Is Juan Castro the Most Interesting Man at Staples?
Usually when someone says, “So tell me something interesting about yourself,” the go-to response is “I have a twin brother” or “I play football.” But Juan Castro ’12 has a legitimate answer.
“I keep it in my pocket for a rainy day,” said Castro.
When Castro was about 4, he was a proud owner of both an ocelot (a medium-sized wild cat) and a monkey. Despite the ocelot’s normally carnivorous diet, Castro’s mother strove to weed him off of meat to vegetables. As one can guess, the ocelot did not exactly welcome this change.
“The ocelot clearly assumed the monkey was a better meal than the bowl of veggies, and the monkey knew he couldn’t get hurt while he was inside the cage. So he made faces at the ocelot and kept teasing it. Then suddenly the monkey, seeing how the ocelot was just sitting there, stuck his face out of the cage and mocked the ocelot,” said Castro. “However, the ocelot, seeing the situation for what it was, sliced the monkey’s head clean off as soon as it was out.”
Castro says that he was sad but too young to have had a strong attachment to his pets. He likes to use this story for not sympathy but an icebreaker when he meets new people who might only know him as the winner of the 2012 senior class superlative, “Dressed for Success.”
Castro is famous for substituting the casual school attire for his fancy ensemble. He started to wear suits as a “passing thing” when he was as young as fourth grade but truly began to commit to the apparel last year.
“I wear suits to school because they honestly make me look good,” said Castro. “I look the best when I wear suits. They fit me, slim me down, and accentuate my best features. It helps to change my attitude on the world.”
According to Castro, he has five full suits, two blazers, one suit jacket, and a couple of suit pants. He admits that some cost a lot of money but that he is able to find good deals at sales and spends only about $60 for a full suit. His favorite suit is a dark green Kenneth Cole Reaction One that he believes looks good with anything.
“I’ve gotten a lot of compliments,” said Castro. “People seem to react to me a lot better when I’m in a suit. When I’m wearing a suit I’m more approachable and I’m usually smiling. A guy in a suit stands out more amongst a crowd of non-suit wearing people.”
However, there’s more to Castro than simply being the “Best Dressed” of Staples High School. During his free time, Castro enjoys participating in WWPT, Kool 2 Be Kind, fencing, training as an MMA fighter at LA Boxing, meditating and painting. His most exciting experience during an extracurricular activity, though, was when his friends forced him to try out for a Staples Players production this year.
“My friends told me they needed more guys to try out and I tried to worm my way out of it,” said Castro. “I told them I couldn’t act to save my life, but of course Maddie Kimble ’12, my best friend of nine years, couldn’t let me get away with it.”
Kimble disagrees with Castro’s self-assessment. “Castro has always been a good actor, even when he is not trying to act. He is able to perfectly mimic a comedian he heard the night before, like on the ‘Colbert Report’, or get so into his character that you have no choice but to actually believe he is that person,” said Kimble. “He makes me laugh with his voices and actions, and can tell a story in a voice that makes me cry, so it was no surprise that people wanted him in Players.”
Castro ended up receiving 10 callbacks after his audition, and landed one of the main parts as the husband of Susan, another main character in “The Cooking King.” Castro’s surprise was mixed with excitement. “It was an awesome experience. I have never had to change my personality and adapt to so many different characters in the span of two days, so it was truly memorable” said Castro.
His career in Players was short-lived, however, since he only chose to audition for one play. Once the play was over, rather than spend time at rehearsal, Castro opted to plan a couple of block parties in parking lots. The parties began as a joke after Castro’s friend hacked onto his Facebook and invited his entire friend list to a parking lot party.
David Kalb ’12, one of Castro’s friends commented on Castro’s first parking lot party. “Soon into the first party, people freaked out over cops that didn’t actually exist, and everybody hilariously ran for the hills,” said Kalb. “However, since then, he and his friend have been throwing rave-like parties fairly frequently, simply to keep themselves occupied.”
Although the first one had begun to what he called a “rocky start,” Castro decided to throw some more.
“The best one we had, I think about a hundred people showed up. We had lights jumping around everywhere and music blasting out of huge speakers,” said Castro. “To be honest, I think that one was successful because my friend put it on Craigslist. But I don’t recommend it. I didn’t know anyone there. Some of them seemed like creepers.”
There is no doubt that Castro is a unique being who brings something new to the table. His best friend Kimble can vouch for that. “In all seriousness I think he has always been someone a little extraordinary,” Kimble said.