The month of February started off with a bang!
People say that the job starts when the crown is placed on your head but I feel the job starts the moment you sign up and step foot into your first Miss Gay America pageant at any level.
With that I feel that preparation and being ready to hit the ground running is one of the most crucial parts in being an effective Miss Gay America. The first order of business was to get a promotional photograph done and out as soon as possible and to make contact with as many promoters as possible. My win occurred on a Thursday night so me and my drag daughter Savannah found ourselves on that Sunday night shooting my first promotional photograph. Sitting in the mirror painting I just kept thinking to myself that this will be a photograph that will follow me and be etched into the history books forever. This will be on the website and Facebook page for all of the world to see. It is moments like this when the emotions really hit hard for me as I have been in love with the Miss Gay America pageant system from the moment I learned what it was and here I am finally getting to embark on my journey. I remember being a young, eager young man memorizing the names and year of each Miss Gay America on the website and here I am not FINALLY getting to have my picture added to the legacy. Thank you Ansell, Taylor and Gerard for assisting us with the photo session !!
One of my favorite parts about the Miss Gay America pageant is getting to learn the men behind the make-up. I got to do a good bit of interviews including one with my local newspaper and news channel which was really fun. One of my favorite interviews was with the RuPaul Drag Race superstar Ginger Minj! She is the real deal and was genuinely interested in what all Miss Gay America stands for. Thank you Ginger!
The night that I won Miss Gay America my mind was really racing with one thing. That one thing was where in the world am I going to have my first walk? I was asked by the pageant promoter for the Miss Gay Louisiana America system David Green if i would like to have my first walk there. I immediately took him up on this as being able to do my first walk here at home would be so special. What made this night so special was that this was the actual bar I started doing drag in 2009 previously named Rhythms. As David announced “Welcome to the stage our Miss Gay America 2022…..Dextaci” I got goosebumps. This was a full circle moment from when this journey in female impersonation started many years ago. Thank you Bo, David, Pink staff and everyone who attended. That dressing room was a blast with Eliza, Taylor, Angelica and Savannah. A huge thank you to my friend Rodney for dressing me.
That next week I wanted to get some more photos out of the way to have an assortment for the next few months. Savannah did an amazing job and I cannot wait to see these! Thank you Eliza and Ansell for being the dressing and light crew. Thank you Amanda Lyons, owner of Empire Media and Management for always supporting me.
The following weekend I made my way down to Lafayette, LA for some Mardi Gras fun. Since 2011 the Krewe of Apollo Lafayette has invited me to sing the national anthem at the bal. This is always an honor but even more so this time since I am now Miss Gay America. I cried after it was over. It just really hit home for me. Lafayette has always felt like home to me for many reasons. My drag mother is from there as well as the queen that told me what Miss Gay America even was and why I should compete. The year that lead up to my win as Miss Gay Louisiana America 2012 I won my city prelim Miss Gay Lafayette America here. So many of my MGLA sisters are from that area that I got to see: MGLA 2001 Victoria Valentine, 2014 Santana Savage, 2015 Delanie Valentine and 2018 Kenli Andrews. Thank you Lafayette for the best year yet!
The following weekend is always one of my favorite weekends of the year and that is Mardi Gras in Monroe, LA. People travel in from far and wide to attend the parade and it is always an amazing time. I got catch up with Miss Gay Arkansas America 2018 Chloe Jacobs and she is always a hoot! Miss Gay America 2015 Blair Williams was also in town for the festivites. My time with Blair was wonderful ! We celebrated, laughed and she even gave me alot of Miss Gay America travel tips. Lord knows the last thing I need to do is get to the airport and have to throw out a wig.
Well my friends that is about it. The month of March kicks off our Miss Gay America 2023 season. We ill crown a new Miss Gay Oklahoma America as well as Miss Gay Missouri !! Four lucky girls will get their tickets to the big dance.
