As I sit down to write the March edition of "The Blair Essentials," I find myself filled with gratitude for all that is unfolding for the upcoming pageant season and consumed with nerves in hopes that I will be the symbol of excellence that the country deserves and expects. I've been truly busy behind the scenes contacting existing promoters to solidify preliminary pageant dates, reaching out to new perspective promoters to provide the information they need and encourage them to join our family, and contacting potential contestants personally to extend an invitation for them to compete this season for the title of Miss Gay America 2016. I'm excited by the conversations I have had with both promoters and contestants, and I am heartened and motivated to see so much excitement and enthusiasm about our upcoming season.
I want to congratulate PJ Newton as the new promoter for Miss Mid America. Miss Mid America has a long legacy of excellence and a proven track record for producing top notch contestants. Although I was never fortunate enough to wear the Mid America crown (darn that Sally Sparkles - she likes to remind me she beat me twice in the 2013 season), I did have an opportunity to represent the contest on a national level. Thank you to L & T Entertainment for all the work you did with this prelim over the years, and thank you to PJ for continuing the legacy of this long running contest. See you in Memphis!
I would also like to congratulate Daniel Eckstrom and Nick Ray on the return of Miss Gay Western States. I have had the pleasure this year of spending some time with these gentlemen, and I was extremely thrilled when this prelim was officially announced. I often feel that that the western part of our nation is a little underserved with MGA preliminary contests, so I am excited that we have added Western States back to our roster this year. I am committed to working with Daniel and Nick to make this a successful and competitive contest. So ladies, let's make sure we show up in Phoenix and support Western States in August!!!
We have also welcomed back Miss Gay Virginia Regional under the promotion of Austin Payne / Sheer Illusions, LLC. Austin is thrilled to be a part of the America family, and he is focused on making his pageant one to remember. I have chatted with him on several occasions, and am looking forward to spending some time with him in May. MGVA will be held in Charlottesville, VA on May 2.
We have made contact with several other interested parties as well, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see us add yet another preliminary or two as we commence this competition season. If you or anyone you know is interested in joining the MGA family as a promoter, please contact either me , Larry, or Terry. We will be happy to get you all the information you need!
Before I move on to another topic, I want to take just a moment to thank all of our promoters for your hard work and dedication. Undoubtedly, the promoters are the backbone of our organization, and it is their commitment to excellence that really drives our success and keeps us at the forefront of pageantry. I tip my hat to all of you, and I can't wait to spend some time with you as the year progresses.
This month, I've also continued to build my wardrobe and music repertoire for the upcoming preliminaries. Social media makes it so much harder than in the old days. Part of me feels like I need a new costume and a new gown for every preliminary so that I'm not seen in the same things all year, but I know this isn't financially feasible. I've been focusing on acquiring travel friendly, quality pieces that will still look great when I pull them out of a suitcase. And I'll be excited to showcase them in the upcoming prelims.
I have selected my theme for my give up at Miss Southern States America (May 17 at The Jungle in Atlanta, GA). The theme is "Express Yourself," and I'll be paying homage to some of your (or my) favorite 80's music. The contestants will be asked to come in their very best 80's pop star attire for presentation.
I have also selected my theme for the Miss Gay America 2016 pageant. I am so excited about it, I could bust!!!! Keeping a secret has never been my strong point (my Bob always says the best kept secret between two is when one is dead, LOL), but I have guarded this one carefully. Hopefully, the theme will be announced soon, and you all will be as excited about it as I am. I will say it's going to be fun, energetic, and POW-erful.
I was also fortunate to be able to log some travel miles since my last article as well. On January 29, I traveled to Baton Rouge, LA where I had been invited to attend the Krewe of Apollo Ball Masque XXXIV on January 30. While there, I was able to see so many of my Louisiana friends and spend some quality time with David Green too. I was humbled to be presented as Miss Gay America to a crowd of thousands, and I got to see my friend Josalyn Royale crowned Queen Apollo XXXIV. Josalyn (aka Josh Richardson) is also the pageant director for Miss Gay Louisiana. It was wonderful to be a small part of his night.
The following evening, we traveled to Lafayette, LA and attended the Mystic Krewe of Apollo de Lafayette's Mardi Gras Ball as well. These were my first experiences with the grand balls, and my senses were on overload. It is quite a spectacle that you have to experience. The costumes were spectacular and elaborate, and the mood was beyond festive. I was moved by the kindness I received, and everyone I met went out of their way to include me in all aspects of the festivities. There are so many people I should mention here, but as I started to compile the list it exceeded 30 people. So please know, that I appreciate all of you. I will treasure this experience, and I thank you for an incredible weekend.
After a few days at home, I was back on the road...this time to Columbus, OH. Bob was able to join me on this trip and we enjoyed the drive up listening to stories from "The Moth" (check it out at www.themoth.org). I was invited to perform at "Deva Station: Movie Star," and I had the opportunity to work with some of my favorite people. Deva, Britney Blaire, Diamond Hunter, Rushena Fontaine, Mary Nolan, Vivian Von Brokenhymen, Helena Troy, Hellin Bedd, Sable Coate, and Lustinb leber put on a great production show, and I enjoyed the cast both on stage and off. We had some great food, great conversation, and even got a little snow (we don't get that in Savannah). Thank you to Wall Street Night Club for having me, and a very special thanks to Mark, Deva's husband, for the hospitality and the swagJ.
I actually took Valentine's Day weekend off. It was my first weekend off since October. I thought I better grab one before I don't have another chance (I think that may be post Miss Gay America 2016). Finally, I finished the month off in Savannah with performances at my home base, ClubOne .
It's been a busy and rewarding month filled with administrative tasks, performances, appearances and many memories and special moments. This month, I wanted to thank a few people in my "non-pageant" world who are special to me:
· My mom, Lula Burris: Thank you for your unconditional love and making me believe I could be anything I wanted to be...even Miss Gay America.
· My mother-in-law, Marianne Brouillette: You work harder than anyone I know. You motivate me to do more and be better.
· Robin Joy Davis: Thank you for always offering to help and for rarely saying no. I love your smiling face!
· Lisa Covino: Not only are you the best neighbor ever, but your strength and spirit are awe inspiring.
· Glenda Williams: Your no nonsense approach to life is a valuable lesson, but it is your heart that I will miss most.
I feel like my article this month is a bit rambling, but as long as it is a rambling account of my gratitude for this year, for this system, for this opportunity, then I suppose I'm OK with that.
I'm looking forward to March as we officially kick off the pageant season. Remember contestants, it is never too early to claim your spot and work towards presenting your best possible package at nationals. Through it all, be grateful for the journey!
"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone." ~ G. B. Stern
Miss Gay America 2015
Miss Gay America 2015