Miss Gay USofA National Sponsor – Samsung
Stay in your lane…
Upon preparing for RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 7, there were a lot of things going on mentally. I didn’t know if I was going to have enough drag, if I would make it very far or how famous I would really become. At the same time, I was thinking, “wow! This is really happening!” but also concerned if they would really like me, or if I would be as famous as the other girls from previous seasons?
I reached out to Latrice Royale (RPDR Season 4 & All-stars 4) for some words of wisdom before I took off to Los Angeles, C.A. The one thing that stood out to me, from our conversation 5 years ago, was “there are going to be a lot of things going on around you, you will see girls getting this, getting that, doing this, and doing that, just know that their journey is not your journey, and your journey is not their journey!” That hit me so hard – I thought I was a woman, for real, ha!
Do you find yourself worrying about what the next person is doing? Be honest with yourself. Do you ask yourself, “when is it going to be my time?” “Why do they get to have that when I have been working just as hard?” And, so on and so on. My father used to tell me, as a kid, “You can have what everybody else has.” That used to piss me off because I didn’t want to hear that in that moment; I simply wanted what I saw everybody else had.
This type of thinking is nothing but a mental distraction and a setback – it’s a distraction in a way that in that small moment of you thinking “why?” it has taken your mind off of the course of your purpose and your destiny. So, now you are set back and have to reset, and some of us never truly reset. I am here to tell you to RESET!
Stay focused on your plan that you have set out for your own journey in this life. Do NOT keep working hard and sewing seeds along your own path. I promise you, if you do that, you will be able to see what’s been there all along, and this may take you a little longer, but what is success without working hard for it? When you finally start to walk your own path, with no distraction, your patience becomes virtue. All of the things you set forth, in your purpose, will come in due season and due time. Therefore, be wise, be patient, and keep working hard, but most of all… stay in YOUR lane.
There are some beautiful things blossoming in your own lane. SEE IT! BELIEVE IT! RECEIVE IT! God Bless you and until next time.
Miss Gay USofA 2019
Happy Pride! Such an exciting month for our community and so much we should all reflect on. No matter how you celebrate “your pride” do so knowing your pride isn’t only for the month of June!
We are definitely in pageant season! It was an honor working Mr. Texas USofA in Houston on June 14th. Congratulations to Ky’Ron Jackson on achieving his goal this year! Craig Henderson produced another stellar contest! Next month, I will be returning as a forever Miss Tx USofA at Large so can’t wait!
Such great news – we have already signed 5 new Classic prelims and working on several more! It is going to be such an incredible year. Speaking of prelims, our first Miss Classic prelim is coming up in August! I can’t wait to go to Kansas for Miss Gay Great Plains USofA Classic! Shout out to Bobby Hise for supporting us and loving this art form!
June/July is packed full of pageant competition for every system and I wish everyone good luck! Best wishes go out to All American Goddess, Mr. Gay America, Miss Gay Texas America, Miss Texas USofA at Large, Mr. Texas USofA at Large, National Entertainer of the Year… and so many more!
Until next time…. I wish you all the best in life, love and all the blessings well within your grasp! I love you all!
Forever your Miss Gay USofA Classic,
See you guys in July!
Happy 4th of July everyone!!
We’re in the middle of summer and only ONE MONTH away from Miss Gay USofA Newcomer Nationals! Last month we had our final prelims of the year and we now have all qualified contestants. This year we had an amazing turn out of contestants and I want to personally congratulate all of the promoters for having such successful prelims. We have 61 qualified contestants this year and that is a record for the Newcomer System and is a wonderful way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Newcomer system. There are several promoters who are sending more than just their winner and 1st alternate and this is a huge testament to how much the promoters care about the system and how much talent, growth, and drive they see in our contestants. For that, I am truly grateful.
With it only being a month away I know several of you are working on the finishing touches to your packages, and I want to give a couple of pointers, reminders, and a few tips that I think will help as you prepare.
Before you start packing, make a written list of absolutely everything you need. Include everything down to your tights, nails, and lashes. It’s never hurts to be overly prepared, and if you have something extra, that’s an easy way to help out a friend. Don’t forget things like nice clothes for registration, contestant brunch, and the awards ceremony and well as pool attire if you wish to swim at the Elegante. You’ll also want to remember tipping looks for each night of the pageant. Even though you’re only judge for what is seen on stage you still want to reflect that you are ready to reign, and looking the part of a title holder is very important. This is something I wish someone told me beforehand and not when I got there. (I was a first year contestant and didn’t think about that aspect.)
