead of one filled with superficial & vacuous experiences) than we think. There just isn’t a mass-appreciation or access yet for these to become staples. What if Ted Talks and Through The Wormhole, were the basis of water-cooler conversations?

I do work in both science communication (through Know Brainer, the Scirens group…etc), and I also collaborate with several established organizations (like SSP) in promoting science literacy and research. The way I see it; science is the Alpha and Omega, and in the next few decades, the amount of awareness from the general audiences will influence things like budget allocation, grant funding, space exploration, climate change policies, and even tax responsibilities that we should ALL care about.

BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MENSA MEMBER: Oh, gosh. that’s an embarrassing question. There is no way to answer this without coming across like an a**, is there? I guess…the membership card “accidentally” falling out of your wallet?

BEST THING ABOUT WORKING ON MATADOR: E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! So far this job has changed, and elevated my life. The scripts, cast, crew, producers, crew, concept…Robert Rodriguez! I mean, there’s nothing that doesn’t put a smile on my face at the very mention of Matador. The people are all so incredibly gracious. We’ve truly bonded and all hang out on the weekends. Its particularly great to work with people that are so enthusiastic about the project and supportive. Sharing a screen (or my day, if they are behind the scenes) with such talented people makes it impossible not to be ecstatic about Matador. Now, we just look forward to sharing it with the world when we start airing, July 15th on El Rey Network.

BEST THING ABOUT PLAYING KAREN: Have you met Tony Bravo (Gabriel Luna) [smiles]? Seriously though, I love Karen because she’s so layered. Every script there is something about her that reveals a little bit more about the inner turmoil and complex dynamics her and Tony share. She’s been his best friend since childhood, they grew up together, but there has always been this latent heat between them. Maybe now the heat will turn to flame?

BEST ON-SET SHENANIGANS: Jonny Cruz (actor that plays Ricky Bravo) and I have competitions when we have scenes together; to see who can do a better job and nail their close-ups in less takes. Which is hard to do, when someone as hilarious as Jonny (he’s an incredibly talented comedic actor) starts improv-ing mid scene. The “Riot” boys all have a wonderful camaraderie that is palpable whenever we get together. Its a bonafide bro-mance, and its the most endearing thing you’ve ever seen. They’re always up to something fun on set…

BEST THING ABOUT BEING AN ACTOR: Right now, my Matador family is the best thing about being an actor.

BEST 3 THINGS: Traveling to an unknown location. A passionate kiss. Laughing at nothing-in-particular with your friends till your face hurts.

BEST DIVE BAR IN TOWN: Finn McCools in Santa Monica. Its a fun little Irish pub on Main St. I go there every week with my group of friends and its always a fun environment with live Irish bands, food and great people.

BEST GETAWAY: Scuba-diving adventures in warm, tropical waters.

BEST PLACE TO CATCH YOU ON A FRIDAY NIGHT: With friends at a game night, science soiree, or other home-based gathering.

BEST BAND RIGHT NOW: I’m on a Sam Smith kick at the moment. I have his songs on loop in the car.

BEST INFLUENCE: My parents, friends and partners have been my biggest influencers. I believe strongly in Jim Rohn’s philosophy of: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Im lucky to have found such wonderful people on this journey, and am grateful for the influence they have on my life.

BEST POSSESSION: Does my python count as a possession? Then him. He’s the coolest dude in the world. I named him Riker, after the Star Trek character played by Jonathan Frakes.

BEST MOMENT YOU’D RELIVE IF YOU COULD: My first time scuba diving and my first time performing live on stage.

‘MATADOR’ PREMIERES ON EL REY NETWORK ON JULY 15TH, 9PM ET/PT.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ISAAC STERLING

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