Celebrating Pride 2023! Juliana Wathen, Cosmo Cool Concepts, Inc.
Celebrating Pride 2023!
I choose to live my life OUT LOUD.
By Juliana Wathen (she/her)
President, Cosmo Cool Concepts, Inc.
“I never shy away from who I am in anything that I do. And that’s how it should be..”
As part of the Chamber’s Pride Month celebration, we are profiling Chamber Leaders and Members to share their perspectives on what Pride means to them.
Pride is defined by Merriam-Webster as "reasonable self-esteem" or "confidence and satisfaction in oneself". It seems “reasonable” to me that those things are all positive, but current conditions in this country have painted this “reasonable” expression with a bullseye. As of late, our community has been under fire with arrows of hate, bigotry, discrimination and malice. The youth in our community are coming “out the closet” with a societal foot on the door barring their way. The only way to push past this is by living our lives out loud and with PRIDE.
My name is Juliana Wathen (she/her) and I am a Queer business owner, Queer writer, Queer performer, Queer producer, Queer coffee drinker, Queer gardener, Queer girl who likes to go fishing in the surf on a Saturday morning at sunrise…..I never shy away from who I am in anything that I do. And that’s how it should be. Because that is EQUAL to how straight people live their lives unconsciously every day.
I choose to live my life OUT LOUD. Much to my Southern Baptist momma’s dismay, I pulled out all the skeletons in the closet at my house. In addition to typical domestic abuse, dysfunction and family secrets I found 78 RMP records of Little Richard, Little Ester & Bull Moose Jackson who sang about bow-legged women, cherry wine and bad, bad whiskey! Ohhh and I found the stashed away bottle of bourbon too, which was only there for medicinal purposes I was told.
In my household, you didn’t discuss family secrets or problems, you hid anything that might draw unwanted judgement or attention. I never could embrace this Southern dogma. Even as an elementary school aged child, I questioned the authoritative rule and knew that things could only get better for me if I brought all that I was out into the light of day. I burst onto the scene and didn’t care who saw or heard. I marched to my own drum and was the example for my own victimized mother who in later years embraced and envied my ability to push past close minded traditions, stereotypical behaviors or public opinion and LIVE OUT LOUD.
There is a comfort in knowing who you are and that’s not just for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s for everyone in every walk of life. Have PRIDE in who you are and what you do. If you don’t have it – only YOU have the power to change that and grab it for yourself. Go to the carnival, ride the merry-go-round, grab the ring and go” weeeeee” as loud as you can!!!!!
Juliana M. Wathen, DMCP
Owner of Cosmo Cool Concepts, Inc. A DMC Network Company
Juliana came to Houston in 1987 and was a costumer at Stages Theatre. Later years she worked with Houston Scenic Studios. Her design skills and extensive theatre knowledge led her to a position as the Senior Event Designer at Party Props, combining skills from set design, costumes, lighting and logistics. “Each event is a show to me. I want guests to leave having had an experience- not just a meeting or party.”
She has been in the Special Events industry for over 30+ years and has worked on corporate events and large-scale productions such as Super Bowl, Final Four, and the All-Star Games. Perhaps better known in the community as a singer/performer. Juliana sang in the evenings throughout the late 80-90’s in piano bars around town with pianist Clay Howell. She appeared on the CD Spectrum ’95 which was a collaboration of Houston’s top performers to raise money for the AIDS crisis. She performed for several years with the Bayou Performing Arts Women’s Chorus and was a featured soloist at every concert. Her one-woman show DIARY OF A MAD*FAT*WOMAN…NAME IN LIGHTS in January 2012 was a two-week sellout and received rave reviews from HOUSTON PRESS. Her last public performance was Houston Pride 2013, where she won top honors and performed at the Pride Parade Party and rode in the parade on a red-hot convertible provided by Deter Mazda. When she isn’t creating over-the-top experiences for Cosmo’s amazing clients, you can find this lady mentoring young artists, volunteering at Rodeo Houston or relaxing at the nearest beach with the sand between her toes and a fishing pole in her hands.
Juliana currently serves as President for the local Houston chapter of MPI (Meeting Planners International). She is a proud member of the Greater Houston Greater LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce.
About Cosmo Cool Concepts, Inc
Cosmo Cool Concepts, Inc. A DMC Network Company
The longest serving Destination Management Company in Houston. Cosmo serves the Greater Houston/Galveston area providing transportation, tours, teambuilding, staffing, brand activations and special event services for corporate America.
Learn more at http://www.cosmocoolconcepts.com/.