In a journal, have a page for each category of the pageant; Interview, Prelim Talent, Prelim Gown, Presentation, Final night Gown, Final night Talent, and Crowning. Also include a full list of all hair and makeup items for each look. Don’t for get to do the same for your dancers if you are using them. The more organized you are going into it, the easier it will be to load in, and load out without missing anything. It’s also really helpful to have your dresser with you while making these list so they know exactly what you need and when you need it. Have rehearsal times with your dresser putting on everything you plan on wearing so there are no surprises the day of. The more aware you are of you garments the easier it will be to fix something if an issue presents itself.
Have your dresser prepare a back stage kit. This should include but is not limited to; duct tape, spray adhesive, nail glue, extra nails, lash glue, lashes, thread and needles, fishing line, extra stones, safety pins, bobbie pins, hair spray, a fan, hand towel, brushes, clips, and a prepackaged small snack of some kind (power bar or nuts). Be mindful when packing for each night because dressing room space is limited.
Whoever is crowned the next Miss Gay USofA Newcomer will have a photo shoot the following morning on Friday with Scotty Kirby. If you have some looks that are ready to be photographed, please have them with you so you can get a head start on your promo photos for the year. You’ll also get the opportunity to perform that Friday night at the Rose Room at S4 so you’ll also what to have a couple show numbers ready as well.
I know this is a lot of information but I promise it will help you greatly. Also, don’t forget the theme for this year is Under the Sea. Feel free to wear anything nautical that you want except absolutely no mermaids.
July is a pretty tame moth for me, which is lovely because it will give me a lot of time to finish preparing for nationals. I do have a gig on July 6th in Lake Charles, LA at Chrystals Nightclub if any of you are in the area and would like to come see a fun show.
I look forward to seeing all of you at nationals, August 5th-8th at the round up saloon in Dallas, TX!
If you have any questions or need any kind of help please let me know. I am just a message away.
All my love and I hope you find your #HappilyEvaAfter
Hello, everyone –
This past month was full of excitement. We had three preliminaries which qualified five amazing boys for Nationals coming up in October!
I want to give a shout out to Craig for having the biggest preliminary, Mr. Gay Texas USofA! I was amazed about how serious the boys took everything. It was like being at Nationals. I had the opportunity to be one of judges, and felt amazing to be on the other side of the table, but knowing the responsibility of sitting there.
To the promoters from Amarillo, T.X., thank you for your hospitality. I had a wonderful time.
To the promoters from Atlanta, G.A., I can not say thank you enough, you were amazing, produced a great event. Additionally, thank you for every single gesture you had with me celebrating my birthday.
Congratulations to all the boys that qualified this month:
KyRom Jackson, Mr. Gay Texas USofA 2019
Alberto Chicas 1st runner up
Chamo De lour
Catrevion Iman, Mr. Gay Georgia USofA 2019
Mr. Gay USofA 2018
Hello everyone, and welcome back to “Keeping It Sweet with Shugah”, Vol. 8 “The Joy of being Mr. Gay USofA At Large”
Words cannot express how much I am enjoying this ride and being Mr. Gay USofA at Large. It’s such a blessing to be able to travel and do what you love – I am truly blessed. I am taking in every moment and realizing just how truly lucky I am. I will NEVER take for granted all of the love that I am receiving, so thank you! So, going to my 3rd preliminary, Mr. Gay New Mexico USofA at Large, was so much fun! I can’t believe I was in Albuquerque, N.M. I was truly on cloud 9 from the moment I was greeted at the baggage claim, all through the night, and on the stage! I even was featured on the T.V., so thank you to Brendan and a HUGE THANK YOU to Michael for taking great care of me. Also, to everyone who took pictures of me, and gave me complements, I will never forget the moments, or you, so thank you! Not only did I get to enjoy the preliminary, but I also got to explore the town. What a beautiful city – New Mexico, I will forever remember you!
My fourth preliminary was in my hometown – Atlanta, G.A.a! This was for Mr. Gay Georgia USofA at Large. First, thank you to Christopher Iman and the cast of the view lounge for an awesome time performing! You guys, and the crowd, showed so much love. It was a truly packed weekend, and the promoter Darion still had time to treat me, and Mr. Gay USofA, Angel, like a king at brunch at LIPS Atlanta! We had special treatment from everyone and we had a complete ball. It was my first time attending the brunch and it was an awesome show! So thank you for making this happen!
