Wednesday, March 22, 2017

5 Questions with MISS GAY MISSOURI AMERICA 2016 REGINA LA-RAE in Anticipation of the Annual Miss Gay Missouri America 2017 Pageant April 6-8 in St. Louis


From April 6-8, 2017, the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater St. Louis will be the setting for Miss Gay Missouri America, a regional preliminary competition for the 45th 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. The Miss Gay Missouri America began in 1974 and now in its 43rd year, remains one of the oldest preliminaries in the Miss Gay America pageant system. 

The pageant will honor the current Miss Gay Missouri America 2016 Regina La-Rae, from Kansas City, and feature Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong, of Nashville.

The evening's theme will be "Comic-Con", a reflection of Regina La-Rae (Kory Burch) and her partner's passion and business (Saint's Customs) creating high quality costumes for fans participating in Comic Con events across the country.

Twenty-two contestants from across the state will compete in four rigorously judged categories for the Miss Gay Heart of America crown: Male Interview, Evening Gown, On-Stage Interview, and Talent (big production number).

The Miss Missouri America pageant will set the 2017 regional winner and alternate on a path to compete for the title of Miss Gay America 2018 in New Orleans this October.

Meet your reigning Miss Gay Missouri America 2016, Regina La-Rae, as she answers five questions in anticipation of her step-down and the passing on of the crown to Miss Gay Missouri 2017 on April 8:

1 When and why did you start competing in Miss Gay America? 
I was a regular at Missie B's here in Kansas City and would make it to every Monday show. The glamour drew me in. When I met Tajma Stetson, I told her I had an interest in getting started. She helped me by making my first set of hip-pads and spending days at my house watching make-up tutorials on YouTube. The host at the time saw me and would not put me on stage until I had a name, and that was when Regina La-Rae was born.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Miss Gay America Pageant presents The 5 Best Documentaries About The Art of Female Impersonation

Above: Still of former Miss Gay Arkansas 1993 Kelly Cruise (Spencer May) as he appears in  "The Damn Deal," the documentary by former Miss America, Elizabeth Gracen.

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. The 45th Miss Gay America Pageant season kicked off this month with the Miss Gay Heart of America pageant in Columbus, OH. It was the first of nearly two-dozen preliminaries happening across the country, each of which will send a winner and alternate to the Miss Gay America nationals in New Orleans this October.  (Click here to find a Miss Gay America preliminary near you.)

In celebration of its 45th year, the Miss Gay America Pageant invites you to get your Drag History 101 on with 5 of the best documentary films ever made on female impersonation pageants.Many of the films are now available on gay-centric streaming service Dekkoo.com.
"The Queen," featuring the legendary Flawless Sabrina, is about a New York City pageant in 1968 and is beloved by fans for its fiercely quotable moments. "Paris Is Burning" should need no introduction. "The Damn Deal" and "Pageant" are about the Miss Gay America competition (the first of which, interestingly, was made by a former Miss America). The forthcoming "The Queens," not only goes inside the Miss Continental pageant–the other major drag pageant–but also delves into the history one of the worlds' most famous female impersonation nightclubs, Chicago's Baton.

The bonus, sixth film, "The Unforgettable Danny La Rue," is not about drag pageantry per se, but about what these pageants celebrate–and reward: the ability to get up on a stage, reliably entertain a live audience, and build a successful, sustainable career as a star entertainer. La Rue, arguably the most successful female impersonator of the mid-20th century, did this in spectacular fashion.


In order of the date release. Scroll, watch, and learn:

Friday, February 24, 2017

5 Questions with MISS GAY HEART OF AMERICA 2016 KELLY RAY SHELTON in Anticipation of the Annual Miss Gay Heart of America Pageant March 5, 2017 at Axis Nightclub in Columbus, OH

On March 5, 2017, Axis nightclub in Columbus will be the setting for Miss Gay Heart of America "A Night in Oz".

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.

The pageant will honor the current Miss Gay Heart of America 2016 Kelly Ray Shelton, from Durham, NC, and feature Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong of Nashville. The evening's theme will be "A Night in Oz."
The night will feature the talents of (above, top row, L-R) Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong, Miss Gay America 2016 Asia T Ohara, Miss Gay America 2011 Coti Collins, Miss Gay America 2000 Catia Lee Love and (botton row, L-R) former Miss Gay Heart of America 2008 Jade Sinclair, Columbus’s own Nina West and Virginia West and Miss Heart of America 2016 Kelly Ray Shelton.

