Thursday, October 12, 2017

THE MGAZINE INTERVIEW: Meet Your Newly Crowned Miss Gay America 2018, Deva Station!

Miss Gay America 2018 Deva Station. MGAZINE cover photo by Andrew Blackwell.

Though cut short by a day due to the rapidly approaching Hurricane Nate, the 45th annual Miss Gay America pageant held at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans from October 4 – 6 was, by all accounts, was a screaming success.

Forty-one contestants from across the U.S. traveled to the Big Easy to compete, many with dressers, make-up artists, back-up dancers, and trailers full of sets and props in tow.   For three days a panel of five judges in four categories judged the contestants: Male Interview, Presentation (in outfits to reflect this year’s “Le Cirque MGA” theme), Evening Gown and Talent (big production number).

By the final night, the competition was down to the top ten, out of which an elite group of five titleholders were chosen.  The top then each put on dynamite Las Vega’s style floorshow numbers–all to a thunderous, standing ovations from the audience–followed by the Evening Gown completion, after which the top five were announced. Following  On-Stage Interview and a final performance by Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong, the winners were announced.

Herewith the Miss Gay America 2018 titleholders:
Miss Gay America 2018 Deva Station (Columbus, OH)
Miss Gay America 2018 First Alternate Brooke Lynn Hytes (Nashville, TN)
Miss Gay America 2018 Second Alternate Kelly Ray (Durham, NC)
Miss Gay America 2018 Third Alternate Dessie Love Blake (Houston, TX)
Miss Gay America 2018 Fourth Alternate Mary Nolan (Columbus, OH)

Now, meet your newly crowned Miss Gay America 2018 Deva Station, as she answer 7 quick questions:
Miss Gay America 2018 Deva Station. Photo by BjKj Illusions

1 How did you get started, when did you first do in female impersonation?  

I actually started female impersonation much later in life than most. I had always enjoyed watching, and had danced in pageants for many queens, but my work schedule was evenings and weekends with a lot of travel, so I didn’t have the proper time to commit to performing.
Miss Gay America 2018 Deva Station "Talent" category competition performance. 
Photo by Deejers Designs

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

MISS GAY AMERICA Photographer Scotty Kirby Picks His Top 10 Drag Photos, Chats with MGAZINE

Scotty Kirby & The Kirbygirls

In anticipation of Miss Gay America 2018, we wanted to feature two of the Miss Gay America pageant's favorite photographers. Here you'll meet Scotty Kirby. Click here to meet equally beloved, Kristofer Reynolds.

Miss Gay America 2018 happens this week (!) and with comes the return of a new Miss Gay America tradition, the Miss Photogenic competition. For it, contestants who wish to participate submit their best publicity photo to be judged by a panel of former Miss Gay America titleholders on beauty, creativity and expression. The winner will be announced during the pageant.

One man working overtime to make the deadline, is Phoenix based drag photographer, Scotty Kirby. Though he's tried the rest--weddings, men, women, editorial--for Kirby, drag's the best, and it shows in his superglam gagalicious drag queen photography.

Scotty Kirby

For MGAZINE, Scotty Kirby plucked 10 of his favorite drag queen photos and answered 5 quick questions. Herewith, the photos, in no particularly order (who can pick favorite?!), and a chat with Scotty.

Lady Gaga Crowned Honorary MISS GAY AMERICA


Photo credit: Courtesy of the Miss Gay America pageant.

Backstage before her recent September 10 concert in Philadelphia, married Miss Gay America pageant owners Michael Dutzer and Rob Mansman presented Lady Gaga with a Miss Gay America crown, making her the first ever honorary Miss Gay America in the pageant’s 45 year history.

“We love Gaga for all she’s done for the LGBTQ community,” they said, “Especially our youth, so we thought this would be a great way to honor her for championing self-acceptance, diversity and the beauty in everyone’s mirror."

When told that she was not only the first honorary Miss Gay America, but also the first without a penis, Gaga saucily quipped, “How do you know I don’t have a penis?”

Along with the crown, the Miss Gay America owners also presented Gaga with a $5000.00 donation to her Born This Way Foundation.

Established in Nashville in 1972–37 years before “RuPaul’s Drag Race”–The Miss Gay America Pageant is the world’s first, longest running and most prestigious female impersonator competition.

Miss Gay America 2018 happens this week, October 4 – 7, 2017 at the New Orleans Hyatt, where forty contestants from across the U.S. will compete for the Miss Gay America crown. www.missgayamerica.com •

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

MISS GAY AMERICA Photographer Kristofer Reynolds Picks His Top 10 Drag Photos, Chats with MGAZINE

Kristofer Reynolds with Miss Gay America 2016 Asia T. O'Hara

In anticipation of Miss Gay America 2018, we wanted to feature two of the Miss Gay America pageant's favorite photographers. First up is Kristofer Reynolds followed by equally beloved, Scotty Kirby.

With Miss Gay America 2018 kicking off a week from today, girls are checking off their prep lists with a vengeance. And what's at the top of that list? Photos, honey. You can have the best look in town, but if your photos are crap, you might as well leave the gown in the closet and the jewels in the box. One man who's been making Miss Gay America titleholders and contestants shine like the stars they are is San Diego based photographer, trainer, hunk and sweetie, Kristofer Reynolds.
Kristofer Reynolds
Kristofer took time out from his busy schedule to answer 5 quick questions and share his 10 favorite photos (in no particular order) with MGAZINE.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

SHE WORKS HARD FOR THE MONEY: The Cost of Drag – From Wig to Face to Heels, MISS GAY TEXAS AMERICA 2017 Violet S'Arbleu Breaks it Down


We originally put this post together pre-Hurricane Harvey, which as we all know, devastated Houston, home to our newly crowned Miss Gay Texas America 2017 Violet S'Arbleu. 

