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 also featured in this month's issue of Houston's OutSmart magazine 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. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Great Slideshow from the Miss Gay New York America Pageant, July 24 in New York City


Check out this great slideshow from Monday night's Miss Gay New York America pageant on the Edge Media Network by Gustavo Monroy. Above, Kelly Ray during her Talent number. Later that evening she was crowned Miss Gay New York America 2017. First Alternate is the fab Champagne Bubbles of New York City. We'll see you both at Miss Gay America in New Orleans! Check out the photo here.

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BACK TO THE MGAZINE HOMEPAGE
  
BACK TO THE MISS GAY AMERICA WEBSITE

20 Years Later, Former MISS AMERICA Elizabeth Gracen Talks About “THE DAMN DEAL” Her Captivating Documentary on Drag and the MISS GAY AMERICA Pageant

Elizabeth Gracen. Photo: Emma Bogren

"My brother was a huge football star and now with me in competition in pageants, that’s my football –that’s me being a football star. I’m just a beautiful football star.”  –  Spencer May/Kelly Cruise, Miss Gay Arkansas America 1993, from “The Damn Deal” (1997) 

In 1997, filmmaker, writer and former Miss Arkansas and Miss America, Elizabeth Gracen, interviewed three young female impersonators who competed in the Miss Gay America Pageant system for her captivating, beautifully filmed black-and-white documentary “The Damn Deal” (Flapper Films). The recovered, original footage, now restored, explores gender, identity and what it was like to grow up gay in the South at the end of the 20th century.  

Crowned Miss Arkansas 1981 and Miss America 1982, Gracen (Elizabeth Ward at the time) went on to study acting, pose on the cover of Playboy, star (as Amanda) in the Nineties TV series “Highlander,” and established her own film production company (Flapper Films) and boutique publishing company (Flapper Press). She recently filmed actress Lee Meriweather for a documentary short and in March released her first Young Adult fantasy novel, “Shallily.” Below, Gracen talks about the making of “The Damn Deal.”

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

DALLAS MORNING NEWS feature on MISS GAY TEXAS AMERICA: "Inside the Miss Gay Texas America pageant in Dallas, land of sisterhood and sparkles"


Once again Guide Live, the entertainment website from The Dallas Morning News–the biggest newspaper in Texas–has done a great feature on the Miss Gay Texas America pageant. See the July 25th feature here and see last year's story here. Please enjoy, share and blab about it to your friends!

It’s an hour to showtime, and wigs, sequins and high heels are scattered around the dressing room. Men find their sparkling evening gowns and gather around mirrors propped against walls. "I need help getting a sister into a corset over here!" calls one assistant, while Gizelle, the backstage coordinator, reminds: "20 minutes til top 12!"...continue reading here.

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BACK TO THE MGAZINE HOMEPAGE
  
BACK TO THE MISS GAY AMERICA WEBSITE

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

5 Questions with MISS GAY TEXAS AMERICA Sofia Anderson In Anticipation of the Annual Miss Gay Texas America Pageant July 18-21 at The Rose Room, Dallas

Miss Gay Texas America 2016 Sofia Anderson. Photo: Juan Salazar for Timeless Studios.

From July 18-21, 2017, The Rose Room in Dallas will be the setting for Miss Gay Texas America, a state preliminary competition for the 45th annual Miss Gay America Pageant.

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 Texas America was established in 1974 and is in its 44th year of competition, making it one of the oldest and largest preliminary pageants in the country.

The pageant will honor the current Miss Gay Texas America 2016 Sofia Anderson, of Brownsville, and feature Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong, of Nashville and Palm Springs.

The evening's theme will be "Queens on Fire". For the Presentation category, contestants will be asked to interpret the theme, in their gown, costume and look.

Nearly 40 contestants from 22 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).

Miss Gay Texas America is Sofia Anderson, aka Alfonso "Poncho" Medina, is originally from Monterrey Mexico, now a citizen of the US, still learning English, owns his own salon in the Valley (southern tip of Texas), and supports his mother in Mexico. His drag esthetic evolved out of Mexican circuit party style and favors drama and wild, over-the-top illusions.

Meet your reigning Miss Gay Texas America 2016, Sofia Anderson, as she answers five questions in anticipation of her step-down and the passing on of the crown to Miss Gay Texas 2017 on July 21:  



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

I have always had a passion for the stage, as a child I always wanted to be a star—a celebrity. And Sofia has that passion running in her veins. 17 years later, I still get goosebumps when I take the stage. It's a feeling that I can't put into words.