Thursday, May 16, 2019

Meet Your New Miss Gay Missouri America 2019: Vega Markstone Hunter

Photo by Andreu Wade Blackwell aka Gingersnap Photography

From March 28-30 at Hamburger Mary's St. Louis, eighteen contestants competed for the 46th annual Miss Gay Missouri America crown. After three days of love and cheers, St. Louis resident Vega Markstone Hunter was crowned Miss Gay Missouri America 2019, with Loreal of Kansas City being crowned First Alternate. Both will compete for the national title at Miss Gay America 2019, also in St. Louis, this October.



Below, your new Miss Gay Missouri America Vega Markstone Hunter answers the same five questions we like to ask all title-winners interviewed here, but first, by way of introduction, we like to ask...

How did you get your drag name?

This is one of my favorite stories to tell! My full drag name is Vega Markstone Hunter although I typically go by only Vega. When I started, I wanted to have a name that was powerful and celestial. I wanted to have a singular name like Madonna or Cher, something that carried power and said that I was the only one I needed. After some research and a lot of other names, I came up with Vega.

There is a star called Vega and it is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra. While it is the brightest star in Lyra it isn’t the brightest in the night sky, and that was important to me. I don’t want to be the brightest star in the sky because I always want there to be room to improve and grow. To me, I want to be that bright light in the dark that people can look up to and come to when they need but it is important for me to have that same light to turn to myself.

It wasn’t until I moved to Missouri that I added the Markstone Hunter. This pays homage to Alicia Markstone and Danielle Hunter. I never understood what drag families were as they weren’t common where I am from. What I found was this loving, supportive and creative group of individuals that combined to form this pack of unrelenting motivation. I know that I have grown more in the past year than I have in the previous nine. I am fortunate to come from a family that supports me unconditionally and I am equally as fortunate to have a found family that I can say the same of.

And now Vega's interview with MGAZINE:

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

Throughout my life up into my early twenties I danced professionally. I taught and performed all over and made my career as a ballroom dance instructor and competitor. Unfortunately, life had other plans and I was injured to the point where I could not dance for almost two years. During that time, I missed performing so my friends and I would host theme parties just about every month. It was at these parties that I began dressing up in drag. Then there was this one day in January, almost ten years ago, the 17th to be exact. A local bar was hosting a talent show and my friends convinced me to do it. So I did…and tied with another performer for the win! That night the show director asked me to be on their cast and I have been performing ever since. Actually, the video from that talent show is still online!


Photo by Andreu Wade Blackwell aka Gingersnap Photography

2 What has being in the Miss Gay America system mean to you personally?

Monday, May 13, 2019

More Love for MGAA from The Arizona Republic: Miss Gay Arizona America Espressa Grande on pageants, drag and how to be an #ElevatedYou


More MGAA love from Garrett Mitchell @rettmitch at The Arizona Republic, back with an interview with Miss Gay Arizona 2019 Espressa Grand.

Q: What's one thing you've learned from this experience in Miss Gay Arizona America?

A: I think the biggest thing I've learned through this whole process is to elevate myself.  I've come up with a hashtag —  #ElevatedYou. And the reason why is because when I'm Espressa, I'm an elevated version of myself. I once thought they were looking for a certain type of cookie-cutter drag queen, but all they're looking for is an authentic, elevated you. I want to show those who don't fit the mold that they can do this, too.

Read the full  interview on AZcentral.com.

Related: Fab photos by The Arizona Republic from Miss Gay Arizona America 2019

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Fab photos by The Arizona Republic from Miss Gay Arizona America 2019


Congratulations to Espressa Grande our new Miss Gay Arizona America and 1st Alternate Sicarya, 2nd Alternate Kadee Christian Starr, 3rd Alternate Patricia Mason and 4th Alternate Franzie McKenzie!

A big thank you to Patrick Breen at the Arizona Republic newspaper for the fab photos! 👑❤️🎉 See all 63 photos at AZcentral.com

Check out The Arizona Republic's pre-pageant feature, "Don't be a drag, just be a queen: Miss Gay Arizona America pageant is May 11" and The Phoenix New Times pre-pageant slideshow feature on photographer Scotty Kirby, "Photographing These Beauty Queen Competitors Is Never a Drag for Phoenix Lensman."

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Friday, April 26, 2019

Photos from Miss Gay Maryland America 2019 featured on The Baltimore Sun website



Above: Miss Gay America 2019 Andora Te'tee at Miss Gay Maryland America at Baltimore's Horseshoe Casino on April 13.