****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”****
The beauty in competing for many years is that you become very observant in many ways. This truly allowed me to get to know contestants better, venues/bars better, supporters and promoters. Choosing your preliminary to qualify to the next level is one of the most critical parts of the competition process. There are many things as a contestant you need to consider.
1st-BUDGET-ensure that you budget your money properly to determine your best plan of execution as early as possible. I always started and planned my new budget the moment a new Miss Gay America. Proactive is always the way to be!
2nd-PHYSICAL LAYOUT-Make sure that when you are selecting gowns, talents etc. that you are taking into consideration ALL of the entire physical layout of your quest. For example if you are flying to a regional ask yourself these questions;
*how does this massive costume/prop get there?
*can the venue even accommodate such a wardrobe/prop?
*is the dressing room big enough for my items/things?
*is the ease of props moving and dancers set up easy?
*if you are a live singer does a bar atmosphere fit the caliber of your talent or would an event center/theater work better?
Ask yourself these questions each time you manifest a concept. These things may seem weird to ask but it will allow you to find unique ways to think outside of the box and know how to withstand any cards you are dealt.
3-PRIZE PACKAGE/PROMOTER-it is common knowledge that we spend way more out of our own pocket than a promoter gives us. DO NOT RELY ON PRIZE PACKAGE or a promoter to foot your bill. I have been in this boat a few times. Make sure that when you are brainstorming your package that you are NOT factoring in what a prize will or will not do. This way if the prize package/promoter falls through you are safe as you have your plan B in place. Think smarter not harder.
My given name is Andrew but everyone calls me Dex. I am thirty-three years old and live in West Monroe, LA right across the bridge from Monroe, LA which is the original home of Delta airlines. Professionally, I work as a Quality Assurance Manager for a private collections company and by night I bring to life the illusion of Dextaci.
Growing up I was heavily involved in choir, vocal and theater competitions. I was selected many times to be a member of district, state and national honor choirs from the years of 2002-2008. In the spring of 2008 I was a featured soloist for the American Choral Directors Association during their national convention. The highlight of my singing career was singing in Carnegie Hall in 2008. My love of music and performance is what really got me started in female impersonation.
In this spring of 2009, Dextaci was born and started competing in local pageants. Miss Drag Idol and Miss Corner Bar really ignited my passion for professional pageantry. In 2010,I met a performer named Stephanie Stephens who told me what Miss Gay Louisiana America was as well as Miss Gay America. After becoming obsessed with the Pageant documentary, learning each one of these pages verbatim along with the history of both Miss Gay Louisiana America and Miss Gay America I was ready. I started competing under the reign of Miss Gay America 2010 Coco Montrose and have competed at some level of Miss Gay America pageantry each year since then for 12 years.
It took me three attempts to win Miss Gay Louisiana America. That dream became a reality in 2012 and at Miss Gay America 2013 ,the America bug bit me hard.
I am a former Miss Gay Southern Elegance America 2013, Miss Gay Gulf States America 2014, Miss Gay Southern States America 2015, Miss Gay Mid-America 2016 and Miss Gay Mid-Atlantic America 2019.
On January 20, my dream came true. I was crowned Miss Gay America 2022 as the reigning Miss Gay Diamond America 2021.
