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.
2 What has being in the Miss Gay America system mean to you personally?
Well, first of all I am humbled to be part of the America system and its values. I not only found a system that celebrates the art of female impersonation, but a loving family, as well—a family that supports me 100%. And that really means the world to me.
3 How have you benefited from competing in the Miss Gay America system?
My career has been growing within the entertainment industry immensely and I owe that to the Miss Gay America System. On a personal note, the values, the hard work and the attention to detail that I have gained I now incorporate them into my personal business. So, in a nutshell, the Miss Gay America System has made Sofia a more well-rounded performer, and Alfonso a better business man!
4 Is your family supportive?
I have the most wonderful family. They have been supportive of me through all of my endeavors, no matter how crazy they have been. My mother has been my number one fan from day one. And I believe that the unconditional love and the endless support they provide, fans the fire that burns deep within me.
5 What is your life out of drag?
I am an entrepreneur, have had my own beauty spa for 4 years. I am not only an uncle but a father-figure to my two beautiful nephews. I try to live my life as simply as possible off the stage.
And I never forget where I come from. Coming from Mexico, I continue to work with CAPASITS Mexico–a program that promotes the prevention and the control of the epidemic of the HIV/AIDS–helping with fundraising, as well as educating the public on the importance of safe sex and the prevention of transmittable diseases.
If we can all work together we can stop the HIV epidemic, which continues to grow by the minute.
Finally, I leave you with a quote that I try to live my life by, "Count your blessings and always remember even in the darkest moments, there is a silver lining shining threw" much love Miss Gay Texas America 2016. •
For more from Miss Gay Texas America 2016 Sofia Anderson, read Sofia Anderson’s guest column in the June issue of “Sincerely Suzy,” the monthly newsletter from Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong at www.missgayamerica.com/sincerely-suzy.html
More about the Miss Gay Texas America 2017 pageant at: http://www.missgaytexasamerica.com About Miss Gay America: www.missgayamerica.com/about-mga.html
Photo of Sofia Anderson by Juan Salazar for Timeless Studios.