A big thank you to photographer Kyle Andercyk and Kaitlin Newman at the Baltimore Sun's "The Darkroom" for the terrific gallery of images from Miss Gay Maryland America 2019!

Chasity Vain of Hagerstown Crowned Miss Gay Maryland America 2019 and Onyx D. Pearl of Baltimore won First Alternate. More photos and video on the MGA blog MGAZINE here.

See the full slideshow at on the Baltimore Sun's "The Darkroom."

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Chasity Vain of Hagerstown Crowned Miss Gay Maryland America 2019, Onyx D. Pearl of Baltimore wins First Alternate

Above: The winning moment and crowning of Miss Gay Maryland America 2019, Chasity Vain. Miss Gay Maryland 2018 Nicole James is on the left. Miss Gay America 2019 Andora Te'tee is on the right. Photo by Mike Adams Palmisano Productions / MGC Media.

This past Saturday night (April 13), if you love drag and live in Maryland, you were very likely to be found cheering on your favorite queen at the annual Miss Gay Maryland America pageant at the Horseshoe Casino.

Miss Gay Maryland America is one of over one hundred city, state and regional preliminary Miss Gay America pageants across the country leading up to 48th annual Miss Gay America Pageant in St. Louis this October.

Established in Nashville in 1972, The Miss Gay America Pageant is the world’s first, longest running and most prestigious female impersonator (aka drag) competition.

Miss Gay Maryland America was a limited regional preliminary, meaning only contestants from Maryland and DC and states that border Maryland could enter.

The winner and new Miss Gay Maryland America 2019 is Chasity Vain of Hagerstown, MD. Onyx D. Pearl of Baltimore was named First Alternate to Miss Gay Maryland America 2019. Both will go on to compete with nearly 50 other female impersonators from across the U.S. for the Miss Gay America 2020 crown this October in St. Louis.

Above: Miss Gay Maryland 2018 Nicole James, Miss Gay Maryland America 2019 Chasity Vain, First Alternate to Miss Gay Maryland America 2019 Onyx D. Pearl, Miss Gay America 2019 Andora Te'tee. Photo by Mike Adams Palmisano Productions / MGC Media.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Meet Your New Miss Gay New York America 2019: Truly Fabu

Miss Gay New York America 2019 Truly Fabu. Photo by Jeff Weller.

The Miss Gay America preliminary season officially kicked off on March 19 at The Copacabana in New York City's Times Square. The night was hosted by Catia Lee Love and Personna Shoulders. Andora Tetee our reigning Miss Gay America–who won the Miss Gay New York America crown last March)–presided over the pageant.

It was a night of high flying, high kicking drama as contestants Aria B. Cassadine, Dextaci, Dominique St. James, Fifi DuBois, and Pattaya Hart competed for the Miss Gay New York America 2019 title. All gave stellar, eye–and potentially joint-popping–performances to a packed and appreciatively screaming house. One felt sorry for the judges.

Celebrities in the audience included Miss Continental 2018 Stasha Sanchez of Atlanta, Miss USofA 2018 Janet-Fierce Andrews of Texas, Entertainer of the Year 2018 Danielle Hunter of St. Louis and Miss Gay America 1990 Brandy Alexander aka Randy Fenoli of "Say Yes to the Dress" TV (TLC) fame, of New York City.

In the end, it was Truly Fabu, a born and raised New Yorker now living in Baltimore who earned the crown and opportunity to compete in the Miss Gay America nationals this October in St. Louis. Pattaya Hart won First Alternate to Miss Gay New York America 2019 and will also compete at Miss Gay America. FYI, though now a New Yorker, Andora is a former Miss Gay Maryland America (2006) who moved to New York from Baltimore in 2007.

Below, we introduce you to Miss Gay New York America 2019 Truly Fabu, but first, we wanted to know how she chose her drag name.

“'Truly Fabu' came to me in two parts," she says. "'Truly' came from the movie "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."  That movie had two things I love: musical numbers and cars.  Truly Scrumptious is the lead female character, and I always thought it was an interesting and pretty name. “Fabu” is a word my friend and I used back in the day.  It’s just short for fabulous.  I thought "Truly Fabu" had a fun and whimsical quality to it, and that was it."

Now, meet Miss Gay New York America 2019 Truly Fabu.


The moment Truly Fabu was announced as Miss Gay New York America 2019. Photo by Jeff Weller.