There are so many people to thank that got me here over these crazy ride :
Deb Hart, my entire biological family, Trent Rogers, John Gilland, Marty Utter, Tori Taylor,Daron Ables, Karl Black,Jerry Laing, Tina Anzalone, Jimmy Gray, Micharles Gray, Ben Evans, Jim Hendrixson, Katie Anzalone, Dave Maxwell, The Corner Bar family, Delanie Valentine, Victoria Valentine, Dominque Delorean, Bambi Bextor, Clarence Denenea, Jordan Williams, Chance Dupree ,Terry Ford,David Green ,The Ladi Phat Kat, Hunta Downe, Vea Teasely, Robbie Patrick,Spencer Smith,Ed Spillmon, Ronda Spillmon, John Spillmon, Michelle Sullivan, Zoe Valentine,Dottie Grice,John Booth,Blake Hagan ,Alisa Nelson,Sasha Black,Michael Freeman,Charlie Bass,Maxie Lonadier ,Athena Campbell, StormiRayne, Maybelline Maskara, Paul Davis ,Tami Tarmac,Charity Case ,Jimmy Bogle ,MGLA SISTERHOOD,Sally Sparkles,Hollie Day,Wesley Winnon ,Renee Roberts ,Santana Savage, Kenli Andrew ,Ben Boudreaux, Lakari Fontenot,Roxie Black ,Jade Summers,Cassidy St. James, Roy LeCompte, Jack Nielson ,Athena Sinclaire, Mary Hern,Taylor Michaels ,Gerard Babin, Daniel Eckstrom ,Nick Ray,Thomas John,Heath Barnes,Betty Thomas,Sarina Styles,Brad McCollum, Aubrey Sinclaire, Reba Douglas,Patrice Turner, Treyvin Aucoin ,Lake Area Independent Winterguard, Mallory Thornton , Joli Neal ,Kelsey East, Rodney Smetak, Jualea Hayes, Clayton McCarty Judy McCarty, Eric Gabbard, Nick Amsbaugh, David Robins…..and if my mind forgot anyone I truly apologize !!!
****NOW LETS GO DOWN TO BUSINESS****
As we all know, the reigning Miss Gay America is allowed to select the theme for the year that she relinquishes and crowns a new Miss Gay America.
Presentation scared me for a long time for many reasons. The first being that I was a great competitor in the solo talent category so the thought of something going away “talent” based and something being added “fashion” wise did not sit well with me. 2nd being that the reigning Miss Gay America can select any theme and we are just stuck with it. No way around it and it is what it is. Some themes were much easier than others and then others were difficult for me to conceive an idea on. With this I wanted to have a meaningful theme that is true to me BUT also allow the contestant to have a much more broad way to express themselves.
My theme is Dream in Color……yes the famous old drag classic ballad by Regina Belle.
Very similar to Pattaya this will work on a first qualify basis in order of the preliminary. For example the ticket holders for Oklahoma America will have first dibs before Missouri tickets holders.
Each qualified contestant will choose a color from the following for their presentation:
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
Now you are probably thinking with only 6 colors and 40 girls how will this work or be creative ?
Well here’s how it is mapped out…..
If there are 60 contestants…..we will have 10 red slots, 10 orange slots, 10 yellow etc…….
If there are 36 contestant we will have 6 red,6 orange, 6 yellow….
You will provide me with your color during your critique session at your prelim, this way you have complete control over your time management over you color of choice and can hit the ground running creatively for the national completion.
I will keep tabs and post publicly on how many of each color have been taken….this way…..if you are getting close to your prelim and you see all the reds are taken then you know what colors you are left with.
When you get/select your color you have complete creative control…..you portray to us how YOU dream in that color. For example if you are red you can range from anything being a coke can to a HIV/AIDs awareness ribbon….purple could even be a Prince purple rain costume. The possibilities are truly endless. You can go all out for this.
Your costume should be 90% of the color you chose. However, accent colors can be used to get point across…….like if you are red and doing a stop sign…..red is the primary color and the white letters are accenting.
You must stick to the primary version of the color……no light/neons of that color or variations. If you are purple you cannot do fuchsia. If you are blue you can not be baby blue .
Well friends, I think that sums it up for now. I am so excited to come to your states and cities throughout my year. I am so humbled and appreciative of this opportunity. As Miss Gay America I will work than in hand with Michael and Rob to ensure that this pageant season is on for the books. Next month will be a busy one as we kick off preliminary season with Miss Gay Oklahoma America. I will be traveling to Oklahoma, Indiana, New Orleans and Missouri.
Until next time….
Miss Gay America 2022