While April did not entail any flights and hotels it was still very eventful and busy.
The first weekend was very special. I was contacted by one of the pageant directors from the Miss Louisiana Plus America pageant. This pageant has multiple divisions Ms, Mrs and Miss division which are specific to one's age.
I was contacted to be a special guest/teacher at their pageant “boot camp”.
I provided lots of insight and tips/tricks about my journey to the Miss Gay America crown. It was very special considering this pageant system was brought to life for plus size ladies to be able to compete in pageantry. It was a fun day filled with everyone’s stories, modeling in heels and pageant
chit-chat ! Thank you Deidre for an amazing time with you and the ladies.
On that note, pageantry has been a part of my life for as long as I have been alive. Back in the 70s/80s my mother Deb was a promoter for various “little girls-to-teen” pageantry systems as well as the Louisiana USA. Deb also assisted some of these girls with piano lessons and voice lessons for the talent category for Miss Louisiana, a direct preliminary to the Miss America pageant. My oldest sister Dana was also a huge pageant queen growing up and during those same years as well. When I was old enough to walk around and dig into stuff as a baby I would always find my sisters old pageant dresses and wear them. No matter where they tried to hide them in the house I would always find them. So I can absolutely say that I have ALWAYS been a pageant queen and obsessed with it. There was a green one and a purple one that I was obsessed with. Funny how you fast-forward the years and I enter just as many if not more pageants than my sister.
Little Rock was the next stop, not for MGA-related activities but for our sister system USofA. I was contacted and asked to be a judge for the MI, MI Classic and Diva divisions at the national level. I immediately took them up on this and was a fast YES. These MI and Divas contestants blew my mind. It was such an emotional rollercoaster having just accomplished my ultimate dream and to be on a judges panel hearing the stories and witnessing the incredible talent these contestants have. I am so blessed to have been part of this pageant. Thank you Victoria, Val and the USofA organization for an incredible weekend. I will see you all in May for the Miss Gay UsofA contest !
Another trip to south Louisiana was next. I kicked it off in Houma, LA at the club Androgyny. Years ago when I started competing the reigning Miss Gay Louisiana America was Bambi Bextor. I immediately became friends with her and her husband Clarence. Clarence for many years was persistent on me doing USofA At large and in 2017 I did and was Miss Gay Lousiana USofA at Large 2017 under him. I have always enjoyed my time in Houma and this time was no exception. The dressing room was a blast with the Ladi Phat Kat, Charai, Connie and Giselle Thank you Clarence and bar staff for making me feel welcome. I promise it will not be this long of a wait ever again.
New Orleans, LA was next on my list. My first show of the day was at Bettys Bar and Bistro. It was an amazing show with Eliza, Mohka Montrese and Reba Douglas! Thank you Reba for always showing me a good time ! Then me and Mohka headed to our show at the Bourbon Pub. The show was stacked with AMAZING girls including former Miss Gay Louisiana USofAs Sarina and Britany, Karli, Ka’Miyah, Forever Miss Gay Louisiana America Tiffany and Mercedes, Mohka and Aubrey. One of the highlights of this show was looking in the audience and seeing Miss Gay Louisiana America 2011 in the audience Maybelline Maskara. It had been some time since I have seen her. She was truly a pivotal part in my journey to the MGLA crown. Thank you Aubrey and the Bourbon Pub for a fabulous show!
The next weekend started with a small break from drag. I was not complaining. Each year in Monroe, LA my friend Jualea holds the “Unity Jam Session” This is a concert that is made up of all types of entertainers, musicians, vocalists, dancers etc. with all different types of lives/backgrounds. This event started last year and was a hit. It is a night that no matter who you are you are celebrated and accepted for who you are and what you are. Jualea and I met in college and have been good friends ever since. Fun fact : She was in my choir for talent this past year at Miss Gay America on the far right when watching my talent. It is always such a treat to be among such talented people. Thank you Jualea for always including me in this event each year.
The next night was back to crossdressing at one of my favorite places and that is Central Station in Shreveport, LA. This show always hits home as me and these performers have been friends my entire adult life. We have truly become a family and Shreveport always has a special place in my heart. Like Monroe, Shreveport is one of the smaller cities in Louisiana but full of dynamic talent. The community there LOVES drag and they always have a packed house. The dressing room was a blast with all of the girls. Two people that always make my Shreveport strips so special are Sarina Styles and her husband Brad. Sometimes we all get so lost in the make-up and lights but these two have truly become family to me. Brad was instrumental in my success at Miss Gay America this past year. He created all of the music/practice tracks for my choir for Miss Gay America. When I had this vision of what I wanted to do it seemed impossible. Brad made that happen and I am forever grateful that I got to do my final talent as Miss Gay America with a choir. Sarina and me have been thick as thieves since the day we met back in 2009 and actually reigned as Miss Louisianas together, America and USofA. She and love so many of the same things especially the Halloween movie franchise. Thank you Brad and Sarina for another wonderful weekend in Shreveport.
Closing the month off I was headed down south again to you know where? New Orleans ! I did have to make a very important pit stop. I stopped to spend the night/have dinner with Miss Gay America 2005 Raquel Chevalier and her husband Chris.These two and I talked for hours and hours from real life stuff to Miss Gay America and more. Chris was actually a judge the year I won MGLA so I love when I have a full circle moment. When I first got involved with MGA I did tons of researching. When I say tons it was literally every bit of free time I had. I put the pieces together and found out that the last person to win Miss Gay America as a Louisiana resident was Raquel. My first time to compete at Miss Gay Louisiana America in 2010 and there she stood as head judge MGA 2005 Raquel Chevalier. I love that me and her share a bond….we are currently the only 2 girls to have ever been Miss Gay Louisiana America and Miss Gay America. I am so happy to watch my crowning and there you see Raquel jumping around happy.These are the moments I will always cherish.
In the month of May Miss Gay America will be traveling to Pensacola, Washington DC, Austin, Dallas and Las Vegas !!! Hope to see you in one of these fabulous cities!
****Each column I want to bring up discussions or topics I feel need addressing. This can be anything from category questions/uncertainty to things that may not necessarily be in a handbook but a “good to know”****
I wanted to touch base on some of tips and tricks that make it MUCH easier for me and I pack for each and every show.
1)travel size garment steamer-good for wardrobe as well as revamping a wig
2)pill case that has days of week-paint fake nails and save money since packs of nails can be pricey and store each finger in a designated day holder.
3)blow dryer-to help style hair/dry lash glue but more importantly to use as high pressure air flow in hot dressing room-try to find dryer with cool button/setting-LIFE SAVER
4)One heavy duty magnet placed in your bobby pin container. This way they never can be spilled all over dressing room.
5) wig stand-plant stand upside down from dollar store-usually around 3 bucks-GAME CHANGER
6)Small needle nose pliers in event a zipper is giving you trouble
7) Small lint roller for black wardrobe
8)Listerine tabs-so you can have fresh breath all night
9)baby wipes/make up wipes for cleaning your hands before you go out for your number
10)extension cord as some dressing rooms are very limited.
11) Back up copies of music-have it on flash drive as well as in email for easy access incase DJ had any hiccups