By Jeremy Burnette
Miss Gay USofA at Large 2016, honoring Miss Gay USofA At Large Ka’aliyah McKim Diamond, was held September 20-23 at AXIS Nightclub in Columbus, OH. Twenty-two lovely and talented young ladies battled fiercely for the title, but Sasha Lauren of Dallas, TX was undeniable on her way to capturing the crown.
The week began with an amazing Stars of the USofA Show starring numerous Miss Gay USofA at Large formers, representatives of the current USofA Court, and special guests. From the comedic talents of Carmella Marcella Garcia, the live vocal stylings of Denise Russell, the glamour of Chelsea Pearl, the grace of Victoria LePaige, and the energy of Jacqueline St. James, the AXIS crowd was educated on exactly what old-school drag is and why it will never die. The Dancing Divas were also there in full force as Kelexis Davenport’s candor and wit entertained the crowd on the microphone and Kathryn York (Happy 10 th Anniversary!), Desiree DeMornay, Dorae Saunders, Angelica Sanchez, and Ka’aliyah McKim Dia- mond left it all on the stage. It was a great night for the contestants to mingle and witness the amazing legacy of USofA at Large.
The contestants competed in Personal Interview with the Judges as well as Preliminary Talent and Evening Gown before our Top 12 was named on Friday. In what has got to be a first in the USofA System, four contest- ants swept all categories in the preliminary group awards. They were Alyssa Nicole Whitney, Sasha Adams, Chy’enne Valentino, and Sasha Lauren.
On final night, Sasha Lauren won both Talent and Evening Gown and 1 st Alternate Sasha Adams was named the Overall Interview Winner on a Judges’ vote after a tie with 2 nd Alternate Chy’enne Valentino in that catego- ry. The remainder of the Court included Rita Andrews (3 rd Alternate) and Alyssa Nicole Whitney (4 th Alternate) with the Top 12 containing a whopping 7 Finalists from the state of Texas. The other top 12 Finalists were Dutchess Divina, Jessica Lee Paris, Nadine Hughes, Brandi Williams, Lady Ivana, Donet McKim and Coco Couture. New Mexico’s Roxy Williams was named Best Finishing Non-Finalist; Jessica Lee Paris was voted Most Beautiful by the Judges and the contestants voted Dutchess Divina as Miss Congeniality.
Columbus, OH and AXIS were an amazing home for Miss Gay USofA at Large for two years, and we are very grateful for all of their support. We are also thrilled to announce a move for Miss Gay USofA at Large 2017 to Dallas, TX and the legendary Rose Room. Make your plans to join us now on September 20-22 in Dallas, TX as we honor the reign of Sasha Lauren and promise an amazing showcase of plus- sized drag. The Rose Room is one of the most revered venues in drag history, and the list of Divas who have graced the stage is a Who’s Who of Drag. A recent $175,000+ in- vestment to improve the technol- ogy and staging of the Rose Room will allow our formers and contestants to have the best stage, lighting, sound, and special effects available to enhance the production value of Miss Gay USofA at Large 2017, and we look forward to bringing the pag- eant to Dallas!