The month started off in New Orleans to celebrate the birthday of my friend Bradley Latham! The audience was so fun and engaged the whole time. It was an amazing day full of rain at first and was beautiful after. The brunch was an absolute blast with Bradley, Karli and Ka’Miyah! I am excited to brunch it up again.
On the way down to New Orleans I found out some really terrible news. Naomi Judd lost her life. I was pretty upset about this. Wynonna has been a HUGE part of my success as a female impersonator as well as my pageant journey. While I have only performed as Wynonna I do perform lots of Judds music in my shows like hits such as “Have Mercy” and “ I know where I’m going” The tragic loss of Naomi really made me appreciate the music even more. I was fortunate enough at Miss Gay America 2016 to win overall Solo Talent doing “Love can build a bridge” I will always think of Naomi and her family forever when I perform their music.
All the emotional stuff about the Judds has a reason for this next part of my column. The Reba Douglas Jubilee was the next stop after the brunch. Reba and her show always have had a way of making me feel so loved and I know that my drag has a place there. The very first time I performed in this show I brought a Wynonna number and Reba was always a Judds fan. We immediately bonded over their music many years ago. Judd music really becomes the anthem of our show when I am there with them. Everytime I think of the Judds/ Wynonna I will always think of Reba. I am sure we all have that certain song or artist that instantly connects you to someone or something. Amber Douglas was also present for the show and made the dressing room the good ole fun it always is. We closed the show in honor of Naomi doing a medley of Judds music. RIP Naomi ! You will be missed.
The next weekend I was en route to Florida. Pensacola was my destination for the weekend and I got to perform at the Cabaret. It is a beautiful venue in the downtown area of Pensacola. I got to perform with the king of the south himself Spikey Van Dikey and also got to meet a new friend Kendall Michaels. I really have been wanting to perform there for a while but COVID-19 and life happened so it shuffled the madness around. I got to meet up with my high school sidekick Jessica for lunch and then their gang came to see me crossdress that night. Lauren Mitchell was gracious enough to open her home up to me all weekend and had me a fabulous guest room with all kinds of goodies like skin care products and perfume ! If you ever stay with Lauren please be advised that she has a jewelry addiction. I thought Tiffany Alexander was bad until I saw Lauren’s! A huge thank you to Entertainer of the Year 2007 Dee Ranged for having me with the cast that week! Dee is the one of the funniest people you will ever meet. If you are ever in the area please make your way to their bar and support the show. You will not be disappointed !
After a miserable 6 hours drive home it was off to a very busy work week at my day job. Friday night I was en route to Washington DC for Miss Gay DC America. The promoter Robert York had a wonderful weekend planned! Saturday morning I was off to the WHITE HOUSE yes you read that right the WHITE HOUSE !!!! I got to tour with the incredible Nina West. Never in a million years would I have even imagined that I would get to see the White House but let alone enter it and tour it. This was even more special to do it as Miss Gay America.
After the White House was over it was pageant time ! We had one contestant show up to compete and that was Tatiyanna Voche ! People asked how will it be a pageant? Well she went through all phases of competition and executed as if there were other people in the pageant with her and got a critique session after. She was crowned Miss Gay DC America and is now on her way to Miss Gay America.
It was back home for some work and then to Austin, TX. My good friend Nadine Hughes had me for her give up at Miss Gay Austin America. Fancy Rae Douglas , Miss Gay Excelsior picked me up from the aitport and we had lunch with a gang of Texas America friends. I got to see so many folks in the Texas America family that I adore. MGTA 2017 Violet, MGTA 2012 Kara and MGTA 2014 Dessie got to be part of the reindeer games and it was a blast ! Both contestants did an amazing job and I so excited to see what Team Austin has planned for Miss Gay Texas America in July. Thank you Nadine and Rain on 4th for an amazing night.
The next stop was Dallas, TX for our sister pageant Miss Gay USofA !!! Me and my friend Jimmy got there in time to see the last night of prelims at the Rose Room. The next night was finals and I cannot even begin to explain the feeling of getting to do the national walk as Miss Gay America at Miss Gay USofA. I have always admired this contest as Jerry opened so many doors for so many different types of entertainers. The USofA family is always so welcoming to me. Thank you Jenna, Scott and the USofA family for inviting Miss Gay America to be part of your wonderful contest. Congrulations to Tonica Cavalli, the new Miss Gay USofA !! As always there was a fabulous Saturday lunch with MGA 2001 Charity Case and her husband Jimmy. A HUGE shout out to my sister MGA 2013 Sally Sparkles for letting me crash at her place. It always fun to go to her house and look at her trophy cabinet with her Miss Gay America crown/memorabilia. I also got to stop by the Dallas Love Field airport and took pics with the statue that Norman got inspiration from when he created the “Symbol of Excellence” This was a moment I tell you !
Miss Gay America prelims that will be held in June are:
Miss Gay Southern Elegance America 2022-Monroe, LA-June 4
Miss Gay Southern America 2022-Atlanta, GA-June 18
Miss Gay Arizona America 2022 - Phoenix, AZ-June 25
Miss Gay Western States America 2022-Phoenix, AZ- June 26
****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 want to take a moment to talk about tickets to the big dance. As we know each and every pageant is different with who you are competing against and who is judging. This year is looking to be another stellar year most especially at the national level. Contestants if you are reading this I want you to plan accordingly. Competing early and trying to get a ticket earlier is better. Why?
What if the later prelim you picked in the season did not go as planned?
What if you would have done an earlier one with less girls?
The year Pattaya won MGA I had to do 2 prelims that year to get to Miss Gay America and got 1st alternate to her. Glad I did another prelim. Each year this pageant I feel gets harder and harder to win. With this in mind I went into this past season with that plan in mind. What if the prelim I truly have my heart set on does not go as planned? What will my “insurance plan” be for me to secure a ticket?
Pre-Covid shut down in March 2022 I did New York America. My Miss Gay America 2022 package had already been underway and in the works. I was not successful in getting a ticket. I was still on pace with MGA prep. Covid shuts the pageant world down and immediately once lifted I was on board for Western States America. This was not my lucky stop either. The week after Western States America I picked up my last pieces of wardrobe for the national level but still no ticket. Lastly, I went to Diamond America and secured a ticket. I did 3 prelims the year I won Miss Gay America. Do not get discouraged if you are told ‘No” at one prelim. Dust it off and give them hell again. I had a goal and that was to be Miss Gay America and nothing was going to keep me from it.
I say all of this because if you wait longer and longer you may run the risk of missing your chance to the big dance. I strongly encourage you girls to think proactively as these prelims are going to be battles. Bring your A game and do NOT hold back at your prelims. None of you are playing. Safe does not win any longer !!!