Hello, friends and family! It’s October, and the competitive season has really has really kicked off with a bang for the USofA MI’s and the USofA MI Classics. September 18th, I was honored with the privilege to judge the Mister Oklahoma USofA MI and the Mister Oklahoma USofA MI Classic pageants. What a night of pageantry! Every contestant did a super job, and put serious work into their packages. You all should be so proud of yourselves. Keep working as hard as you are, and learn from each opportunity you are given. Congratulations to Tami Snelson and David Dees on promoting such an awesome pageant, and I thank you for allowing me to judge and entertain. That venue was packed, and the patrons were incredible. Congrats to Valentino on his first prelim of the season also being an incredible step down, and congrats to D’angelo of an amazing reign, as well. Congratulations also goes to your newly crowned Mister Oklahoma USofA MI, Miles Long and your newly crowned Mister Oklahoma USofA MI Classic, King Mykal Khristian. Val and Abs, I’m so proud of you two. Excellent work on demonstrating your administrative abilities on your first preliminary of the season.
For any of you who may not know this, but fall is the most magical time of the year for me. Not only did my birthday fall on the first day of fall, but the first day of fall also lent itself to the Miss Gay USofA At Large national pageant that was held in Columbus, Ohio. Oh. My. goodness. These national pageants are slaying me! The work. The dedication. Wow! Jeremy Burnette, thank you so much for inviting Val and I to come and perform a duet on final night of your pageant. It was such an honor to represent our USofA Divas at your event. Congratulations to Ka’aliyah McKim Diamond on a spectacular reign. You have no idea what it means to me that we got to simultaneously reign, even if just for a bit. I love you, sister! Congratulations to Sasha Lauren on capturing the title of Miss Gay USofA At Large, and welcome to the USofA court. Such an amazing year lies ahead, and I’m so excited for you! Wonderful job to every contestant who took that stage. It’s an exciting adventure to get from deciding you want to participate in a preliminary pageant, to qualifying, to get to the top 12. It’s the biggest span of personal growth and learning I’ve ever experienced, and I’m so happy for all you who got to experience that. To all non -qualifying contestants that competed this is a process. a journey. Take what you’ve learned, and use it as the fuel to your lamp. Light that creative fire, put in the work, and next time, you’ll land it like a 747. I’m so proud of all of you. Continue reading Victoria’s Vignette – October Edition→
I am so excited to write this article for this month. Not only is October one of my favorite months (fall, hoodies, Halloween), but MI state prelims have FINALLY started!
Our first prelim of the season, Mister Oklahoma USofA MI was held September 18 at Club Majestic in Tulsa. D’angelo had a great stepdown, with a great vampire-themed opening production. He had 8 contestants who all brought their A-game. Several of the boys were new to pageantry, and I was so impressed with everyone. Huge congratulations to the winner, Miles Long, and his 1st Alternate, Spacee Kadett! The first two to earn their spot at nationals in March.
I would also like to congratulate Valentino Rios on stepping down as the first Mister Oklahoma USofA MI Classic! He had 3 contestants compete, and congrats to King Mykal Khrystian on winning the title and his spot to nationals! Also congrats to his 1st Alternate, Jesy Hurricane Savage. Both are also on their way to nationals in March!
The end of September, I was able to attend final night of Miss Gay USofA At Large in Ohio. It was wonderful to be able to be there to celebrate Ka’aliyah’s year, and to be able to congratulate Sasha Lauren as she achieved her dream of winning the crown. Thank you to Jeremy Burnette and Darryl Kent for having me!
After the pageant, I traveled with the Rios’s over to Dayton to spend some time with one of our promoters, Devin. We had a much needed day of rest, just spending time together with the zoo of animals at Devin & Gage’s house, and eating some great food! Continue reading Abs-olutely! – October Edition→
The past week has been fantastic! I just got home from an amazing weekend in Ohio. Friday night, September 23 rd was final night of Miss Gay USofA at Large! Thank you, Jeremy Burnette for allowing me to be a part of your special entertainment for the evening and congratulations on an incredibly successful pageant! Ka’aliyah McKim Diamond, you were stunning as always! I’m so glad that I was able to be there for your Final Night! You have always been so kind and welcoming! Congratulation on your reign! You were spectacular all year and I can’t wait to see what you do next! Congratulations to your newly crowned Miss Gay USofA at Large, Sasha Lauren! Excellent job! Welcome to the USofA Court! Enjoy every second of your reign!
That same weekend I also had the pleasure of spending Saturday with one of my national promoters. Thank you, Devin Dame for an amazing day. Gage Gatlyn was in Florida so I did not get to see him but I hope he had a wonderful trip. I love you both!! While in Dayton I had the opportunity to visit Club Masque which will be the host venue of my step down on March 11, 2017! Potential contestants this is an amazing venue! The videos Devin and Gage have posted touring the bar do not do it justice. After seeing it myself, I’m even more excited about the move to Dayton, OH! Contestants you are going to love it!