Three awesome guys competed for Mr. Gay Georgia USofA at Large and I couldn’t have asked for a better night! I was given something, as a surprise, that I was in of for my reign and it was a robe with my name on it! How lucky am I? I love you Darion and Ade for all the surprises and the unforgettable treatment I was given. We had a packed house – it was incredible. Thanks to all of the family, friends, and more who traveled from all over the world, who live in town, and etc. who came to celebrate with us! Wow! Electrifying night of pageantry!
As the year goes by, I am going to take in every moment as Mr. Gay USofA at Large 2018. So, next time, remember to keep it sweet and smile!
Next month, Mr. Gay Texas USofA at Large and Mr. Gay Wisconsin USofA at Large! See you soon!
Ry’Yon Shugahbear Tajoure
Mr. Gay USofA at Large 2018
This has been a wonderful last month of rest and preparation as we start our prelim season. My first prelim will be July 28th in Madison, Wisconsin so come on out and be the first Mister Great Lakes USofA MI 2019! I am so excited for all the prelims this year, not only because I will get to watch a whole new batch of kings enter the system and leave their hearts on the stage, but I am also excited for all the themes. To me, new themes mean new costumes!
A little background about me, I graduated from ASU with my first major in Theatre and Dance with a concentration in costume design. I absolutely love designing costumes for plays, performances art, and drag. I believe the outfit worn for a song should fit the feeling you are trying to project, and that the perfect combination of song choice, costume, makeup, and movement (or lack there of) is what makes a successful performance piece. So, with all the prelims coming up it means I will get the opportunity to make costumes for all kinds of things, from Hollywood, to Deep Deep Under the Sea, to Steampunk, I will get to create some hopefully wonderful looks to share with you all. Between my self, and Fierce by Pierce, we hope to blow you away with the time and creativity in these costumes!
Now for our up coming prelims! First up, we have Mister Great Lakes USofA MI in Madison, Wisconsin on July 28th. Then we have Mister Arizona USofA MI (which is my state step down!) in Phoenix, Arizona on August 17th, immediately followed by Mister Southwest USofA MI in Long Beach, California on August, 18th. If you would like any information on these prelims please do not hesitate to reach out to me and I will put you in contact! I hope everyone has a wonderful month and a Happy 4th of July!
Mister USofA MI 2019
I can’t believe it’s already July, the hump day of the year! We’re at the top of that hill, about to slide into the second half of the year. That means prelim season for MI, MI Classic, and Diva is right around the corner.
The first two weekends in June meant road trips to Albuquerque for me, to perform at their Coronation, and at Pride. I always have a great time in New Mexico, and where else can you get the best green chillies around?! Bonus, I got to spend time with my drag son, which I don’t get to do nearly as often as I’d like.
Between USofA week, and two road trips, two weekends in a row, I was one tired Classic, but I felt incredibly fulfilled. AND!! I managed to catch the tail-end of the Miss Gay Arizona USofA Newcomer pageant, after driving back into town, putting a face on in the car (on the freeway, mind you!), and getting dressed in the bar parking lot. I was a hot mess, and couldn’t find my socks, but I made it in time to catch the current titleholder’s stepdown, and to take a knee at crowning for the new winner. Seeing Eva and Darryl for a quick second was great, too.
While in Albuquerque, I had the chance to talk to one of our newest promoters Tim Winn, who has signed on to bring New Mexico USofA MI and MI Classic to the family. So please welcome him to the fold!
Speaking of prelims, we’ve got official dates for a few new ones, so Classic MIs, mark your calendars!
As of right now, the confirmed prelim dates for MI Classic are:
August 17 – Arizona USofA MI, MI Classic, and Diva
August 18 – Southwest USofA MI, MI Classic, and Diva
October 19 – New Mexico USofA MI and MI Classic
November 3 – Oklahoma USofA MI, MI Classic, and Diva
January 4 – Florida USofA MI, MI Classic, and Diva
July also means it’s my birthday month, and I’m turning the big 4-0. Frankly, I can’t think of a better way to spend this milestone year than traveling around the country, representing this title and this system, encouraging MIs to get out there, compete, and be the best they can be. There was a time when I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to forty. There was a time when, even if I made it to forty, I had no idea what that was going to look like. While life took a few crazy turns over the last four decades, and while I may not have accomplished everything on my list (YET!), representing a USofA title at the national level has been a dream of mine for ten years, and a goal I’d been working towards during that time. So, here’s to turning 40, to dreams, to compassion, to fashion, to passion when it’s new, to Sontag, to Sondheim, to anything taboo… where was I going with this?? Oh right, I’m not afraid of turning forty. It’s only up from here!
