Born in Boston, raised in Alaska and back in Beantown by the time she was 12, Katherine "Kat" Secor took a job in the snack bar of a paintball field that opened next door. After being "thrown into the wolves," as Secor put her first experience firing paintballs, she became so hooked that by 17, she convinced her parents to let her move across the country to play on all-female Team Destiny of Huntington Beach.
After a four-year break to focus on her business—Exotic Tan (exotictanla.com), a Cerritos salon that celebrates its five-year anniversary in November—Secor is back as captain of Team Destiny and an ambassador for her sport, which she believes has the potential to become an Olympic event. She co-founded the nonprofit Recreational Tank International (rti-mitank.com), which introduces the blind, the handicapped and returning veterans to paintball.
Secor especially works to get more women competing. "This sport is 98 percent male-dominated," she observes. "But for every man I know in paintball, there's a woman right there—a girlfriend or wife or mother or sister. There is so much opportunity for women." She's convinced females can get as hooked as she first did. "Definitely, it's an addiction. Once you start playing, it's something you always think about."
When Secor first moved west, she lived in Irvine, but she now calls Lakewood home. That's why her personal favorites are split between Orange and LA counties.
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• Secor recently went vegetarian and set a goal to only eat raw foods. "Au Lac has a great selection of mainly raw food, not just vegan, and it's delicious. You order as you go, and everything is so fresh. The last time I went, I was there for about two and a half hours." 16563 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, (714) 418-0658.
• For a busy bee such as Secor, Sunset Beach is "so close" and "so easy" to get in and out of. "I just wish I had more time to go there," she says.
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• Sure, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach and UC Irvine are fine, but Secor finds Western Governors University, a fully accredited online college, works best for serious students with screwy schedules and a need for classes to be open when one registers. "I'm a semester away from my bachelor's degree in business management," she says. wgu.edu.
• To stay in top athletic shape, the small-framed blonde works out six days a week. Sometimes that means hitting the nearest 24 Hour Fitness, but when she can make it, she prefers the Lakewood/Long Beach-area gym Sweat Shop. "It has a lot of group classes and personal training." 3671 Industry Ave., Lakewood, (562) 353-7496; www.thesweatshopgym.com.
• Secor goes to All About Skin for laser hair removal. "You walk in and feel like you are in Beverly Hills," she says, adding a special shout-out to Janell Carrasco, a registered nurse and, to Secor, "a skin-rejuvenation artist." 10052 Rosecrans Ave., Bellflower, (562) 925-2577; www.allaboutskinbellflower.com.
• Her website links to Team Destiny's, her Facebook page and other areas of interest. You can also search her name on YouTube for her paintball videos, and she has exercise videos for paintball players coming. katsecor.com.