Though spared any personal or property damage due to Hurricane Harvey, in the immediate aftermath, she was deeply shaken, and said at the time, "I'm OK. My spot is blissfully dry for some unknown heavenly reason, but I've been so distraught trapped in my house watching the news. So many people and such suffering. It's put my life on hold too, but I'm dry and safe (knock wood) so that's all I can hope for right now."  

Holed up at home, Violet stayed in touch with friends and her MGA family via social media and posted videos of herself running up a cute new gown on Facebook.  

Violet recently donated $15 from the profits of each "Hearts With Houston" T-shirt sold to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. She says, "I dedicated my first-ever merchandise item to raise funds for my struggling neighbors and friends. Thank you to everyone who bought a T-shirt!" 

Voilet is featured in this month's issue of Houston's OutSmart magazine, just did a hilarious interview about the cost drag on the drag-loving "Feast of Fun" podcast, and this very post was reposted on the World of Wonder (producers of RuPaul's Drag Race) blog, The WOW Report.

Now, from the Tumblr page of the recently crowned Miss Gay Texas America 2017 Violet S'Arbleu, this fascinating post on the costs of drag--financial, physical, temporal and a few wise words on life as a drag queen. Violet, the stage is yours...
Miss Gay Texas America 2017 Violet S'Arbleu by Michael Andrew Voight

Drag is EXPENSIVE. Trying to do it on a dime, while admirable, is virtually impossible. Shaved legs,  a leotard, and a wig will still cost you a solid $50. You throw some makeup in there and a decent pair of shoes and you’ve passed $100.

And if you’re in an amateur contest, the only money you can expect to get is given to you one dollar at a time by a critical crowd who just saw the latest runway looks on RuPaul’s Drag Race. That’s a high bar to match, and it’s almost impossible to turn a profit on your first outings.

The easiest way to present this information is to break down what everything costs, and of course the only person whose budget I know to the dime is my own. So, perhaps it’s the wrong choice or too much information, but I’m going to be completely honest with you guys about exactly what it costs to create one Violet S’Arbleu.

However, I’m going to be a LITTLE reserved and only give you low estimates for how much things actually cost. 

One appearance costs $650 in supplies. My usual Friday show takes over $1000 to put on. And these are CHEAP estimates. Ready for the breakdown? Get out your grocery lists, because if you want to make your own Violet S’Arbleu at home, you’re going to need to pick up a few things.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

LIFE AFTER THE REIGN: A Chat with the Dazzling Miss Gay America 2016 ASIA O'HARA


As we approach Miss Gay America 2018 and we wanted to take a look back and check in with Miss Gay America 2016 Asia O'Hara to ask what life's been like, post reign. Herewith, a quick five questions with the inimitable Miss Asia O'Hara.

Photos of Miss Gay America 2016 Asia O'Hara by Kristofer Reynolds

1 It’s been nearly a year since your step-down from being Miss Gay America. Emotional night, tears, what was going through your mind that night, during your last performance as Miss Gay America?

You spend the entire year trying to sell preliminaries, inspire contestants, impress the audiences, and gain the respect of everyone you encounter.  But, in those final moments, you realize what truly matters.  You look out over the crowd at all the people whom you have met and grown to love, and you realize that is what really matters. The friendships you make and the relationships you build during your reign are second to none.



2 What was the first thing you did after you got home and unpacked?

I slept for about a week! After that, I went hiking with my dog (Chloe), caught up with friends that I had not had the chance to spend time with, and started planning the next chapter of my career.

Friday, August 4, 2017

5 Questions with MISS GAY ARKANSAS AMERICA Charmay M. Cassidine in Anticipation of the Annual Miss Gay Arkansas America Pageant August 11-12, 2017 at Triniti and Discovery Nightclubs in Little Rock


From August 11-12, 2017, Triniti and Discovery nightclubs in Little Rock will be the setting for Miss Gay Arkansas America, a state preliminary competition for the 45th annual Miss Gay America Pageant.

Miss Gay America was founded in 1972 in Nashville, 37 years before "RuPaul's Drag Race." Miss Gay Arkansas America was also established in 1972 and is in its 45th year of competition, making it the oldest and the most prestigious preliminary in the Miss Gay America pageant system.

The evening's theme will be "Dynasty: The Legacy Lives". For the Presentation category, contestants will be asked to interpret the theme, in their gown, costume and look.

Six contestants from regional preliminaries around the state will compete in five categories: Male Interview (in suit and tie), Presentation (theme based costume), Evening Gown, On Stage Interview and Talent (big production number with costumes, sets and dancers).

The pageant will honor the current Miss Gay Arkansas America 2016 Charnay M. Cassadine, of Little Rock, and feature Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong, of Nashville and Palm Springs.

Meet your reigning Miss Gay Arkansas America 2016, Charnay M. Cassadine, as she answers five questions in anticipation of her step-down and the passing on of the crown to Miss Gay Arkansas 2017 on August 12:

1 How did you get started, when did you first do in female impersonation?  

My first venture into the art of female impersonation was in the summer of 1997 in a Turn About Show. It was at a club named City Lights in Jackson, Mississippi. I performed NOW THAT YOU'RE GONE by Martha Wash.