I hope everyone is keeping cool and using plenty of sunscreen! I’ll be back in August, hopefully with more dates and prelims to announce.
Til then I remain, classically yours,
Glam On The Go: PRIDE EDTION
Well, well, well, where do I begin? This past month has brought me a world wind of adventure. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people and perform on some of the largest platforms.
Dallas Teen Pride: When I was crowned Miss USofA Diva, I was asked to open the Drag show for teen pride, so not only did they invite me to perform, but they extended the invitation to the students of Sweat Dance Movement/ Dallas Dazzlers. Having the opportunity to perform with my students brought me so much happiness. The staff of Teen Pride was amazing the entire weekend was a huge success. So, thank you Dallas Teen Pride!
Juneteenth weekend: Juneteenth 2019 was a jammed packed weekend. Tons of exciting appearances, hosting gigs and performing. The energy in the city and around the country was free and alive. I saw people unite and party under one roof in the name of Unity and love. Thank you so much to everyone involved!
Nashville Pride: This was the most exciting, fun filled, and busy weekend. The weather couldn’t even hold Nashville. The energy on the main stage and the drag stage was second to none. I remember one moment on the main stage, I looked out and saw so many people for about 3 miles celebrating, dancing, and living their truth. It all felt so good.
I’m so excited about our upcoming prelims. We’re working hard to make 2019 a success!!!
July, 16, 2019 GLAM’s Birthday
August 17, 2019 Arizona
August 18, 2019 Long Beach, California
November 3, 2019 Tulsa, Oklahoma
Upcoming News: In next months issue of the Integrity, I will kick off Q&A with the Queen.
Inbox me your questions, I will choose them at random and answer the questions in my monthly newsletter. So get those questions submitted ASAP.
Until next month,
When I look back at 2013-2014 and my journey toward becoming Miss Gay USofA, I remember a year of planning, strategizing…and dreaming. I wanted to approach that year a very particular way, compete at a certain level, set a specific standard. I had outlined every step of the process for myself and my team so that when I dreamt about those magical moments…if I suddenly felt doubt or uncertainty…I’d go back to that plan, or show up to the next rehearsal…and edit! Eliminating those doubts. The process of improving is never done. One is never done.
Was my package perfect? ABSOLUTELY! Just kidding…but I did go into that week at nationals feeling as though I had considered everything and prepared for anything, and I can say it was the most polished I’ve ever been in competition. I am proud of my work and the work my team put forth that year.
Looking back though, there was one opportunity that I feel I let slip through my fingers. What’s worse, is that it was an opportunity I had considered and prepared for…probably the most. Lauren Taylor asked me where I saw myself in five years. I remember smiling because I had also dreamt of those moments and was preparing myself to speak so eloquently about battle fields and diamond tiaras…and then Lauren added, “and it doesn’t just have to be about drag or USofA, it could be your day job or profession.”
Insert record scratch.
I don’t want to say Lauren Taylor ruined what potentially could have been a beautiful moment for me…but what came out of my mouth next certainly didn’t align with the image of grown men weeping I was only moments before picturing.
My response was that in five years I’d be celebrating my 5th anniversary, and then proceeded to go on elaborately about my day job, offering specific and actual content about my plans and expectations there. How I managed to glaze over, in the most cliché way possible, the very purpose for my being in that room in front of those people…well…is Lauren’s fault entirely. Still joking…it was simply one of those moments where my nerves took hold and because I had introduced my day job into the scenario, I somehow side stepped and hijacked my own response. Did I answer wrong? No…I was sincere about my goals at SMU. This will be my 18th year at SMU. I love that place, too!
And now, having just hit my 5th anniversary as Miss Gay USofA, I feel it appropriate to respond with what was in my head and my heart in that initial moment…before Lauren ruined everything ha ha.