Meet your reigning Miss Gay Heart of America 2016, Kelly Ray Shelton (or Kelly Ray as she is known), as she answers five questions in anticipation of her step-down and the passing on of the crown to the new Miss Gay Heart of America on March 5:

Friday, February 3, 2017

THE MGAZINE INTERVIEW: Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong on Reigning and Loving It!

Photo: Scotty Kirby

Though the Miss Gay America blog, MGAZINE, made its debut about a month ago, we’d like to make it official with our first interview–appropriately–with the reigning Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong. Look for forthcoming interviews with Miss Gay America 2016–now a Forever Miss Gay America–Asia O’Hara, a selection of this year’s regional and state title holders, our official MGA photographer Kristofer Reynolds and even a former Miss America. Yes, girls, we are serving! Here now, Miss Gay America 2017, Suzy Wong. 

For many, participating in the MGA system is a life changing event, a welcome source of confidence, structure and family. Several queens have even claimed they were “raised” by the MGA and that the MGA saved their lives by giving them the support they needed to get off alcohol or drugs. For you, has the MGA been more of a goal, a challenge vs. a life-altering or life-saving experience? What does being in the Miss Gay America system mean to you personally? What impact has participating in the MGA had on your life? 

Regardless of personal background, to me, the MGA system is just as much life changing, a source of confidence, structure and family.  I am a work-horse and have been supported to seek success in all that I do.  Through my experiences and opportunities, I have been challenged to push hard in my daily life and have an opportunity to share and celebrate my successes.  MGA has provided an emotional growth for me.  I am in wonder of the dedication and love that is rooted with in the system.  Participation in the MGA  system is a choice I made based on nothing but passion. As far as MGA being a goal, honestly, MGA has to be a goal in order to win. But the goal of the physical crown isn’t the reason why I competed.  I found something that I believe in, that resonates within me, and I feel that I can share my gifts to elevate it. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Our MGA2017 Suzy Wong Last Night on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen"

Our Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong made a dazzling appearance on the January 19 broadcast of "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen." She was guest bartender in Andy's Clubhouse and wore a gorgeous emerald greed gown (complimented by her MGA crown and scepter, natch) a nod to guest Idina Menzel role as Elphaba in the smash Broadway show, "Wicked."

Suzy Wong, as many of you know is the alter ego of Nashville restauranteur Arnold Myint, and as such he has competed on "Top Chef" as well as "Food Network Star Season 11." Here, Suzy tells how the guest appearance came about:

"In my last phase of auditions for my third attempt at being on 'Top Chef,' I remember being interviewed in a room full of notables. As I walked in, Andy Cohen was grabbing a coffee, and I bumped into him and immediately gave him a hug.  At the season's finale, he casually asked me, 'So, what's next?'  I told him I would be competing for Miss Gay Tennessee America.'If I go to MGA and win, can I be on your show?' 

The following year as Miss Gay Mid America, I reached out again, and Andy responded wishing me luck.

Five years later, after winning the crown, we were back in contact.  Being on Top Chef was monumental for me professionally.  Being Miss Gay America is a milestone for me personally.  I'm beyond proud, honored, and grateful that my two worlds, in some weird way, have morphed into one amazing platform of opportunity." 

Video clip (Suzy's at the end) and more photos in the Life After Bravo blog post Life After Bravo post "You Won't Recognize Top Chef Alum Arnold Myint These Days" Photos with Andy Cohen, Rachel Bloom, Idina Menzel and Miss Gay Arizona America and Miss Gay Western States promoter, Daniel Eckstrom, after the jump. Watch the entire episode here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

VIDEO: Meet the Mr. Gay America 2017 Contestants


The evolution of a new era continues in 2017 as the men from Mr. Gay All-American join the Miss Gay America family–as Mr Gay America–on July 2nd at The Rose Room in Dallas, TX. Ten contestants from across the country will compete for the title of Mr Gay America 2017. (The Rose Room is home to Miss Gay America 2016 Asia O'Hara.) Preliminaries will be available to interested promoters starting with the 2018 season. For more information click here.   

A Little Mr. Gay All-American History 
Mr. Gay America is the welcome reincarnation of the Mr. Gay All-American pageant, which originally ran from 1983 - 2009 and was created in 1983 by Norman Jones aka (the first) Miss Gay America 1973 Norma Kristie, who owned the Miss Gay America pageant system from 1975 - 2005. See the Mr. Gay America poster and photo of Mr. Gay All-American 1985 Keith Mitchell, after the jump.