Miss Gay Arizona America 2015 Nevaeh McKenzie with the freshly crowned Miss Gay Arizona America 2016 Savannah Stevens at last year's Miss Gay Arizona America pageant. Photo by Alexandra Gaspar. From the Phoenix New Times slideshow, "Inside the 2016 Miss Gay Arizona America Pageant".
On Sunday, June 25, 2017, the Tempe Center for the Arts will be the setting for Miss Gay Arizona 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.
The Miss Gay Arizona America pageant began in 1986, is now in its 31st year, and last year claimed its third Miss Gay America “Best Overall Preliminary” Award.
The pageant will honor the current Miss Gay Arizona America 2016 Savannah Stevens, of Phoenix, and feature Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong, of Nashville and Palm Springs.
At least a dozen contestants from cities across the state including Phoenix, Tucson, Casa Grande and Flagstaff 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 evening's theme will be "Bond: Excellence is Forever". For the Presentation category, contestants will be asked to impersonate their favorite Bond spy/villan. The Forever Miss Gay Arizona Americas (former national title holders) are encouraged to dress as "Bond Girls".
The Miss Gay Arizona America pageant will set the 2017 state winner and alternate on a path to compete for the title of Miss Gay America 2018 in New Orleans this October.
If you live in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, you can catch Savannah Stevens every Friday at BS West performing in the “Elements” drag show, hosting Drag Bingo night at Desoto Central Market, and performing throughout the valley in both Phoenix and Tucson.
Meet your reigning Miss Gay Arizona America 2016, Savannah Stevens, as she answers five questions in anticipation of her step-down and the passing on of the crown to Miss Gay Arizona 2017 on June 25:
All photos of Miss Gay Arizona America 2016 Savannah Stevens by Scotty Kirby Photography
Having been involved in theater in high school and being cast in three separate roles in one musical, my passion for the performing arts was ignited. At 20 I went to my first drag show at Pookie’s in Phoenix (one of the best show places here in Phoenix, It wasn’t just a bar, but a dinner theater). The very first drag queens I ever saw were Phaedra, who was a former Miss Gay Arizona and Barbra Seville, who was the reigning Miss Gay Arizona at the time. You get to put on some makeup, a wig, a dress and heels and parade around acting out the words to other people’s music? Absolutely! Oh my goodness! I need to do this!