In five years, I wanted to be a resource for USofA, not just as a former, but as a leader. In 5 years, I saw myself being the National Pageant Director and that with my administrative experience I might have something to contribute both to USofA and to what I have imagined for my legacy. Every pageant needs a supportive team and the more cogs in the machine that are aligned with achieving the ultimate objective…serving the contestants and celebrating the efforts of the promoters…the more successful we will be collectively. And in five years, I saw myself contributing to our continued legacy as a leader in pageantry as a member of the National Staff.
I had dreamed of walking on stage for crowning time and time again. What it would sound like when the announcement was made. How I would feel or perhaps react. But I had also dreamt about sitting on the other side of that table at registration, knowing the answers to the questions yet to be asked…because I would have helped organize them. And I had spent just as much time dreaming about “forever” as I had about that one single moment when “forever” might be possible.
It’s been my goal to contribute to a quality experience had by all, a positive experience, and it will continue to be my goal. Contestants and promoters prepare all year…DREAM all year…to get to this one week of competition…and the staff all want this week to be smooth and efficient for you, celebrating your work and dedication to USofA, to pageantry, and to your own personal growth and success. It’s a competition, but it should most importantly be a good time. And we’ll continue to edit, to eliminate doubts…because the process for improving is never done. We are never done.
Miss Gay USofA 2014
National Pageant Director
Executive Vice President
Integrity Newsletter sits down with National Promoter of Miss Gay USofA Newcomer, Darryl Neumann, to discuss the past, present, and future of Miss Gay USofA Newcomer!
1. In case not all of our audience knows you, will you introduce yourself and explain how you got into the art of drag as a promoter, etc.?
USofA Pageants came up with the idea of creating a division for the generation of up-and-coming drag entertainers back in 2008. This was right about the time that the Mr and Miss Gay Black USofA divisions were being evaluated for their inability to capture a large audience or get a large contestant base. In the fall of 2009, the late Tajma Hall had just stepped down from her highly successful reign as Miss Gay USofA At Large. She was approached and graciously accepted the role of “National Representative” of the newly-created Miss Gay USofA Newcomer Division. For the next year, Taj went around to all of the new Newcomer preliminaries and crowned the first State and Regional winners. Then in August, 2010, we gathered for the first Miss Gay USofA Newcomer National Pageant in Indianapolis, IN where Phalon M. Steele was crowned our Emeritus National Titleholder from a field of 33 contestants. I was involved
with Newcomer from its inception as the State Promoter for Miss Gay Texas USofA Newcomer. After our second National Pageant was held in Tampa, FL in 2011, the National Promoter at the time, Jason Huff, resigned to pursue other interests and two weeks into the reign of Arianna Evans, Miss Gay USofA Newcomer 2011, I received the invitation from Jerry Bird to step up and lead the Division and the rest is history.
2. In August, we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Miss Gay USofA Newcomer. How did Newcomer come about?
Well, like I said previously, it was determined that there was a market for those contestants who were new to pageantry but who more than likely would not succeed in a division where they would have to compete against seasoned veterans, so this division was created to sort of “level the playing field”. It is a well-known fact that potential Newcomer contestants are “born” each year, either from doing drag once for Halloween at the urging of friends and enjoying it and deciding to take it to the next level by getting
on stage, or having been a back-up dancer who moves to the front of the group and takes the spotlight or just a drag kid who becomes a part of a drag family. Hell, some of the drag kids have their own drag kids nowadays! There are potential contestants in areas of the Nation who are just waiting on a prelim to occur in their area. Upon its conception, none of the other “big 4” pageant systems (Gay America, EOY, Continental or USofA) had a Newcomer division, so it was very marketable to the potential contestants who met the eligibility requirement to compete. When I took it over in its second year of existence, my goal was to turn it into a teaching division, giving the contestants the resources to teach them how to be successful pageant queens and successful businesspersons in general. Now we are known for our ability to teach contestants how to identify and market their “brand”, in addition to honing their entertainment skills while onstage and their administrative knowledge when not on stage.
3. When is the national pageant for Miss Gay USofA Newcomer this year?
Our 10th Anniversary Miss Gay USofA Newcomer Pageant will be held in Dallas, TX at the Round Up Saloon on August 5th-8th.