Speaking of contestants, prelim season has begun! On Sunday, Sept 18th, we kicked off the prelim season with Mister Oklahoma USofA MI Classic at Club Majestic in Tulsa, OK. Promoters David Dees and Tamia St.
James put together an awesome prelim! It was a sentimental night for me because it was also my step down as Mister OK USofA MI Classic! We had three outstanding contestants and we now have our first two qualified contestants for Mister USofA MI Classic 2017! Congratulations to King Mykal Khrystian, Mister Oklahoma USofA MI Classic 2016 and his first alternate, Hurricane Savage! Club Majestic, as always, you had a fabulous crowd. Thank you all for coming out to support the Mister USofA MI and Mister USofA MI Classic divisions. Thank you, David and Tamia for your continued support! Continue reading Val’s Views – October Edition→
Well this is it!!! This is the last article for me for Integrity. I must say that I have had a blast writing all year about myself and my adventures of being Mr. Gay USofA at Large. This is a bitter sweet article for me but like everything in life, things must come to an end. I have had the pleasure of being in this position and I wouldn’t trade it for a million bucks.
First, I would like to thank my family and friends for all their support during this year. If it wasn’t for them pushing me the last seven years of me competing I wouldn’t be here. I also want to thank Jerry Bird and Craig Henderson for their vision for the USofA system and allowing male leads to be on national stages as national titleholders. This couldn’t be possible without you two. Thank you. I also want to thank the promoters for the Mr. Gay USofA at Large division and their hard work in putting together great contests for guys to compete in. Promoters are the core of the USofA system and without you guys there would be no USofA system. I hope you all know how important you are to me and I love you guys very much.
I would also like to thank my dream team that was with me from the very beginning of the year from my city prelim to the state contest and then on to the national contest. Charles, Oscar, and Mike, you guys have been with me all year and part of last year as well. Even though we were a small team we got the job done! I wouldn’t trade you guys for the world and I couldn’t have done this without you guys. Thank you for believing in my dream just as much as I did.
Lastly, and not least, I want to thank the contestants who are competing this year to be the next Mr. Gay USofA at Large. I know the journey it takes to become a national symbol of excellence and I know it’s not easy. I want you guys to remember that the road to your dreams doesn’t come with a golden paved road but with bumps and hills to climb. Even though the road can be rocky, keep on the path because at the end comes a great treasure that will change your life. I wish all of you gentleman the best of luck and much success for your future. Thank you for sharing in my awesome year and I love you guys very much. We are brothers! Continue reading Kane’s Corner – October Edition→
This is my final USofA Integrity Newsletter column. I’m sitting on an airplane trying not to cry my eyes out in front a random group of strangers. I have so much I feel like I want to say and share with you all and I am finding myself in a moment of being speechless, a moment of silence, as I reflect on what this year and this journey has been.
What does it mean to me to be Mr. Gay USofA? What does it mean to be a symbol of integrity? Let us take a look back on what I thought it meant then, and what it means to me now.
I think as people, well in the pageant world, we have this idea of what we think it is to be a national titleholder. When you asked me a year ago, what does it mean to you to be Mr. Gay USofA? I would have simply answered: To promote the USofA brand, attend your preliminaries, stay in contact with your contestants and celebrate your win throughout the year. One of the things I mentioned in my interview that I wanted to bring to the male division was visibility and unity amongst all systems.
This ideology became a quick reality and spread like wildfire soon after winning. I was fortunate enough to not only attend but be booked at several national walks and systems across the country. I remember the first walk at Mr. Renaissance when I text Craig saying I didn’t know what to do because my heart was beating out of my chest and I wasn’t ready for this. Of course Craig immediately replied with words of encouragement and love. Something I am so fortunate to have received throughout my entire reign. This style of promotion and visibility was something I hope can continue on to the next Mr. Gay USofA’s. Not only was this a great tool to reach new contestants and audiences, but it really sets a standard of admiration and respect for the USofA system. Some places I have traveled to did not even know what this system was and now hopefully we can continue to foster those relationships and build the brand and legacy that has been such a success. Continue reading Mastas Minute – October Edition→
I actually had a very easy, stress-free September. I did have the honor and privilege of welcoming the newest member to the USofA Court, Miss Gay USofA at Large 2016, Sasha Lauren. She exuded an amazing aura all week and I could not be happier for her. You did it girl!!! Also, we did add Ka’aliyah McKim Diamond to the distinguished list of Miss Gay USofA At Large Formers. You have been an amazing reigning symbol and I can honestly say that I have learned so much from you and your reign. I wish you the best in your future endeavors and I’m so happy to call you my sister. Lastly, I want to thank Jeremy Burnette for giving me the opportunity to spend an amazing week in Ohio and be a part of such a great pageant. I had so much fun in Ohio and I am so happy to have made some new friends, networked with promoters, and be reunited with my USofA family.
