Hello and happy March!
When I moved to Missouri fifteen years ago, I knew that I wanted to make a splash with my drag but I had no idea that I would have the opportunity to flourish as much as I did. Just after I was given my first big opportunities, a well-known KC queen, Flo, leveled my ego out by telling me what she observed. With hopes of giving me clarity, she said, "You don't even know what you have." I was befuddled by this but after thinking about it, I realized that it was meant to motivate me. It was meant for me to consider what I had been given and use it for entertainment, yes, but also for guidance, kindness, and encouraging people just like me.
Shortly after, I was shown the Miss Gay America pageant system and the rest of history played out. I was able to recall my talents and intellect with humility because of Flo's tailored message. Eleven years and four competition attempts later, I had learned a great deal and I had won the title of Miss Gay Missouri America 2022.
Now that my reign is nearly over, I'm compelled to reflect on what I've learned. I want to honor it because once I was put in the position of leadership, all I had left to do is learn.
I learned that if I worked hard and held the title of MGMA up to my best ability, the forever MGMA title holders will recognize it and respect me for it. They will respect hard work because they recall the work they put into winning and reigning. I was lucky enough to be followed by every living MGMA and encouraged by their insights. It's something I will always cherish and I will never forget.
I learned that when I'm in the position of prominence, there are unique situations that will test me. This year I faced situations that were out of my scope of control but, as the crown wearer, I was expected to address the concerned in all situations. In this case, I learned that treating a difficult situation with altruism rather than disdainful piety, will always work best. Further, as queer people, we are prone to challenge those in the position of prominence, yes, but there comes a time when we realize the prominent are working with us, not against us.
I learned that audiences will celebrate the MGMA title everywhere—our fans run deep and it is a real joy to witness. In every venue, in every city, and at Miss Gay America, the Missouri America title is honored for being a notable and recognizable institution and nothing can shake that in the hearts of the fans. It's a very special element to the MGMA title and one that every member of the family can celebrate.
I learned that the lasting quality of our art form is the exact same lasting quality that our family possesses. To look upon the individuals involved with our pageant, you'll see family members step into activity, step out of activity, and sometimes step back into activity. This evolution is different for every family member but the extra-special love of MGMA is what keeps our family.
I learned that MGMA is an unshakeable entity. It is fractured and sometimes difficult to navigate, but it will always stand for history and making the best of the people of Missouri. The queens that uphold and have upheld it for decades, know that it will go nowhere but carry on if we put our love of art, love of family, and honest hearts into it. Applying my honest heart to my work is the thing I learned to cherish the most.
As for our contestants, I learned that the passion for our art form is alive and thriving in our state. The queens in the Class of 2023 have an incredible range of experiences that bring vibrancy to our pageant. They are creative, motivated, wildly talented, and on top of it all, they are BEAUTIFUL--some of the most beautiful female impersonators with whom I have had privilege of collaborating. What they will show our audiences and judges at the 2023 pageant will be nothing short of inspiring.
To Miss Gay Missouri America 2023, you will learn. There's no other way to take this on but to know that you will learn. And you will enjoy learning just as I did and as did all 47 other MGMAs.
Miss Gay Missouri America 2022