My name is Jordan Dowodzenka, or Jordan Doww for short, which is what I tend to go by nowadays. I am a goal-driven 20 year-old with a terrible Starbucks addiction. I'm originally from Detroit, Michigan, but now reside in Los Angeles, California pursuing my one true dream of being an actor. With balancing my part-time jobs, last-minute auditions, commercial bookings, daily YouTube videos and social life, you can say my life is nothing but hectic -- and I love it.
When I was 13, I had the first sense that I was different. I mean, I always knew something was off, but this was the first time I really questioned it. My mother sat me down in our living room after having finished an episode of American Idol and asked me, "Do you like anyone at school?" I responded all shy, "No... not really." She then asked me something that sparked years of confusion. "Well, do you even like girls?" With a quick, ignorant and dishonest response to mainly get off the topic, I replied, "Duh, mom. Of course." I sat in my room that night and thought about it for hours. I truly didn't know. Well, I did -- I just didn't want to.
I took on my adolescent years in a state of confusion and dishonesty, not really fully opening up to anybody I knew -- especially family. I had close relationships with a lot of people -- there was just always one thing I never would talk about. I finally started to get senses of who I was and let my personality shine through once I started getting into musical theatre. It was my favorite thing to do. I loved being the center of attention. You can easily bet I was the class clown (and also teacher's pet) in almost every class. Sometimes being the center of attention all the time, however, put me into some uncomfortable situations growing up. I would be faced with questions or scenarios about relationships and dating that I wouldn't know how to respond to or react. I only went to the extent of having crushes every so often on my girl best friends, and let my confusion of awkward self identity be the reason I never pursued anything.
It wasn't until senior year of high school that I truly found someone that I liked. He happened to be a boy. It was a mix of every emotion you can imagine. Happiness, fear, excitement, nervousness . This was something I wasn't comfortable with at all, but was something that I just kept coming back to. We were a secret, which sucked. It hurt to have to be a secret, but we both were in the same exact position and we were OK with it. I would start to ask myself, "What were we?" I hated asking myself this because I had no clue. I didn't want to say we were a couple, nor best friends, nor anything. I didn't want a "label" to define what we were or what we had. We were just experimenting with life. It didn't last more than five months, but we remain close friends to this day.
It wasn't until my freshman year of college at Michigan State University that one of my best friends found out. She found out through piecing things together. She just simply asked me -- which caught me so off-guard -- but it was the best feeling in the world releasing this bottle of secrets to someone I cared so much about. However, no one else knew. I even tried dating a girl, at the time. We were seriously almost in love, but something in me was always off. It was like there was this constant reminder in the back of my head that it wasn't right or something, even though I wanted it to be so much.
Life then took a huge turn for me. I left my college for an internship at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Now, not many know this, but I did this internship for many reasons. The biggest, most important reason was to finally step foot onto California grounds, introduce myself to the entertainment industry and become an actor. With working eight-plus hour shifts as a Photopass photographer at the resort with no car, I would Uber from Anaheim to downtown Los Angeles for any audition, any social media event, or really, any opportunity I had to get my name, my content, and lastly, my brand out there. I would have weeks where I had no money to get home from downtown, and would walk as far as I could so my Uber would cost less. I'd skip meals, I'd skip work, I'd do anything if I knew it was going to help my dream. I literally once was asked to do porn, had the nerve to even slightly think about it based on my situation, but quickly passed on that opportunity.
It wasn't until I was witnessing life, making so many adult decisions and moving so swiftly with things out on my own in this extremely competitive industry that I finally felt like I was understanding who Jordan Doww was. I mean, I had no choice. I had to grow up so quickly. How could I grow up and continue to be successful, if not more, if I haven't even come to terms yet with who I actually am?
I got a part-time job at a local fro-yo joint and met my second "fling" who was also a boy. Now, we weren't meant to be together -- I knew it from day one -- but he completely changed my perception of how I perceived myself. Again, a huge secret at first, I was finally becoming more comfortable and confident with who I was, and in turn showing him off to friends and roommates. This was the biggest step ever for me. When things got rocky, we sadly ended things in a super positive way, but it was like I was jolted with lightning or something. That same day, I came out to a HUGE group of friends and it just so happened that it was also the same day that gay marriage became legal in the United States. I was on a roll. It was such an amazing feeling finally being able to be open and talk about things I normally wouldn't ever talk about.
Months went by and it was now a thing that I just didn't mind. I told anybody that asked. I never necessarily "came out" but I wasn't hiding that last bit of me anymore except to my family and the internet. It was then that I had this video idea in mind.
What if I made a video for the public eye to see that basically broke down labels into a way that celebrates them individually, but doesn't allow them to separate us? At the end of the day, we are all human with the same needs and desires. Like the video explains, those "needs" are love, respect, equality, community, acceptance, support and the ability to pursue our dreams.
Upon starting this amazing production, I found the courage to tell the last people in my life that I cared about the most who I really was: my parents. Words can't explain how I felt at this moment. There is a quote from my all-time favorite book The Perks of Being a Wallflower that reads, "In that moment, I swear we were infinite." That's how I felt. So much support, so much love, so much acceptance. It was like everything was finally coming together before my eyes.
I am now sitting here at my laptop, writing this article as the video starts to surface the internet and I feel nothing but peace and happiness. This was truly an amazing experience and I am so excited for everyone to hear my story, but more importantly, the message it conveys. "I am human, we all are."