4. Can you tell us what the contestant eligibility is to compete for Miss Gay USofA Newcomer.
Sure. There have always been “Newcomer” pageants out there that will allow anyone to enter regardless of how long they have been competing and they will allow them to continue to compete year after year until they finally win. When USofA Newcomer was created, the powers that be determined there would be a maximum amount of time a contestant could compete before aging out. Our eligibility states that contestants may not have held a State level or Regional level title (whether won or appointed) in any
of the following Nationally-franchised pageant systems:
Also, if a contestant has competed at the National Level at any pageant within any of the above Systems, they cannot have been a finalist (meaning they cannot have competed on the final night in the top 12 or top 10, whatever that system calls out as “finalists” regardless of the contestant’s placement at the pageant). Contestants may also have not appeared on any drag-based reality TV series. Provided all of the above conditions have been successfully met, contestants are given a time limit of three consecutive years in which to compete and get as far as they can get within the Newcomer Division. Because of the three consecutive year rule, our advancement through the levels from local City pageants (in the
States that have them to the State Pageants) and the State and Regional prelims to Nationals differs from any other division of USofA. By simply competing at a prelim, a contestant is automatically qualified to advance to the next level and compete. Their placement at the preliminary will determine whether they are required to compete at the next level and will go with a sponsorship from their Promoter, or if they have to go as a self sponsored contestant with no assistance from the Promoter of the preliminary. Because they are learning and only have the three consecutive years in which to do so, we want to provide them as much experience as possible including competing at the National Pageant during their three years. Obviously, if they want to try to get a higher level of sponsorship, rather than going to Nationals as a self-sponsored contestant, they are allowed to do another prelim, if they wish, but it is not required to be qualified to go to Nationals.
5. What are you most proud about in regards to Miss Gay USofA Newcomer?
I am most proud of a few things. I would have to say I’m most proud of he fact that we have finally become looked upon as something other than a National Division for AMATEURS. While some of our contestants are brand new to drag, that’s not what the term “Newcomer” stands for. We are a National System for contestants who would be considered a Newcomer to pageantry, not just necessarily a Newcomer to drag. Those who have seen one or more of our National Pageants will agree that some of our girls are talented enough without any experience to hold their own against some or most veteran entertainers within a competition. I’ve fought long and hard to get people to understand that times change and the old way of having the newbies enter a pageant where they would simply be “fillers” and inevitably lose year after year to seasoned veteran entertainers until they become experienced enough to win isn’t necessary the best way of doing things anymore. A lot of entertainers tell me they wish there was a Newcomer division around when they first started doing pageants. Ultimately, this grooms the Newcomers to be able to go to Miss Gay USofA or any other National Pageant and
be able to hold their own against the people who have years of experience on them.
I’m also proud of the fact that we’ve been the first to do certain things. In 2015, I teamed up with a travel agency, Gay Galveston Cruises (who is now one of our corporate sponsors) to put my then reigning National Titleholder, Mari Jane, on a cruise ship with a gay group of travelers and join the entertainers who went along with that group for a drag show at sea. Since that year, thanks to the generosity of Gay Galveston Tours, I have been fortunate enough to provide a cruise with the chance to perform at sea to my National winner each year.
In 2018, we were the first Nationally-franchised pageant system to be exhibitors at RuPaul’s Dragcon. My reigning National Titleholder, two former National Titleholders and I got to introduce the non-TV version of drag pageantry to the tens of thousands of visitors to Dragcon that year in Los Angeles. The girls got to meet RuPaul, Michelle Visage and Ross Matthews & rub elbows with the cast members of the show who were in attendance that year. My reigning National Titleholder, Domita Sanchez, even got to do a number on the main stage. She was the only non-Drag Race entertainer who got to do that. The girls were such a hit, they were filmed and got to be included in the broadcast of the season finale of the All Stars Season that was currently filming at the time.
6. How many Miss Gay USofA Newcomers have gone on to compete in other divisions/win in other divisions?
This kind of goes along with my answer for the above question. I’m very proud of the success that some of my former contestants have come to enjoy. Only one National Titleholder can be crowned per year, but the knowledge and experience we give to each of the contestants who take advantage of the opportunities presented to them have gone on to win other titles. Ka’Aliyah McKim Diamond has been the only National Newcomer Titleholder to go on to become a two-time USofA National Titleholder, winning Newcomer in 2012 and Miss Gay USofA At-Large in 2015. I have had other formers to make the top 12 at both Miss Gay USofA and Miss Continental. This past May, former Miss Gay USofA Newcomer 2015, Mari Jane, in her first time to compete at Miss Gay USofA, cracked the top 5 with her Third Alternate placement. Former contestants have also gone on to fulfill goals after aging out of Newcomer. Kenya Black, a top 12 finalist at USofA Newcomer also won Miss Gay USofA At-Large 2017. A’keria Chanel Davenport of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, went on to represent Black America Pageants Nationally by winning MBA Junior Miss and Aria B. Cassidine, another top 12 finalist during her years at Newcomer, went on to win Miss Black America 2018. These are just a few examples of many success stories that I will argue are due at least in part to the experience and knowledge they got while spending their years with us at Newcomer.