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

Like a lot of performers, the first time I did drag was on Halloween.  I was in college in Tucson Arizona, and went out to a bar called IBT’s where Lucinda Holliday (of Made for a Queen jewelry) was the show director.  She asked me if I wanted to do the guest spot in a show, and I accepted.  I was so nervous, and practiced a lot.  All of my friends came out to support me, and before I was called onto the stage, my knees were shaking.  The music started and I came out from behind the curtain to Debbie Gibson’s “Don’t You want Me Now.”  As soon as I got on the stage and was hit by the spotlight, all my nerves were gone and a performer was born.  To this day I still get nervous before going on stage.

Miss Gay America 2019 Andora Te'tee Channels Maria Antoinette in Gorgeous New Photos by Kiet Thai


Check out the gorgeousness of Miss Gay America 2019 Andora Te'tee in these two new photos by photographer Kiet Thai. Just more proof that when it comes to reigning, this queen rules!

Go to Instagram to see more photos of Andora @andora_official in a variety of stunning lewks and more work by Kiet Thai @studiokiet.


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Monday, March 25, 2019

LIFE AFTER THE REIGN: A Chat with Miss Gay America 2018 Deva Station

Photo by Laura Dark Photography

Forever Miss Gay America 2018 Deva Station talks about her reign, offers advice to those competing for the crown and has answers RPDR fans who are dismissive of drag pageant systems.

Back in October you stepped down from your year as Miss Gay America 2018. Emotional night, tears, what was going through your mind that night, during your last performance as Miss Gay America?  

As the curtain opened for my final number, several things were playing in my head. First of all, 7 years of competition and preparation were about to be over and this was the last time I would ever wear the crown.  The most incredible moments were seeing all of the contestants who you spent a year getting to know and realizing one of them was about to carry on the legacy, and the moment you turn to see all of the Miss Gay America’s crowned before me, it’s overwhelming!  

Photo by BjKj Illusions

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

I slept for about 14 hours.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Photos: Miss Gay New York America on Edge Media Network


Photos from Miss Gay New York America 2019 at The Copacabana in Times Square. Truly Fabu from Baltimore was crowned Miss Gay New York America 2019 and Pataya Hart was crowned First Alternate to Miss Gay New York America 2019. Thank you to Edge Media and fabulous NYC photographer Gustavo Monroy! To see the entire slideshow of 80 photos click here

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Who and What is Mr. Gay America? Meet Mr. Gay America 2018 Judas Elliot

All studio photos by Erika Wagner a.k.a. The Drag Photographer

For those unfamiliar with Mr. Gay America or curious to know what the pageant entails and what it's like to be Mr. America, here is Mr. Gay America 2018 Judas Elliot to explain and enlighten. 

Many in the gay community have long been familiar with the Miss Gay America pageant, whether from knowing a competitor,  attending a preliminary, seeing a Miss Gay America titleholder perform at a local club or as a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race.

But there is a counterpart to the Miss Gay America pageant and title, and that is Mr. Gay America.

Originally known as the Mr. Gay All-American (MGAA) pageant, it was the first contest of its kind. It was founded in 1983 by Norman Jones, a.k.a. (the first) Miss Gay America 1973 Norma Kristie (owner of the Miss Gay America pageant system from 1975 - 2005) and Carmel Santiago (Lady Baronessa, Miss Gay America 1974).

Though the pageant has changed ownership several times, and ceased from 2009-2017, it was revived by the current owners of the Miss Gay America pageant (Michael Dutzer and Rob Mansman) as the Mr. Gay America pageant in 2017. (Read the full history on the Mr. Gay America website.)

Mr. Gay America is considered to be the co-titleholder to Miss Gay America. Today many LGBTQ pageants now also have a male co-titleholder, among them, Miss Continental (Mr. Continental), Entertainer of the Year (Mr. Entertainer of the Year),  Miss USofA (Mr. USofA).

Below our interview with Mr. Gay America 2018 Judas Elliot and loads of glitzy showbiz photos.

How would you describe the Mr. Gay America pageant in a sentence?   

Mr. Gay America is like Miss Gay America, a symbol of excellence, which male leads and performers who have a love for drag and individual expression strive to achieve as professional entertainers.


What’s your elevator pitch for Mr. Gay America and why it is important in the gay community?  

The Gay America system is family of entertainers who are known as symbols of excellence within the community, who have the opportunity to express themselves in front of a wide variety of audiences, lead and participate in community service projects that give back to our community, while doing what it is that we as performers love to do.