Like I mentioned in my last Integrity article, my goal as Miss Gay USofA Newcomer this year is to make sure my contestants are even more prepared than last year. I hope everyone noticed another #NewcomerGraduate that made the top twelve at Miss Gay USofA At Large; Miss Brandi Williams represented herself beautifully and you could see the knowledge she gained from the Newcomer System propelled her to the top of her next goal.
An important aspect of being prepared is making every opportunity one you can learn from.
Before I began my career in drag, I spent a lot of time with the local queens, all amazing and special in their own rights. I remember one of the show directors telling a new queen at the time to always show up to her show with a CD because she would have been able to perform a number that night if she had brought one. Even though I had not started my drag career, I catalogued that little piece of information. I also remember the Saturday show director telling the girls competing at a “Drag Race” like competition to stop wearing control top tights because they were extremely noticeable; this is another example of information I learned and tucked away for later. Therefore, when I was ready to cake the makeup on and create Vanity, I knew so much information from listening and learning from the local queens. I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without them. With that said, this month’s lesson is to learn from those around you. Do keep in mind though, not every piece of advice is good advice. This is where we must take what we are told and sift its validity. Continue reading Vanity’s Fair – October Edition→
Wow! How do I even start something I had always dreamed about. I still cannot believe I have accomplished this dream. I am still in la la land. From being announced on RuPaul’s Drag Race to becoming Miss Gay USofA at Large 2016.
I must say it has been an amazing September.
I am dedicating this article to all those people behind Sasha Lauren.
Without them I would not be here. Thank you to ShaeShae LaReese and Louise West for allowing me to be their queen and push me to become Miss Gay USofA at Large. Lawanda Jackson and Craig Henderson, I love you guys so much thank you for believing in me. To the rest of my team Jaida Hall, Geneva Lush, Michael LaMaster, Xa’Pariis Charmiing, Mari Jane, Armani Nicole Davenport and all my dancers Thank You from the bottom of my heart. I know that this was OUR win!! We have cried, we have fought and we have smiled on this journey, thank you for being by my side. Crystal V. Lauren you know the spot you will forever hold in my heart even if our paths are headed in different directions I have been so blessed to have met you. You are the true meaning of never give up on your dreams, continue your path and fight hard.
I look forward to having an amazing year and to make lots and lots of friends. Look out Dallas, Texas the big girls are taking over in September 2017. I am so happy to have my give-up in my hometown. I can now say goal one for my reign has a check mark. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need anything I am here for you. Cheers to an amazing year and I hope I make all of you proud.
Hello everyone!! This was a busy month with many events taking place. During the beginning of September, I was part of a benefit show organized for one of my dearest friends.
I was so happy and honored to participate. Later, I had the chance to be a judge on Dessie’s Drag Race. This gave me the opportunity to encourage our new talent to fight for their dreams no matter how hard or far they may seem and to believe that we set our own limits to success.
I was also able to judge another amateur show “So You Think You Can Drag” again, which is a platform for up and coming entertainers and a great way to prepare for the world of pageantry.
In the middle of September, I was invited to be part of the Miss Utopia Pageant in Houston. It was truly an honor to be part of a great event and represent USofA. I also had the chance to catch up with Teryl Lynn Foxx, Miss Continental Elite. We had such a great time!
We are working on organizing a fundraiser for the Children’s HIV Foundation. The details are to be determined, but I will release them as soon as they’re available. I would truly appreciate your participation and support so that we can strengthen the LGBTQ community here and everywhere.
My September itinerary also included Columbus, Ohio for the Miss Gay USofA at Large pageant. I was filled with excitement to visit a new town and be able to catch up with old friends and make new ones! I was welcomed with open arms, so I do appreciate the hospitality from everyone, including the bar staff and management.
The formers were great and sweet to me, as well. They gave me great advice, so I appreciate all you ladies! I also got to talk to promoters for the Classic division and I hear that many contestants are looking forward to entering the completion. I am dedicated to creating new prelims, so I will keep you posted as more unfolds. Continue reading Love, Kindness and Tolerance – October Edition→
Summer is officially over and now it’s time for one of my favorite seasons Autumn! Boots and scarves, boys in sweatpants, pumpkin spice hysteria and haunted houses everywhere! My favorite childhood memories were often around Halloween, that one magic night where anything can happen.
I want to start by saying, a huge, congratulations to the new Miss Gay USofA at Large Sasha Lauren! I know how much you wanted this and I’m so excited to work together on the road. Welcome to the family! Congrats also to Ka’aliah on a wonderful reign!
September kicked off in my old stomping grounds of Chicago with Mr. & Miss Continental weekend. I always look forward to this weekend when I get to see so many friends and family from across the country. Congrats to Antwuan Steele and Jazzelle Barbie Royale on your wins! Wait until you hear this lady SING! Congrats to Jim Flint on a wonderful event and to Tiffany and Mykul on a great year.
We are looking for great promoters and contestants for the USofA system! If you are interested in promoting or competing, I am always here to help in any way! Don’t forget there are some great prelims coming up soon to qualify for Miss Gay USofA! Continue reading USofAurora – October Edition→