7. How have the previous titleholders helped build Miss Gay USofA Newcomer to the capacity in which it is today?
Just by remaining involved in the System, with pageantry in general and being relevant. I am happy to say that all of my formers return each year to Nationals. But it’s not just their visibility there. Our Promoters continuously book my former National Titleholders to host, entertain or judge at their preliminaries. Because my formers are such a diverse group of entertainers (in addition to dancers, we have live singers, people who play instruments and those involved in musical theater) so they are looked up to by a lot of potential contestants, not just the ones who know them from their reigns.
8. Where do you see Miss Gay USofA Newcomer going in the next 1, 5, and 10 years?
I’d like to see it to continue to grow. And I’d like to see it being a more definite source in making USofA in general grow.
9. How do you see yourself, and the newcomer division, supporting a transition for competitors into the Miss Gay USofA division?
While we don’t have any control over what pageant system the contestants choose once they have aged out of Newcomer, I’d like to see more staying with USofA and competing in the divisions that they fit into, either Miss or At-Large. We have to rally the Promoters together with the reigning Titleholders in these divisions to actively seek these Newcomers out. Girls who left USofA to go to other Systems in recent years have been actively recruited by the Promoters of those other Systems. Newcomer was originally created to feed contestants into the other divisions, but these contestants are going to go and compete where they feel they are welcomed. Just like you would. Therefore, I have offered to provide a list of the girls who will age out of Newcomer this year to any USofA Promoter who wants it, so that they can reach out and contact girls to compete in their respective division and/or preliminary. And, I will continue to provide that list every year as long as I’m the National Promoter and there is a request for the information. That list will be made available each year once our National Pageant is held.
10. Anything else you would like to share about yourself, the newcomer division, the USofA family, etc.?
I would like to invite current USofA Promoters in areas where we don’t have a Newcomer prelim to consider adding a Newcomer Prelim. I will work with you to keep costs at a minimum. I’m sure you have Newcomer-level contestants which are simply “fillers” in your Miss or Miss At-Large preliminaries, which is really doing them an injustice. By giving these individuals the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience that Newcomer will afford them, you aren’t losing contestants. You’re just shuffling them around. Plus, any Newcomer contestants that you build a professional relationship with will surely choose to do your Miss or Miss At-Large preliminary once they age out of Newcomer, so this gives you multiple years in which to have them as contestants and twice the opportunity to bring yourself and your prelim the notoriety of potentially producing a National Titleholder. I’d like to invite all promoters of other divisions to join us in Dallas in August. Your official USofA Promoter name badge will get you into the pageant free each night. I am available to chat with anyone who would like more information about picking up a Newcomer prelim. My company email is: [email protected] Thank you to Chris for interviewing me for this months INTEGRITY.
July 16th, 2019 – Mr. Gay Texas USofA At Large 2019
July 17th – 19th, 2019 – Miss Gay Texas USofA Large 2019
July 27th, 2019 – Mr. Gay Wisconsin USofA 2019
July 27th, 2019 -Mr. Gay USofA At Large 2019
July 28th, 2019 – Mr. Gay Wisconsin Elite USofA 2019
August 5th – 8th, 2019 – Miss Gay USofA Newcomer 2019
August 17th, 2019 – Miss Gay USofA, Kennedy Davenport, in Charlotte, NC
August 20th – 23rd, 2019 – Miss Gay Texas USofA 2020
August 23rd – 24th, 2019 – Mr. Gay Missouri USofA 2019
August 23rd – 24th, 2019 – Mr. Gay Missouri USofA At Large 2019
September 18th – 20th, 2019 – Miss Gay USofA At Large 2019
October 12th, 2019 – Miss Gay Nebraska USofA 2020
October 12th, 2019 – Miss Gay Nebraska USofA Classic 2020
October 14th – 15th, 2019 – Mr. Gay USofA 2019
October 16th – 18th, 2019 – Mr. Gay USofA At Large 2019
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