Owen Alabado is a self-described renaissance man. His considers his “main job” as the front-of-house manager of Trixie’s in Door County, while he is also an accomplished filmmaker and photographer and martial arts fitness teacher. As if that wasn’t enough: “The two years I have been in Door County I have started a nonprofit, Northern Door Pride; filmed a short film; and started an improv troupe, the Door County Knobs [as well as] a cabaret series and a dodgeball league. I recently finished a writing circle at Northern Sky Theater and I am in the middle of writing my first musical.” Learn about Owen Alabado…
Hometown: Janesville, WI
First job: At 13 years old, I worked as dishwasher at an Italian restaurant called Sam’s. When I was able to legally work, I worked at McDonald’s. Since I was so good with kids, at 17, I became the Playland Manager.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in WI: I love to hike. The trails up here are seriously the best. So much beauty. In summer, it’s a little crowded but still magical. Fall is the best. Right out of a fairytale. In winter, it is like hiking through Narnia. I also love a good game night and hosting karaoke at my house. Oh and throwing theme parties. I am the host with the most.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: In my 17 years in Los Angeles, I feel like my biggest accomplishment was writing/directing/producing my very own Web Series called “Dudes.” The series was loosely based off my personal life and standup comedy. I raised $7,000 to fund the series. It felt like I made my mark as a writer and actor. I got as far as pitching my show to a studio. We got pretty far but unfortunately didn’t make the cut. It did get picked up by Revry, a LGBTQ streaming service. Regardless, the heart and soul I put into that web series and what came out of it was a huge accomplishment.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: My biggest obstacle was definitely coming out of the closet back in the late 90’s in a small town in Wisconsin. At that time, there was no “Will and Grace” or role models or a lot of acceptance for LGBT people. I had death threats constantly, guys at school that would throw fruit at me, my grandmother had to change her number several times because of people calling. I was a tough kid. I fought for tolerance and acceptance. Sometimes I had to literally fight. That’s why I got into martial arts. I was loud and proud. I persevered. Some of the bullies became some of my best friends.
Someone who inspires you and why: My Lola. My grandmother. She inspired me to be better. I grew up in an alcoholic and chaotic environment. She was so giving and loving. I got my sense of humor from her. She had a passion for people that I also inherited. She recently passed. I miss her every day.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: There is always a way to do what you love. You may not get paid all the time for it. If you harness your craft, keep up with your creativity and surround yourself with other people who love you do, you will find success.
Favorite quote: “In complete darkness we are all the same, it is only our knowledge and wisdom that separates us.” –Janet Jackson
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I am the oldest of eight kids. Five are adopted. My mom had me at 16. I was 13 when we adopted five kids; I had to grow up pretty fast.
What makes someone fabulous: When you are unapologetically yourself. You light up the room when you walk in. When you are a people magnet. Putting a smile on people’s faces, having all those dreams you have to chased, while making the world a better place.