25 & Under: Gabriela Barnés 

Actor/singer, 17, Tampa

Gabriela Barnés

Todd Bates

Gabriela Barnés

World traveler: Her father is a colonel in the Air Force, so she’s moved all over — Orlando, Germany, Ohio, Virginia, Washington State, then to MacDill AFB in Tampa in 2011.
Her first big (bug?) role: In kindergarten in Orlando, she played a butterfly who told the other insects to stop being mean to stinkbugs. “I was cast because I was the tallest.” (She’s now 5 foot 10.)
Seeing a future: “Everywhere I went I was active in the theater community. It was like a constant home for me when my regular home wasn’t as constant.” The touring programs brought to military bases by Montana’s Missoula Children’s Theatre were a boon, giving her a chance to do shows in Washington and Tampa. But it wasn’t until she started studying and performing at the Patel Conservatory that she got to see musical theater as a possible career path.
Poster girl: Gabie performed in senior choir, sang a solo in Patel’s Showstoppers musical revue, played multiple roles in The Good Doctor, and helped write a musical inspired by Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. Her expressive features and stage presence shine through in production photos in the conservatory’s brochure and on an even bigger platform: “I’m apparently on two billboards.”
Back to school: As a freshman in the University of Tampa Honors Program, she’ll audition for shows but she’s also interested in working backstage. “I’m never happy doing just one thing.”


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